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Are RPGS and Casual Gamers Really Compatible?


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#1 El Duderino

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 12:24 AM

Ok, laying the groundwork here for the conversation:

First, there are many definitions of casual gamers. In fact, I hate the idea of calling people casual or hardcore. However, many people would consider casual gamers to be people that simply don't have a lot of time to put into gaming.

Therefore, for the purpose of this thread only, let us use the definition of a casual gamer, someone who does not have a lot of time to play a game.

So, here is my question: when developing RPG games, how do you really develop something where "role-playing" and "adventuring" co-exist and even embrace the idea of not having lots of time to play?

Personally, when I think of old school Role Playing Games and table top RPGs, I think of many hours of adventuring, role-playing and immersion. It seems that actual role-playing and immersion have been lost in MMO games as they continue to try and market and design for a casual crowd.

Mod edit: Please use the definition of casual supplied here so that we are all using the same terms to discuss this topic.

Edited by Corsair, 08 November 2013 - 08:43 AM.
Re-emphasized the casual definition.


#2 Zedabi

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 01:39 AM

I personally don't think it's the 'adventuring' and 'roleplaying' aspects that players who lack the time to invest struggle dealing with; it's more the vertical progression aspects when vertical progression is a requirement for content and, playing shedule pending, finding a group of players who have similar schedules to play with (especially with content where getting 10+ players of specific roles together at the same time is needed). This is my personal experience anyway.

I mean, for adventuring, unless the content has a hard minimum amount of players needed, you could get away with soloing / exploring with a small group of players and roleplaying (forgive me if I've gotten the wrong end of what you mean by this), you could roleplay a character who's more of a lone-wolf, gone for days on end.

#3 Shayne Hawke

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 02:14 AM

Are you really suggesting that people with little time to play games are a hard crowd to design RPGs for, or is it really the MMO aspect and balancing their lack of time to invest versus other players with much greater time to invest?

In any isolated environment with a save function, I don't think a level of time investment is even a factor, so I don't see why any such game, or an RPG in particular, would be an issue for casual gamers.

#4 El Duderino

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 02:37 AM

View PostShayne Hawke, on 06 November 2013 - 02:14 AM, said:

Are you really suggesting that people with little time to play games are a hard crowd to design RPGs for, or is it really the MMO aspect and balancing their lack of time to invest versus other players with much greater time to invest?

In any isolated environment with a save function, I don't think a level of time investment is even a factor, so I don't see why any such game, or an RPG in particular, would be an issue for casual gamers.

As long as there is a save function, which isn't necessarily something you really get in an online game when you are in the middle of doing something.

So yes, more the latter multiplayer experience than the former solo experience kind of games.

#5 Captain Bulldozer

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 04:01 AM

I actually think its much MUCH easier to design games for casual players, by your definition.  Casual players don't need vertical progression, bi-monthly updates, shiny new toys, etc. the way many hardcore players do.  The standard content in most RPGs/MMORPGs is often enough to last casual players for quite along time.  For example, getting 100% world completion in GW2 takes somewhere around 150-250 hours of playtime (we can quibble about the number, but we should all be able to agree that it is at least more than a hundred).  There are players that might put that amount of time in in 2-3 weeks of playing, but a casual player is likely to spend 3 or more months to accomplish the same thing. Getting a legendary weapon might be something hardcore players do in a month (or less), but casual players might take a year (or more).  

Casual players are not generally the part of the player base that complains and demands new content, since often they haven't even come close to finishing the existing content.  Casual players generally like relatively linear, soloable content more than complicated group required content, so long as each step can be done in a single play-session (something hard core players might view as being "too short".)

Really, I've heard a lot of complaints from the peanut gallery over the last year about how GW2 is too much designed for casual players... but when I look at the game as it currently stands, I'm not sure that's right.  I think many of the updates and additions (especially recent ones) have been much more targeted at the hardcore crowd.  In my opinion, that is a mistake.... not because I am a casual player (though by some definitions I am) but because ost of the truly hard-core players got bored with GW2 and left a long time ago... what I see is that generally the casuals are still playing (though many of those have left also) and many of them don't particularly care for hardcore-targeted updates.

