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Hardcore vs Casual

Published on May 1, 2012 by in Rift Gameplay

Once upon a time, long before Iphones were invented, MMO games were ment for people that wanted to invest their spare time into something other then watching TV or going to a bar. Something challenging, something that would keep them busy, something that will cater to their competitive spirit and make the time go fast. But all that came to an end around 2008 when WoW opened the flood gates to everyone that was willing to buy the game and pay 12$/month.

I consider myself to be an old school hardcore raider. I don’t mind sitting there camping one mob for 1 week if that’s what I have to do to get the best consumables, I like the idea of going through long chains of quests to be able to enter a raid dungeon, I don’t mind having to fix 5 sets of gear just to have the resistance needed for every fight and above all I don’t mind wiping on bosses. Actually I believe that 100 wipes only makes the first kill worth an yell that will wake up the entire neighborhood.

When Rift first came out I was totally disappointed with how Cataclysm went so it wasn’t a hard decision to move over. I loved Rift. It wasn’t easy to level, you had to quest alone and do every quest in every area otherwise you would lag behind on XP, if you wanted to run dungeon you had to put a group together yourself and get to know the people you were playing with, expert dungeons were hard and took more then 10 minutes to complete, etc. I thought it was really great.

It took me some time to settle and realize what I wanted to do and what I wanted to play so I only joined the raiding scene after River of Souls was released so when I will be referring to raiding progress I will be talking about Hammerknell. Fortunately I found a great guild really fast, I am talking about Special Olympics.

Hardcore Raiding

As some of you already know, Special Olympics is the hardcore raiding guild I belong to. I wouldn’t say we are the best of the best as Cookie tends to do quite a lot, but we are an OK lot of people, that troll together early in the morning at patch release time. We have some World Firsts kills in Hammerknell and most of the Europe Firsts kills in Infernal Dawn so we do quite well if you ask me.

It’s been two weeks since Infernal Dawn released and I have mixed feelings about it. At first I was really disappointed at the idea of gates. In my opinion, banging your head against an encounter that is mathematically impossible is better then having nothing to do but stare at a physical barrier.

Rift Infernal Dawn

Special thanks to Paul for this self explanatory image.

The issue with being in a hardcore raiding guild is that you expect to raid like a mad man for 2 months then raid one day a week until the next 20 man dungeon is here. But with the gates, we ended up raiding one day a week still. I can’t even start to explain how disappointed I was. I waiting from the start of October until half of April to raid 7 days a week and all we got was 1 day. I was close of going rampage on the forums, crying to everyone that will listen and cancel my subscription.

Casual Raiding

But then I logged of my Defiant and I logged on my Guardian and decided to check how the guardian guild that I am in is doing in Infernal Dawn. So there I was, listening to them on their Mumble, seeing how excited they were to go into ID even if they missed the early opening at 5 a.m. and I had to stop and think for one second… maybe I’m missing something. Maybe I was to busy raging at the fact that ID was gated and it didn’t come out at the same time on both EU and US and I just forgot to enjoy the actual dungeon itself.

Yesterday I listened to them killing Maklamos the Scryer. It took them an entire night to do it but they killed him and they loved doing it. Today the lovely guys and girls of Envy (on Blightweald-Guardian) were kind enough to let me come to them to a night of progress on the Ember Conclave. We didn’t manage to kill them but we got close to it in case you are curious, but somehow I had a lot of fun with them and the way they were doing it, it made the encounter look very well tuned. Not as easy as being possible to learn in one raid and not to hard to make it look impossible to get and make people not show up the next day.

I got it !!!

So today I finally understood what we, the hardcore raiders born before 2008, have to do in order to not feel utter disappointment from now on. We need to stick together in a hardcore guild, raid until we clear everything then hop on our alts and for the rest of the week enjoy the content the way Trion wants it to be enjoyed, nice and easy.

These days having 25k raid DPS instead of 40k makes encounters seem well balanced, makes bosses nice to progress on and gives the “Oh yeah !” effect when you down a boss. All I can say is: “Aaa ! that’s what you want us to do Trion !”. I got it now. I know how to have fun.

If this doesn’t make sense to you, it’s ok, I just had to share this with someone. I just had a big “Aha !!” moment tonight. If you want to see me have fun don’t forget to check my stream !

 
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5 Comments  comments 

5 Responses

  1. Simon

    How can you say Rift isn’t easy to level? Levelling in Rift has always been relatively easy, try EQ, LOTRO, etc, the take much, much more time to level, mobs are more difficult, etc.

    Rift is pretty much too easy full stop, “expert” dungeons should be renamed novice dungeons, I’ve played other games where the very first dungeon you encounter (levelling) is harder than the “expert” dungeons in Rift,I realize these were more difficult some time ago, but still, it is a joke.

    The easiness of the game is not helped by the classes which for the most part are very simple to play and many are made even easier (to the point of being ridiculous in some cases) by the macro system Rift employs.

    Tanking is faceroll easy, which in turn makes everything else much easier and sidelines the need for things like CC, offtanking (proper offtanking, not we need two tanks for this raid, as in someone that fills in when a certain mob spawns or certain adds spawn, but is not actually a full blown tank).

