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📝 Dev Discussion #61 - Time Dedication ⌛



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    LeukaelLeukael Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I will say people generally tend to conflate expertise with performance often. Sometimes people know a lot but aren't able to do the thing themselves. You can know all about painting and not be great at it. Are you any less an expert? Something to think on when considering this question.
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    OrymOrym Member
    Im gonna tell you exactly when I realised I was a casual and what differed me from an expert player mindset.

    It was when I watched KungenTV play fallout 4. It was short after release and none had much experience in it at all. I watched him absolutely bitch some monsters by ease, wich I personally had struggled with.

    He did so by chugging and stacking some potions or whatever it was so he got a huge damage bonus (the
    potions had some negative effects aswell, hence I did not think of even using them, even less stacking them).
    That was when I realised I do not use everything the game has to offer me and use it in a smart way.
    Nore me or Kungen had much experience but because he already had the "expert" mindset he knew how to use whatever it took to become the best you can.

    So in short. No, it does not necessarely require time commitment to become an expert or hardcore player but more like be prepared to use everything the game has to offer in a smart way.
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    How much time do you think someone should invest in order to become an expert at an MMORPG?
    In order to be an "expert" at an MMORPG, one would need to be playing the game nearly exclusively for 2-3 years at 10-20 hours per week. Usually the first year of an MMORPG you are getting your feet wet in all the different activities and systems, exploring the world and discovering all the different zones and POI's, then the second year you start becoming more proficient at these systems and activities, crafting high level gear, taking on raid bosses, etc., then after that second year, you really start to hone in on min-maxing and becoming an expert at the game.
    What are the differences between an expert player versus a casual player - time commitment, skill, and game knowledge?
    When I think of an expert player, I think of someone with thousands of hours in the game, has done crafting, raiding, PVP, etc. at high levels, and knows the game systems, maps, etc. inside and out. Casual players on the other hand I feel like focusing on more easily accessible content, such as crafting, seasonal events, story or normal difficulty dungeons or raids, but generally don't participate in challenging or expert tier raiding or PVP. They could have a high amount of accumulated hours in the game, but generally their week to week time is minimal, so it's important to access this "casual" content more quickly and easily.
    What are the differences you see in casual vs expert-level play on a day-to-day basis in your favorite MMORPGs?
    The main differences are playing their roles effectively. Expert tanks can grab and hold aggro, position the boss/mobs properly, use CDs during big hits, expert DPS can not only do high damage (which will be difficult to see in Ashes group content), but they also use any CDs effectively and take minimal damage, and expert healers not only can keep the tank alive, and use their CDs correctly, but also sprinkle in some DPS depending on the game.
    Do you feel you're an expert in some MMORPGs or systems within them, but not in others? If so, please explain :)
    I usually strive to be an expert at the most challenging PvE content, however I admit when it comes to PvP, especially small groups (1v1, 3v3, 5v5), I definitely struggle, but as I mentioned, I don't spend a lot of time in PvP and spend significant time in PvE raids/dungeons, so my expertise reflects this. I am, however, very excited for the large scale PvP in Ashes with the castle sieges, node sieges, caravan system, etc. The only PvP I really tend to enjoy is large scale (my most current exposure was GW2's WvWvW system).
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    MorashtakMorashtak Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    It depends.

    It's difficult to master the many complex, intertwined systems in an MMO due to the amount of time one would need to dedicate to it. A player with very little personal demands on them could get close quicker than a player with many demands who would need to highly optimize the little time available to them.
    - A player could get close to mastering the different systems by using both in-game and out-of-game resources to expand their knowledge of game systems.
    - They could get close by knowing who to go to for the answer, for the material, for the process master. One could know enough of the various processes to be able to ask the correctly worded question to get the specific answer they are looking for.
    - They might never be the best in a PvP encounter but be able to assist those aspiring to be the best in PvP by knowing what gear is needed and where to get it as well as the websites to find the best rotations and strategies.
    - They might never be the best crafter due to time constraints but could network with other players to know who to go to for gear materials, etc.
    - A player with severe time constraints might find a way to be a great help to others without ever mastering any one system themselves - a Master of knowledge, so to speak.
    - A player who is able to dedicate many hours a day might master a few systems as well as know the players that have mastered others, expanding their in-game network to fill in the holes of their knowledge and abilities.

    Of course the reverse is true - A player could play many, many hours a day but never be interested in any game system, content to just wander around aimlessly having no impact on the game world.

    If a player can't be a system master they can know where to find those who are.
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    arkileoarkileo Member, Settler, Kickstarter
    I'll use Bloom's Taxonomy to help describe what I see an expert as:
    A person is an expert in a given system if they're able to perform the verbs in the Evaluation, Synthesis, and Analysis sections of the taxonomy during use of the system.

    Knowledge is certainly required to be an expert, but the knowledge does not make the expert.

    I'll use playing as a cleric as an example, with their skills and abilities as the system. Granted, I'm not an expert at cleric so I'm making assumptions.

    Knowledge: You know what your skills and augments are and do - This does not make you an expert, you can get this from the wiki.

    Comprehension: This goes hand-in-hand with knowledge, you know what skill to use when a party member is low on health vs full health - This does not make you an expert

    Application: You are able to use your skills at the correct times to keep you and your party alive, you understand casting times and how to accomplish a basic task - This does not make you an expert

    Analysis: You can look at your potential augments and understand the way your augments will interact with your augments, and make inferences using your base knowledge, meaning you can judge implicitly what effect taking an augment will have. - Now we're getting somewhere

    Synthesis: You can pull together all of your skills into effective rotations and use augments to their fullest. You can plan out how you will heal during an encounter, effectively managing your mana, and you can coordinate other healers with implicit judgement. - You're practically an expert

    Evaluation: You can get into heated arguments on the AoC discord over the minute details of one augment vs another and defend why you think one is better than the other, and you might even be right. - You're an expert, Harry

    So then what is a casual?
    To me, a casual is a person who is not an expert in any systems. I say any because realistically, expertise in one system is going to depend on understanding of other systems. As a cleric, you're going to need to understand the damage mitigating abilities of the tank in order to heal them most effectively, for example, or a crafter will need to understand how the loot system or trading system works in order to acquire recipes and materials.

    A person who is an expert in many or maybe even all systems would be called hardcore. So by my definitions, casual is one end of a spectrum while hardcore is on the other, with expertise being the measuring device of where you are on the spectrum.

