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Hate grinding? So why can't we have different way to level up?

Posted by AndyLee Tuesday September 2 2008 at 6:38AM
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Killing monsters, gaining exp & gears, it is the fundamental way to level up characters in most MMOGs. Undeniable more and more players are tired of this endless grinding. Can we have totally different ways to upgrade characters?

Neramaar from MMOsite Writer Club has given some suggestion. Let’s have a look whether these ideas "can save the MMOGS from the grim fate."


Currently, the most common implementation of crafting is that the crafting skill has it's own level aside from your main level, or your 'fighting level' as we'll call it from here on. In other words you have a separate level to indicate how well you can craft. This however can't help you progress through the game. On the contrary, you need to increase your 'fighting level' in order to increase your crafting level, as most games will only allow crafting to a certain point before you are forced to go back to fighting.

What if crafting was a class of its own? Or even better, what if we called the class inventor and combined crafting with an entire new system that allowed people to combine ingredients and minerals together to discover new recipes that they could then share with their friends and sell to other players? The only way to level your character would be through crafting items and inventing new ones. But, what about end-game? Well, maybe Inventors are the only one's capable of carrying rare minerals that are only found in the hardest dungeons. Every group worth their salt would need to bring an inventor with them to refine the rare minerals they find, and upgrade their weapons.

While the fighters slay deadly foes and save the world from the horrors beneath the surface, the Inventors would scurry around the now safe areas mining and refining, upgrading and inventing to their hearts content. Naturally the only way for them to level would be by finding these rare minerals, and inventing new and powerful weapons and armour for the fighters. Inventors might be able to branch out and specialize in different areas, some choosing to specialize in potion making, others in enchanting weapons or creating new ones. The possibilities truly are endless.

Imagine a game where you didn't have a world map, well you did, but it was empty. Filling required you to not only explore every section of the game, but to document every part of it, take notes of the dangers within, and then sell you're findings to the highest bidder. To do this you would have to choose the Explorer Class, and sacrifice the glory of battle for the more subtle indulgence, lore.
Personally, this would be my favorite type. I would love to record every detail of a brand new world, every corner of a dungeon, every nook and cranny of every field and swamp. I wouldn't be very good at fighting, I might carry a flute that when played could put enemies to sleep whilst I recorded my findings on a scrap of parchment, and I would need to hire fighters to help me progress through the dangerous parts of the world. Fighters would need me though, as without me they would have no way to complete their maps, or organise their next voyage into a forgotten dungeon. Crafters could use me to mark the location of rare minerals on their maps, making their future journeys much easier.

Great explorers would be famous, known for their attention to detail and commitment to the role. The best fighters in the land would buy maps only from those explorers they trusted, guild masters would be on the hunt for master explorers, those that had seen the land and knew where it's greatest treasures were kept. Explorers could branch off into specific trees, such as mastering boss locations or treasure nests. This in itself would add incredible depth and life to the MMORPG genre.

Imagine a game in which skills were learned not from NPC's, but from other players. Hunters, as we could call Full sizethem would be tasked to find and study the rarest of creatures and enemies in the land, learning from the skills and combos that could be found nowhere else. Once learned these skills could be taught to fighters and explorers to help them on their adventures through the land. Whilst teaching fighters new and never before seen skills and combos, Hunters could help Explorers with the locations to never before seen beasties and locations.

I suppose the 'trainer' idea could use a little more work, but this is all just off the top of my head. The point is that with a little innovative thinking so much could be done to change the way we play games, and revive the soon to be destroyed MMORPG genre.

You can have the full article here.


UncertaintyP writes:

Most of these are in games, just not really the best way to level. Personally I hate levels more than grind, grind is kind of just something everyone bitches about without having anything specific in mind about what makes it a grind. Because those same people have some MMO they love that they say has less grind, even though they all have grind.

It's really inevitable because grind is the main thing that makes an MMO a game some people play for years, not weeks like a regular game. Especially since most people seem to be against PvP, all there really is except that is grind or RP. The only other option they have is to actually make it fun like regular multiplayer games. I don't think that'll ever happen though, haha a mmo that's fun by itself yeah right.

Tue Sep 02 2008 6:48AM Report
tweakthem writes:

Play eve-online no lvling and you put the time into it.

Tue Sep 02 2008 7:32AM Report
seratet writes:

Those were really interesting ideas! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Id love to hear more discussion on alternatives to the generic mmo leveling grind.

Tue Sep 02 2008 9:18AM Report
redavni writes:

This guy doesn't understand that the anti-level/anti-grind bandwagon aren't able to connect the dots between character development and  MMORPGs. Any system that allows for people to log in, click shiny things, and makes them feel better than themselves will work for that crowd.

Great article, but I think the author hasn't figured out he is too smart to figure out the answer.

Tue Sep 02 2008 1:11PM Report
linadragon writes:

There are some flaws in what your saying here... The crafting system would be somewhat ridiculous first off... No one jus wants to sit there and develop crafting it would get boring way to fast and has no development to it. An entire class that can only level by crafting is a fool hardy idea and would lead to them being relegated to not being in parties rather then being in parties.... If they are useless in combat there is no fun there at all esepcially if they get no credit for combat...

Exploring doesnt work if no one is sure how to get anywhere and need to buy a map from another ploayer this would lead to exorbitant fees for maps and it would basically make the economy hectic as hell... My suggestion would be allowing players to collect monster data in each area (all palyers) as well as adding post it notes to their map and allowing them to share (everyone would be able to do this) it would need to be something anyone could do otherwise it makes it problematic....

