For some, the process of reaching the top (beating the game) is more fun than actually reaching the top.

More than Just an End Game: When the Journey is the Reward

For some, the process of reaching the top (beating the game) is more fun than actually reaching the top.
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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).

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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.

Sandbox Games

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’).

Role-Playing Games 

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.

MMO Games

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.

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You don't stop playing games because you get old, you get old because you stop playing games. I'm what you might call an 'avid casual gamer,' that is, I love games, and I play a lot of them, but I'm not too good at them and there are quite a few games that I love that I've never actually finished. I'm a PC gamer as well as an XBox One gamer. I'm not into the Playstation side at all, but I'm the LAST person to promote console wars.