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Posts with tag casual-players

What Blizzard needs to keep casuals playing in Warlords

Being called a casual in World of Warcraft is sometimes -- okay, often -- tossed out as an insult, but let's face it: a lot of the gamers fall under the casual banner. They have jobs, they have families, they have kids, and they can't necessarily afford to spend countless hours a week focused on a single game. It's not that casuals want free epics or need to learn to play, it's that MMOs can demand a lot more time than the average adult has available for gaming. No matter how much we love Warcraft, spending time with family and working enough to pay the bills has to come first. (After all, if we can't pay the bills, we can't play in the first place.)

This is especially true in World of Warcraft which is approaching its 10-year anniversary. Players who started playing in their early teens are now college graduates working for a living, while players who started playing during college may be starting (or growing) their own families. Demands like that just don't leave a lot of time to game -- and they definitely don't leave time for a game that forces you to sink a lot of hours in before you can start having fun. Even those of us who enjoyed doing 40-man raids back in the vanilla days -- complete with the grinding for repair money, resist gear, potions, flasks, and everything else you were expected to do to be part of a raiding guild -- might have trouble making the time these days.

World of Warcraft is more casual-friendly than it used to be, and by necessity: many of the playerbase are more casual than they used to be. But while it's more friendly to casual players, there are still plenty of things the game could do to keep the casuals around from level 90 and beyond -- so let's talk about what Warlords of Draenor needs to keep new and casual players in the game.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie, Warlords of Draenor

The useful distinction between casual and hardcore

The useful distinction between casual and hardcore
Earlier this week, WoW Insider's Matthew Rossi argued that there is no point in distinguishing between hardcore and casual players, and that doing so actually detracts from the game. I, however, don't agree and will be presenting a counterpoint in this article. So, if you haven't read Rossi's side yet, be sure to check it out first.

Now before I explain why I think the distinction between hardcore and casual is useful, I think it's necessary that we all be on the same page as far as what hardcore and casual actually are. I found Rossi's argument against the usage of these words particularly flawed because he was working around an assumed and rigid definition of what a hardcore player and a casual player are. Toward the end of his article he pointed out that the casual/hardcore metric doesn't work when you consider the various ways in which some players are engaging with the game. Not every player raids, he explained, but that doesn't mean they can't be hardcore.

Now, I agree with that for the most part, but I disagree with his understanding of hardcore and casual. You see, hardcore and casual are not and have never been part of any metric. It's actually impossible for them to have ever been since the definition of casual and hardcore is subjective. Ask any two people what kind of behavior distinguishes a casual player from a hardcore player and the answer will be different in some way ... And if the definition of something varies from person to person, it can't logically be used as a standard of measurement.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Argent Tournament is for the casual player

If it wasn't any more clear, Nethaera made a couple of responses in a thread over at the forums complaining about the itemization of Argent Tournament rewards. She reiterated that Blizzard's design philosophy behind the event was to cater to the "casual players who may not take part in regular raiding". She also teased that "there is more to the Tournament than what is currently available."

The original poster complained that there was no epic item for Restoration Shamans. Other players chimed in with how iLevel 200 items this deep into the expansion made no sense. On the other hand, the weapons are flat out awesome-looking, and fairly easy to get at a casual, if somewhat glacial, pace. Blizzard insists that the content is designed for the "fun and flavor" and in that sense the Argent Tournament probably works. Still, gear is a compelling reason to play -- something Blizzard has acknowledged on numerous occasions -- and this is why the Argent Tournament rewards are less than appealing. Particularly in a World of Warcraft where even casual players can PUG 25-man raids for a shot at iLevel 213 gear or higher. In the new, more accessible raid design philosophy, even casual players can experience the so-called endgame. That's the true success (or some may argue, the failure) of Wrath.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Dual specs and the importance (or not) of saving gold

While reading through comments on the site the other day,* I stopped at Drak's on a recent Breakfast Topic and had to think for a bit. In defense of pure classes' concerns with the upcoming dual spec system, Drak wrote that we were weighing class functionality against hybrids' desire to save gold, and that the two concerns were by no means equal.

