Casual gaming is a way of life. It seems from my experience that most gamers are about ‘the end game’ — either beating the game (in the case of single-player games) or doing end-game content (such as raids in the case of MMOs).
But that’s not the only way to game. For some, playing is its own reward. Some do not care about being top dog or king of the hill in their game of choice. Some just enjoy the journey itself. One might call such a person a journeyman.
So what kind of games does a journeyman play to get their fix? Let’s find out.
Examples: Minecraft, Terraria, No Man’s Sky
These types of games tend to have no end-game objective, which makes them the epitome of casual games. Minecraft is the poster child for sandbox games — as it has no end-game, the only thing to do is build things (apart from a purely optional ‘story’ of beating the Ender Dragon).
However, a sandbox game’s very nature can be its downfall. Having absolutely no objective can be very boring to many people, even casual gamers. The Journeyman is often okay with sandbox games, but sometimes prefers games with with an objective (otherwise one might be called a ‘Wanderer’).
Examples: Dragon Age series, The Witcher series, Final Fantasy Series, Mass Effect series
RPGs lend themselves very well to the journeyman. No matter what the style or story, the whole game is about gaining experience for your character to make them stronger, ultimately reaching the end with a (hopefully) fantastic story that you’ve experienced.
You can then restart the story with a new class of character or try again with a harder difficulty, but the key is that the journey through the world is the real objective.
Examples: World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Destiny, Eve Online, Elder Scrolls Online
MMOs tend to be a mix of sandbox games and RPG with an extra layer of multiplayer thrown in. They usually provide a leveling system (with the huge bonus of playing with others), while giving you freedom to do just about anything you want.
However, for many MMOs, reaching ‘top level’ means you start doing end-game content such as raids. These activities tend to be about getting the ‘best gear’ for bragging rights (or lately, eSports options). For the journeyman, this side of things has little or no appeal, purely because the journeyman enjoys the process of leveling — the grind, if you will. A journeyman typically has alternative characters that he/she can switch to and experience the journey in other ways.
There can be many reasons why a player prefers the journey to the end-game destination. But whatever the reason, ‘hardcore’ gamers should acknowledge that there is another way to play a game. For many, the journey is its own reward.