    How does this relate to time spent?
    Becoming an expert takes a lot of time, not only because of the knowledge-gathering element, but also because you need to experience the system to really understand it, to internalize its concepts and apply principles without really thinking about them. You also need to dabble in every system that relates to a system to understand how they interact.

    So how about a number? Hard to say. My gut answer is in the hundreds of hours area to become an expert in a single system, though gaining expertise in a system will come a lot faster after the first due to exposure. Personally, I'd like to never be an expert in everything, but I'd like to try to be. Learning and experimenting is where the fun comes from. Once total expertise is achieved, you're just coasting, hoping for emergent gameplay to happen, or blowing time on the forums complaining about how the content cadence is too slow because you swallow it whole every time, you know, the average WoW raider.
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    RymRym Member
    edited March 5
    1. "Expert" and "Casual" can be subjective terms. What does being an expert or a casual mean to you?
    2. What are the differences you see in casual vs expert-level play on a day-to-day basis in your favorite MMORPGs?
    3. Is total time spent in an MMORPG an important factor to you?
    4. Do you feel you're an expert in some MMORPGs or systems within them, but not in others? If so, please explain :)

    Disclaimer: I'm a semi-professional gamer and MMO player, I don't think I can be considered professional because I'm not a streamer or a youtuber, if I were I would be considered a professional instead, earning money from gaming, which is what I believe makes a "professional". I am in the stages of considering streaming once Ashes of Creation begins, currently using a Super UltraWide 32:9 monitor which has it's own quirks to figure out when it comes to streaming though (do I want to try for that super cinematic experience for the viewer, or instead do some trickery with OBS that allows it to stream only half of my screen, effectively 16:9? A question for another day, another time.)

    1. There are indeed large differences between a Casual and an Expert to me subjectively. Being a Casual to me means a player that gets into the game only to have fun, plays the game anywhere from 30 minutes to maybe 2 hours a day. A casual is not super invested in their game or the game world, some games simply don't warrant this type of investment to begin with anyway. Their character progression will be slower, and whether they're a good performer or not is not their concern. A casual derives fun from simply playing the game. Subjectively I believe this is the majority of players, having fun by simply playing a game is how 99% of casual games are intended. You log in, have fun, log out. As long as you have fun, the game has longevity.

    Games that can provide casuals with fun and experts with challenges and rewards are the best, because an MMO is required to provide for the casual audience, which is the vast majority of players in the game.

    Personally, I also derive fun from simply playing the game, but more than that I have fun from extremely challenging content, where all odds are pitied against me. Fighting players of equal skill to my own or greater is a great pleasure, seeing an opponent bring to bear the full power of their character's kit where the deciding factor between victory and death is only a small mistake in your strategy is exhilirating. Completing challenges either solo or in group against overwhelming odds and being adequately rewarding is also greatly addicting. The rewards need not be overwhelmingly powerful equipment, unique skins, one of a kind mounts, one of a kind titles (The Necromancer in FFXIV was quite fun to get as well) as symbols of one's prestige are sometimes even more important than a piece of powerful equipment. An expert can see anywhere from 2 hours to 12+ hours a day spent on the game, the main limiting factor being other real life responsibilities. Even though both an expert and a casual can play 2 hours a day for example, the difference in their skill is still vast, due to various reasons, see point 3.

    2. When a casual plays bad, or does not perform optimally or to the maximum power of their character and class, they don't really care. They're having fun and that's all that matters in the end.

    For me this is not the case, if I play bad it means there is a problem that needs to be fixed. I strive to perform to the utmost performance of my character in both PvE and PvP content, but especially in PvP content. Unless in #1, there is room for improvement, and I WILL be looking for improvement. The fastest and easiest area to improve in is pure skill, while the areas in which it takes longer to improve is the character itself requiring better gear, better accessories, better weapons and so on. I may be okay with being #3 or #5 on the leaderboards, as long as I'm #1 in my own class ranking. If I'm not, then I'm aiming for whoever is on top. Chasing the top spot, being the most powerful, the very best, is an exhilirating experience and a goal to achieve. There is a lot of fun to be had in fulfilling such goals, and meeting like minded players with great skill is a beautiful feeling. Even in such a competitive mindset you can forge powerful friendships with other adventurers.

    3. Total time spent in an MMORPG is important to me, it equates with experience, skill, and knowledge. In order to become stronger, more powerful, you need experience. With experience comes knowledge, and experience and knowledge are the red carpets to skyrocketing your skill. Of course, you can brute-force your way to a higher skill level, but unless you have knowledge of the game systems and other classes, how they perform, what skills they have, how they play, you WILL be at a disadvantage. Not knowing what your opponents do is a death sentence, and pure skill alone cannot compensate every time. It is a major help to be sure, but both knowledge and experience are needed and work hand in hand towards improving a player.

    Funnily enough, improvement in MMOs also means improvements in a vast array of games, and including real life work and situations. I think the only games that don't see a direct improvement from MMO experience are shooters, because they are so different.

    4. I'm an expert when it comes to most MMO systems, I find them very easy to assimilate and understand, even systems I have never seen before do not take long before they are completely understood and assimilated into my gameplay and style. I sometimes also predict predatory RNG systems from my prior experience in Aion, though I abhor these systems as they tie your player progression to the whim of an RNG system that is both unfair and works against you if you're an unlucky person, and with you if you're a lucky person.

    However, ironically I tend to sometimes struggle with economy in MMOs, though this had gotten better over time, I think this is my main weak point, and most of this is due to me spending my currency on skins rather than on improving my character, or repeatedly doing the mistake of getting bored of my current character, re-routing resources to another character only to realize later I wasn't actually bored of my main character. This is a huge waste of resources and time I need to work on and improve in the future.

    All in all, I think the best MMOs offer a good balance of both casual and hardcore competitive content. Not being able to relax doing activities such as fishing, playing minigames with friends, logging, housing, herb gathering, making potions etc can cause burnout in even the most hardcore players. I like to have enough friends where I can have fun in both casual and expert parts of the game.

    And at the end of the day, in my opinion MMOs that offer more content for casuals than for experts are the type of MMO that has a long life, because more than 90% of the playerbase is made out of casuals.

