I mention this because I was thinking about some observations I've made over the past few months and some of them were counterintuitive to me, since they did not match my own play experience or interests. But they seem fairly crucial to some players.
- Players with alts want to be able to progress these alts. All my alts are warriors, and once I get them to max level I tend to let them coast since I have that one warrior who raids and is usually very well geared in comparison to others. But people who put a lot of time and effort into getting alts to max level don't like feeling like that effort was wasted. It's not trivial to get several alts to max level. Players will accept some restriction in this area - they don't expect to be as well geared on their alts as a raiding main, for instance - but putting a repetitive rep grind that locks them out of being able to pick up gear as they hit max level irks them.
- Players with alts don't necessarily want to do the same rep grinds again. I admit, this one I got without much confusion. No one wants to do the same rep grind twice.
- Players want dungeons. Daily quests and scenarios are great content to give players a lot of options in terms of how to accumulate valor points and introduce story elements, but five man dungeons are the meat of the game for a lot of players. They want more of them, not less of them. If I had to list any error that was made in the development of Mists of Pandaria this would be my pick. I would go so far as to say no expansion should go without a second wave of five man dungeons, as it is plain that players absolutely enjoy getting a new forgotten bastion of antiquity on a regular basis.
- Raiding encounters have gotten too cluttered. This one is a personal observation. But when I feel like I'm studying for a test just to prepare for an encounter, and some of them are ludicrous even on raid finder difficulty (Hi, Durumu) then it's gotten out of hand. It's not that the fights are too hard, it's that explaining them to a player who has never seen them before is actually irritating. When my wife asked me to explain Durumu to her, I actually refused to do it because not only does the fight have a ridiculous amount of moving parts, but there are significant differences in how those moving parts work on LFR and I couldn't remember which mechanics changed.
- It's an aside to some, but the whole point of the game to others. There are players who play World of Warcraft mainly as a commerce simulator. Some players max out their gold, some players just like to control the supply of a certain product be it glyphs, flasks, potions or enchants. Still others use their legion of alts to supply themselves for raids and then dump the excess on the AH for a quick profit. This part of WoW is totally opaque to me, but it's real gameplay to them and they take it very seriously.
The reason these points (and others I haven't thought of) matter is that they render the casual/hardcore metric absolutely absurd. If you spend twenty hours a week using your legion of alts to completely control the economy of your home server, you're not casual
. If you have to do the equivalent of homework to lead your 10 man, raids twice a week self-declared 'casual' guild through normal Throne of Thunder, how are you actually playing casually at all? You're not. If you've run all the available five man dungeons and are working on challenge modes with your group of five players and are lamenting that there are no new
dungeons with challenge modes for you to run, you're pretty damn hardcore.
Whatever that means.
In the end,
the distinction is worse than meaningless, it actually detracts from contemplating what's important to us as players. The raiding game is a small part of World of Warcraft
. It's the part I happen to enjoy, so I'm willing to argue for its importance, but it has long since stopped being the arbiter of worthiness. In fact, it never was. The game's diversity of play options means that the player's devotion is all that matters.