I don't really feel GW2 is friendly to both groups (and perhaps not particularly friendly to either in certain ways)... When I compare GW2 back to GW1, which I can't help but do (even if by now I fully recognize that may not even be appropriate) I can't help but feel that GW1 managed to strike a pretty fine balance in that there were a lot of things for the hardcore crowd, yet it was still very casual friendly.

#6 Castaa

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 04:51 AM

fI think the definition of causal player is more than just limited playtime.

IMO, Causal players are:
  • Cost Barrier: Players who don't want to purchase the PC/console hardware required to play
  • Learning Curve: Players that don't want to invest the time learning complexities and nuances to have success
  • Time Investment: Players that don't want to dedicate a significant amount time to play to have success
All 3 of these criteria have to be overcome to have a modern MMO player.  I think GW2 is a pretty simple MMO compared to say WoW, Rift or Everquest but only in comparison.  It's still a hardcore experience when compared to most other games in general.  But of course hardcore players aren't a monolithic block either.  There's GW2 hardcore and Dwarf Fortress hardcore.

Edited by Castaa, 06 November 2013 - 05:12 AM.


#7 El Duderino

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 01:55 PM

View PostCaptain Bulldozer, on 06 November 2013 - 04:01 AM, said:

snip

Thank you for a very well thought out post. I think I was thinking more about time per play session than overall time per week or month. I suppose they are still interrelated. It does change how I was thinking about the topic.

View PostCastaa, on 06 November 2013 - 04:51 AM, said:

fI think the definition of causal player is more than just limited playtime.

IMO, Causal players are:
  • Cost Barrier: Players who don't want to purchase the PC/console hardware required to play
  • Learning Curve: Players that don't want to invest the time learning complexities and nuances to have success
  • Time Investment: Players that don't want to dedicate a significant amount time to play to have success
All 3 of these criteria have to be overcome to have a modern MMO player.  I think GW2 is a pretty simple MMO compared to say WoW, Rift or Everquest but only in comparison.  It's still a hardcore experience when compared to most other games in general.  But of course hardcore players aren't a monolithic block either.  There's GW2 hardcore and Dwarf Fortress hardcore.


I agree that the term "casual" takes many shapes and forms. Personally, I don't feel that casual is only relegated to time. However, I do think that is how ANet defines the idea of a casual player and, therefore, I wanted to limit the definition just to time frame only for this discussion.

#8 Castaa

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 04:42 PM

Sorry I didn't really respond to your question.

How are you defining role play?  Like people pretending to be a character in game through chat?  I found those experiences to be incredibly awkward for me.

Or a role as in a group trinity or lack there of?

Edited by Castaa, 06 November 2013 - 04:44 PM.


#9 Moharis Frostreign

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 05:03 PM

I think it is important, especially when constructing the casual archetype, to think in shades of gray instead of black and white. While I agree that time limits and resistance to added costs and learning curves are part of the casual make-up, I do believe it is the degree to which the player adheres to each characteristic that creates a casual. What if a person was alright with buying a mid-tier graphic card to play one or two games, but not use top tier equipment that handles the games better? Is the player who plays 45 minutes every couple of nights more or less casual than the player who plays 60 minutes in the same time frame? They might be silly examples with relatively obvious answers, but the point I am trying to make is that casual versus hardcore isn't a binary debate, one or the other, we are talking about a scale.

The scale is important here because I feel that casuals take on "hardcore" characteristics when playing an RPG, especially when you involve yourself in a social group. They don't want to feel left out. They don't want to feel left behind. They don't want to feel like they are letting the group down. They want their friends to have a positive image of them. The list goes on, and there are different motivations for each person. The point being, many of these casuals seem to learn as much as it takes to be on par with their social group and to put in as much time as it takes to get to that point (within reason and real life confines). These are the ones who stick around, who feel that the social group they have entered is more valuable than other experiences they may have (going out, for example). While they may not be on the far end of the hardcore spectrum, they assume some of these qualities as time goes by. I've seen this personally. Those who don't feel those strong social ties, who don't assume at least some of these hardcore qualities, and I use hardcore loosely, are the ones who leave RPG's for greener pastures. These RPG's just aren't interesting enough to keep someone around by nature of their game play by itself. Not to initiate an entirely different argument, but without social interaction and friendships, there would be next to no one playing virtually any RPG out there late in its life cycle. GW1 would not have lasted 8+ years. WoW wouldn't have lasted as long as it has. Social keeps it moving, keeps it interesting.

