The Daily Grind: How much game time is just right?

Salem hardcore screenshot designed by Beau Hindman <3
The comments on an article earlier this month made me realize that somewhere between "too casual" and "too hardcore" lies a vast, undefined region of acceptable gaming habits. In that comment thread, one gamer who admitted to playing Lord of the Rings Online for 40 hours a week for three years was picked on for spending as much time playing as you might expect out of a full-time job. In the same thread, several people made reference to "idiot casuals" who are ruining the MMO experience in World of Warcraft, the implication being that casual play alone makes one an idiot.

Both of these comments prey on ugly gaming stereotypes: the guy who plays so much that he neglects the rest of his life and the guy who plays so little that he bumbles along incompetently at the expense of skilled players. I might be naive, but I don't think either one of these guys is the norm. I've always assumed that most people out there are playing as hardcore-casuals with reasonable levels of both competence and time invested.

What do you think -- how much game time is "just right" to become skilled at MMOs without degenerating into the basement-dwelling-loser archetype? Is "just right" even possible?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!
This article was originally published on Massively.