    When I look at Ashes of Creation, I DON'T want to see another WoW, I want to see a unique MMO that brings it's own goods and bads to the table. Some players won't like it, others will run away. Some will love it, from what I've seen so far, I'm loving it.

    If I can offer my two cents of feedback / advice / idea, I think what makes a game fun to play has a lot to do with it's combat systems. When all is said and done, and the day is done, and there is a content drought. What kept me playing all those years in Aion? What kept me going? Two things: The ranking system second, and the combat first.

    Combat should have a type of palpable feedback to your actions, it shouldn't feel "flat", as if your actions don't really have an impact in the world. How do you fix it? Well, actually, you guys are half-way there already with your chosen combat system. I abhor the archaic global cooldown system, your system appears to be more animation-based, which is way better already. What can be improved to make the combat feel more alive and punchy is a careful tuning of spell effects and how they interact with your character, the world, and the sound effects.

    Btw, I think the sound effects are amazing so far. The best I've seen from any MMO to date.
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    FrissFriss Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Met Many experts. I'm not one of them.
    It's a combination, they are efficient. Maximize. dedicated. it's not hours played. But in some cases is a factor.
    I will say this much, I have yet to meet one still that spends a lot of their time on the forums. But there are forum experts.
    I try to get on here as much as i can, but a big concern of mine is that the actual players of the game, the actual pvpers, the majority, will never even post on the forums. How do you reach THEM?
    I've run into a lot of people that are all "talk" and when they make guilds etc, vs when they actually PLAY Games.... two completely dif things. I really hope a lot of these major game changes etc, aren't being made by people who "think" they are experts.
    And there's WAYYY too many that think they are.
    If they call themselves an expert. Most likely not an expert.
    Numbers don't lie. I really hope intrepid Reaches out to the top players.
    the ones playing the market, the ones getting the most kills, highest heals, most caravans run etc etc. And get info from them, but also from the people at the bottom. It's important to talk to the experts, and noobs like me.

    on a side note: take a game that's been out a long time(OSRS). Pvpers, casual players, skillers, pvmers, and The forum players.
    They all have dif opinions, an EXPERTY MOVE, would be to put a poll booth like osrs has at every bank in a city etc. And get a feel for what players actually vote for. (gotta identify bots etc but still).
    A forum "expert" is dif from a pvp exeprt, pvm etc etc.

    Anyone who does something IN GAME. at a high level, including game time....would be an expert imo.
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    realblankspacerealblankspace Member, Leader of Men, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    The question is flawed from the start but I love the discussion and decided to post.

    Time spent in a game doesn't always directly equate to mastery of game systems, knowledge retention, or skill improvement.

    Anyone can pour hours into a hobby but still do it rather poorly, just with more time invested.

    There are some game systems where time dedication can lead to the player being an expert by almost default. For example a crafter who harvests their own materials might know the best routes through trial and error to maximize time and speed of material return. They have more resources so they know which types of crafted stats are needed or wanted on armor, weapons, building blueprints, or whatever crafted item that is in either high demand and needs large stockpiles of mats or easier to craft faster selling items (think potions here).

    To describe an expert player I would be looking for someone who I would consider a subject matter expert in a topic, a part of the game, or a game system. Occasionally these are players who help create meta gameplay through the process of trying outside the box thinking and applying it to the game in interesting and creative ways.

    To describe a casual player, I would describe those who have less time to play in comparison to your guilds/communities in general.

    Is total time spent in an MMORPG important to me personally? Not really. Ability to follow directions, teamwork, dedication to tasks, willingness to fail and develop new strats based on the failures are much more important factors.

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    LadyDebLadyDeb Member
    I think time investment to become an "Expert" at any MMORPG is dependent on each player's personal skill. For some, it comes naturally, for others, they have to work at it, so the timing is going to be different for each person. Basically, you can't put a price tag on time to become knowledgeable, but time doing something repeatedly does help.

    So to call someone "expert" is really just each person's personal opinion too. It's all about the time and emotional investment in my opinion. Time spent learning, researching, practicing, explaining, etc. If you do it, you have a chance to become an expert, if you do not, then no way will you even be thought of as a reliable source, let alone as an expert.

    To me, the difference between casual and expert is huge. An expert will have spent time researching his "expert" topic as well as invested time practicing it, watching videos, making videos, notes, etc and actually learn to execute mechanics and abilities to perform and understand something better and be able to explain it to others. A casual will just go in every day or less, not really pay attention, and not try to get better by understanding why he/she died to a certain mechanic. A casual will just go back into the same scenario and do the same thing expecting the same results.
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    FalkathFalkath Member
    I think that the difference between an expert and a casual is the amount of hours put into the subject, not only to learn the basic mechanics but to know every hidden secret of it.
    On day to day basis a casual vs expert level player can be in so many forms, expert trader on a caravan vs casual bandits. Expert small scale PvP guild engaging a bigger but inexperienced guild. A master in a proficiency making maximum profit compared to a casual just enjoying his time gathering.

    The difference between expert and casual should be that an expert is rewarded for spending so much time practicing, learning, testing,... in commerce it would be about profitability, in PvP or PvE it would be the skill cap being very high. I think this is the most important part of the question on how deep do you want the game to be, if we're going to spend thousand of hours playing it we need to feel like we're learning everyday and that it's paying.

    On Archeage I consider myself to have been a good raid leader, I knew every tricks for small/medium scale PvP and I could explain to the members of my raid exactly what I wanted them to do with their own class because I studied every skill tree and variations to know exactly what to use and when. Then with my guild we raided every day for a few years, practice against each others and in the open world against other guilds and we became the best at small/medium scale PvP. That was our reward, and we worked hard for it. This is what I hope to feel when I play Ashes of Creation I can put my mind into learning deep into a system and be satisfied to see I've become an expert at it. But for that, we need very deep and complex systems !
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    LeonerdoLeonerdo Member
    It might be cliche, but maybe the idea that "MMOs are a job" is a good framework for viewing this topic. Of course that doesn't apply to every player, but some people certainly treat it like a job, sometimes taking it as far as a career. Let's look at what the most dedicated players tend to do in an MMO:

    - Grind chores/gruntwork for several hours a day
    - Grind high-end content or compete in PvP for several more hours
    - Practice/train their skills to make sure they can perform
    - Strict scheduling with "co-workers" for raids and GvG
    - Some kind of performance review (DPS meters, raid logs, and such)
    - Study various resources on the internet
    - Mentoring newer guildmates/friends
    - And some of them even monetize their gaming, by selling gold/clears or being a content creator

    If you do all that, you're definitely an expert. But 99% of people aren't going to go that far.. Can you still be an "expert"?

