Raid Night : Weekly Diary of a “Hardcasual” Raider

What is “Hardcasual?”

When it comes to all things raiding, the debate over the definitions of “hardcore” and “casual” raiders is one that will never end. Those terms over the past several years have meant different things to different people.

If you raid every night, are you a hardcore raider? What if all the bosses you defeat in those raids are on Normal difficulty?

If you raid only two nights a week and three hours a night, are you a casual raider? What if you’re 2/8 on Heroic Dragon Soul in that group?

Is 25 man more hardcore than 10 man content? If you don’t read Elitist Jerks forums, are you not hardcore?

Everyone has their own definition of hardcore and casual, as do I. However, I wouldn’t label myself one or the other when using my own personal definitions.

When I think of “hardcore,” I think of the cream of the crop; the guilds that are on the bleeding edge of progression that are within the first 100 guilds worldwide to down the final heroic boss of a raid tier.

Doing some rough math, that means I’m talking about somewhere between 1,000 and 2,500 characters. That’s a very select few. Those fortunate enough to be counted amongst those guilds tend to spend a great deal of time raiding, dissecting their character’s performance, min/maxing as much as possible to get every edge they can. These players will usually have great raid awareness and great organization within their raid groups.

By my personal definition (which I’m not saying is the “right” one) that means hundreds of thousands of raiders are not hardcore. That doesn’t mean everyone else is casual though.

The casual raider isn’t what it used to be either. With the advent of the Raid Finder, we now have literally millions of players who have experienced content that only thousands experienced before. Given, most of the encounters are arguably easier than a fair number of heroic boss encounters in Cataclysm.

Right now, I consider “casual” to include a range of players from those who only use LFR to those who are in the bottom two-thirds of raid groups in terms of progression. If you go by statistics, of the over 53,000 raid groups recorded with a Normal Morchok kill there are 35,000 that have beaten Madness of Deathwing on Normal. While not always the case, by my standards I would say that if you’re not currently on Heroic content, I’d label you a casual raider.

Again, that’s just my definition and I’m not about to lead a movement to define these terms in black and white once and for all time. I define casual and hardcore by general boss progression marks measured against the entire raiding community. Time spent raiding, healing/damage meters, and time spent researching don’t factor into my labelling system, nor do several other factors.

Between the bottom 66% and the top .1% of raiders, there’s a very diverse spectrum of raiders that continue that push to be better than they are now. Amongst those raiders you’ll find those who raid a little and those who raid a lot. You’ll find theorycrafters and achievement hunters, homemakers and college students, altaholics and those who have no idea what a taunt really does.

In my world, these are the Hardcasuals.

If you check my armory (Rho on Lightbringer-US) you’ll see I’m presently 1/8 on Heroic Dragon Soul. Just a bit above the “casual” cut-off, but pushing to get further. What you can’t readily see is that we got our Heroic Morchok kill before the 5% nerf (the raid nerf issue is a topic for another Friday.) Our 10 man group has dealt with ongoing attrition due to real life, loss of interest, and a galaxy far, far away. Every week it’s been some new circumstance (yet another topic for another Friday!)

I raid two nights a week on my main, 3 hours a night. I also participate in a one night a week Dragon Soul raid on my resto shaman alt.

So what am I? I feel I’m more hardcore than a casual raider. I do the research, I strive to improve my dps, raid awareness, and general focus when it comes to whatever content I’m on. I want to get further than I am right now, but by no means do I feel I should be entitled to see all the heroic content conquered by the end of the expansion. I take raiding seriously, but I also have a real life and a job that’s taken even more seriously. I have been a raid leader for about a year (though at present taking a break from leading… yet another topic for another time.)

That’s part of who I am. I am Hardcasual.

Every week I’ll post an article regarding raiding in WoW, whether it’s tales of my own progress or commentary on raiding in general. If you have any raiding topics, questions, or ideas you’d like to see written about, email

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