Axis of Interest

This hiatus thing is hard to hold together. I keep thinking of new and interesting things to do with games, and as fast as I close off plots in current campaigns, more open up where I'm not looking.

One thing that has come to mind recently, though, is the difference between casual and hardcore players - not in MMORPGs, where I discovered the terms, but in tabletop games. Most other divisions of gamers (and there are plenty of them - veritable wars of [THEORY] threads on the bear witness) presume that all players have an equal level of interest in the game. But's that very much not the case.

Players' actual interest in the game can vary from casual interest when they're at the table (but they're as much there to see friends and borrow a few books) to the kind of player who wakes you with a phone call at four in the morning wanting to know exactly what kind of bows the Western Elves make - and everything in between.

As in MMOs, it's hard to keep things even here. Since the DM can reason a bit, it doesn't get as extreme as the casual/hardcore divide online - but still, the player that wrote a thirty-page background and invented a pantheon for her character's race, or takes notes so clear they're fit for publishing immediately, clearly deserves a few more benefits than the guy who turns up because his girlfriend is playing. And yet, if you reward that by means of experience or advancement, gear, luck points, or whatever, you end up with a disparity of power within the group.

At least the hardcore player is likely to recognise the balance issues, and work with you on them, but I'd like tot hink of some way to increase the benefits as well - if nothing else, it might encourage more interest from the casual player, and as a hardcore table-topper myself, I can only see that as good.

Posted by Drew Shiel at May 8, 2006 12:52 PM

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