My two cents anyway.

#10 El Duderino

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 05:36 PM

View PostCastaa, on 06 November 2013 - 04:42 PM, said:

Sorry I didn't really respond to your question.

How are you defining role play?  Like people pretending to be a character in game through chat?  I found those experiences to be incredibly awkward for me.

Or a role as in a group trinity or lack there of?

Like the role playing that you would find in role playing games both digital and table top, but considering the multiplayer aspect. If you think about it, role playing has really got back to it's original form when it was able to incorporate MMO technology. I mean it kind of went from multiplayer games on table top, and then to single player games digitally (because of lack of technology) back to multiplayer digitally. But, that is getting off on a tangent.

I suppose when I think of role playing games as a genre, I think of questing, adventuring, socializing, overcoming obstacles together. And, I find that as that relates to the "not having much time to play" idea, it just doesn't seem like it meshes well. Who wants to play a game for it's epic adventures, only to not be able to play for more than 30 minutes or an hour?

Although, I suppose that the real idea of role playing that I associate with has become something more nostalgic than what we find today in games.

I dunno.. it was a thought I had the other day...

#11 El Duderino

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 05:45 PM

View PostMoharis Frostreign, on 06 November 2013 - 05:03 PM, said:

I think it is important, especially when constructing the casual archetype, to think in shades of gray instead of black and white. While I agree that time limits and resistance to added costs and learning curves are part of the casual make-up, I do believe it is the degree to which the player adheres to each characteristic that creates a casual. What if a person was alright with buying a mid-tier graphic card to play one or two games, but not use top tier equipment that handles the games better? Is the player who plays 45 minutes every couple of nights more or less casual than the player who plays 60 minutes in the same time frame? They might be silly examples with relatively obvious answers, but the point I am trying to make is that casual versus hardcore isn't a binary debate, one or the other, we are talking about a scale.

The scale is important here because I feel that casuals take on "hardcore" characteristics when playing an RPG, especially when you involve yourself in a social group. They don't want to feel left out. They don't want to feel left behind. They don't want to feel like they are letting the group down. They want their friends to have a positive image of them. The list goes on, and there are different motivations for each person. The point being, many of these casuals seem to learn as much as it takes to be on par with their social group and to put in as much time as it takes to get to that point (within reason and real life confines). These are the ones who stick around, who feel that the social group they have entered is more valuable than other experiences they may have (going out, for example). While they may not be on the far end of the hardcore spectrum, they assume some of these qualities as time goes by. I've seen this personally. Those who don't feel those strong social ties, who don't assume at least some of these hardcore qualities, and I use hardcore loosely, are the ones who leave RPG's for greener pastures. These RPG's just aren't interesting enough to keep someone around by nature of their game play by itself. Not to initiate an entirely different argument, but without social interaction and friendships, there would be next to no one playing virtually any RPG out there late in its life cycle. GW1 would not have lasted 8+ years. WoW wouldn't have lasted as long as it has. Social keeps it moving, keeps it interesting.

My two cents anyway.

I agree with the first paragraph, keep in mind I'm not trying to really debate the meaning of the term casual, as much as I am trying to use what I think a lot of people see as the meaning of the word casual - especially ANet.

Although, I do see how that relates to your second point. And, I agree with you. I have said before, it is the game that makes a player play casual or hardcore. Players, at least in my opinion and experience, hover between the two based on the game they play.

It's kind of off-topic and what I was specifically trying to stay away from (the debate of what is casual), but for people who do have limited time to play online with other people, how does the design of a game, specifically something that should (I think) have "epic quests/dungeons/etc.) take in to account people that want a traditional role-playing experience (as I tried to loosely define in the above post) and have the time to devote to that experience versus people that don't have time to be a part of that experience?

I suppose it kind of boils down to: is it reasonable to design a game where content, in general, can be completed in approx. 30 minutes and still be expected to deliver the kind of immersion expected from RPGs?

#12 Moharis Frostreign

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 05:55 PM

View PostEl Duderino, on 06 November 2013 - 05:45 PM, said:

I suppose it kind of boils down to: is it reasonable to design a game where content, in general, can be completed in approx. 30 minutes and still be expected to deliver the kind of immersion expected from RPGs?

