Do We Really Have to See ‘Casual’ Dug Up Again?

With the difficulties of the new Heroics being the topic of the day on many blogs and popular websites, and discussions on tanking and healing and threat and crowd control flaring up like nasty little brushfires, there’s something that’s been revived to go right along with it.

I’m talking about the word ‘casual’ being used to mean ‘not as skilled as me’. 

We’ve gone over this ground, people. Over it and over it and over it.

I had thought we’d beaten that horse to death.

No, really. Hell, I thought we led the horse out of the barn, beat it to death, raised it from the dead in a terrible ritual under the light of the new moon, beat it to death again, and then fed what was left to the sharks. Then fed the sharks to the seals.

Then we blew up the seals, boiled the oceans, nuked the coral beds, filled it all in with asphalt and gravel and held a “pave the earth’ party to celebrate. 

But nooo…. here we go again.

I even saw it in a recent post by Fox Van Allen on WoW Insider, and I know darn well he knows better.

It’s insidious, and not in a darthy way.

It seems to creep up on otherwise perfectly normal people, people who for whatever reason start using the term.

Not everyone that uses it buys into the whole idea that if you don’t live every waking moment in a raiding guild, you’re a scrub with no skills, easily flustered by any instance or raid that requires teamwork, coordination, knowledge of class abilities and talent. But using that term makes you come off as if you did.

So, hopefully for the last time, but I won’t hold my breath.

Time spent playing past a certain point DOES NOT EQUAL SKILL. Time spent playing in a raiding guild DOES NOT EQUAL SKILL.


Just because a person can follow the directions of a raid leader while raiding, with the advantages that voice communications over Ventrilo brings, with clearly delineated roles and duties assigned to them, does not in any way mean that same person can play well while in a group of strangers, using solid personal judgment, displaying skill and timing in the proper use of class abilities, and following a stranger’s lead without copping an attitude because the tank doesn’t have a ‘kingslayer’ as a title. 

You can develop solid skill regardless of the amount of actual time you spend in the game raiding. Identifying your classes’ abilities, seeking out personal opportunities to practise those skills, and being clued in and able to turn a seconds’ crisis into an opportunity to ROCK does not require spending 20 hours a week plugged in.

What it requires is the dedication to be the best that you can be, the intelligence to know to identify what your class can do in advance of needing it, the wisdom to research the methods others have used to accomplish those things to find multiple ways and means, and the patience to go out and do it yourself with the time you have available.

From that point, it takes practise and the development of personal skill.

The only thing a player can not acquire without spending tons of time in a raiding guild is actual direct experience of the content of the day… something that many such skilled players overcome as best they can through watching videos of raiding guilds working through that same content, and reading strategy guides for individual bosses. Tankspot has long been a great source for these kinds of training and guidance videos.

So, can people please pull their heads out of their collective asses and stop using the term ‘casual’ to mean idiot, scrub, noob, moron or loser?

If you want to call someone an idiot, use the term idiot. God knows I’ve met a million of them from leet raiding guilds, people who have long grown used to substituting brute force and high gear levels for finesse and skill.

I hate to break it to some of you, but if you’re an idiot, you’re an idiot, and no amount of time spent being carried by a really good raiding guild will change that, any more than any amount of practise or trained leet skills will get a player awesome epic loot if that person never runs in a single raid.

Casual doesn’t automatically mean idiot any more than raider means skilled. Get over it.

If you have to use a term to describe the influx of poor players that are emerging in the level 85 Heroic pugging scene, how about you use “immature” or “bloody damn asshat wanting to be carried instead of having to think and play well for a change”. As descriptions go, they’re far more accurate.

Immature can be used in a sentence such as the following; “Boy, I was really excited when my pug dungeon finally popped after waiting in queue for 45 minutes, but it all fell apart when the immature tank dropped group in the middle of the first pull for no reason whatsoever. What an asshole.”