  2. admin

    I am not sure when you started to play, but on 24 February 2011 when Rift servers first came out it was quite hard to level. You would run out of quests and had to farm Rifts to get back on track with the quests. Playing in a party was also out of the question since you would share the mobs XP and again run out of quests.
    The experts dungeons took 1-2 even 3 hours to complete (not to mention DSM) I am sure most people can confirm this. There was no such thing as XP potions, LFG, LFG rewards or people that knew what they were doing which you could group up ^^.
    But the tears of the casuals ran in huge rivers on the forums and they nerfed everything to hell (as they always do). So they added XP pots, nerfed everything to the point where you can faceroll some dungeons in 8 minutes, added LFG, dailies, weeklies, addons, everything that a noob casual friendly game has.
    Anyways the point of this post was to express the frustration of everything being nerfed to hell. And yes, I stick to the statement that once uppon a time Rift was hard ^^.

  3. have to agree with the article. First of: I am NO hardcore raider, I am a casual raider(playing on Argent, RP shard. says ’nuff I guess).
    Hell I did not play MMO before WoW-BC, though I am not one of those: “NERF”-whiners. I rather wipe time and time again, to finally be able to down a boss, then to be able to do so because Trion makes it easier(wheres the fun in that).
    I have to agree that Rift(@pre-launch) was harder then now. Leveling was challenging and fun, experts were hard(as they should be), it invited you to be social on the shard so you knew the other player, you knew who you could use in your party(and who defenitely NOT).
    And this opinion is widely spread.
    If you however started the game like a half year later orso, I can see your point Simon :)

  4. Vrdict

    RIFT was not difficult to level when it first came out…and nothing in it that I experienced was ever anything I would consider ‘hard’. I like the ‘once upon a time’ bit at the start until it delved into 2008 and the noobtastic title WoW.

    I quit Rift before ID, but I was 11/11 HK and nothing I had experienced had any noticeable level of difficulty. Post Aky nerf, the most difficult raid (learning curve wise) is probably Silgen?

    The problem with this WoW generation of raiders is they don’t understand what hardcore raiding truly is. Now days, it’s devoting far more time than a casual player in a MMO built for casual players – which you astutely pointed out in your article.

    I’ve been a hardcore raider in EQ, in one of the most (in)famous guilds – Township Rebellion, as well as EQ2, Vanguard, WoW and then RIFT. I’ve lost all faith in the raiding aspect of MMO’s after WoW and RIFT, and only now am grasping at straw awaiting Everquest Next – whenever that may be.

    Out of that list of games, only EQ, and to an extent EQ2, truly epitomize what a hardcore raider truly is. Just because your in a casual MMO and figure out when to move out of aoe, when to move in, what to avoid, what to click etc a few weeks or months before casual crowd indulges on it doesn’t make you a hardcore raider.

    Much content in EQ was never even seen by casual raiders, for many guilds it took years to gear up to Emp Ssra, if they even did.

    That’s the difference I’m trying to point out. A hardcore raider in WoW and RIFT is doing nothing more than devoting a large portion of time to accomplish a casual raid in a casual game before the casual players do so. Then they sit around and compare epeen’s til the next xpac.

    In EQ, where hardcore raiding was born, it wasn’t as shallow as this. It was about seeing content that you may otherwise never be able to see, about downing mobs that casual players NEVER had the joy of looting from unless it was after an expansion, but that’s like sleeping with the prom queen on the 30 year class reunion.

    While the games themselves may be enjoyable, I don’t see the allure it has to a hardcore raider. To me, it’s like reading about some guy who breaks the world record for playing dance revolution the longest – you just think “Wow, what an epic waste of time” and move on.

  5. Mev of Faeblight

    I think what you’re saying is a good argument for what WoW has done of late: split raiding into two modes: normal and hard (“heroic” in WoW’s terms). You will never be able to tune content for the people who can squeeze 3k dps out of expert dungeon drops AND for the people that max out at 2.5k dps in full teir 2 going into ID for the first time. Same thing, obviously, for healers and tanks.

    As for having content that some players will never see… the real problem is competition. EverQuest chugged along alright until WoW came along and offered real competition at which point its subscriber base took a nose-dive. If you watched what happened then, it was kind of interesting. Every time a guild got blocked on progress another handful of players left for WoW.

    Eventually EQ was unsustainable except for a few players who saw it as their “second home” and they certainly couldn’t afford any real development effort any longer.

    WoW is now stuck in the same boat and their solution (which may work) is to stratify the player base into super-casual (non-raiding and LFR), casual (normal raiding and some LFR) and hardcore (heroic mode with some normal to gear up and LFR for alts or boredom).

    Advantages: they spend development resources once to build the encounters and then just tune them for the different consumers, thus delivering a massive development budget to everyone’s gaming experience.

    Disadvantages: there’s less sense of prestige in “seeing” a boss (though there are some nice distinctions like Ragnoros only having a free-standing mode in heoric).

    Rift’s approach has been to try to tune one level of difficulty for everyone. As you point out, that doesn’t work.

    On the other hand, you seem to be advocating the track where the hardcore raiders get the game designed for them and everyone else gets half a game. That works really well right up until Mists of Pandaria or Guild Wars 2 come out and 90% of the player base take the hint.

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