When I here "immersion", I think of a world that I don't want to leave. Like a book you just can't put down, you feel a part of that world. I think by definition that you can't build that sort of immersion with short, segmented content. Immersion gives you reasons to keep playing; it shouldn't be easy (and I use "easy" here meaning psychologically) to pick up the game for 30 minutes, complete some content, and walk away. To answer your question then, I don't think it is reasonable to design a game where content, in general, can be completed in approximately 30 minutes and still expected to deliver immersion.

#13 El Duderino

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 06:19 PM

View PostMoharis Frostreign, on 06 November 2013 - 05:55 PM, said:

When I here "immersion", I think of a world that I don't want to leave. Like a book you just can't put down, you feel a part of that world. I think by definition that you can't build that sort of immersion with short, segmented content. Immersion gives you reasons to keep playing; it shouldn't be easy (and I use "easy" here meaning psychologically) to pick up the game for 30 minutes, complete some content, and walk away. To answer your question then, I don't think it is reasonable to design a game where content, in general, can be completed in approximately 30 minutes and still expected to deliver immersion.

I agree. I guess the question is, then, is immersion an important aspect of a role playing game?

#14 ChuyDog08

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 06:56 PM

I think stand alone RPG's are casual friendly, but MMO's shouldn't be designed with the casual player in mind.  I still think a casual player could play a MMO, but they may be limited to the content that they are able to experiance.  

The reason I started playing MMO's was for the immersion into the game.  It was never ending.  The more time I put into the game the more I got out of it.  Stand alone RPG's can't provide the same type of experiance for a hardcore player.

View PostEl Duderino, on 06 November 2013 - 06:19 PM, said:

I agree. I guess the question is, then, is immersion an important aspect of a role playing game?

Yes, immersion is a very pimportant part of a role playing game.  I think each type of player can experiance different levels of immersion, but the type of game RPG played will limit that level.

#15 MazingerZ

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 06:58 PM

View PostEl Duderino, on 06 November 2013 - 01:55 PM, said:

Thank you for a very well thought out post. I think I was thinking more about time per play session than overall time per week or month. I suppose they are still interrelated. It does change how I was thinking about the topic.

I agree that the term "casual" takes many shapes and forms. Personally, I don't feel that casual is only relegated to time. However, I do think that is how ANet defines the idea of a casual player and, therefore, I wanted to limit the definition just to time frame only for this discussion.

I generally define 'casual' as being resource restricted in a few of ways.  (and this is more or less a breakdown of what Morghan was talking about)

Time, capacity to organize, capacity to learn, capacity to perform, capacity to optimize.

The first is easy.  If you're falling below the curve to when people obtain a goal due to time constraints, that's definitively casual.

The second one occurs when you lack a persistent organized structure.  No voice chat, pugging versus grouping with regular people, little if any willingness to communicate with people and make friends in a game.  Very 'ronin' type of experience, where you might group up with people as they come along, but communication and organization are kept to an absolute minimum.

The third comes from a lack of ability or willingness to learn about the game itself.  How each class functions.  How your class functions.  The type of thing that results in sub-optimal builds.  Incorrect gear that does little or nothing for your particular profession or build.  Not really knowing how the mechanics of the game work beyond your own observations and not reading up.

The fourth type comes a lack of ability to improve on a skill level.  You may react properly.  Everyone does, eventually.  The whole 'not dying' thing is a good motivator there.  But at that point, you're reacting to things and are rarely thinking very far ahead and really aren't trying to be even above-average in terms of skill.

The final type is the lack of drive to obtain the BiS gear, due to constraints in the game forcing you to violate the other four tenants.  The cost is not worth the reward in this case.  You don't want care enough to sink your time, you don't want to socialize, learn the game or pay it enough attention to be better than 'not dying.'

This doesn't just happen in RPGs, but other games as well.

Tribes: Ascend and the entire franchise were games based on physics weapons as opposed to hit-scan weapons.  You not only had to control your travel through inertia-based skiing, but also most of your shots were affected by your speed, direction and so forth.  It had a high skill ceiling and even taking a week of the game for me reduced my ability to play.

Same thing happens in DOTA2 and LoL and other shooters besides Tribes.  You need to understand how the game works, you need to invest the time to play regularly, you need to organize with people regularly and have optimal builds in order to move beyond casual play.