I'm still convinced that pure classes stand to gain a lot more from dual specs than they'll lose, principally in the form a lot more tank and healer availability, but it's an interesting point. How much gold do you really need to get by? Does the idea of having to spend a lot more of it, or having to spend more time getting it, on a particular class or spec make that character less fun to play, and has that played a role peoples' unwillingness to tank and heal?

Again, for the purpose of this discussion I'm considering pure classes to be Hunters, Mages, Warlocks, and Rogues, as everyone else can respec to do different roles.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Classes, Making money

Why we solo

Lauren of the Mystic Worlds Blog has a new post up called "Why we Solo in MMOs," offering her perspective on why, over many years and many MMOs, she has always tended to ignore the grouping game and instead go it alone. While I'm not against grouping at all -- I was very active in the 40 man raid game, and tend to run Heroics around once a week and Karazhans around 1.5 times a week across my 3 70s -- I've always felt that the solo game has a valid spot in MMORPGs, and I've often indulged in it myself. In fact, I'd bet that most WoW players do so on a regular basis these days, whether leveling up or doing their dailies.

She rattles off the usual list of reasons for going solo -- having a weird schedule, needing to take frequent "real life" breaks, not having enough time to go LFG for a dungeon, unwillingness to deal with the infamous horrible PuG group -- then takes it a step further. She believes that many people use these types of statements as excuses or defense against people who can't understand why they wish to solo in a multiplayer game, or actively flame them for it, and that the real reasons are a lot less complicated.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, PvP, Quests, Leveling, RP, Making money, Alts

2.4 for Casuals, Warlocks and Mages

It seems like an odd mix, but all three of these categories, Casuals, Warlocks and Mages haven't had much change since our initial write ups. Sure Warlocks went through the whole life tap nerf roller coaster ride, but that worked out in the end, eh?

Mages on the other hand got pretty much everything that went on the PTR. The only change is that Improved Mana Shield won't cost the same as the old one. The mana cost will scale with your spell damage.

That being said, check out what 2.4 has in store for Casual players, Warlocks and Mages. And let us know what you think of them.
Patch 2.4 sounds great, but what's in it for you? Find out on our Sunwell Isle page where we list the impact on classes, professions, PvP, Raiders and many other playstyles and interests. Looking for more great info? Check out the WoW Insider Directory for the best of our guides and analysis.

Filed under: Mage, Warlock, Patches

Getting what you paid for: Should the endgame be accessible to casuals?

Hardcore players are frustrated with game changes that benefit more casual players. Casuals are overwhelmed by the amount of play time required to be competitive in the endgame. This brings up the question of who deserves to see the complete story unfold.

Seraphina of Baelgun brought up the issue of accessibility to endgame content on the WoW official forums. Like all of the other Warcraft games, WoW has an interesting and compelling story line, with several sub-stories along the way. While all players pay for the same content, not all of them can experience it. In many role playing games, once you've played through certain story line elements you can access the endgame content. Relatively few players will be able to complete the Sunwell Plateau prior to the release of Wrath of the Lich King, just as relatively few players were able to down Naxxramas before Burning Crusade was launched.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Quests, Raiding, Forums

Breakfast Topic: Do you know the patch guy?

In every guild, there's that guy. You know the one I'm talking about. He was around for awhile, enthusiastic about the game, wanting to jump in on guild PuG's and have some fun. Then he wasn't around much. Then he wasn't around at all and you forgot about him.

A big patch goes live and he's back. "Hey, how's it going, man? Long time no see!" You think hard to remember when you last grouped with him. It's all a blur, it's been so long. But there's new content and he's raring to go! Fair enough, but you know he'll drift away again in a month or so.

Do you know that guy? Are you that guy?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Breakfast Topics

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