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That Ol' Casual vs. Hardcore Debate...Should End

AuthorMessage
Historian
May 06, 2009
630
Since about Celestia, there's been this pretty obvious debate over whether the game should move to between a simple, calm casual play-style or a challenging, top-over-the-top hardcore play-style. Obviously, there are strong feels on both sides for what the game should/shouldn't be. But I wanted to just put my viewpoint on the whole 3 year long debate.

I'd like to avoid any thread-debate about this, but I'm very much in the middle. I'm much more concerned about stories and content rather than difficulty level and statistics. But when it comes to the more challenge and questing side of things, it becomes very divided. I've never been a fan of this whole divide between what people would like. It's can become very "passionate" (to say the least) and honestly, can really make it hard to go in a general direction.

What I, personally, feel that it should just stop. Casual players general trend toward gradual, stress-free content. Hard-core players like lots of challenging content that puts their strategies to the test. It just KI can no longer keep a balance. At one point, there was a perfect balance between what players wanted to do. They had multiple options.

I really liked it back in Wizard City to Dragonspyre where it was well evened out between challenging and story-driven. Everyone can agree that Wizard City-Marleybone are pretty easy worlds. However, they also had these side dungeons that, at the time, where difficult. Wizard City had Sunken City and Briskbreeze Tower, Krokotopia had the Tomb of the Beguiler, and Marleybone had Kensington Park. Afterwards, such dungeons just stopped coming.

After Briskbreeze, I feel as though KI tried to shove those hard challenges into the main content and compensate waiting Level 50's with some new back in Celestia. Short-termed yeah it pulled off, but long-termed, not so much. Now there are players who feel that game should be harder and others who think it should've sticked to the First Arc.

Like I said, I'm not a fan of this whole tug-o-war "Wizard101 should(n't) be this or that." But, I think it would've been completely beneficial to the community is KI making the game relatively simple with challenges being closer to Sunken City and Kensington Park at the time with thinly sprinkled "cheaters" and such and then having a major, flushed out, mapped side dungeon with challenges and rewards for the willing. Had they done that in Celestia-Khrysalis (with a few fixes to Crit./Block (making pretty simple to understand), quests & pets (both less repetitive), & crafting (fair gear for effort)), I feel like there would've been a lot more positive reviews of the 2nd Arc and the direction of the game.

As it stands now though, I just don't like how it's so... tug-o-war over difficulty and game direction. It doesn't seem like a good idea to continue on with Wizard101 until a lot of issues can be addressed in the 2nd Arc and making things really balance for everyone to have a good deal of fun.

Archon
Sep 17, 2012
4113
I have to disagree. Khrysalis has returned a lot of balance to the game. No offense but if you made it level 90 and through Azteca you are not a simple casual gamer anymore. They nerfed Avalon and Azteca already and Khrysalis is even easier than either. Celestia is the only world that really poses any "hardcore" challenge for it's level. When wizards can defeat almost any boss with just a couple blades, traps and a frog it's definitely not "hardcore". I'm not for hardcore gamin experience in w101, don't get me wrong. But there should be a few very hard challenges, and they have manaded that very well so far with Khrysalis. I do not like aspects of Part 2 though. Making everyone fight as a low level Death with no resist or deck control against much more powerful enemies with all the highest level spells is a bit much. It's still beta, so who knows how that might change in release. With Part 1 I would say they have restored the balance completely though.

Delver
Mar 05, 2013
241
You make some really good points. KI should hire you. I got involved in the tug of war and will never get involved in it again. Frankly I wish people would just use these boards for help, questions, constructive suggestions and things like that. No complaining, no bragging, no invective. I believe that KI subscribes to the school of thought that 'conflict equals interest'. I think they want conflict between members of their community, believing that it leads to spirited debate. That's possible. It pretty much so far has just led to senseless arguments. Much like all of the other gaming sites I've been involved in. One, which I will not name, had a CEO that actually went on CNN and claimed that he cultivated conflict in his members! Looked forward to it. I see much of the same thing here. I could, and probably am, wrong. Or someone will think I am. That's the beauty of Message Boards. All you have to do to start an argument is make a statement. And wait. Kudos on a well thought out post. 9577524235.