In relation to Guild Wars 2, as noted in the now locked thread on 'Zerkers Only' the game is very forgiving in some ways that makes not stacking damage mitigation gear (vit/tough/healing) better.  However, its vertical progression and the way its done forcibly rips apart the casuals from the hardcore with a wide gulf in the middle.

The first problem is 'one path for all.'  Interestingly enough, the whole concept of 'daily rewards' were designed to give people who could only play for a short amount of time money to keep up with the rest.  The problem is, the daily rewards are the most profitable part of the game and once done, unless you've got the hardcore quintet, playing the game becomes a whole lot less rewarding after the fact.

As a side effect, the hardcore folks are throttled so they don't outstrip the casuals too quickly.  Hence time-gated, account bound crafting materials.

The second problem is a the wide, yet shallow pool that are the game mechanics.  Based on your weapon choice, it's going to probably dictate your build and gear layout.  Despite the availability of skills, unless one skill swap is a serious game-changer on an encounter basis, that will also be dictated largely by your overall build.  Despite having a broad variety of skills, weapon and utility, as well as traits, there's shallow optimization.  Not to mention how some concepts are neutered to game mechanics like Defiant.  Ultimately the problem here is that with such a wide pool, a lot of people are left stumbling trying to figure out how to be optimal and probably much like myself, the concept of 'cookie cutter' builds aren't that fun, but given the lack of depth, the optimal build for a particular weapon set has probably already been found and embraced by the community.

The third problem is the enemies.  Massive health pools and one-hit KOs.  Tanking in trinity games at least gave a measure of control over the fight.  Now you have to just be ready if the One Hit KO guy decides to turn on you for no apparent reason, leaving control up in the air.  The framework of the trinity let casuals know what their role was and not to screw up, in this regard.  Here, they probably expect a Guardian or Warrior to be taking most of the hits if they're wearing a shield.  Despite the mechanics tips, there's no real concept of what they do until you run through it.  GW2 wiki is no wowpedia in this regard.  And again, Defiant messing up people who are used to having some measure of control over a fight.

The lack of well-paced progression, the lack of an easily graspable combat system in which your choices have a clear effect on fights (and that gets lost in the massive health pool fights), and easy to grasp encounters makes the game a little casual unfriendly.
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#16 Mordakai

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 07:04 PM

View PostEl Duderino, on 06 November 2013 - 06:19 PM, said:



I agree. I guess the question is, then, is immersion an important aspect of a role playing game?

To be frank, there are many different kinds of RPGers.

To paint a broad brush, I would say there are 2 main groups: min / maxers (people who want the biggest numbers) and role-players (people who care less about stats, and more about their character's personality).

There are many sub-groups and overlaps, but I think it's a good way to start the conversation.

I would argue that Pen & Paper gamers tend to get into characters more, as the very personal interaction between gamemaster and players allow it


Computer RPGs by nature are more based on numbers...  although obviously some people still prefer to play "in character."



The most successful games appeal to both types...  and yes, it is possible.  Although I would argue immersion is harder in an MMO because most players will not be in character, so it's really hard to forget you are playing an MMO.

Edited by Mordakai, 06 November 2013 - 07:52 PM.


#17 Zhaitan

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 07:30 PM

For someone who does not have a lot of time on one's hand, picking up an RPG is generally not a good idea. Any RPG design concept is rooted into the idea of getting into a role and building your avatar to fit the role. The building process is the hook for this genre of games. In this genre, you never finish building and continue the journey of attaining perfection. If someone who can't devote enough time to attain that perfection or if that person is a completionist, that person will always remain as the undergeared underachiever in the game. This can be quite a frustrating experience for some.

#18 Mordakai

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 07:50 PM

View PostZhaitan, on 06 November 2013 - 07:30 PM, said:

For someone who does not have a lot of time on one's hand, picking up an RPG is generally not a good idea. Any RPG design concept is rooted into the idea of getting into a role and building your avatar to fit the role. The building process is the hook for this genre of games. In this genre, you never finish building and continue the journey of attaining perfection. If someone who can't devote enough time to attain that perfection or if that person is a completionist, that person will always remain as the undergeared underachiever in the game. This can be quite a frustrating experience for some.


Not if the game is designed with low level caps and easily obtained max gear, so the challenge becomes playing the game, not participating in a gear treadmill.

Edited by Mordakai, 06 November 2013 - 07:51 PM.