    Yeah, I think so. I'd argue that only two or three of those bullet points are required to be an expert in at least one part of the game. You don't HAVE to treat it like a job. As long as you do high-end or competitive content, you take it seriously, and you find more success in it than failure, you're probably good enough to be called an expert.

    So how much work/time does that take? Well in a typical MMO, I'd say 10-15 hours a week. Because 1) you always gotta do a few chores to keep up with gear; 2) you have to study strats a bit, for whatever the current raids are or whatever the PvP meta is; and 3) you have to actually do the hard content to keep your skills up and prove yourself constantly. If it were possible to cut out the first one (definitely not possible in AoC), you'd still need 6-8 hours a week to prog raids or grind ranked arena matches or whatever it is people do in GvG (sorry, all my experience is in themeparks).

    But there's one other thing that's important here, and that is the player's attitude/ambition. It's very easy to play an MMO for 20 hours a week while still being turbo casual. If anything, I'd say that WHAT a player spends their time on is way more important to being an expert than HOW MUCH time they spend. Do they grind whatever is fun/easy/convenient/comfortable, or do they grind for a purpose -- to gear up or improve in some way? Do they talk with friends just to shoot the shit, or do they discuss game plans, builds, and strategies? Do they browse social media just to revel in all the cool stuff that comes from an MMO and it's community, or are they looking for guides, tips, and nuanced knowledge to give them an edge in battle (or at the market, I guess)?

    And there's one thing that's NOT as important as you might think. And that's overall experience. Playing one game for a long time makes it more familiar, but doesn't necessarily make you better at it. There are plenty of casuals who are happy to log in every day for literally a decade, without accomplishing anything of note except maintaining friendships (still a worthy way to spend your time, IMO). And there are people who pick up a new game and rush to end-game raiding within a month. (Those people probably have years of experience in other MMOs... but let's ignore that for now.)

    Hmm. Let me walk that back a little bit though. While being a veteran isn't required when it comes to DEPTH of expertise, it is quite necessary when it comes to BREADTH. If you want to be an expert of an MMO in it's entirety, you're probably going to need a couple years at minimum, simply because there's a lot of systems/content and so many options within each of those. If you can master one part of the game (let's say raiding, on one class) in a month, but there's 8 classes and several types of content and 85 nodes and also all of the crafting and economic stuff... well I think you get the picture. Being an expert IN an MMO isn't that tough, being an expert OF an MMO, across all of it's varied gameplay, is going to take a lot more time.

    Anyways, I really don't know where I'm going with this. It was mostly just stream-of-consciousness thoughts (as you can tell from all the questions I was asking myself.) Oh well.

    I guess my point is that being an expert is mostly about attitude. Yeah, it still requires a fair amount of time too, but being good at an MMO, or at least one part of it, shouldn't require you to treat it like a job. Unless you want it to be.
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    To become an expert, you not only have to put in the hours, but have the intellectual capacity to understand and comprehend details about MMORPG's. You can have 10,000 hours+ playing MMORPG's and still not be good or understand what is happening all the time. The difference between expert and casual is simply time and comprehension. You have to have both 10,000+ hours and understand most interactions/movements.

    The difference of expect level players and casuals is the experts pay attention to details to try not to make too many if any mistakes. Casual players that play for less than 6 hours a day will make many mistakes and maybe not understand what is happening.

    Total time is definitely important in an MMORPG simply because of any pvp action that takes place. The advantage always goes to the player with the most time. Does it always workout for players for the most time though? Not always, but time is always an investment to learn and find new things that casual players cannot. Knowing something is broken and you start exploiting it, because of poor game designs/programming is why there are "metas". People always try to find what's "meta" so they can be the strongest.

    Then there is skill which is the biggest outlier. You can have someone outplay the best geared/strongest person which is one of the greatest feelings in MMORPG's in my honest opinion. It's a better feeling than to clear any raid for the first time, because raids are strictly mechanics and it's not hard to outplay NPC's. Every player character could do something different every time you fight them. Skill becomes a huge problem to casuals when those that are skilled also have the hours of expert (10,000+). Casuals then have pretty much no chance to fight those top one percenters.

    When it comes to all MMORPG's, every single one is a little different. You can have the basic concepts down, but still not understand the game. Time is the biggest factor in any MMORPG for sure. Even if you've played 10 different MMORPG's and put 10,000+ hours into each. Going into a new MMORPG while someone else has even 100 hours on you will still give them an advantage. Unless that is their first MMORPG ever.

    In conclusion, time will always be the biggest factor when it comes to MMORPG's which can lead to more game knowledge and greater advantages, but skill is the outlier that can put good players ahead of those that put in more time. Although those that have the time and the skill combined fall into that 1% that will always be the top players.
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    KyskeiKyskei Member
    an expert to me has little to do with "time played" because they could become an expert after playing 500 hours or 10000.
    an expert to me is someone familiar enough with all the systems of the game to explain it to someone who has never used that system well enough that they can just pick it up and use it.
    and capable enough in in at least one system to be above average in that form of play.
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    SeloSelo Member
    edited March 6
    Spending more time doing stuff ingame should ofcourse be rewarding.
    Forcing players to do mundande tasks like dailys is however not a good way to to make people play more.

    In todays mmorpgs (post World of Warcraft) leveling has become way way to fast, and then people complain about no endgame content.
    In old mmorpgs it could take a year to get to max level, but noone complained, aslong as there are fun and rewarding things to do while leveling up.
    I think a player that takes the time exploring everything while leveling up to max in 1 month is more experianced than someone that leveled up to max in 2 days.