Defender
Dec 20, 2010
169
Historian
May 06, 2009
630
seethe42 on Apr 5, 2014 wrote:
I have to disagree. Khrysalis has returned a lot of balance to the game. No offense but if you made it level 90 and through Azteca you are not a simple casual gamer anymore. They nerfed Avalon and Azteca already and Khrysalis is even easier than either. Celestia is the only world that really poses any "hardcore" challenge for it's level. When wizards can defeat almost any boss with just a couple blades, traps and a frog it's definitely not "hardcore". I'm not for hardcore gamin experience in w101, don't get me wrong. But there should be a few very hard challenges, and they have manaded that very well so far with Khrysalis. I do not like aspects of Part 2 though. Making everyone fight as a low level Death with no resist or deck control against much more powerful enemies with all the highest level spells is a bit much. It's still beta, so who knows how that might change in release. With Part 1 I would say they have restored the balance completely though.
I don't disagree with some of your points. Khrysalis Part 1 did really make use of a more balance quest plot and challenge (with a hit of repetitive quests). I'm not claiming I'm a casual gamer, just an experience one. Celestia is an area I would agree needs more attention for the oncoming now Level 44's. And I do believe those nerfs to Avalon and Azteca did pay off for the oncoming players. And I don't disagree with having a challenge once and awhile either. There were plenty of those in the First Arc.

All I'm saying is that debates and arguments toward which style of play the game should be should stop. Some players want it this way, others that (which will always happen). I'm suggesting KI put more work into future content (and some past ones) that include some option challenges for those to desire it and leave the game at a moderate, speckled-very-challenged way.

But yes, the last 3 worlds of the 2nd Arc (especially Khrysalis Part 1) are about on point with a balance setting.

Delver
Mar 05, 2013
241
Here's the typical casual vs. hardcore thingy. Player A complains about a certain boss or World being too hard. Maybe Player B and C agree. Here's where it gets so interesting. Player D and E immediately come in and say, and I'll paraphrase 'I found that very easy. All you need to do is get such and such gear or use such and such treasure cards or use such and such strategy.' Which is all well and good. But if you do a serious look at all of the threads that relate to casual vs. hardcore, it's always the same players taking the hardcore stance. Oh, and claiming they're not hardcore players. And then there might be a smattering of other players saying 'oh yeah that was easy, they just suck as gamers.'
Really? I hate to tell you this, but this is a gaming community. We have members, players from all walks of life, with all kinds of different skill sets. Different home lives, different everything. When someone posts that they are having trouble, and soon enough the same bunch of players come in and say how easy that was for them what do you think the OP thinks?
I'm guessing they're not feeling so good about it.
You know why the Casual vs. Hardcore debate should end?
Because it's wrong. It's illogical, immaterial, is based on different perspectives, different goals, different likes and dislikes.
And most importantly, it hurts people. I challenge you, the next time someone wants an area made more simple, imagine that that person might have mental issues, might not be as smart as you, might have self esteem issues...
And then type. Think before you hit submit.

Delver
Mar 05, 2013
241
To add on to what I just posted regarding difficulty, KingsIsle has been more than benevolent as far as providing difficult content for their players. Waterworks. Tower of the Helephant. Briskbreeze Tower. Kensington Court. The entire zone of Aquila. Oh wait, you're going to post back and tell me how easy all of those were. Right. Then you woke up. Look inside yourselves and decide to be part of a community, or continue to be a sneering side group in your community that, just because you can do it, you think everyone should be able to do it. We'll let KingsIsle sort it out. They're the ultimate bosses after all.
I look forward to the future whining.

Adherent
Jul 03, 2010
2638
seethe42 on Apr 5, 2014 wrote:
I have to disagree. Khrysalis has returned a lot of balance to the game. No offense but if you made it level 90 and through Azteca you are not a simple casual gamer anymore. They nerfed Avalon and Azteca already and Khrysalis is even easier than either. Celestia is the only world that really poses any "hardcore" challenge for it's level. When wizards can defeat almost any boss with just a couple blades, traps and a frog it's definitely not "hardcore". I'm not for hardcore gamin experience in w101, don't get me wrong. But there should be a few very hard challenges, and they have manaded that very well so far with Khrysalis. I do not like aspects of Part 2 though. Making everyone fight as a low level Death with no resist or deck control against much more powerful enemies with all the highest level spells is a bit much. It's still beta, so who knows how that might change in release. With Part 1 I would say they have restored the balance completely though.
Finally something we totally agree on- if you trudge though AZ you are no longer are a Casual Gamer any more.