#19 MazingerZ

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 07:57 PM

View PostMordakai, on 06 November 2013 - 07:50 PM, said:

Not if the game is designed with low level caps and easily obtained max gear, so the challenge becomes playing the game, not participating in a gear treadmill.

Or a reduced experience.  See WoW's LFR, 10 vs 25 man and Normal vs Heroic modes.

Everyone sees the content at the challenge level desired and are awarded appropriately.  Gear doesn't affect PvP because they have a separate stat for PvP that's necessary.  Really the only trick there is that they don't split PvP and PvE skills cleanly.

GW2 only has one line of progression and its trying to be long enough to keep hardcores in the game without turning off the casuals.

Edited by MazingerZ, 06 November 2013 - 08:02 PM.

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#20 Dahk

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 08:51 PM

I don't think you need to pour hours over the minutiae that's often associated with RPGs to get a sense of immersion and I think GW2 is proof of that.  If you build a more intuitive medium that's more interactive and more alive, you don't need to have players research all the details about how many hit points an enemy has, what resistances it has, etc.

If anything, the new stuff coming out allows players to spend more time focusing on the story and less time focusing on the numbers/dice roll/laudry-list-of-items type stuff that the RPG genre has generally been built on.

#21 Kymeric

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 02:15 AM

A lot of interesting points have already been brought up.

As to the definition of casual, even just restricting this to people who don't have a lot of time is tricky.  How much time is a lot?  My initial thought, since pen and paper RPGs are part of this discussion, was that many PnP RPG groups survive just fine on one three to four hour session a week, which would be looked at as a casual MMORPG player.  Yet they still manage to find gaming immersive with that week break in between sessions.

Of course, then Duderino mentioned someone who could only play a half hour at at time.  I'm a chronic fiction reader, and I have no problem getting immersed in a good novel thirty minutes at a time.  Granted, it's often three thirty minute sessions a day, but even when I can only find time to get a thirty minute session in during breakfast, a good novel easily keeps my attention.  A page or two in, and I'm deeply back in the world an the characters.

A well written television show can capture my attention and immerse me with only forty five minutes once a week.

Which I guess is all to say I don't see "casual" as being anti-RPG.  The GW2 that launched was very friendly for short bursts of immersion.  It's some of the least immersive parts of the game that require the most time commitment.  Fractals (dungeon jukebox!) aren't casual friendly.  You could do a world boss or two as a casual player, but trying to get most of them done every day so that you make any progress in gaining dragonite is not casual friendly, not immersive.

Casuals can tackle dungeons, wipe, and work together to solve them.  Hardcore are expected to do their homework, learning them so they can be moved through as efficiently as possible.  Which one is more RPG?

I'm not sure most people are aware that pen and paper RPGs are so much more than Dungeons and Dragons and World of Darkness.  In recent decades there have been wonderful experiments in what a RPG is.  Many game designers have rethought PnP games, trying to make the systems less number oriented and more story-oriented.  They've created amazing games that eliminate power progression altogether in the favor of story progression.

With that in mind, it always makes me sigh when you get an MMORPG player who is convinced that you can't have RPG without levels, or power progression, or loot.

If we ever get that kind of revolution in MMORPGs (which depends both on tech and game design), I expect that games will get more casual friendly as they focus on story and less on mechanics, not the other way around.

#22 Konzacelt

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 09:58 PM

Hmm, I guess I always thought the term "casual" was not a time-constraint thing, but a game-play thing.  To me, casual means not participating in game activities that are more intense and, well, hard.  Actual time spent playing seems more a lifestyle choice to me.  For instance, I spend a lot of my free time gaming(4-5 hrs/day?).  Yet I would not consider myself a hardcore player since I don't normally do the "leet"(for lack of a better word) areas or events in those games.  I'm an explorer, a collector, and big on character customization.  The one exception to this for me is large-scale PvP.

In fact, I usually associated RPGers and casuals in the same category.  They both do things at their own pace, aren't really concerned with chewing through content or keeping up with any "meta's" out there, aren't really into the grindier aspects of games, and they usually aren't that into PvP.

