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Today, I played World of Warcraft for the first time. I created a Night Elf in the Mage class (after experiencing frustration from not being allowed to create a Death Night) with the randomized name Belbrook. In the forty or so minutes after finishing customization, I completed six or seven quests. I accumulated a number of items from looting monsters that my inventory said were sellable, but I never had the opportunity to sell them. After this afternoon, I will likely never play World of Warcraft again. I suspect I am what seasoned veterans of MMOs would refer to as a “casual.”

I wonder what percentage of WoW players consume the game in the same way that we did, dipping their toes in the neomedieval world and nothing more. This approach to gameplay may straddle what Dyer-Witheford calls a “radical challenge to the commercial domination of virtual space” (150). It is no elven proletarian revolution, but it is antithetical to what is supposed to be an all-consuming game. Still, the teams at Blizzard probably anticipate that sort of gameplay and account for it. Given these methods of playing — the casual/hardcore dichotomy — is such a “radical challenge” possible? Can players revolt against the code? What role and power (if any) does the casual possess when they briefly immerse themselves in a universe full of hardcore, obsessed players?

At the same time, “casual gaming” itself is a lucrative industry, marketing toward smartphone users and individuals outside of the white teenage male gamer archetype. And while these games may be casual, they are not free from the hegemonic economic manipulation of WoW — games like FarmVille and Candy Crush immediately come to mind. Maybe these games have IRL farming (no pun intended) like the Chinese gold farmers Dyer-Witheford describes. What could have been a departure from corporate, programmed in-game biopower created it in another form.

So, if this casual gaming is not too different from hardcore gaming, does this dichotomy (or spectrum) rely on time? Is the only way to resist WoW to play it for under an hour in the Granoff, or to bring change from within the game (that is, once you have spent hours and hours paying and playing)?