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Posts with tag casual-games

Breakfast Topic: Casualties of casual gaming

The other day over dinner, my wife and I were talking about a new game on Facebook and how easy it would be for us to game the system. My brother-in-law stopped us mid-conversation and asked, "What the hell happened to you two? You used to be hardcore raiders! Now you're talking about min-maxing a Facebook game!"

My wife and I looked sheepishly at each other and hung our heads in shame. This is what it had come to. While we're committed to playing together come Cataclysm, we had now been reduced to the most casual of casual gamers -- playing browser-based games with no real, complex story or engaging gameplay. At least, nothing as complex or engaging as the World of Warcraft. But the reality is that casual gaming is a bigger phenomenon than we can imagine. Zynga's Farmville has over 61.6 million active users -- that's almost six times WoW's 11.5 million subscriber base. Never mind that World of Warcraft is subscription-based and that not all of Farmville's players are paying customers. Forget about revenue for a moment. That's 61.6 million gamers playing one game.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

WoW, Casually: A spring invitation to students who raid


Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. This week we invite raiders who are in school to join us and try out being a casual.

Because our esteemed editor-in-chief was on NPR's "On Point" last week, I gave it a listen. As expected, the show took a few calls from people who are completely incapable of balancing their work and playtime -- people whose lives were "ruined by WoW." There was also the person who said that "you can't do anything without 24 other people," which we know is absolutely not the case. And the one that really caught my attention: the psychologist who gets panicked calls every spring from parents whose teens are playing so much WoW that they aren't going to pass.

It fascinates me that this is seasonal and also so last-minute. Additionally, I am curious as to whether there are other activities that get in the way during the spring that psychologists also get frantic calls about. I remember it being so hard to focus in the spring while in school -- even in a climate that doesn't have seasons. Summer is looming on the horizon with vacation, new opportunities and huge life changes. We're just looking for distractions at that time. For graduating students, it's called senioritis and it's been called that long before we had computers in our homes to play games. Regardless, it's an issue. But rather than risk screwing up opportunities for the rest of your life just to keep up with your raiding, it's time to give being casual a try. Here's why and how.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW, Casually

WoW, Casually: Is WoW still fun?


Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

I'm letting you into my thought process again this week, because I think I'm one of many players with limited playtime asking themselves if they are still having fun in WoW.

Me: I hate that video. Stormtroopers are cold, impersonal evil -- they don't dance!

Myself: I love it! Yay!

I: I don't know. I just don't know.

Me: So here we are again.

I: Yep. The List is pretty obsolete right now until I do more playtesting and research.

Myself: Playing WoW is fun!

Me: Is it? Still?

I: I don't know.

Myself: Yes it is!

Me: Prove it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW, Casually

WoW, Casually: Things to know about upcoming patches

Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

The above video has absolutely nothing to do with WoW or upcoming patches or even gaming. It's just a feel-good video that is currently at the top of my current YouTube favorites. Besides, everybody's doing it. Now, onward to the actual content...

So, rumor has it that patch 3.3.3 will be out either next week or the week after. The PTR seems stable-ish and the downloading of much of the patch has already been happening. So, let's talk about what we have to look forward to in the patches before Cataclysm, particularly 3.3.3.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW, Casually

WoW, Casually: Sick and tired

Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

I'm crabby. I'm crabby because I'm sick. This snowballs into being crabby because nothing is comfortable and crabby because I'm not spending as much time completing the holidays as I would like and crabby because I can't seem to get enough sleep. I'm also crabby because the rest of my family is crabby because they're sick too. Crabby!

So this week, instead of consulting The List, I am going to crabbily give tips for playing sick and/or sleep deprived. This advice will be good for new parents, those suffering from this evil cold my family has, and those that are trying to squeeze some play in between long work/study sessions. I bet it will help other situations, too. I don't know. I don't care. See above for why.

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Filed under: WoW, Casually

WoW, Casually: Casual guide to Love is in the Air

Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

Love is very much in the air and the complete revamp of this holiday is good news for those of us with limited playtime.

Me: Wait, wait, wait, wait. Didn't we say we were going to talk about PvP this week?
I: They changed the holiday drastically. It's more timely.
Myself: Holidays are fun!

Whether you have an 80 or are just leveling, there are a lot of benefits to spending a part of your play session completing the Love is in the Air quests. Of course, if you are into achievements and titles, you are already doing this -- if you didn't get your title last year. But there are quite a few other reasons for casual players to participate in this particular event:

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW, Casually

WoW, Casually: Tidbits for the playtime-challenged

Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

This week, dear Reader with Limited WoW Playtime, I am going to let you in on my thought process. This is partially to create a kind of casual WoW.com reading list, partially to tackle topics too small to fill up a whole column and partially to show that normality is not my strong suit. But who wants to be normal? Normal is boring.

So here are a few excerpts from what goes on in my mind when thinking about this column, starring Me, Myself and I (not in order of appearance):

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, WoW, Casually

WoW, Casually: Playing WoW with your teen

Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

Last year, I talked about playing with preschoolers and reading-age children. Several months later, I'd like to continue the series by tackling the topic of teens. I'm now tempted to talk in tantalizing alliteration, but I really can't keep it up. Anyway...