    WAY to many of todays mmorpg players comes from WoW and have no idea what a real mmorpg used to be.
    In WoW everything is way to easy, no need for socializing and interacting, everything is solo.
    Steven talks about going back to the old days of mmorpgs, i hope that means pre wow,
    Affiliate Code:
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    TwoDarkerSoulsTwoDarkerSouls Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Its not a time thing.
    Everyone goes at different speed. Some people get a PHD in 3 years, some people take longer, it all comes down to the person and any changes in information that comes out.
    Being an expert is like that. If you can learn a damage rotation and perfectly perform it in say 80% of cases then you would be an expert in my opinion. You know the rotation, you know the vast majority of cases which you have to modify the rotations due to a mechanic.
    If you pointed a gun at me and told me to put an hours played average number on it, i would say 40/50 hours of doing that one specific task is usally enough for a complete enough understanding of that 1 task. so learning a whole classes mechanics would take 50 hours of just focussing on what that class does specifically. You would need another 50 hours for being a fight mechanic expert for a raid or another 50 hours for 1 crafting specialization. Thus you would build up to becoming a full expert game expert once you have spent alot of time focussing on indivdual aspects that create the whole game, But you can also be an expert in say a Class or a skill or a fight.

    Casuals are harder to class. The dad casual who only plays 20 minutes a week, works 16 jobs and has 97 kids to look after but has played MMOs for 20 years is different from the 8 hours a week casual enjoyer who has just picked up his first MMO.

    I would say a casual is anyone who has 200 hours in the genre as a whole. You can pick up alot of the know how from 1 game and bring those skills to another. Anyone who has not got 200 hours has most likley not gone deep enough into an MMO to have seen all the transferable skills.
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    Frost01Frost01 Member
    Time is really irrelevant in this scenario. Instead, keep in line with your risk vs reward processes. In real life, people dedicate their time to things they find rewarding, risking their time and resources in order to grow their skill. Some people take a long time to master a skill where others seem to just get it right away. Having things simply be a 'time sink' is not good for the economy, and is not interesting. However, when things are difficult they become interesting. When skills are learned it is interesting. When the mind is actively engaged (such as connecting paths of logic in order to figure out where a treasure is) it is interesting. Some people might take days to find a treasure, while others may find it in 20 minutes. It is highly satisfying to be good at something because you are good at it or have developed skills in that area, rather than being held back by a time wall or a mind numbing click wall.
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    DizzDizz Member
    -“Expert" and "Casual" can be subjective terms. What does being an expert or a casual mean to you?

    In short.

    Expert players put a lot of effort on getting better or knowing better about the game they are playing.

    Casual players more about playing the game and having fun.

    -What are the differences you see in casual vs expert-level play on a day-to-day basis in your favorite MMORPGs?

    Basically the amount of knowledge about the game.

    -Is total time spent in an MMORPG an important factor to you?Do you feel you're an expert in some MMORPGs or systems within them, but not in others? If so, please explain

    I don’t think more time spent in a game will absolutely makes someone become a good/better player or knowing better about the game.

    I don’t feel I ‘m an expert play in any game, I think I’m just a casual player knows what I know and knows what I want and knows what part of a game makes me feel fun.
    A casual follower from TW.

    ↓Good youtube channel to learn things about creating games.↓
    Masahiro Sakurai on Creating Games:
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    DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    The presentation for the concept of this Dev Discussion is horridly flawed because the title is Time Dedication but the prompt then contrasts “Casual with Expert” instead of Casual with Hardcore.

    If it’s just about hours played - Casual-time will become “experts” in the same number of hours played as Hardcore-time players.

    Casual-challenge players might never care about being experts.
    Hardcore-challenge players are likely to try to be experts so they can find the Most Efficient Tactics Available.

    That being said…
    I consider myself to be Casual-Challenge. And I tend to be fairly knowledgeable quickly - primarily from being an Explorer who plays Hardcore-Time. But, being an expert is not really my goal.
    And I’m never seeking the META.
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    FantmxFantmx Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    I want to add that expert and casual or not opposites of one another. Casual implies time. Expert implies knowledge. You can be both at the same time or neither at the same time.
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    OtrOtr Member
    How much time do you think someone should invest in order to become an expert at an MMORPG?

    18 months on the first character.

    [*] "Expert" and "Casual" can be subjective terms. What does being an expert or a casual mean to you? What are the differences between an expert player versus a casual player - time commitment, skill, and game knowledge?

    Now in the era of twitch and youtube, casual is somebody who do not seek information how to reach the end goals of leveling up fast, becoming rich, getting the best gear, fighting and winning the most challenging battles. The experts are the ones who know the optimal way to achieve their goals. Can be that the casuals will enjoy their time more than the experts. And the experts will complain more that they have nothing to do and the endgame loop is boring. If you will try to slow down experts' progression, everyone will complain there is much grind, unless you find a way to entertain us like no other mmo did before.
    So time commitment makes a player expert only if during that time was able to discover things about how the game works. If he just farms rare resources, it does not make him an expert. Just good at doing repetitive activities pursuing a known end goal.
    Skill of course can make players be better than others but the lack of skill makes players lose motivation to play and that's when we call them casuals. If PvP is complex enough to require constant training then those who train can become experts, if their skill allows that. The nature of that skill depends how the pvp is done. A few years ago Steven said: The time-to-kill needs to be strategic and tactical.[256] – Steven Sharif ; But it might end being about fast reaction.
    Game knowledge can make a player expert in some game-play mechanics, if there is enough knowledge to be acquired and if is not easy to obtain it.

    [*] What are the differences you see in casual vs expert-level play on a day-to-day basis in your favorite MMORPGs?
    Casuals play mostly solo even when they join a guild because they don't like to follow the guidance of expert players. Or they are not competitive. They do not enter in contested or difficult areas or if they do, they die fast.
    Expert players skip story, skip inefficient game content, train for PvP and PvE, require having best possible gear.

    [*] Is total time spent in an MMORPG an important factor to you?

    Yes. Ideally the game should not allow playing yet another mmo at the same time. When I play an mmo, I fully commit to it. If I feel like logging into another mmo, I cancel my subscription in this one (except in alpha 2 because I payed in advance, and you will not give my money back because risk vs reward reasons).

    [*] Do you feel you're an expert in some MMORPGs or systems within them, but not in others? If so, please explain

    After reading the wiki and understanding Steven's vision, I feel AoC is on the right path and there are no obvious improvements. I wait to see the breeding system. The crafting system is too simple, too accessible. In order to make the real crafters who enjoy that activity be useful, players who do not like crafting, should not be able to do it. Crafting recipes should have unique elements which players would like to keep secret. That means the quality of the end product would depend on player's knowledge too. Alchemy recipes should shift in time and a constant adjustment should be needed. A player who takes a longer break from the game should have a harder time to figure out all needed changes to get his old secret recipes work again.
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    Selo wrote: »
    WAY to many of todays mmorpg players comes from WoW and have no idea what a real mmorpg used to be.
    In WoW everything is way to easy, no need for socializing and interacting, everything is solo.
    Steven talks about going back to the old days of mmorpgs, i hope that means pre wow,

    I hope it's even pre-Steven days. The boy's not even 40 yet.