Other wise the original post is on point with the way it is really and we all know my thoughts on the game so I don't need to add anything.

Mary

Adherent
Feb 07, 2011
2920
Northlite on Apr 8, 2014 wrote:
Finally something we totally agree on- if you trudge though AZ you are no longer are a Casual Gamer any more.

Other wise the original post is on point with the way it is really and we all know my thoughts on the game so I don't need to add anything.

Mary
Mary, I appreciate your posts and contributions to these boards. We agree on a great many things, but this is not one of them.

All but one of my wizards are in the second arc; I have 3 prometheans in Khrysalis, but I am by no means a hardcore player. I play for fun, and I take lots of breaks... I'm on one right now, haven't played in a week because it wasn't fun anymore. And, if it's not fun, why would I continue to play? I'll go back when I feel like it.

Most of you guys already know my stance on cheat bosses in the main quest line. I guess I just don't understand why it's so hard for KI to keep all of us happy. I don't mind sharing my in-game space with the uber/professional set, but they are not the only ones who play this game.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with the debate, either. Debating is not the same as fighting, and conflict is healthy and normal.

-von

Squire
Sep 07, 2011
593
I like a balance. I enjoy a good challenge from time to time, but I don't want much of the main line questing to be so hard I can't do it without help. I am OK with cheats and hard bosses for milestones like world ends, spell or pet quests, or special side dungeons that drop great gear, but every fight shouldn't be "omg, I hope I don't get stunned and crit to death before I can cast a spell". A lot of people thought AZ was over the top, so KI nerfed it a bit. Makes sense.

"When someone posts that they are having trouble, and soon enough the same bunch of players come in and say how easy that was for them what do you think the OP thinks?
I'm guessing they're not feeling so good about it."

One of the hazards of free speech is that people are as free to disagree with your position as you are to express it. We shouldn't insult or attack people we disagree with, but don't have to validate them.

I have seen a lot of comments on this forum about how "_____ is too hard" or "____ is impossible". Most of the time "____" can be done without too much struggle using the right tools. Most of the time those tools are available, but the player complaining has chosen not to use them. Why coddle those complainers? Use the good advice offered by more successful players. Work to overcome your limits before you ask to have the game redesigned around them.

Defender
Aug 25, 2013
147
I know this post is somewhat old but I believe I have a point that needs to be made.

Khrysalis (as most people can agree) seemed to be a step back in terms of difficulty. Where as Azteca constantly had me feel like I was one unblocked critical away from doom, or one fizzled satyr away from dying, the place where I think KI has focused more has been on team play.

The new "Team Up" feature is pretty much proof of that. On my first wizard (death) i soloed pretty much everything, save the few dungeons where that's pretty much impossible (Mirror Lake, Xibalbla, etc.)

However in Khrysalis, I found myself constantly teaming up with some of my lower level friends. This is now impossible too because KI has made it so that players must enter these instance dungeons on the sigils only.

This has created a huge problem for me in some ways because unfortunately, a lot of my friends have left Wiz for one reason or another. And the ones who remain are not able to help me because they can no longer port in to help me. I do not like this because a level 90 can help a low level character get through Tomb of the Beguiler or Kensington park with no trouble whatsoever. But at level 95 I can't have a level 76 port in to help me? Just seems like that is kind of backward.

This is where I think KI can really settle this whole argument. Just because someone is a way lower level doesn't mean they can't be helpful when going through the newer worlds. So in the end, gamers seeking a challenge can have it, while people who are looking to have a good time can invite their friends and have a moderately tough time, but one that I bevel will be overall enjoyable.