Is this a mistake on my part? :mellow:

#23 whodini

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 11:03 PM

really don't have much time to only read the first 4 posts and just wanted to say this.  I'm a casual player but one who likes to play a lot of different things gw2 offers.  I'm otr during the week and unless I can fund a reliable connection source for online I would binge for a laptop.  but no such thing. it leaves me with 2.5 days to play if I were to sacrifice my rl life.  there's one thing I would love to do that I can't. dedicate 1 day to wvw.  I can't do that because finding myself having to complete ls b4 I go back to the road. always afraid of losing the achievement points.  the ls is a big factor for someone like me. other than that I have no problems. just wish they would go back to expansions.

#24 Impmon

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 12:31 AM

Seems like the question is whether casual gamers are compatible with you not with RPG's.  I'm a casual gamer, I log in and play for a few hours and leave.  

I don't need to conform to how someone else thinks I should play.  I think stat mongers and number crunchers are hilarious.  They'll always be around & the game will be their life for what little time they have it.  They'll attempt to carry their status from game to game as if it means something.  

Try putting that on your resume see where that gets you.

#25 El Duderino

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 12:39 AM

View PostImpmon, on 08 November 2013 - 12:31 AM, said:

Seems like the question is whether casual gamers are compatible with you not with RPG's.  I'm a casual gamer, I log in and play for a few hours and leave.  

I don't need to conform to how someone else thinks I should play.  I think stat mongers and number crunchers are hilarious.  They'll always be around & the game will be their life for what little time they have it.  They'll attempt to carry their status from game to game as if it means something.  

Try putting that on your resume see where that gets you.

I don't think anyone putting anything on a resume about how they play games will get them anywhere, but if you read the OP, you wouldn't qualify as a casual gamer under the confines of the definition I was trying to use only for the scope of this discussion.

#26 Robsy128

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 07:19 AM

Shouldn't this be in Gamer's Lair?

What is an RPG, exactly? It's a role-playing game. That doesn't mean you need to go around saying 'Ohhh, I'm a level 78 wizard aha aha aha and I come from the fields of Asteroth to fight the evil dragon and claim his gold!' A role playing game should be exactly what it says on the tin - you, the player, are put into a role. Whether it's a role the designers have already made for you, or whether it's open for you to decide is completely dependent on what game it is.

Does an RPG have to be set in a fantasy land? No.
Does an RPG have to include numbers that go up? No.
Does an RPG have to include levelling? No.
Does an RPG have to include adventuring? No.

The problem with today's market is that everyone remembers the 'old school RPGs', but they're all set in a fantasy land where you go off and save the world whilst killing monsters, obtaining loot and levelling up to become even better at killing monsters and obtaining loot. That requires a lot of time and more often than not, grinding to become the best. Is that the game you really want?

I look forward to when we make a game where you can adventure across the world and become immersed not only in the story, but in the world itself. Go fishing, hiking, do what you want, when you want (to a certain degree - don't go around killing NPCs willy nilly because they could be important!).

#27 Corsair

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 08:40 AM

Since this thread isn't dedicated to the definition of casual, lets stick with the one set forth by the OP. To just cut down on the splitting hairs thats been happening. A player who doesn't have the time to invest hours at a time. Casual players tend to, but are not as a a rule, and take the game less seriously. Hardcore players spend absorbent amounts of time and tend to be serious players whom are skilled.

View PostRobsy128, on 08 November 2013 - 07:19 AM, said:

Shouldn't this be in Gamer's Lair?
Yes. I'll move it.



As to the topic itself? You play a role defined either by yourself or the game. Nothing there is diminished by doing it in smaller chunks of time. Immersion is achieved by making a believable and compelling world, and if done well enough is a non-issue. As books and movies both succeed in this, without giving you any direct control over the characters therein. Is being a casual hard in an MMO? I'd argue yes. Any grouping content requires time invested literally sitting around and doing nothing to get into a group to do that content. It also puts you in direct competition with Hardcore players whom have more time invested and likely will be more desired for the content at hand. Some games have taken steps to make this less onerous of a barrier, like the LFR and Dungeon Finder features in WoW. They allow you to spend time productively doing content or something fun while you queue for content. In addition to making skill less of an issue by reducing difficulty in the low-barrier content to make the competition or the rejection less nasty from other players. These are games specifically designed to take a long time, rather than getting their game length from actual content there are barriers in play or force you to replay content in order to advance. Classic MMO design is thoroughly unfriendly for casual players of all stripes. Time invested to get on a level. Time invested to access content. Time invested to compete with other players.