Teens provide a completely different challenge than the young children we've discussed before. Teens are already extremely competent readers, experience Trade Chat-like talk in school on a regular basis and have the coordination skills required to fully play the game. So they don't need the coddling and constant supervision, but that doesn't mean that the benefits of parents playing with teens aren't just as valuable.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW, Casually

WoW, Casually: Instance leveling guide

Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

Before the Dungeon Finder Tool, leveling through instances just wasn't possible for those of us with limited playtime unless we had 4 friends with similar schedules and an appropriate selection of classes. But now, we can take advantage of the speedy XP, better gear and grouping practice.

More importantly, dungeons are fun. In order to research this guide, I dusted off a level 18 paladin I hadn't played for at least 2 years. I picked up skills that were new since the last time she trained, redid her talents and tested the Dungeon Finder waters. It was an absolute blast running through Deadmines with an appropriately leveled group. I've also had a great time leveling a priest in her 30s and a mage in her 60s using the Dungeon Finder. If you too want to try some instance leveling (and I bet most of you already have), here are some tips to make the most of it:

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Leveling, Guides, WoW, Casually

WoW, Casually: Looking backward and forward

Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

The problem with writing these year end posts for WoW is the tendency for Blizzard to make huge changes at the end of the year, altering everything. Whether it's a new expansion like Wrath of the Lich King or Patch 3.3, it's hard to remember what the game was like the previous 3/4 of the year. It's not that we didn't have a good time before the big year end events, but the game becomes so different, what we did before is irrelevant.

This year, hopefully by or during the summer, we'll be getting another expansion -- only this will literally change everything. It's like we'll be getting WoW II, only without having to give up our stuff/contacts/accounts and start fresh in a new game. So let's take a look backward and forward at some of the main aspects of the game as it affects those of us with limited playtime, like we were the two-faced god this month is named after.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW, Casually

WoW, Casually: Patch 3.3 and we

Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

Patch 3.3 is looking to be casualeriffic, which of course means it will be raideriffic and everybody-else-eriffic, too. But with the new features available to us, we should be able to pack more actual playing into our limited play-sessions and even attempt things we didn't used to have time for. It will probably hit any Tuesday now, though if we don't have it before December 22nd, don't expect it again before January 5th. They don't like dropping patches just before holidays.

Here are some of my favorite casual-friendly features coming to our next big patch:

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, WoW, Casually

WoW, Casually: Deciding to raid as a parent

Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

I finally hit 80 on my druid, Freja and since I am in The Spousal Unit's raiding guild, I was immediately able to put on some nice purples to help gear myself up. But gear myself up for what? Raiding has become much more accessible to those of us with limited playtime, but do I really want to go there?

Raiding involves more than just a contiguous block of time during which you can participate in a large group activity. Raids need and expect quite a lot from its members – more than just showing up and downing a few objectives, like you can in AV. If you, like me, are the primary caregiver in your household and have many other pursuits vying for your time, you need to consider many factors before making the decision to wade into the endgame.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, WoW, Casually

Giving up on conquering WoW

Backhand of Justice has an interesting post up about something we've considered for a long time: who will overtake World of Warcraft. Way back before this year started, game developers were challenged to come up with an MMO that could take on WoW's influence and popularity, and while there have certainly been some interesting MMOs announced and released (Star Wars: The Old Republic, which isn't out yet, and Aion, which is, are probably most in the forefront at the moment), it just hasn't happened. WoW is still the juggernaut it's been for almost the full five years, and with Cataclysm coming in 2010, that doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon.

So now, two months from the end of 2009, let's just say it: it's not possible. World of Warcraft is an aberration, an extremely well-made game that happened to be in just the right time and place (the casual game explosion, the adoption of MMOs and subscription model gaming, the "mainstreaming" of fantasy/sci-fi geekiness) to become an uber megahit. In short, game developers simply can't recreate WoW, at least not on purpose. As BoJ says, that doesn't mean they can't try -- there are certainly lots of original and interesting games and MMOs out there, and it's completely possible to be an MMO that isn't WoW-sized and be successful. But as for the actual question of beating WoW and its worldwide audience, game developers have pretty much moved on.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

WoW, Casually: PvP leveling


Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

Patch 3.2 introduced PvP leveling and even though Patch 3.2.2 made Alterac Valley a bit less lucrative experience-wise, the Battlegrounds are still a really great way for those of us with limited playtime to squeeze some leveling time in. Before we go any farther, however, let me just say that PvP leveling is only for those who actually enjoy Battlegrounds. If you think BGs are a chore, then leveling in them will be a chore. Really, you should only be playing WoW if it's fun, so just skip this column if Battlegrounds aren't for you and we'll see you next time.

Ok, so if you are still reading, you enjoy BGs. On the flip side of the coin, if this is your main character on this realm, then I can't recommend PvP-only leveling unless you only want to PvP on this character. You will miss out on a lot of cash and gear if you skip questing entirely. Of course, if you have a sugar daddy main to feed you gold and heirlooms and are done questing before Cataclysm, you are already hanging out in BGs all day. Or you are playing Aion or Champions Online.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Quests, Leveling, Guides, WoW, Casually, Battlegrounds

WoW, Casually: What really happened in Patch 3.2


Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

Timely, huh? Patch 3.2 was how long ago? Yeah, well I plead BlizzCon. Regardless of time passing, there are some tidbits here and there that I would like to chat about that happened in our most recent content patch. But before we get to the things that really affect those of us with limited playtime, I'd like to express a strong opinion about badges and easier leveling.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, WoW, Casually

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