Random Battle is a blog about MMOs and game development written by an editor from Ten Ton Hammer, a network of MMO community sites. So it’s a good source for keeping an eye on the MMO community meta-community, if you will.
Recently, Random Battle posted a thought-provoking article about how to make community sites more relevant to bloggers. What really caught my eye about this post, however, was this partial line:
Given that bloggers are a relatively small, hardcore, vocal subset of gamers …
Now, I’ll give you that bloggers are a small subset of gamers at this point, and by definition they are vocal. But the term ‘hardcore’ really jumped out at me here.
On the one hand, anyone who is invested enough in their game to blog about it on a regular basis is .. well, pretty darned invested. But on the other hand, I spend a decent amount of time reading World of Warcraft hunter blogs (it’s one of my weaknesses), and I’d have to say that at least half of the blogs I follow are not in any way traditionally hardcore. They don’t raid. They don’t PvP. They don’t power game. They don’t even have level-capped characters, some of them. But man, do they blog.
There’s the guy who spends his time writing complex mods to record game data … the Ruby programmer who plays once a week or so but faithfully reports on his progress in between coding tips … the husband-and-wife team that likes to make real-world food out of in-game recipes … the retired Air Force major who delights in mentoring younger players … the housewife with the arm-length list of alts. And a whole mess of roleplayers, most of whom (thankfully) don’t write strictly in character.
The term ‘hardcore’ fails us when we try to use it as both a measure of investment and as a description of playing habits. There are hordes of players out there who are invested, dedicated, even obsessed … and who play these games in search of an experience that defies our simplistic expectations. So let’s just drop the ‘hardcore’, okay? As a definition, it’s not doing us any favors.