This topic has been, and will be, talked about until MMORPG’s are no more. Larisa who writes The Pink Pigtail Inn states that the words have lost their meaning. Isisxotic from Musings of a Raider writes about the definitions being a matter of mindset. The 2nd Nin writing on Life of a Nin speaks of the differences not only from guild to guild but from player to player within the same raid group. Starman at the aptly titled Casual Raid Leader puts forth a third perspective in the form of the hobbyist, someone who is in the middle. Even I have waded in on this subject in the past.
My thoughts on it are pretty simple really. I see it all as a matter of perspective.
Think of it like looking at ships and deciding what “big” and “small” mean. Is a 400 foot long freighter big? First think of it sitting next to a 15 foot bass boat, Looks ginormous right? Well then put it next to a thousand foot long aircraft carrier and see how insignificant it looks.
As I said, its all about the view from where you are. It’s all a matter of perspective. If you raid, no matter to what degree, then you are a raider. If you Pvp, no matter to what degree, then you are a Pvp’r. If you grind for gold or materials, no matter to what degree, then you are a farmer. Weather you are perceived as casual or hardcore is in the eye of the beholder.
For example, a friend of mine allows his 11 and 12 year old sons to play. The younger of the two recently managed after several months to hit level 30 and get his first mount. The other has several characters mostly in their teens. To me they are both very “casual” but to the older brother the younger is quite “hardcore”.
So my definitions would have to be this. If you raid, Pvp, or Farm more than me you are “hardcore”. If you do less than me you must be “casual” since the only real point of reference I have is my own.