Speaking of relative…

Been pondering the oft-debated, much slung-about terms “casual” and “hardcore” as they relate to MMO gaming. There doesn’t seem to be a single, all-encompassing definition that applies, even though most people using one or the other term seem to think their definition is the only one that matters — which holds true for most opinions held by most people on most subjects, so it’s no great surprise.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about casual and hardcore, and for the most part its definitions are still predicated on playtime, which I believe is not an accurate gauge anymore unless you’re under 17.

All the same, I’m noticing that as I play more, play longer, return to games I tried and left, age, mature (maybe), change lifestyles and so on and so on, my own definitions of “casual” and “hardcore” have undergone several changes. Right now, they’re as follows:

Casual – irrespective of playtime, someone who doesn’t take themselves, their endeavours, or (MMO-)life in general too seriously. Does not imply lack of commitment to current game/game efforts.

Hardcore – irrespective of playtime, someone who focuses on achievements I (usually) don’t find that interesting, usually to the exclusion of most other things, especially including humour.

Quite evidently I am profoundly biased, but that’s my point. Aren’t we all, when we use that kind of fuzzy, flexible terminology? And aren’t the terms therefore all but meaningless when used, unless accompanied by some explanation of how they’re defined by the writer?

Just pondering. I like to ponder stuff that doesn’t have obvious answers, or has more than one “right” answer. Feel free to comment, all 3 of you — I’m fascinated by the casual/hardcore debate, and I’d like to know how other people define the terms.

As a final aside, I really hope all this talk of casual and hardcore doesn’t hook me up with all manner of weird sub-dom sites… o.O