The seemingly black and white nature that exists between the mindset of “hardcore” and “casual” is something that’s been on my mind for a couple of months now. I think the first time that it tickled my thoughts was a few months back when I was having a conversation with someone who said “if you aren’t hardcore, you’re casual” and it stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t agree with that statement at all. In fact, I completely disagreed with it. I guess where I kept getting caught up in the logic was the immediate leap to the opposite, the complete black and white nature of the thought, with no room for the vast grey that falls in between.
The Space in the In Between
I’ve never really liked the terms “hardcore” and “casual” because of the stigmas that the community has associated with them and the fallacy of such terms, but whether I like it or not, they are terms that everyone recognizes and associates with. When most people think “hardcore” they think of guilds like Vodka or Paragon and when people think of “casual” they think of guilds who are content plugging through content at a much slower pace, often times not seeing things like “hard modes”. This is the black and the white. The complete opposites on the raiding spectrum. There is nothing wrong with either of them – they are just on different ends of the spectrum.
But I believe that it isn’t as simple as just black and white. I don’t think you have to be limited to being strictly “hardcore” or strictly “casual”. I think that there is a lot of room in that in between, a lot of grey that isn’t black or white. In fact, I’d almost wager that a great number of people in progression raiding find themselves in this in between area. Where they enjoy pushing content, but aren’t pushing it at a neck-breakingly fast pace – either because they aren’t capable of it or just don’t have the time to do it.
As I think about it more – I guess the question is “what defines hardcore”? Is it how fast you progress? Is it what you demand of your players? For me, I want to play with people that I enjoy being around and who have a vested interest in improving every night - even if maybe they aren’t always the best of the best of players. Does that make me “casual”? On the same token, I also expect them to avoid making repeat mistakes, to actively work to become a better player, to acknowledge when they’ve made an error and who want to progress through content while its current. Does that make me “hardcore”? Progression for me is fun. But playing with people who make the game fun because of who they are and what their personalities offer to that experience is also important to me. So where does that leave me? Can I have expectations without being “hardcore”? Can I have friends without being “casual”?
Honestly, I think it puts me pretty squarely in the majority of progression raiders and raid teams who fall on the cusp - somewhere in that in between. Do I sometimes desire more? Absolutely. But I also question the cost of such desires and ponder if paying Charon’s toll would be worth it when all was said and done.
So what do you think? Is progression black and white? Is there only “hardcore” and “casual” or do you think there is somewhere in between?