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Posts with tag casuals

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

Former WoW developer Mark Kern wonders if WoW is too easy

Former WoW developer Mark Kern wonders if WoW is too easy
Mark Kern, who left Blizzard way back in 2005 to found Red 5 Studios, is working on a new free to play, sci-fi MMO called Firefall -- and has some less than flattering things to say about the game WoW has become. His top complaint: that MMOs are now too easy. "When was the last time you died in a starter zone?" Kern muses. "Sometimes I look at WoW and think 'what have we done?' I think I know. I think we killed a genre."

The easier content, he argues, means both developers and players focus less on the content in the middle of the game and more on racing to get to the end game -- and by rushing through the game from level 1 to level 90, you miss out on a lot of the game itself. Of course Kern notes that his upcoming MMO has the mix just right -- and that by focusing on the journey instead of the destination, Firefall is a lot more fun.

While we are fans of new games -- and love the art style Firefall has going -- we're less convinced about dying in newbie zones as a gameplay necessity. Time will tell if Kern has the right of things -- Firefall's open beta is starting soon.

Filed under: News items

Ready Check: Progression Recruitment and Roster Churn

Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, Vault of Archavon or Ulduar, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. This week, we're LF24M Yogg-Saron hard mode PST.

It's interesting to watch the flow of players into and around hardcore guilds, and how it changes during farm, progress and the area in between. Why are so many of these guilds recruiting, and how does it change the meta-game?

There are two reasons for a hardcore guild to recruit: to expand the roster and gain flexibility, or to replace players who are leaving the raiding squad. But what effect does it have on the guild? Let's take a look.

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Filed under: Guilds, Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Forum Post of the Day: How do you like DEM clams?

I love it when an amusing blue response to a forum post crops up, and this one made my day.

Earlier in the week, Ghostcrawler made a light-hearted and funny little post mimicking a Beta tester testing a talent tree that includes such gems as "Clever Banter" and "Sarcastic Yet Suspiciously Unfunny."

At the end of it, she announced that clams are becoming stackable items in order to cheer us all up.

As good-natured as all forum-goers are, the jokes surfaced about how amazing this change is, how it's going to crash the clam market, and how Blizzard is clearly pandering to casuals again.

In response, Ghostcrawler wrote up the product of a fictitious emergency developers meeting, held with the goal of bringing clam-related things to do for the hardcore.

I actually laughed out loud: this one is not to be missed.

Filed under: Humor, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

Gaming without Guides

Is WoW really player friendly? Tobold doesn't seem to think so. Says he, there's a lot of things that it doesn't tell you or you can miss the first time around, such as spending talent points, and that at the end game, he constantly has to check outside sites to figure out what he needs to grind to get certain drops and recipes. WoW does things better than most other MMORPGs, he says, but it is far from perfect.

But, me, I'm not sure he has it quite right.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends

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

Gear transition between BC and WoTLK should be smoother, says Bornakk

We've known for a while that we've been getting a gear reset in WoTLK, and just this morning, we've discussed and speculated on how it will affect people as they transition into the 70-80 game, especially alt-o-holics. Here's some news that should strike a lot of people as good: Bornakk confirmed in a thread yesterday that we really won't be seeing quite as large a gear gap in the jump from Burning Crusade to Wrath of the Lich King as we did in the past: No more doubling of stamina values this time, guys.

This should be good news for raiders who feel like their epics don't mean that much anymore (although to be honest, I was using a few of my BWL and AQ40 drops well into my late 60s, so I don't think the gear reset was that bad after all). If the gear jump isn't that bad, your shiny new epics should still work pretty well. Heck, same goes for badge runners. I've suspected for a while that the new Badge of Justice gear was meant to be a partial preliminary gear rest ahead of time, and I'd bet this more or less confirms it: If there's not going to be as much as a jump, these Tameless Breeches might last my druid longer than one might think.

