The Daily Grind: How do you define ‘hardcore’ gaming?

    
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Quantic Foundry’s latest report from its gamer motivation study is well worth your time to read, but for this morning’s Daily Grind, I want to focus on one specific takeaway: the apparent gender divide over what constitutes hardcore gamer. As Nick Yee explains,

“For men, playing a game seriously means being able to beat other players at it. For women, playing a game seriously is more likely to mean having completed and done everything there is to do in a game, and to leave traces of your personal flair in the game while doing it. For Hardcore female gamers, playing a game seriously is more akin to patiently creating and curating a work of art. And it’s a powerfully evocative alternative to how we typically conceptualize what a ‘hardcore gamer’ is. [… ]This gender comparison between Hardcore and Casual gamers also highlights the difference in coverage of different motivations: Male Hardcore gamers are below average in Fantasy (being someone else, somewhere else) and Story (elaborate plot and interesting characters), whereas female Hardcore gamers are consistently above average across all gaming motivations.”

How do you personally define “hardcore” in the gaming context? Are you hardcore if you’re into blowing shit up with “guns and explosives” and “specializing into competitive gaming”? Or are you hardcore if you’re into “developing a broad interest in all aspects of gaming”?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Arsin Halfmoon

Being a hardcore gamer is like cruise control in a car. You still have to steer. A hardcore gamer doesnt mean he’s good at games.

If you center your daily activities and income generation around gaming, then you are a hardcore gamer. I remember seeing that somewhere. Some people think hardcore gamers are good at games, and they might, but we’ve got some pretty trash gamers out there

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Pandalulz

For myself, I feel like Hardcore has more of a state of mind feel to it. I have to be intensely focused on something for it to feel hardcore. I was playing FFXIII-2 so hardcore last night I missed my bed time and went to sleep much much too late.
I can spend lots and lots of time just casually low-stress grinding, which is how I normally play. But during that time I can watch some Netflix and probably fall asleep on myself as well. It requires more than time invested to feel hardcore.

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rafael12104

Meh. I’m selling this study… as in not buying it.

Alright, so first there are definitely some wide brush strokes there. Generalizations based on data, but we don’t know who was sampled. Hardcore gamers? Really? My guess is, based on personal observations that that means different things depending on the genre you happen to be playing. So, if the study was specific to MMORPGs for example, the results would be quite different.

And let’s not forget the genders. I certainly think that there may be gender differences to explore, but again, it depends on the games we are talking about. The generalizations with regard to hardcore men being more interested in dominance and hardcore women looking for more of an artistic experience seem to confirm stereotypes that in other arenas would be lightning rods for argument.

I’m sorry but I have to raise the bullshit flag. I’ve played with a lot of players over the years and I have found all types across genders. Some of the most “male hardcore” players I have ever played with are women. And some with sensibilities more akin to an artistic experience have been hardcore men.

Oh yes, I readily admit my assertions are anecdotal but I’ve played games and most especially MMOs for a long time. And, I’m convinced that different games attract different types of players so leaving that variable out skews all results.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Do you spend a heavy amount of time playing games as opposed to other activities? Yes? Then you’re a hardcore gamer.

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starbuck1771

I took the survey https://goo.gl/dGZ6hd

Vaeris
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Vaeris

It has nothing to do with gender for me. That angle, frankly, is getting really, really tired. Hard Core by my definition is a reflection of time invested in a game actually playing it. SO setting up a bot or macro to “play the game” while you surf other websites or make dinner doesn’t count. It’s a measure of how much a player prioritizes dumping their free time (from work, study, or hobbies) into being in that game world and being apart of that in-game community.

When people say “casual gamer” it is just about universally accepted that it means that player doesn’t play the game that much AND THUS doesn’t have all the knowledge and achievements OR can’t kill other players as efficiently.

It’s a measure of invested time.

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Avaera

Very loosely, I tend to agree more with the idea that deep understanding and investment in a broad range of a game’s aspects is an indication of being in the hardcore group, so I guess I fall more in the typically female perspective.

However, I thought the original meaning of the term had more to do with level of commitment to a specific fandom than any inherent skill or behavioural pattern. As in, the developers of game X could screw up their design decisions so badly that only the hardcore segment of the playerbase would stick around, because they were so heavily invested. I’m not sure you can be a ‘hardcore gamer’ generally, as opposed to being a hardcore fan of a particular title.

For me, I’d definitely fall into the ‘casual’ bucket these days (though I really dislike the negative connotations that word has) in my approach to almost all my MMOs, because I’m absolutely willing to drop them and move on the instant a more immersive, roleplay rich and engaging sandbox virtual world comes along.

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Cyclone Jack

It means that while I am playing, I am focused on just that. I’m playing to the best of my ability to accomplish the challenges and goals* I have set before me. I may not play all the time, but the time that I do play is quality play time that isn’t wasted by just casually dicking about the game.

* Said goals may not always be hardcore in and of themselves, such as crafting or grinding rep, but the outcome of those goals are to further my character in some way. Thus I am focused on that and trying to accomplish as much of that as possible in what limited time I have available for that session.

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Sunken Visions

You can’t even get people to agree on what an MMO is, so there’s no way you’ll get a consensus on something as ambiguous as ‘hardcore’. It’s better that we stop using these terms altogether and focus on being more specific when describing the games we make.

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styopa

I think you’re in pretty dangerous waters trying to bifurcate play into gender roles.

For me it’s simple: am I playing it all the flippin’ time? Yes? Then hardcore.

Who raids, who has uber gear, who does what….ultimately they’re all instrumental, not intrinsic. If I play maybe a handful of hours a week (but have great gear and my buds and I all run the hardest stuff) I would have a hard time calling that ‘hardcore’. OTOH, if you play wow 7 hours a day every day, and spend it all fishing, you’re certainly a hardcore wow fisherman.