On Being Casual

For some reason I had the idea that getting back into Guild Wars 2 would be fun on the weekend, not in a “let’s start and play a bit” but more “would I be willing to invest some time again” – because I think I was in a FFXIV duty roulette queue at the time and of course I can’t just stare at the screen for those 15 minutes…

I asked on Discord if my gear was still ok (or even good) and several people reassured me that nothing had changed in GW2 and my Level 80 Ascended and Exotic pieces were still completely fine.

Tessa remarked “Yeah, one of the reasons why Gw2 is casual friendly. Take 6 years off and your gear still holds up.” and that got me thinking a bit. What does playing something casual mean anyway? Our FFXIV static was formed to raid savage at our own pace, and originally once per week (we did add an hour for reclears on a second day meanwhile) but we’ve not yet skipped a week I think, and it’s savage – so ist that even casual? My WoW guild is strictly limiting raids to 2x2h per week, very rarely do we spend 5 minutes extra on a pull. We managed AOTC in 9.1 and before I joined they managed AOTC in 9.0 as well, and I think they’ve been doing that for many expansions. Despite taking everyone in the guild above a certain token item level and even getting them through heroic (unless someone actually sabotages a single fight) I wouldn’t call that casual. Non-hardcore raiding, yes – but casual?

On the other hand I guess my adventures in SWTOR are actually casual, it’s just that I spend a lot of my time there when I am playing. But apart from the launch raids in 2011/12 I’ve not raided progression and I only joined farm raids 1-2 times. I don’t do dungeons, I basically just level toons and get some gear and achievements. So that’s casual I guess. TESO is complicated, I think if you’re just starting a game and never coming close to max level or any real goal that might be casual by a proper definition, but I’d just call it being a beginner. So, GW2 then. I heard there are raids, but I don’t know anyone who does them. Most people also weren’t keen on fractals, maybe this game’s goals are actually more aligned to casuals overall.

Oh, and Diablo 3 – is it casual if you start a fresh season, grind yourself to max level and then through the rifts and Paragon levels until you lose interest? Do you actually have to be good (compared to others) to not be casual? Or is being invested (time) and progression-focused enough to temporarily not be a casual?

I don’t know. I guess my definition of being casual stops with having an organized scheduled group to focus on a goal that’s non-trivial (or pugging that stuff that’s usually done this way), so that would be raiding Heroic in WoW (but I guess Normal also counts) but in FFXIV I’d draw the line at Savage and EX because Normal Asphodelos is no comparison to a Normal WoW raid. You can have 2-3 of 8 people never being there, needing 2-3 rezzes each, and still winning in a reasonable time. Good luck with 5 of your 20 people dying early in WoW.

But back to the original question. I made a spreadsheet for my three main GW2 toons with their gear and plan to investigate if I can craft or otherwise get some upgrades before I actually plan to play, so maybe I really suck at casual gaming.

1 thought on “On Being Casual”

  1. You know, I totally get where you’re coming from. It’s all in the conditioning, I fear, to simply not be casual without a deliberate effort. Shintar and I were discussing this last night (well, my night and her morning), and I think there’s a post there.

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