    The girl watched the last of the creatures die and murmured a soft 'Thank you' to her rescuer.

    The stranger's eyes lifted to the blood red cloud on the horizon.

    'We have to move. It's not safe here.'
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    LethalityLethality Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Vaknar wrote: »
    Nerror wrote: »
    Vaknar wrote: »
    Dev Discussion - Time Dedication

    How much time do you think someone should invest in order to become an expert at an MMORPG? What are the differences between an expert player versus a casual player - time commitment, skill, and game knowledge?

    What exactly are you trying to figure out here? Development-wise. What's the point of this question? Or, which system(s) are you unsure of how to implement that you need this answered? I am not trying to be facetious here, I genuinely don't understand the purpose of this Dev Discussion, so please clarify if you can @Vaknar :smile:

    The point is for us to have a conversation about time dedication ;) What defines being an expert in something in an MMORPG? Do you feel you're an expert in some MMORPGs or systems within them, but not in others? If so, please explain :)

    It certainly is not time. Time doesn't equate to dedication.

    And a good design would make time investment irrelevant in the ability to gain position over another.
    World Class Indoorsman
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    Kiwi_Kiwi_ Member
    Important subject!

    • "Expert" and "Casual" can be subjective terms. What does being an expert or a casual mean to you?
    So first of all, I don't really know if I would call it "expert" in any game tbh
    Most I've experienced is just casual to hardcore-progress and a huge range with everything inbetween those two (gonna leave out the professional players, meaning e-sportlers, since I think this changes a lot about how people play and view a game)
    To me, being a casual player means that one is simply playing the game because they enjoy whatever they are doing in the game, no matter how much time they can spend whether it makes them progress in the game in an efficient way or not. Most of the time resulting in only playing a small portion of the game, which doesn't mean they don't enjoy it, in fact most casual players I know are the ones enjoying the game the most
    Now, the more progressively you play the more serious and efficient you try to play the game from my understanding. You try to spend as much time as possible and achieve as much as possible in the time you have available. Again, I think there is a huge range and everyone is somewhere inbetween those two "extremes"
    Hardcore to me means basically to try to achieve anything better, faster and more efficient than anyone else
    Now, if I would use the term "expert" I think it's more of a content related term. For example, one could be a casual player but an expert at cooking because that's all they do in the game''

    To add the subject of time dedication, I think the ideal MMO provides content for any type of player, provides the possibility to become an expert at something, enough to achieve for hardcore players, while at the same time not have the hardcore players destroy the fun at playing for casual players that don't have the same gear and possibilities
    Is that possible? Idk, haven't seen it all in one MMORPG I think, but with enough thought put into the game I think it should be possible to make all players feel included by making smaller content fractures of the game still viable. (Like the example of the casual player being an expert at cooking)

    • What are the differences you see in casual vs expert-level play on a day-to-day basis in your favorite MMORPGs?
    I'm going to answer this question replacing the "expert-level" with "progress" as explained above.
    From my experience, the biggest differences are happening for engame content. Dungeons/Raids that are too difficult for casual players, gear that is unobtainable or PvP where said gear makes a difference that cannot be made up by anything. I don't think content that is made for progress players is a bad thing, as long as it doesn't make the casual players feel excluded or as if the content they are playing is less worth

    • Is total time spent in an MMORPG an important factor to you?
    Well, I do want to spend time on an MMORPG. I love gaming and I want to enjoy spending my time on the game. I think it's important to make players feel like their time is being valued.
    What I think is a terrible thing to do and made me quit multiple games in the past few years, is creating scenarios or useless reasons for players to feel like they have to spend time on a game, or make them spend more time than they want to. For example, log-in rewards, especially the ones that require you to be online for a few hours every day, certain quests, battle passes, content that is stretched out just so you spend an extra hour on it even though you could finish it within 30min, afk content that just requires you to be logged in but not actually player (like afk fishing/cooking/...) and so forth...
    I don't mind spending 10h a day on a game if those 10h are fun, and not make me feel like I lost 10h of my life at the end of the day but instead make me feel like I gained 10h of fun experience and memories I wanna keep.

    • Do you feel you're an expert in some MMORPGs or systems within them, but not in others?
    Absolutely. I've played MMORPGs where I have been only player PvE, not even touching the PvP side of the game, same the exact other way around, but also have been only doing "life-skilling" in games that offered everything, at least for a certain amount of time. And I honestly don't think it's a bad thing to not do everything and just do the thing you want to do and spend time on. I'd even dare to say, it's a good thing to not even be able to do everything

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    “Expert” (Working Def): Experience, understanding and facility to get the maximum from a subsystem in an MMO.

    In terms of time required to become expert, I agree with the posts of previous authors in terms of the ballpark hours required.

    I’ve never been expert at everything in any of the MMOs or MOBAs I’ve played (eg: EVE, ESO, Destiny 2, New World, BDO), although I often play a single game at a time 2-6 hrs per day, sometimes for years. Invariably I do become expert at the things I enjoy the most. Delving into subtle mechanics and mastering them is generally inspired by “enjoyment” or the desire to be the most competent group member I can be. (what is that motivation, loyalty? Winning?)

    Specifically, take New World for example. The only expedition (ie: dungeon) I really liked was Tempest’s Heart. So yes, expert in that one, but something less in every other. The “maximum” in this case means know the mechanics, no deaths, fairly quick completion, play role well within team, able to help newer players. Note that I’m not a fan of canned PvP (ie: not open world), so passed on PvP subsystems in NW.

    Alternatively, take EVE and ESO group PvP as examples (small to medium group size). In both games I was able to get the max out of certain ships/classes and the specifics of the roles they played – my teammates could depend on me fulfilling my role and sometimes above and beyond. So “expert” moniker applied. On the other hand, I was definitely not expert at every ship/class, role or play style. Moreover, I never became expert at most of the other subsystems in those games.

