I recently signed up to participate in Rift's open beta event, which I am very excited about. So, between researching classes, builds, races and all other important information on the game (since I'm at work and unable to actually, you know, PLAY), I've been browsing Trion Worlds' official Rift forums. As you can imagine, there are the usual arguments, petitions, QQing, trolls and, yes, a lot of WoW-bashing. In between all of that, I found an explosive debate about an age old topic: casual vs. hardcore.
I won't go into the details, because they aren't important to this post. But here are some of the sentiments I have heard over and over in the 85 pages of replies (yes, I was REALLY bored).
1. Why are we catering to the casual gamers that think their 1 hour of play a night deserves as much reward as my 6 hours of play each night? Give us back the hard core, the old school, the days when you WORKED for your accomplishments! (and walked bare foot to the capital city, in the snow, up-hill both ways, of course).
2. Because these games are run by BUSINESSES and they would be stupid not to cater their product to the largest audience!
3. I'm a casual player, but I can run circles around your hardcore, nerd-raging ass!
4. QQ! Listen to us cry out! Don't water down our games! Can't you see we are standing united for this cause?!
*sigh* So, yeah. It's actually the fourth comment here that had me ready to pull out my hair. Here are some quotes:
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We've pretty much seen what has happened to WoW (rise, and fall)
Making the game easier, as they add more content.
Unless their are bugs left leave old content alone, and make new content even more puzzling/challenging.
Do not go casual. There are a lot of hardcore MMOers who don't want to see the difficulty-challenge in an MMO die out.
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I will start by saying that I am in total agreement in regards to the dumbing down of MMORPG's. That being said, I think those of us that feel this way are wasting our breath for the following reason: 1000 gamers paying 15 dollars a month for 5 years is less than 100k casuals paying 15 dollars a month for 6 months.
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Even if we don't know yet, it needs to be said
TRION DON'T FAIL US
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So, here's the lesson I wish I could beat into every one of their heads:
You DO have a say in whether an MMO is hard-core enough for your play-style.
No, really - you do! And it all comes down to something my dad told me when I was a kid.
YOU VOTE WITH YOUR POCKET BOOK.
Johny can go to the forums and bitch and QQ because he hates the game he's playing. And then he'll open up his check book and shell out more money. And the company will look at his complaints and dismiss them. Because he's STILL PAYING.
Whether you like it or not, whether you realize it or not, every time you pay for a month subscription of an MMO, you are, for the month, approving of the game that you are playing. You can rant wildly on the forums "this is horrible!" and not even realize that on the vote that counts, you are saying "keep it up!"
So, this is a lesson for everyone. For anyone who plays games or MMOs or purchasing any service or product in our consumer's society. Every time you pay for a product or service, you are VOTING for it.
So, what does that mean for us? What does it mean for all those "hardcore" players who want to continue walking up-hill both ways? It means that they DO have a say. They aren't voiceless. All they have to do is.... stop paying. And if enough players stop paying.... well.... the company may start thinking of ways to get them to start paying again.
We have had a recent example of this exact thing happening just this summer. Yes, I'm talking about the RealID fiasco. Sure, there was an outcry - a unifying outcry. Sure there was bad press. But the biggest flag that could have been waved in Blizzard's face was in fact the money. And it did wave, big and bold. People pulled out their monetary support. They cut off their credit cards. They ended their subscriptions. And Blizzard saw that. The WoW community had a voice and we used it - by VOTING with our POCKET BOOKS. And in the end, we won.
That's what I would say to every one of those adamant hard-core gamers out there that want MMOs to stay that way. You do have a voice. It's not in the forums. It's not on the blogs. It's in the money that you spend and the way that you spend it.
That's your voice. Use it.