Thursday, January 8, 2009

Clarifying the Grind

It seems I hit a hot topic with my stance towards the gear grind in WAR. I think some points were missed about grinding that were lost in the mad rush towards the torches and pitchforks to vilify the monster called Wards. So I'd like this opportunity to clarify my stance on grinding.

It is my belief that MMO game designers and developers are not the clueless sadists that most people make them out to be on the Internet. I believe they take pride in their work the same as everybody else. It's up to them to design the challenges and rewards that we as players must face in their games. But they can't account for how every single person will react to the content they design. Obviously, there will be those who find the challenges too easy and some too hard. As well, there will be those who think the rewards appropriate and those who think they aren't.

The grind is the feeling individuals get when they feel the reward doesn't quite fit with the effort involved in getting it. Normally, if you felt this way in a non-MMO game, you would just stop playing it altogether and look for some other way to waste your gaming time. But the subscription model of most MMO's means that this option is not taken lightly and is usually reserved as an option of last resort. And so are born the grinds that are undertaken in the name of character progression.

In summary, grinds are here until the day developers can develop mind-reading technology to custom-design every facet of their game to individual tastes. It's up to you to either embrace or reject these grinds. Nobody else can make that decision for you. For me, I enjoy leveling characters to max too much for it ever to be a grind. In much the same way, I just can't see grinding PVE instances over and over with the ultimate payoff being more glorified PVE encounters. That's not what I signed up for in this here RVR game.

Your mileage most definitely may vary.


  1. :) glad I can give another opinion. I should also clarify a little bit. Doing repeated steps to gain a level means, to me, that you gain something for your work, to me that is not a grind. Once you hit max level though, you either have to start over again ( at which there is nothing new to gain IMO)

    Grinds to me are repetitive that gains no information or understanding. As far as being here "till dev's come up with a way", I think has been fixed, by the EVE Online Dev's.

    I never grind anything in EVE. I try to not do repetitive things as that repetition is what I hate, maybe it is a constant need/ want for changes. Mission running in EvE is about as much of a "grind" I can take.

    Graet topic bro :)

  2. Excellent redress of the point Winged. Like that definition - it becomes a grind when the player subjectively decides the effort is disproportionate to the reward. I need to be more clear now when I use the word. I'll say I'm grinding something and I don't mean I mind the activity - crafting and leveling.

    So to be more accurate, I don't mind some types of grinds, what I mind is the repeating of content to acquire randomly dropped items that are being used as an arbitrary blockade. There is no value in repeating the content. I can get as much XP if they gave me new content to do, as I get from repeating existing. So they've intentionally included the repetition as the mechanic for the reward. They had the option of giving the item as a quest reward the first time you successfully complete the content.

    This kind of repetition - grind, is intentional and I'm not doing it anymore, as the standard route of progression. If I can skip the repeat and still get to the same point fine, I might play that game. If i can't, I won't be playing that game.

    I also have to agree with Manasi developers can create progression with much less grind. It requires more content though, that is actually the most direct way to eliminate the grind I'm speaking of, so it's on them, not the need to read a player's mind. :-) Beyond that it will require more inventiveness and a mass change in the player's willingness to accept the repeat grind.

    I'm glad you've tried W101. I'm VERY interested in reading your thoughts. It's easy to assume women will like the game because it's all pretty and cute. Some will be drawn in by playing with their children. I want to hear from a macho type, I am leveling demon, EVE playin', hardcore RVR slashin man's point of view. :-)