WTFBBQ: Hardcore vs Casual


Sit down, pull up a lawn chair and make sure to wear your best asbestos safety gear-it’s time for another installment of WTFBBQ!

After last week starting off mild, let’s get into something a bit meatier: the casual versus hardcore debate. Now, this is something you see all over the forums and comment sections everywhere, and it almost always devolves into a huge flame war. It’s utterly and patently ridiculous.

Why? Because when people argue between the two designations, every single person will have a different definition for what a “casual” is and what’s “hardcore”. We’re all flaming each other to cinders over labels we can’t even define. That’s like pre schoolers debating quantum physics. Which, at least, is a thing.

Now, I’m not saying that casual or hardcore isn’t a thing, but at this point, it doesn’t even have a definition, so it’s kind of stupid to be flinging the labels around before we know what they mean. For those who avidly participate in such debates and are feeling a little flamey at my comment, let me ask you a question: what time investment makes the difference between “casual” and “hardcore”? What content is considered “casual” and what is “hardcore”? What is the actual skill difference? How do you know if someone is skilled?

If I play forty hours a week (and some weeks I do) but all I play is match three games-am I casual or hardcore? What if there’s a ranking system and I’m at the top, am I casual or hardcore? What if I only play six hours and only do progression raiding (which I have also done)? What if the guild I’m in only zergs? What about guilds that are only zerg guilds, throwing bodies until they “win”? Are they casual or hardcore? What if they get top ranking?

I could go on and on, for all of this column, but you get the idea. Casuals are treated like pieces of mindless fluff prancing around aimlessly, but that’s not the reality for the majority. People are treated poorly because they have kids, careers, and hobbies that take them away from their monitors. People are treated badly when they have the time to put in, because they’re retired, disabled or have financial security, but are held back by lack of access to decent connections, bleeding edge tech, new games, or disabilities. None of those are things people should be mocked for. Whether they’re poor, busy, or disabled, treating people like crap for those things is NOT OKAY.

Similarly, you have people who do have time and good machines for the games they’re playing, and they get made fun of because of how much time and effort they put in. They get treated like Doritos and Dew swilling overweight man-children, and that isn’t the reality for the majority, either. Some of them are unemployed, and just looking for something to feel good about, some of them will be disabled and can’t interact the same way to the world outside and the people who are a part of it, some may have crippling social anxiety or mental issues, and some people may just be lucky and have both time and money. Again, none of those are things they should be mocked for. It’s also NOT OKAY.

And yet, we have this dichotomy that runs rampant in gamers the world over. People slinging insults back and forth with no real purpose, headway or even any kind of definition behind the terms they use (seriously, look up the definitions and you’ll find a page of different images all with different requirements for the definitions).

Hell, people are using it based on what games people play, not even how they play them. You’ll find Dark Souls people ragging on top tier raiders in WoW, EVE Online versus Fortnite, you name it. So, even if somehow everyone in your game of choice sees you as whatever the best possible outcome is, you still have every other game being played in existence to compete against.

Pro gaming tournament circa 200 000 BCE. Hardcore pros came with their own mallets.

Because it isn’t bad enough to just use the games that are being played now, but also we have to bring in their gaming “heritage” to further complicate the issue. It’s not only what games you play and how you play them, but what games you have ever played and how you played those, as well (yeah that’s an “old-school” debate, but almost every casual vs. hardcore brings it in to muddy the waters even more).

Add in that some of those games were before everyone started tracking and the propensity of people online to BS, and you have not only a huge mess of vitriol and pissiness that rivals kindergarten fights over who gets to use the swings, but the swings are also imaginary and no-one can agree what color they are or how many of them actually exist.

There are days…..

Casual versus hardcore is a stupid thing to get angry over. It’s a ridiculous argument that has no basis in reality and honestly, never did. It’s just another excuse to pull out your flammables and start throwing them on other people over made up things related to how fast and how much you press buttons. The argument needs to die. Or at least have one leg to stand on that isn’t made entirely of someone’s deep inner need to feel more important than some other internet stranger they will never meet and don’t care about.

Seriously…in all this casual vs hardcore, we’re forgetting the real villains. Mobile game players. Screw those guys.


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