    Finally a quick look at the crafting category in ESO and New World. In ESO I could eventually craft just about anything, expertise was within reach, and achieving expertise seemed reasonable, plus I felt rewarded and happy about it. However, in NW I always felt like the effort required to become an expert weapon or armor crafter demanded too much. Expertise in these areas in NW demanded much more dedication than I would ever find enjoyable, or provide enough satisfaction to justify. In general, I’m not expert in crafting.

    Casually Serious.
    LFG: Open World, tight knit coordination, multiple roles, will travel.
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    "Expert" and "Casual" can be subjective terms. What does being an expert or a casual mean to you?

    I think the biggest difference between "Expert" and "Casual" players is in their mindset. The "Expert" player thoroughly prepares for difficult content in a number of ways: They find and join an active guild with a consistent roster and raiding schedule. They farm strategically to maximize their character's progression (e.g., this boss drops my BIS necklace so I will kill it everyday). They optimize their character by enchanting all their gear and using flasks and/or other consumables. Moreover, "Experts" watch YouTube videos or read strategy guides to maximize their chances to kill tough bosses. While the "Casual" player may do some of these things, the "Expert" player considers each of them to be mandatory.

    The "Casual" player takes a more relaxed approach. They may not have the time to commit to raiding at a set time each week, and so may not be able to play with the same people consistently. They may not even be in a guild, instead playing mostly solo, or pugging as time permits. "Casual" players still farm, but they do so in a less strategic manner. This could be because the content that they can access is limited, (e.g., I need gear from dungeon X, but I can only pug into dungeon Y right now), or it could be because the "Casual" player hasn't spent the time to look up online where their best upgrades come from. In terms of enchanting and consumables, the "Casual" player doesn't always use them. They may not be able to afford the best enchants, or perhaps they feel that they will replace their gear too quickly for the enchantment cost to be worth it. They may use consumables like flasks and potions, but only if they can afford them and/or others in their group are using them.

    Is total time spent in an MMORPG an important factor to you?

    When playing an MMORPG, I generally want to see that my time spent in-game has led to meaningful power progression. In my experience, this can be a very delicate balance. If there isn't enough to do, then I can become bored with the game and quit. A great example of this was WoW's Argent Tournament patch during its Wrath of the Lich King expansion. I quickly reached a point where the only way to upgrade my character was by completing the Trial of the Crusader raid which could be completed in a single night and had a 1 week lockout. Eventually, I stopped logging into the game because it just didn't offer enough content to keep me occupied.

    On the other end of the spectrum you have mechanics like the Island Expeditions during WoW's Battle for Azeroth expansion. The island expeditions were quite time consuming and offered resources to upgrade your equipment. On paper, it sounds like it should have been a great mechanic. However, the reality was quite different. The expeditions felt super grindy, weren't fun, and they felt like a requirement to maintain competitiveness with other "Expert" players. I think that one of the issues was that the rewards had a concrete limit in the form of a weekly cap. I think it is fine to limit player progression, but care should be taken to avoid making it feel mandatory for players to reach those limits. When an MMORPG begins to feel more like a job than a game, my interest tends to wane.

    Lastly, I will say that I often find it frustrating when my time spent in an MMORPG isn't respected. When I invest a significant amount of time into a game, its disheartening to see catch up mechanics come out with a new patch that enable players to spend a few hours to easily acquire the same level of power that took me months to achieve. For the same reason, I like the concept of attunement keys. They help prevent some of situations you see in modern MMORPGs where players are able to bypass the intended power progression curve by buying carries into the most difficult content. Ultimately, situations like these lead me to ask the question, "Why should I struggle to learn difficult encounters and spend the time to become an "Expert" if I can have all the rewards simply handed to me?"
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    How much time do you think someone should invest in order to become an expert at an MMORPG? What are the differences between an expert player versus a casual player - time commitment, skill, and game knowledge?

    As with learning anything, this will vary widely depending on the person. Some people may bring in transferable skills from other MMORPGs, get to the "top of the leaderboard" in some area or another within a month, while a brand new player with higher potential but a lower starting skill level might dethrone that player after six months and hold that spot for over a year.

    But I know we're talking in averages, so I'll play ball. Generally, I'd say someone needs to have max level experience with some variation of every main archetype and researched knowledge of every augment/archetype combo's skill set. That's quite a lot of time investment in and of itself. Depending on whether Intrepid actually makes professions challenging to master, like I hope they will, a player needs personal experience with the top tier of each profession. Personal experience being a mayor of each node type. Personal experience being a guild leader and performing leadership roles within the game's PvP systems. Does that just about cover it all?

    Now, let's be realistic. How many players are ever going to accomplish all those things? Few, if any. You'll have people with varying degrees of experience in some areas and little to none in others. It's the nature of the system. There's no hard line between expert and casual, it's a spectrum. If you're looking for an imaginary number of hours for what the highest end of that spectrum should look like, I guess I'd say someone who's played the game for 20-30 hours a week for about a year. What does a more realistic version of a semi-expert look like? Perhaps 20 hours a week for about six months. I'd wager the average player will play about half that much each week, with the majority of players falling somewhere between 10 and 20 hours a week. If you had to draw a line somewhere, I'd say 5 hours or less a week makes you a casual, 15 or more hours a week makes you what most would consider an "expert" player, and anywhere between the two is the gray area of the "average player" who could be better or worse week by week and month by month.

    As for how that translates into the gameplay experience, I'd say casuals are likely to die often in PvP because they don't understand ability and strength/weakness interactions between different classes. The few hours a week they have to log in doesn't incentivize them to focus on details during PvP - they dive in to try and have fun, not to really improve or break down the "science" behind strategic gameplay. Meanwhile, and expert will grind at PvP focused events as often as possible for any chance they can get to test theories on how different classes interact, both versus each other and on the same team, and in different settings. They actually plot out this stuff, either "on paper" or in their head. They study it like a subject in school.

    Casuals are less likely to make valuable assets to a node or guild because they aren't in game often enough at the launch of the game or later content expansions to reach top level professions anywhere near the more invested players, and even after they reach max level, they aren't grinding for materials or money quickly enough to make their output as worthwhile as the players with more time in-game. If professions require a certain degree of skill to practice at top tier levels, the casual player won't have as much frequent practice with those mini-games, and will therefore be less likely to perform their profession as efficiently or expertly as other players.

