There seems to be some dispute about the definition of a casual gamer. As stated in my last column, I consider myself a casual gamer or as I like to call it a ‘Hero By Night’ (HBN). A friend of mine made the argument that I was not in fact a casual gamer. That got me thinking – What is a casual gamer? I asked several people about this and no one gave the same answer. So another friend of mine sat down with me and we discussed what it means to be a casual gamer. Here’s what we came up with.

There are three basic types of gamers. They are casual, Regulars and Hardcore players. Most everyone can fit into one of these three categories. That much we could agree on. The arguments began to arise when we tried to refine these definitions. We first tried to define the different groups by play time. We decided it was a bad idea to group them this way. The reasons for this became apparent as we started to discuss it. We know people who play pretty often and label themselves as casual gamers. Most of the time when I play it’s for an hour or two a few nights a week. I believe the reason I play so much is I pay for the game. I want to get the most for my money so I try to play a lot. Many other people may play a lot for this exact reason. So to simply label someone as a casual or regular gamer just because they played a lot or little didn’t sound right to us. We both agreed how well you know the game mechanics or if you know how to the play the game well doesn’t make you as a casual gamer. We also know hardcore gamers that don’t know game mechanics or how to play well.

So it took us a while to come to the simple conclusion that the type of gamer you are is determined by your actually play style, not often or how well you play the game. I know what you’re thinking. Duh! Well, just for our sakes I’ll say we wanted to explore every avenue possible.

So if play style defines what type of gamer you are, I suppose we have to define play styles. There is one more thing that will factor into the categories. The demands the game places on your real life. I’ll get to that when I explain the definitions. I’ll not get to in-depth because there could be an infinite number of variations.

Casual – This player has a very loose play style. When he/she logs on they might simply solo, they might group it really depends on the mood their in when they log on. They typically don’t level too quickly. When I say quickly you probably won’t see one shoot from level 10 to level 40 in a week. They typically have a group of people they play with regularly. They may or may not be in a Super Group. The game places no demands on them. They more then likely wouldn’t join a Super Group that did place demands on them.

Regulars – These players typically play a little more often. This type of gamer may solo but prefers a group especially when grinding XP. They may level fairly quickly. So you could see them jump a surprising number of levels in a week’s time. They’ll most likely be in a Super Group. This is usually to help get a group faster incase the people they normally group with aren’t on. The game does place demands on them. Super Group raids are scheduled events that they can participate in. Some are required others are not. They made need to play a certain amount of time to be stay in a Super Group. The Super group they are in may set other criteria that are required of them to do it.

Hardcore – These are the high level gamers. Typically, they hardly ever solo. Instead they focus on XP group grinds and high levels raids. They level up fairly quickly. The can raise a character from birth to the level cap in few weeks. They are part of a Super Group or are trying to get in one. The game places a great demand on their personal lives. Often they need to play a certain amount of hours a week and be logged on specific times.

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Now that we got that out of the way I’ll let you know how things are going in the world. From what I’ve experience from the patch it seems to be pretty awesome. The one major downside I see for me now is that Steel Canyon seems to be a bit laggy due to the sheer amount of people in the zone. Good thing I’ve finished my missions there and only need to go back for enhancements. I have stopped at Icon’s and change a bit of my outfit. I changed my gloves and my hair style for a reasonable price. I don’t like the new hair style but I’m stuck with it until I can save up enough money for my new enhancements. I’m looking forward to getting my new costumes. When I get the first one at 20 I want to make it a robotic costume so I can ‘Power Up’ like a few rangers that come to mind.

My next point of interest is about my blaster. I mentioned in my last column he wasn’t doing enough damage. I’m glad to say he’s now doing a respectable about amount. I figured out that you can replace enhancements by dropping the new enhancement on top of it instead of combining them. Wow. This was a revelation for me. Someone should write that down some where too. Needless to say I beefed up my Zapp and Lightning Bolt. 4 DO level 15 enhancements in my Zapp are mighty nice. At level fifteen I was 1 shot-ing even con minions. Since I hit 16 my damage has gone down. So it takes one extra shot to bring down a mob.

A good thing to note also is I’ve found a very good group of players to team with over the past week. I was introduced to them by a friend I know in RL. We have a good balance of people and everyone knows their roles really well. In the hours I’ve grouped with them I’ve only died once. (which is good since mobs seem to hate me for some reason) It was of course my fault for running around like a chicken with my head cut off and not staying close to the our healer. There is another Blaster in the group with Lightning as his primary. This is totally sweet as we can take out a boss or lieutenant from super far away. Here is the formula we use – (Build up + Zapp) x 2 = Destruction. Look it up, you’ll find it some where, I think.

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