It’s so nice to have time to play “casually” again!
I go out and party a little too hard once. Once! Once and my immune system gives away. Welcome to three days of being curled up on my bed, wishing my respiratory system would stop trying to kill me. In my dizzy haze, I couldn’t get any work done. Nor did I want to go out and do some last minute shopping before heading back to Newfoundland. But other than whine and feel sorry for myself (which, I must admit, are some of my favorite activities), there was something I could do. I could play WoW.
I didn’t have the presence of mind to work on my gear sets and wishlists. Reading about new bosses was over my head. Pugging a raid was out of the question. I barely made it through my regular raids.
So I decided to kill naga in Zangarmarsh to get exalted with Sporeggar. I hunted down some non-combat pets so I could get the 75 pets achievement. I cleaned out all the leftover quest items in my bank. I ran a lot of heroics for no reason. I annoyed my entire battlegroup in Alterac Valley. I spied on my guildies in vent. Eventually my throat healed enough for me to join in on the talk. I learned plenty of things about my guildies. They learned way too much about me.
That’s when the strangest words came out of my mouth. As I was happily killing naga, I blurted out, “it’s so nice to have time to play casually!”
Then I thought about what I said. The words “casual” and “hardcore” don’t have set meanings. “Casual” can mean someone with limited time. Or someone who doesn’t do organized play. Or it can be a euphemism for a bad player. “Hardcore” can mean someone who focused on performance. Or it can mean someone who takes the game too seriously. Or it can mean someone who has way too much time on their hands. In general, “casual” and “hardcore” are thought of as a mixture of all of the above.
When I say “casual”, the image that comes to mind is a very relaxed person, just chilling for a few hours in front of the computer.
When I say “hardcore”, I picture someone gripping their mouse with all their might, clenching their teeth.
I remember a time, a long time ago, where I would chill out on WoW. I raided, but had little idea of what I was doing. I ran heroics with guildies a lot. I had a lot of exalted reps. I leveled alts. I did relatively useless things just for fun. I played a lot of hours, but I was totally chilling.
These days, I’m all business in game. During a semester, my days are often planned to the second. Well, until I somehow discover that I’ve fallen asleep in the cafeteria and wasted 2 hours. I log into WoW to get ready for raids and to raid. I do my auction house stuff to make sure I can afford to raid. Then I log out. On a Friday or Saturday night I might do some farming while listening to podcasts if nothing interesting is going on in the offline world. I really don’t play as much as I used to, but when I do, I grip my mouse and clench my teeth a lot.
It can be way more time consuming to play casually than to play hardcore.
What I realized, though, was that I forgot how fun doing non-raid stuff was. I did a lot of nothing in Zangarmash for no reason and I like it. I’m almost at 7000 achievement points. I don’t see any purpose to these points, but bigger numbers are prettier. I pwned a lot of AV n00bs. Ok, no I didn’t. But I healed the AV n00b pwners so it counts. And it felt good, it felt really, really good.
Taking the time do “useless” stuff ended up doing wonders for my mood. Sure, it would probably lose its effect if I did grinds every day. However, as a brief escape from reality, “useless stuff” had some use after all…
I’ll pull out my agenda right now and figure out how to plan a “casual” night into my weekly schedule… Maybe between 9:54 and 11:18 pm on Wednesdays? That sounds pretty good, no?