See what I did there? I used immature instead of casual, because casual would have been an unwarranted assumption on playing time I have no actual data to make, but immature is factual, based on my direct observations of the asshole in question.

Are there any further questions?

15 thoughts on “Do We Really Have to See ‘Casual’ Dug Up Again?

  1. Hola Bear!

    I came back to reread this post because I saw a blue post using the term “casual” today. The exact words were by Zarhym and were in reference to the current level of heroics: “They’re not super-unfriendly toward casual players, but they do require casual players to exercise skill and proper social/leadership skills.”

    Ouch. Even out of the mouths of Blues. It’s sad.

    Take the word “casual” out of the above statement and then I’ll agree with it…


    • If you were to replace ‘casual’, which is more a reference to how much time someone spends playing, and were to replace it with the word ‘inexperienced’, then miracle of miracles, it would be a fine sentiment.

      I know just what you mean, Chawa. I do indeed. Perception is an insidious thing.


  2. BBB,


    NET NET – It does not matter about “skill” of individual contributors. What matters is the skill level and impact of your weakest member.

    You were in the military. I dare say that you observed from time to time that they appeared to (in the main) make things idiot proof.
    Most military ops I have experience with DO NOT rely on the relative skill/expertise of your average recruit coming in from AIT.

    BUT… with LFG you automatically have that. By pressing that button you have traded WOW for another game called “who’s the weakest link?”.
    It is not the objective difficulty (HP, Damage, Fight Mechanics etc) that is kicking everyone’s bear butt right now. It is the coordination of all the moving parts.

    In essence Blizz has taken the Direct Frontal Assault strategy out of Heroics. What they meant to do was make heroics more difficult. But what they ended up with forcing Two Stripers to perform tactical flanking and feint moves that might well make Generals pause. Generals would really pause if they were told that they could not “speak” with any of their team members too.

    So what are we left with? We could do the following:
    Add a Healer (ala Gevlon) and put the onus back on DPS like Wrath
    Add Vent (ala top guild) and spend mo money, and heroics will have “vent required” now
    Add Guild Only Heroics (ala velvet rope) so now I need to coordinate schedules for 5 friends to run heroics with

    OR you could just keep beating heads against walls until Blizz/Ghostcrawler notice the masses NO LIKE what they did to Heroics. (I call 4.0.5 they buff heals 25% AND nerf stupid trash like Stonecold)

    When I think “Casual” player I usually think of “no raid schedule” player. BBB I don’t have the TIME to screw with planning to play A GAME. If it takes me 30 minutes to COORDINATE a decent Heroic run… I ain’t gonna do it. I would like to hit my LFG button wait to queue with 4 others who also want to do a heroic and HAVE A REASONABLE EXPECTATION of competing said LFG random.

    It’s called a GAME fitting within a busy professional’s time schedule. AND because I know there are more of me than there are of the EJ’s or the lolkids I KNOW Blizz will get a clue eventually and fix this crap. Because I and other professionals like me have mucho money but little time. And last time I looked Blizzard was in the business of making money.


    • I get that you disagree and you’re angry, but I’ll be honest. I have absolutely no idea how what anything you said related to anything I said in the post.

      I’ll cut to the chase. My point was that casual does not automatically mean “has no skill”. If you completely disagree, then you DO believe that casual means no skill?

      If that’s not what you’re saying, then why not fall back and take 5, figure out what has infuriated you so much, and then decide if what has you so angry is a position I put forward that you’re disagreeing with, or if you’re angry at something else entirely?

      Either way… if you’re this pissed on Christmas because you think other people suck and it’s not fair you have to play with them or something, you need to take a deep breath, man. Relax. It’s just a game. Go play Pong, you know?


  3. Linked above is a Barix-wall (sorry) response to this entry, as to say everything I wanted to say was just too long for a comment section. Short version: I’m largely on the same page with BBB, but I chose a higher-profile target than Fox Van Allen as my incarnation of the attitude in question.