Just my bit of input, hope maybe KI will consider what I'm saying someday, whether said by me or someone else

John RavenCatcher - lvl95
John StormWalker - lvl95
John DragonPyre - lvl51
John FrostShard - lvl42

"Bambi is my old name.
Now.. Now they call me Deer Knight."

Defender
Aug 25, 2013
147
Gemma Luna on Apr 9, 2014 wrote:
I like a balance. I enjoy a good challenge from time to time, but I don't want much of the main line questing to be so hard I can't do it without help. I am OK with cheats and hard bosses for milestones like world ends, spell or pet quests, or special side dungeons that drop great gear, but every fight shouldn't be "omg, I hope I don't get stunned and crit to death before I can cast a spell". A lot of people thought AZ was over the top, so KI nerfed it a bit. Makes sense.

"When someone posts that they are having trouble, and soon enough the same bunch of players come in and say how easy that was for them what do you think the OP thinks?
I'm guessing they're not feeling so good about it."

One of the hazards of free speech is that people are as free to disagree with your position as you are to express it. We shouldn't insult or attack people we disagree with, but don't have to validate them.

I have seen a lot of comments on this forum about how "_____ is too hard" or "____ is impossible". Most of the time "____" can be done without too much struggle using the right tools. Most of the time those tools are available, but the player complaining has chosen not to use them. Why coddle those complainers? Use the good advice offered by more successful players. Work to overcome your limits before you ask to have the game redesigned around them.
i posted a reply but somehow missed this so let me also say I agree with this point.

Like i posted above this game is obviously easier when you can have friends or fellow wizards help you out. But most of this game can be done solo if you utilize the tools that the game has in order to overcome the particularly challenging parts.

Just wanted to say well said, Gemma Luna, well said.

Hero
Feb 26, 2012
717
I think you have said it very well, Cunning Finnigan.

I personally wish they had kept to the balance of the earlier worlds, where general game play was casual, yet areas for harder more strategic experiences were available for those who want them. This is really not that difficult to pull off, and it worked very well.

Bringing the harder stuff into the main storyline experience turned a lot of players off. I have seen many posts from parents and grandparents, myself included, who started playing Wizard101 because their very excited and happy children pulled them into the game. But then, once the mainline difficulty changed in Celestia, many of us saw our children stop playing, and we found that a lot of the delight in the game disappeared -- not just for our children, but for the child in us that also found delight in the game.

I have invested a lot of time and money in the game, but it seems that the more I invest, the more just gets taken away. It does not have to be that way. KI had a very successful model that had great reviews from professional game magazines and happy kids. Why they changed the model in the second arc is a complete mystery to me.

I think the solution is still to keep the main storyline and all instances on it playable by the casual player who just wants to enjoy a casual family game. Keep hard strategic play in side quests, side dungeons, PVP, and the like, for those who want to go there. It does not have to be a tug-of-war, either/or situation. Then players can gravitate to the parts of the game that suit them, and everyone can get some enjoyment according to what they want to invest in the game.

Thanks for the thread, Cunning Finnigan. It is a good contribution.

Defender
Jul 26, 2009
169
Generally. I hate this debate as well.

Anyone who says this is anywhere close to a hardcore game, Has never came close. And anyone saying the game is too hard, i don't understand how they made it through Dragonspyre.

The difficulty on the second arc is on a lower scale than it was on the first arc. Proportionately, our wizards are much stronger than before and can 3 hit mobs with the best gear, Exactly the same as in the low level worlds. The bosses are easier, Proportionately.

In lower level worlds, Monsters deal 1/5 of your health a turn when your in the best gear, and you can one hit them relatively fast. The same holds true, But in high level worlds you can go as tanky as you want and clear without any problem, amusing you put the time in for gear, and make a blade kill deck of about 15 Cards.

The real problem is deck size, and the fact you have to farm for your gear similarly to the level 50 gear. People will blow these opportunities to make the game easier, Continue to build decks with rank 3 spells and get into trouble, and then come on the forums saying its a hard core game. Its a very laid back strategy game, where you either choose to make it easy on yourself or hard, Depending on your own choices.