I think it's definitely a good middle road to take. We'll get a gear reset so alt-o-holics and casuals can jump right into the Howling Fjord, but the gap won't be quite as great, meaning that raiders and badge gear savers won't need to feel like they're watching months of work go down the drain when that first level 71 green drops.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

Risen is mad as hell, and they aren't going to take it anymore

Oh yeah. I went there. You may remember the raiding guild Risen, from the Alleria server, for their work in Naxxaramas back before The Burning Crusade, being among the first to grab Atiesh and the Corrupted Ashbringer. They're back at the forefront of WoW news again, but this time for a different reason. They've decided to tap out of raiding until WoTLK, and they aren't being very shy about telling us why, with a post on their website under the oh-so-witty title "World of Casualcraft."

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Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Instances, Expansions, Raiding, Bosses

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

Forum Post of the Day: A casual's guide to winning BGs

Our own Zach Yonzon is putting together some great guides to the battlegrounds (WSG is the last one, and Arathi Basin is being worked on as we speak), but just in case that's not enough for you, Digo of Hyjal has written up a great (and succinct) guide to how the premades win battlegrounds. From WSG to AB to EotS to AV, he's got a terrific writeup of what needs to be done and how to do it to walk away from the BG with more marks than the other team.

He markets the guide as one for casuals, but it's got great tips for everybody: fight on the flags, not on the road. Make sure you've got something held before moving on. Send a druid after the flag and control WSG's midfield. Stick together and assist and heal. This is all stuff every single person who queues up for a BG should know (and unfortunately, it's also the same stuff that's yelled in every /bg channel because lots of players don't listen).

Great post, and a must read for anyone routinely going into the battlegrounds. If you aren't doing this stuff already, take the lesson, and do it from now on.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Forums, Battlegrounds

Azeroth Interrupted: Casuals are good players too

Each week, Robin Torres contributes Azeroth Interrupted, a column about balancing real life with WoW.

Last week, I talked about how raiders can be successful both in-game and out by applying professional skills such as time management to their gameplay hours. I had no idea it would be a more controversial topic than when I tackled religion in game. One of the big complaints in the sea of comments was that I was making my categories too narrow. I don't think that everyone falls neatly under the labels of casual or raider, but they are convenient, commonly defined categories to use when describing 2 opposing groups of players. Last week's topic was directed toward the people who believe that all "hardcore" raiders must neglect the rest of their lives in order to see so much of the endgame content. This week I want to talk to the "serious" raiders who think all casuals stink as players. Some do, certainly, but just as there are successful raiders vs. wannabe raiders, there are also a very large percentage of casual players who are skilled at playing their class in a variety of situations. For this discussion, I will refer to them as "Skilled Casuals".

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Azeroth Interrupted

"Stranglethorn Hole" and the doom of casual WoW?

Recent reports that the general population of WoW players may be going down for the first time cause some concern, enough to even have our post on the subject listed on the BBC for a while. Our readers gave lots of reasons why something was missing from The Burning Crusade, from problems with the new raids, new items, or even lack of anything actually "new" at all. Granted, it is too soon to say whether people are leaving WoW en masse or not, but the concerns raised here are still valid.

One of the main problems our readers cited was leveling boredom. The game before Outland is a bottleneck for casual players who want to explore other classes and playstyles but find that getting where they want to be with their new favorite alt would take more tedium and repetition than they're willing to tolerate. Some have the patience and dedication for it, but for others it feels like an impassible jungle.

Stranglethorn Vale, sometimes called the "Stranglethorn Hole" (coined by Tobold in reference to black holes, I think), has been the prime example of 1-60 leveling boredom, because at some point between levels 30 and 45, quests in most other areas just dry up, and you're left with little choice other than to help out the goblins in Booty Bay. The Gaming Fascist complains that he couldn't get any characters through the Vale without it feeling like "an affliction or a chore, something I don't really enjoy and fall back to when times get too boring." This was especially infuriating for him since he apparently chose a PvP server and he got ganked a lot there. Anyone tends to feel frustrated and hopeless when your goal is so far away that you have no reasonable means to achieve it.

We took a light-hearted look into the future a couple weeks ago, to see what solutions might present themselves in a few years as this problem gets increasingly severe. The fact is that has to be done for casuals who can't or don't want to go raiding, and if trying out new classes and isn't really a feasible option, then what's to prevent them from feeling stuck with nothing to do? More reputations to grind?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Leveling, Alts

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