  4. I’ve never used the term casual, except as it pertains to our guild – which is a casual raiding guild. We did ICC, got our Kingslayer titles a week into 4.0.1, and still rolled with it, doing 10 mans once a week – that’s pretty casual, for raiding.

    I do use the term ‘idiot’ quite a lot. I’ve been healing heroics on my tree for a week now. As I’ve gotten better gear (typically faction gear as I level up with tabards), it’s gotten easier. I was in a guild run yesterday with a hunter who was 1 point shy of running heroics. We queued a normal, got Lost City… I happened to be tanking this one (yay bear!), and marked what I could – we had 2 hunters and a DK for “CC”… so I called for ice traps. My favorite hunter in the world hit her marks perfectly, every time. Mr Enthusiasm “I wanna do HEROICS!” (think of Satherion’s voice – ‘your magic BETRAYS you’ – that’s what he sounded like) couldn’t hit his mark for anything, so I ended up having to tank a third add, that was typically a caster – so dragging the melee guys all over hells half acre (I ended up apologizing to the poor DK who’s dps was low because he had to run with me). On top of that, this over enthusiastic hunter would ‘accidently’ – seriously, I doubt he had the brain cells to do it on purpose – target outlying groups and shoot them… so I’m dealing with tanking 3 mobs, and here come 5 more – with no CC on them at all… My poor healer… (Yay bear! we’re so mighty!) Thank god it was a normal – on heroic, we’d of been eating paving stones for sure.

    That guy? That guy got called many names. Idiot was one of them. Afterwards, he bought a BoE gun off the AH, tipping him over the magical (and imo, low) gear score mark to do heroics. He immediately started calling out in guild chat “Anyone wanna do a random heroic.?” /facepalm.

    I’m happy to run groups, I’m happy to work out tactics on bosses, I’m willing to spend 4 hours faceslamming into content… but I draw the line at idiots who are taking away from my experience to learn how to play their class. Dungeons are to learn the fights, not how to trap. Go practice trap shooting on your own time…


    /rant off

    Thanks for that – I needed that 🙂


  5. It’s gotten crazy over there. There was another thread about how heroics don’t have low level epics anymore, because you should have to “really work” for the purple SHARDS. Because no matter how hard heroics are they are still not “work” in their eyes unless you do it with 24 other people. In one sentence someone says they are too hard, then in the next sentence the same person is implying they are too easy because it’s not a raid, and non raiders shouldn’t even get purple shards. It’s so ridiculous. I’ve raided, been on the progression raids, it’s doesn’t make me awesome, it just meant I had more time.


  6. My opinion on the matter is that when it’s all said and done, we have to realize the mentality of the other players. The kind of people who still believe that you have to belittle someone or run someone down to make yourself look better. The kind of people that don’t have the life experience to understand that you don’t have to step on someone to raise yourself to a new level. I mean, really, what’s the point in being 1337 if you don’t have a scrub to talk about? Why be on top if there isn’t someone below you?
    Don’t get me wrong, I have been in positions when I’ve said “you know what, this guy sucks so badly that someone needs to confiscate his logon credentials”. There are people that truly suck at the game. Just last night I was tanking Reg Halls of Origination and there was a mage that was completely clueless about how to play his toon. Lvl 84 and doing something like 1700dps.
    The run started out with a whisper from him letting me know that he was playing his sisters account ’cause he couldn’t afford to buy cataclysm for his account yet and that he realized that he would not top the DPS lists. The entire run was spent in whispers from him while he proceeded to tell me how he was just going to make his dad buy him cata and make his “Moms buy him a celly and buy his Boo something nice too.” Then I was enlightened with this nugget of wisdom, “my Boo is dis gurl I FUKC around wit. She be DAM HOT!!!!!!!!!!”

    That’s not casual. . . That’s just pathetic. Don’t lump me in with that.