I think a lot of people are also Miss-Using the word "Hard core Gamer", As its the term for A.) A person who thinks and fantasies about their wizard, And / Or B.) Has looked into the varying strategies for the wizard. Anyone who plays more than 3 hours is a hard core, Average is 1-2 hours, Casual would be an hour.

The Idea that one of these "Groups" Owns the game is absurd, as the game is very low level compared to "Hard Core" Games, While on a higher level than most other games. The main story line includes 0 Theory crafting, Except for cheating bosses at the end of a major cross roads. The fact it only takes 2 4 Bladed attack spells to kill a Mob, And a 3rd to kill a boss (Throw in a dispel for a cheating boss) Makes the game Very casual friendly.

Adherent
Feb 07, 2011
2920
FinnAgainWindrider on Apr 10, 2014 wrote:
I think you have said it very well, Cunning Finnigan.

I personally wish they had kept to the balance of the earlier worlds, where general game play was casual, yet areas for harder more strategic experiences were available for those who want them. This is really not that difficult to pull off, and it worked very well.

Bringing the harder stuff into the main storyline experience turned a lot of players off. I have seen many posts from parents and grandparents, myself included, who started playing Wizard101 because their very excited and happy children pulled them into the game. But then, once the mainline difficulty changed in Celestia, many of us saw our children stop playing, and we found that a lot of the delight in the game disappeared -- not just for our children, but for the child in us that also found delight in the game.

I have invested a lot of time and money in the game, but it seems that the more I invest, the more just gets taken away. It does not have to be that way. KI had a very successful model that had great reviews from professional game magazines and happy kids. Why they changed the model in the second arc is a complete mystery to me.

I think the solution is still to keep the main storyline and all instances on it playable by the casual player who just wants to enjoy a casual family game. Keep hard strategic play in side quests, side dungeons, PVP, and the like, for those who want to go there. It does not have to be a tug-of-war, either/or situation. Then players can gravitate to the parts of the game that suit them, and everyone can get some enjoyment according to what they want to invest in the game.

Thanks for the thread, Cunning Finnigan. It is a good contribution.
I agree with all of this, Finn.

The main quest arc should be doable by everyone, including the most-inexperienced solo player. I should not have to be an experienced gamer to enjoy myself. Keep the long/cheaty dungeons as optional and leave the rest of us alone~ the hardcore set can create their own "challenges", but the base game cannot be made easier for those who are struggling.

I sometimes enjoy doing those long, torturous instances with friends. But we are all adults with offline lives, and meeting up is a challenge in itself... Most of the girls are 2-4 hours behind me, so the only way to meet up with them is to stay up until 4 in the morning (which, as an adult who supports herself financially and has a full-time job, is not practical or responsible). Not everyone has an army of friends who are available 24/7.

Long story short, the magic that drew me to the game is gone. I liked it better when all the annoying cheaty instances were optional (and only optional, not hidden/disguised as normal storyline quests).

-von

Delver
Oct 11, 2010
270
anyone can be an end game geared wizard without much trouble. this is not everquest. so far all content can be soloed by most/all schools who have good pet setups and gear. I dont expect that to change. The only things you can not get that are the best would be wands such as the tiki wand with 85critica/80block pack only.

a normal and hard mode would be nice to see... harder should also give better drops and chance of drops hades is a joke with a team of 4 why not beef that up and improve the drops like water works the ger there drops properly.

cheers,

Geographer
Aug 28, 2010
953
I can remember when my youngest brother started playing this, and how often
he had to ask me for help. It takes time to learn a game, and some learn much
faster than others.
For the players that complain, I can understand their point, this is suppose to be
a family game. If it's a family game, KI expects young players to be playing, and
that is a solid reason for people to come to the boards and say, it's too hard.

For the players that want more of a challenge, KI could always add an option.
Go into World A gate, and it will be easier, go into World B gate, and it will be
harder. Or they could just add side dungeons for better gear for a harder
battle. KI has lots of options to keep it players happy, and this debate could end.

Plus after we reach level 100, the game could change, and maybe it's time it should.
Instead of just battling a Boss or dungeon over and over and over, it could be
something like a quest, with completely different battles. Again, a Bear of a Battle
route, and a basic battle route. KI has tons of options, let's hope they give us some.