4 Jan 2011

Casual Is Not A Dirty Word

Back when I was a kid, being called a geek was a crude insult thrown around by those unwilling to accept that people didn’t share their interests and hobbies. Nowadays it’s worn as a badge of honour. I’m not saying that you’ll see me standing on the top of a mountain with my shirt torn off, shouting “I AM GEEK” into the wind, but you get the idea.

I can see the same thing happening within gaming culture. The terms “casual” and “social” are thrown around with a sneer in the voice. After all, social gamers aren’t real gamers, are they? Casual gamers just don’t play games properly? Unless you’re playing the game in the style of a seasoned professional, you must be doing it wrong, right?


I’ve played at both ends of the spectrum. I’ve been in the server first chasing hardcore guild, raiding six nights out of seven for some six hours a night. I’ve been in front of the computer screen for wipe after wipe, my dinner going cold next to me. I’m now in a guild that’s more relaxed, raiding a few nights a week and having time to enjoy the game with friends and family. I know that I’ve gone from what you’d normally call hardcore to something more casual.

Have I somehow become something less of a gamer for making this choice? Did the magic skill fairy visit me in the night and render me a crap button fumbling idiot? I don’t think so.

There’s nothing wrong with being a casual player. We all have different pulls on our life and only so much time we can give to Warcraft. Like Vidyala said over at Manalicious, there’s nothing wrong with not being first.

What I do have a problem with is people using their casual status some kind of hall pass. I don’t need to gear up properly because I’m a casual. I don’t need to get glyphs because I’m a casual. I don’t need to know tactics because I’m a casual. This is wrong. You don’t want to do these things because you’re a casual, you don’t want to do them because you’re lazy.

The worst misuse of the casual label by far though is when it applies to raid loot. We had it easy at the end of Wrath – the tier 10 gravy train meant that you could get top quality raid gear purely from running heroics. That boat has sailed – if you want the best gear now you have to work for it.

There are some who complain that they can’t raid, but should get the gear anyway. They want the reward, but they’re not prepared to put the work in to get it. These people aren’t casuals either, they’re Entitled. Calling them casual players just gives the rest of us a bad name.

Most of us want to play the game right. We read up on tactics and prepare our gear properly. We make sure our talent builds are sensible and our glyphs are in place. We want to be an asset to the groups we’re in, even if we gear up at different speeds.

Call a spade a spade. Call someone who breaks crowd control, fudges iLevels to get into heroics, hinders you at every turn and yet demands the Moon on a stick a Greedy Entitlesloth. Leave the casuals and social players out of it.

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15 Responses to Casual Is Not A Dirty Word

  1. Grimmtooth says:

    “I’m not saying that you’ll see me standing on the top of a mountain with my shirt torn off … ”

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  3. Bordy says:

    I may have been on top of a mountain, but never have I torn my shirt off, though a kilt riding up as you fall, bare-bottom first onto the snow is another experience altogether.

    I am a casual gamer. My wife may not think so, for I play at least an hour most days, and some days 3-4 hours. I do not though raid constantly or repeatedly run dungeons, becuase I don’t find that fun.

    I do though like to be prepared for dungeons, be that with food, enchants or reading up on tactics. This is not made easy for casual players by the Dungeon Finder as the player is encouraged to take on a random dungeon, which they may not have done before and cannot read up on specifically.

  4. Spolli says:

    Can you be casual and lazy? I’d like to think I could be both. Not that that’s a good thing, but I’d like the choice.

    Incidentally, I’ve let my account lapse again to go into hospital on Thursday. I’m half-planning to come back again to quest and mooch about but we’ll see how it goes. I enjoyed the new content but I’ve not done any goblinning and still have Spolli to get to 85 (Coltron made it a couple of days before the account lapsed). I’m proud that I was the first gnome in the guild to 85! But there’s still so much to see that I just didn’t because of I don’t know what, like Thousand Needles and The Barrens and basically anything Horde-side. Oh well.

    I enjoy your blog though, even the number-crunching posts 😉

  5. Mallusof says:

    I really agree to that.Being casual doesnt mean you’re not a good player, not at all.

    And if you want to be choosen for raids, if you want to get the good gear, you have to work for it. Yeah sure, you have a family and all that, that’s fine no problem, you still have to be as prepared as everyone else when trying for the hard stuff. If you cant contribute enough to the group/raid, you just dont deserve the spot you’re in.

    I study Math at the University and do spend alot of time studying, but I still keep me gear enchanted, my spec and glyphs up to date and learn tacs so I can be a full member of a group/raid.

    Awesome post as allways, Gaz

  6. Alex Yang-Nikodym says:

    Rise up, brothers and sisters! Us casuals must cast off the chains of oppression that bind us! Let it be known that we don’t all universally suck!

  7. Zelmaru says:

    I think Gevlon over at Greedy Goblin uses M&S (morons and slackers) to describe what you’re talking about. I wish I could make a venn diagram or something that would show that casual is NOT coextensive with M&S. Casual just means that you have less time (or choose to spend less time, whatever), but not that you’re going about it half-assed.

    What also irritates me about this sense of entitlement by the so-called-casuals (who aren’t really casuals, just lazy) is that in order for them to actually accomplish what they want, they ride on the shoulders of the rest of us. Because, let’s face it, if you had 10 of them together, they would make NO progress. Their way of life is not a sustainable pattern because it relies on others NOT doing it.
    Zelmaru recently posted..Cata Questing Content Review 80-85- UldumMy Profile

    • Gazimoff says:

      I always used to think that M&S refers to Marks and Spencers.

      I agree with you though about riding on the shoulders of others. Their sense of entitlement means that they think it’s entirely reasonable for random strangers to carry them through content on a raised dais.

  8. Sappi says:

    “You don’t want to do these things because you’re a casual, you don’t want to do them because you’re lazy”
    I wish more people read this…

  9. Toran says:

    Good post. I think the word “casual” often gets confused with “slacker”. Like you said, the gear gravy train has passed, but unfortunately Blizzard has attracted too many privileged players that expect return for going /afk and facerolling. This unfortunately has ruined the game a bit for me, but I’m still trying to see the bright side by sticking with old-school players that have been around since the 1.x and 2.x days.
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  11. Carson says:

    The entitlement behaviour is proof positive that a person is not a casual player: if you had a genuinely casual attitude towards the game, it would not bother you that someone had something that you did not.

    The entitlement players are simply bad hardcore players.
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  12. pndrev says:

    I wouldn’t even count amount of time spent playing as a benchmark for casual-ness. At often significantly more than 20 hours a week, I still consider myself ‘casual’ – in that I don’t want to bother with the stress of raiding or PvP, for example.

    Anyway, a good post and I agree completely. Casual doesn’t mean bad player. Nor does social (though I think this is because Gevlon misuses the term).
    pndrev recently posted..A casual 2010 in AzerothMy Profile

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