I’m not a big raider. I’ve done my fair share of raids in different MMORPGs – even had a very brief stint as a raid main tank – but it’s just not something I can do very often. Why not? Simple, time. Raiding requires a degree of time which I cannot (and don’t really want to) justify. Plus, serious raiding guilds tend to also have strict policies on attendance and commitment that I can’t stick to.
I’d love to raid more often and I genuinely respect the guys who do it frequently (I’m even a little jealous of them) but there’s a world of difference between being a raider and being a ‘hardcore snob or elitist’. The latter is purely a frame of mind that exists amongst MMORPG communities and I’ve encountered it all too often. These are the folks are like to argue the cause that ‘hardcore’ means ‘more challenging’ and that somehow they are ‘better’ players because of their achievements. I’m by no means saying all raiders are like that but many out there are and their opinion is often very vocal.
The fundamental flaw with any argument revolving around being ‘better’ at MMORPGs is that the word is abstract and cannot be easily measured. In fact, the way the word better is measured is by achievement (having item X, conquered dungeon Y, having stat Z) and anything can be accomplished in a MMO given enough time. MMOs are built upon the time = challenge principle and this places a heavy burden on any true skill related gain.
If we accept that grind is just a product of poor game design then we can understand why MMORPGs are leaning towards more accessible models. World of Warcraft is a great example of this and also the backlash it has caused amongst hardcore elitists who hate the idea of things becoming too ‘easy’. Of course, I can understand their reaction. If suddenly the time barrier is removed then it immediately diminishes any accomplishments these players have made and this is why hardcore snobs don’t want this to happen and why they want games to remain inaccessible in order to validate their achievements.
MMORPGs are very emotional things and we forget they’re just games. Players love to anthromorphise their avatars (which I suppose is part of the appeal of the escapism MMOs offer) and, just like in the real world, we like to feel superior to others. And, just like the real world, it’s often totally unfounded.
So, what’s my point? Hardcore elitism or snobbery should not exist because, the reality is there, there is actually nothing to feel elite about. Players should focus more on the social, community and fun aspect of raiding rather than any feeling of superiority that results from it and they should absolutely drops the terms of ‘casual’ or ‘hardcore’. They are meaningless after all.