    Casuals are less likely to know how to effectively lead a node, or vote wisely on mayoral candidates or their policies, because they likely don't have as much experience with node-led game events as expert players do.

    That's all I got. At the end of the day, casuals need content too, since they pay to play just as much as everyone else does. But I hope potentially innovative gameplay experiences like professions won't be dumbed down for everyone, and will offer some high-skill-ceiling mini-games to explore and master for those who're interested.
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    VaknarVaknar Moderator, Member, Staff
    Lethality wrote: »
    Vaknar wrote: »
    Nerror wrote: »
    Vaknar wrote: »
    Dev Discussion - Time Dedication

    How much time do you think someone should invest in order to become an expert at an MMORPG? What are the differences between an expert player versus a casual player - time commitment, skill, and game knowledge?

    What exactly are you trying to figure out here? Development-wise. What's the point of this question? Or, which system(s) are you unsure of how to implement that you need this answered? I am not trying to be facetious here, I genuinely don't understand the purpose of this Dev Discussion, so please clarify if you can @Vaknar :smile:

    The point is for us to have a conversation about time dedication ;) What defines being an expert in something in an MMORPG? Do you feel you're an expert in some MMORPGs or systems within them, but not in others? If so, please explain :)

    It certainly is not time. Time doesn't equate to dedication.

    And a good design would make time investment irrelevant in the ability to gain position over another.

    Interesting! So if not time, what investment do you believe creates the outcome of being in expert? Do you feel there should be no difference between casual and expert play? I'd love to hear you elaborate more on this!
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    Considering the new questions, i will provide new answers.

    Q: "Expert" and "Casual" can be subjective terms. What does being an expert or a casual mean to you?

    A: I consider an "Expert" in a game to be someone who has a very solid knowledge base of atleast ~80-90% of all the game's system(can consider specific systems "Experts"), whom stands at the top ~10%-20% of overall skills(can consider specific skills "Experts") and them there is the time efficient "Experts" who reach those levels of expertise way faster than the non-time efficient "Expert".

    As for what i consider a "Casual" it would basically be the inverse of what was stated for an "Expert", very solid knowledge base of atmost ~10%-20% of all the game's system and whom stands at the bottom ~10%-20% of overall skills.

    Everything within the middle of the 20%-80% of numbers would be considered an low-mid-high intermediary level individual in my eyes.

    Q: What are the differences you see in casual vs expert-level play on a day-to-day basis in your favorite MMORPGs?

    A: Definitely the gaps in knowledge, skill, possible time efficiency and ultimately, power.

    Q: Is total time spent in an MMORPG an important factor to you?

    A: Sure i do consider total time spent a important factor for me in terms of being more engaged to the game aswell as related to expertise, but more importantly the efficiency of the total time spent is essential.

    Q: Do you feel you're an expert in some MMORPGs or systems within them, but not in others? If so, please explain :)

    A: Yes, while i sure did reach an extreme high level of mastery in a game like Lineage 2 considering it is certainly the game i've played the most through the years since its KR release back in late 2003, aswell as a reasonably high level of expertise in Archeage, the same can't be said about games which i've tested(my judgement usually takes around 100 hours played) and decided not to engage with any longer with, making some of those, game which a had not reached a reasonable level of expertise, even tho for some of them 100 hours was more than enough considering the games low levels of complexity.
    Aren't we all sinners?
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    ZilgzZilgz Member
    "Expert" and "Casual" can be subjective terms. What does being an expert or a casual mean to you?
    TIME! I am taking this question as time invested. I would go to say casual is a player that is only able to play 2-3 hours per night, maybe 3-4 days per week. The term that comes to my mind when discussing Expert is Hardcore - this player has the ability to invest 8-12 hours a day, maybe 5-7 days per week.

    What are the differences you see in casual vs expert-level play on a day-to-day basis in your favorite MMORPGs?
    Time invested should provide advantages in certain aspects of the game. Examples that come to mind would be more advanced profession skills, amount of in game currency earned, opportunities to obtain more loot/item drops, explored more areas of world, able to complete all quests, etc. One example would be in WoW Vanilla, the grind to Scarab Lord. A casual player was unable to obtain this title or legendary mount due to the amount of time needed. Casual players CAN achieve these types of things, but due to time constraints it will take them much longer to obtain. Nothing wrong with this at all!

    Is total time spent in an MMORPG an important factor to you?
    Yes to me those that invest more time deserve to see benefits in certain areas as I provided examples above. I do not feel player power should be a factor into time spent. I do feel however, time spent can/will provide more powerful/rare items which can lead to this. I feel the balance is fine, as long as player A without the powerful item vs player B with the item can still have a competitive fight.

    Please no leveling catchup experience systems or easy gear catchups. Make people work for what they require regardless of how far they are set back. These types of systems hurt a lot of areas within a game. Especially promoting "flavor of the month" archetype combinations - if its easier to level due to a catchup mechanic, people will be more willing to "reroll" just to be the meta.

    Do you feel you're an expert in some MMORPGs or systems within them, but not in others? If so, please explain.
    I have been a GM for 10 years in various game titles. The only thing I would deem myself as an expert would be social interactions. As someone that sits in the middle of casual vs hardcore(expert) time, the ability to utilize my social skills assists in minimizing the gap my lack of time causes. I do appreciate how much this game appears to revolve around group content and showing that true MMO vibe. This is where I tend to thrive and utilize those social relationships to keep up with the hardcore(expert) gamers :wink:
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    Idhalar AlBaieshIdhalar AlBaiesh Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    -I don't really think that being casual about a game is the opposite of being an expert.
    Many people spend a lot of time playing a game but don't have the knowledge of an expert, and I think that's the key difference.

    Knowledge and understanding of the systems and the game as a whole are probably the most important things in a mmo.

    -Experts know what they need to do to achieve their ingame goals and how to do it in the best possible ways in any aspect of the game and can guide others to do the same.

    -Time invested is very important. First of all, you need to experience the game to gain that knowledge and understanding, and that takes time, effort and trial and error.

    There are also usually a lot of goals in mmos that are gated behind certain time investment. You need to level up your characters, you need to grind, gather, craft, explore, test... Everything takes time and I think that's one of the good things about the best mmos. You can sink as much time as you want in the game and it will gobble it, burp with a happy smile and ask for more.
    Only in silence the word, Only in dark the light, Only in dying life.
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