    I am a casual player. I quit raiding last december because I got tired of catching crap because I didn’t devote the 6 hours on Tuesday and the 5 hours on Thursday like the other core raiders did. When you are expected to be there 10-12 hours a week at least at the same time every week it’s not a game. That’s a part time job. A job that has sucky pay, BTW.
    I have a wife, 5 kids and a REAL job that demand my time. Responsibilities to a virtual world populated by large number of idiots does not rank that high. . .

    I have a feeling that a lot of these “Leet” players are living their lives vicariously through the toon on the screen. When they log off, they go back to the life where they are not as important and people don’t greet them when they enter a room.


  7. My personal theory is that the whole ‘casual’ thing is a spillover from console games, but people need to realize that the two really don’t mean the same thing. Casual console gamers are the ones that just play Wii Sports and all that jazz and would faint at the thought of Metroid Prime, Casual WoW players simply invest slightly less time in the game. That’s just my two cents.


  8. “What [skill] requires is the dedication to be the best that you can be, the intelligence to know to identify what your class can do in advance of needing it, the wisdom to research the methods others have used to accomplish those things to find multiple ways and means, and the patience to go out and do it yourself with the time you have available.”

    “Amen, bruh-thuh, AY-MEN!”

    (& so eloquently did you say it.)


  9. At the end of the day asshats are still asshats, regardless of how often they play, or how high thier gearscore is, or whether they have a particular title or not.

    In the words of the great Forrest Gump, Stupid is as stupid does.


  10. It doesn’t take that much time to hit 85. About 15 hours of play, really. In this case, people who didn’t do the death march to 85 in the first week could be considered people who play WoW more casually than the hardcore people who hit 85 in two days or less. Now, of course, as you mention, this doesn’t mean that they’re worse players. On the contrary, many of them are quite skilled. However, these players who have played more casually have all hit the LFD tool for heroics around the same time, and an influx of players means you’re going to start getting a lot more bad players; the numbers are just going to work out that way.

    Perhaps at this point the term is probably too loaded to use, but I don’t think it’s necessarily used incorrectly here. We’re just so used to having knee jerk reactions to anything that could possibly hold us in bad light. Perhaps also that is why Fox used quotation marks around the term, to differentiate it from the term casual that most people seem to think these days in the WoW context (present company included, apparently).


  11. Well in my opinion having a good player hangs on two facts: Is he enjoyable to play with? And can he play his class?
    The first is maybe even more important then the second.

    In the guild where i learned to play top dps or top tanks have been rejected because they where no fun to play with. It may restrict us from the “top tier” raids, but i dare say thats the reason our guild has existed since the beginning of vanilla 🙂
    And most of them are casual players. The kind of casual that are sometimes lacking the experience to know every encounter by heart, but can, given some pointers come out victoriously. Also the kind of players that can keep perspective.

    I think the reason why “casual” is used for “moronic” by most people is some kind of “i play more hours a week then you so im l33t” feeling. Fuck that. Go be leet in your own gametime then but not in mine.



  12. And actually…. a guy thats bad, a moron, etc etc etc can play 30 hours a week, can be in a raiding guild and blend in pretty decently cause in most raids (so far, havent been to the cata ones yet) if you know the strat…. then its pretty simple not to screw it up (if you are a DPS at least) but for me there are 2 sure ways to see if a player is worth its salt or not.

    How you react to the unknown? A skilled player can be thrown into the wolves and come out victorious… or as victorious as possible. For example, a healer that had a tank screwing it up and getting a HUGE spike on damage taken, if you are a skilled player you probably have some cooldowns ready for that type of event.

    and the second one is purely for DPS, a really good DPS can do a crapload of damage without pulling. In the Burning Crusade days, I had a friend of mine doing 2k DPS on his Enhance Shammy on Zul Aman with full Badge of Justice gear… which for the time was really really really really awesome, the average DPS for people with that gear was 1k DPS… and the guy never pulled, when some of the guys putting lesser numbers sometimes did pull.

    My point is… the term “casual” as you say is a moronic one, so is thinking a guy is any good by any measure other than knowing the guy…. Gear, Achievements nor “time spent” is any indication on the sort of player you have before you


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