Someone had the bright idea to give me my own World of Warcraft column. That’s right, my own personal place to rant, rave, and otherwise spew whatever ideas pop into my head. I’m not exactly sure how it all came about, but I’m rotating between two theories, one which involves a drunken binge of epic proportions, and the other temporary insanity with much flinging of poo. [Editor’s note: I plead the Fifth on this one folks!] Either way here we are, sitting on the precipice of my brand new column, so why don’t we make the leap and dive right in with some basic information about little old me.
My name is Jason, more commonly known around here as Mem. I am one of the newer writers to the WoW section of Ten Ton Hammer, and I have thoroughly enjoyed every second (and I‘m not just saying that because they pay me). I never in my wildest dreams imaged that I would actually get to write for and about a game I love so much. The opportunity to do so is really a dream come true.
In game my toon of choice is an Undead Shadow Priest which I play alongside my wife, the best and most attractive Tauren Resto Druid I have ever seen. My first character was surprisingly enough, not my Priest. I began my WoW career playing a Tauren Warrior on the Perenolde PvE server. Back in those days Warriors were a dime a dozen, so in order to get more play time I rerolled as a Priest. At the time Shadow Priests were simply taboo and as such I started out as a Holy Priest, healing my way through the game. I had fun healing, I really did, but once Shadow became more viable and I was given the option to respec I never looked back. I like to joke that my wife rolled a healing toon so that I never had to again. I still do heal from time to time when circumstances demand it, but I believe that Shadow is my true calling.
I have during my journey through the World of Warcraft been more of a hardcore player, which was reflected in most of my articles here on Ten Ton Hammer. I have a competitive nature, and I like to win. Sometimes my expressions of this come out in less than nice ways. I suppose I could even be perceived as having a virtual chip on my shoulder. This of course has not endeared me to the majority of the WoW population, and have even had the word elitist spat at me like some deadly insult. I took it all in stride because that was who I was. I was the elitist, the hardcore player, the never miss a raid even for a funeral type.
Keeping this in mind it shocked some that I will be writing a column based on the more casual aspects of the game. Lately though, things have been changing for me in big ways and that brings us to the real topic of this column:
Casual is NOT a Dirty Word
The urge to be the best, to push content, and have the most uber gear possible has always been a big part of how I play the game. So it was as much of a surprise to me as anyone else when I found myself less than happy with my play style. I found that instead of doing my normal WoW routine I instead wanted to do other things, such as spend time with my family and enjoy my friends and perhaps even /shudder head out into the sun, that bane of gamers everywhere. This was a very confusing time for me, I didn’t understand what was going on and I kept thinking if I killed just one more boss, or put in one more raid night I would feel differently.
Fast forward to more recently I finally had to be honest with myself, nothing was working and the spark that was once there was gone. I then began to make changes, I played less and did things I wanted more, and I was happy. But I left some very unhappy people in the wake of my transformation. I could almost see the accusing stares, and hear the muffled whispers of “casual” followed by a derisive snort and a roll of the eyes. Sure these things were probably mostly my imagination, but if I was up front with myself, I would have reacted in much the same way not so long ago.
The war between casual and hardcore players is intense, with both groups striving to make the game “theirs” to prove that they have upper hand, and that their style of play is best. It’s almost like the current political climate with the two main political parties in the United States at each other’s throats because they have all the answers. Casual players claim hardcore players take the game too seriously, have no lives, and tend to be for lack of a better word douche bags. Hardcore players think casual players are too soft, are mostly comprised of talent less players, and overall are killing the game.
Casual is a fate worse than death to some.I am sure that there is some merit in both these opinions, but in general both sides are wrong. If a closer look is taken and more consideration was given I believe that hardcore and casual players could coexist in harmony. There is an undeniable bond between the two, as all players regardless of which side of the coin they are on are a part of the World of Warcraft universe, and we are all logging on for one thing, to enjoy a game. The details of what we do with that time, or how much time we commit do not matter and it’s high time the words casual and hardcore stop being flung around like insults.
I’m not asking that we all sit together and sing Kumbaya, in fact I’m not even asking that the two sides like each other, what I am asking for is a healthy dose of respect. Accepting and understanding that your way is not the only way, and that it’s ok if others play differently than you do is something we should all strive for. It is a difficult concept to grasp, it took me experiencing both sides of the equation to truly “get” it, but now that I do I can really appreciate and understand the value and allure of both play styles.
I can’t say if I’ll ever go back to being a hardcore player, perhaps later the spark will be ignited, but for now I am content with just being casual, and even though the thought used to repulse me, being casual is not so bad after all and never again will I throw it around like a dirty word. Players on both sides of the divide, be proud of who you are, and how you play. Keep your heads high, but not so high you can’t see the other side.