So, no. It's not RPGs that are incompatible with a casual player. It's contemporary MMO design.

Edited by Corsair, 08 November 2013 - 08:56 AM.
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#28 El Duderino

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 12:19 PM

View PostRobsy128, on 08 November 2013 - 07:19 AM, said:

Shouldn't this be in Gamer's Lair?

What is an RPG, exactly? It's a role-playing game. That doesn't mean you need to go around saying 'Ohhh, I'm a level 78 wizard aha aha aha and I come from the fields of Asteroth to fight the evil dragon and claim his gold!' A role playing game should be exactly what it says on the tin - you, the player, are put into a role. Whether it's a role the designers have already made for you, or whether it's open for you to decide is completely dependent on what game it is.

Does an RPG have to be set in a fantasy land? No.
Does an RPG have to include numbers that go up? No.
Does an RPG have to include levelling? No.
Does an RPG have to include adventuring? No.

The problem with today's market is that everyone remembers the 'old school RPGs', but they're all set in a fantasy land where you go off and save the world whilst killing monsters, obtaining loot and levelling up to become even better at killing monsters and obtaining loot. That requires a lot of time and more often than not, grinding to become the best. Is that the game you really want?

I look forward to when we make a game where you can adventure across the world and become immersed not only in the story, but in the world itself. Go fishing, hiking, do what you want, when you want (to a certain degree - don't go around killing NPCs willy nilly because they could be important!).

Not to nitpick but what does this post have to do with the OP? The question is about immersion in an RPG vs time available to play. Your post seems to be way off topic.

Edited by Kamatsu, 08 November 2013 - 01:26 PM.
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#29 El Duderino

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 02:17 PM

View PostMordakai, on 06 November 2013 - 07:04 PM, said:

To be frank, there are many different kinds of RPGers.

To paint a broad brush, I would say there are 2 main groups: min / maxers (people who want the biggest numbers) and role-players (people who care less about stats, and more about their character's personality).

There are many sub-groups and overlaps, but I think it's a good way to start the conversation.

I would argue that Pen & Paper gamers tend to get into characters more, as the very personal interaction between gamemaster and players allow it

Computer RPGs by nature are more based on numbers...  although obviously some people still prefer to play "in character."

The most successful games appeal to both types...  and yes, it is possible.  Although I would argue immersion is harder in an MMO because most players will not be in character, so it's really hard to forget you are playing an MMO.

I've thought about this a lot, and you are totally right about the min/maxers. Even in the pen and paper games there were clearly the people that were more interested in having the best attributes than playing a believable character. They wanted to be "God" mode even then.

Although, I disagree that computer RPGs are more based on numbers. But, I do think that there are a number of computer-based RPG games that rely more on numbers than anything else. In fact, I would even say that a lot of them lean more towards numbers and away from story in general. If you look at the beginning of computer RPG games, such as the early Sierra games, they had almost no numbers and were much more about interaction, immersion and story. Even games like the Elder Scrolls do much better with immersion than they do with numbers.

However, I do think that most MMO's have relied heavily on the numbers than story/immersion. I wonder if it is because of the technology or the marketing that they do this? One thing I do miss about GW1 is that using more of an instanced vs. open-world platform, as well as a low level cap and no gear treadmill - meant that lore and story did become more prevalent. I think this is something that we find missing in GW2.

I'm not sure if both can be done well together, or even if they should. In fact, I think it may be a key difference between more "themepark" MMOs and "sandbox" MMOs.

Is an aside to this conversation, would it stand to reason, then, that with the implementation of a higher level cap and multiple tiers of weapons, as well as a pretty much full fledged themepark MMO style - shouldn't we attribute GW2 as more of a min/max kind of MMO setting and therefore, more hardcore?

Of course, that would be attributing the min/maxers as being more hardcore, which I personally think is at least a little appropriate.

#30 Mordakai

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 02:43 PM

So, let's call the min/maxers "power gamers." I think you can have casual power gamers, and you can have hardcore role players.   I remember in early D&D, Gary Gygax actually encouraged people to keep "bad rolls" during character creation.  He felt it would make an interesting story to have characters who are weak or not very smart.  Or how a character with avg. Stats becomes a Hero.

I agree that GW1 seems to be more story driven than GW2.  Whether that is directly based on the higher level cap and gear grind, or if it's just the writing, I don't know.




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