The skill system you say couldnt possibly work in an MMO simply because if you give players (in this case your hunters) any sort of power over in game features which are a necessity they will overcharge for them and this becomes problematic... Allowing people to witness humanoids fighting or using a skill and using it could be a good alternative but only if its open to all....

Your system here places to much faith on people and these people would end up ruining the game I assure you. Hand people to much power over the experience of other players and you end up with utter chaos...

Tue Sep 02 2008 3:38PM Report
Abrahmm writes:

@ linadragon...

Just becuase YOU wouldn't like a complete crafting profession, doesn't mean other people wouldn't. Star Wars Galaxies used to have 7 professions completely dedicated to crafting and more that could craft along with fighting. When I first heard this, I thought the same thing you did, that would be boring and no one would want to do it. But when I got in game, I was amazed at how many people played these crafting professions, and only played them. I tried it later, and actually found it quite fun.

Unfortunately this generation of MMO's is all about fighting and loot. People don't realize that many players like to do other things then just fight.

So instead of saying it's flawed that you wouldn't be able to fight as a crafter, how about thinking that it is flawed that you HAVE to fight as a crafter the way it is now? Some people just want to craft, and today's games are far too restricting.

Tue Sep 02 2008 3:57PM Report
linadragon writes:

A restricting a class to be relegated to simply crafting isnt problematic to you in the way he defines? Only they can get ingrediants and if they arnt good at combat what use are they to bring along alot of the time? If they continuallly hold up a party  or die just trying to get ingrediants there will be problems with it....  Crafting in its current form actually works quite well as it allows people to make stuff around the level they are if they use it properly and not all relate it to level...

To me it sounds like the Authors experience here has been with WoW and nothing else...  There are certain ways to do things that work and complexity while it can be good can also be bad.... SWG had things done right because of how trade was but at the same time could of been better and less specialized as that just leads to some problems....

I'm statings the premise of why MMO's are the way they are. And just because you woul dlike something doesnt mean others will either.  There is good and bad in simplicity and complexity.... You want to make things approachable while still not locking players into something. The way you put things is actually more restricting then allowing all players to opt in to diff crafting professions as if they choose a crafting class they are locked in so in a sense you want to restrict players to a more linear crafting path then what already exists....

Tue Sep 02 2008 4:12PM Report
Abrahmm writes:

As in Star Wars Galaxies way, you were not locked into crafting if you chose to craft. The way it was set up, you could max out 2 full professions with a little left over to dabble, or dabble in a bunch of different ones. This allowed someone to completely specialize in crafting, dabble in both crafting and combat, or specialize completely in combat.

You are still thinking in a combat centered train of thought. What use is it to bring a crafter along in a party if they aren't good at combat? None. Thats exactly the point. A person that just wants to craft shouldn't have to go through combat content, and they shouldn't have a reason to go with a party that they will only hinder.

There should be a choice, completely crafter where you only craft and don't do any combat, Mix of both, and combat only.

As it works now in most games, you HAVE to do the combat part, and the crafter part is optional. Why not make it all optional?

Tue Sep 02 2008 4:41PM Report
zantax writes:

Now that is funny, everyone brings up EVE as the no grind MMO, in truth there is just as much grind in EVE as every other MMO.  You grind to gain money, buy better ships.  Anytime you do a stretch of missions in a row that is grinding, heck just killing more then 5 guys is grinding.  So ALMOST every MMO is a grind fest, in order to become more powerful.  Only one doesn't have a grind but then again it is barely considered an MMO and that is "Second life".  Everyone is equal in that game, but there is nothing to really strive for as a game only live out a life.

We will never EVER get rid of the grind, it is a fact of MMO's.  Its like you can't have a glass of water with out any water.  They are symbiotic, if in fact you don't want any grind then MMO's are not for you.  Go play Counterstrike, no grind, quick results and everyone is happy.

I know people are going to be pissed that I say even EVE has a grind but it is true, and you will never get away from it in some shape or form.

Tue Sep 02 2008 4:53PM Report
Pelagato writes:

Solution is simple... if you dont like grinding... or you feel like you are grinding (doing something repetitive which is boring to you) then quit mmos once and for all... all of them.. and dont play any mmo in a while...

thats it!

mmo are about doing something repetitive... can be fun... but if it turns into grinding.. see ya later....  mmo is not your genre...

thats all!

Tue Sep 02 2008 9:45PM Report
killx writes:

half of thats not really a new idea... I mean, if anyones played Entropia Universe thats what it is.. there is no 'level' just skills, and how far adavned in each skill you are. from mineing to crafting to fighting and more. though no real exporing in that one, as a class at least, but you need to explor to fill your map out, for towns at least. and the while crafting thing is like, exactly what he said, down to the inventing new items even

Tue Sep 02 2008 10:56PM Report
Azmaria writes:

Decent ideas, AndyLee.  However, they would all still demand a grind.  Crafting, by definition is a grind.  You make items, many of them very similar, and gain results from it.  To be fair, I'm a crafting person myself, but I wanted to clarify that your ideas still involve grinding - it's not limited to fighting only. 

Explorers are a neat idea - Guild Wars has already implemented it on some level.  If you haven't been to a location, it's blacked out for you in the mission map and world map.  As you explore the entire area, it fills in.  Once you explore all of a continent, you get a max title...but man did you put in a lot of time.  If you could sell completed maps of the world you're in, then prices will start out exorbitant and then drop like a rock once 10+ people have already mapped it once and can then pump out maps like a machine.

Wed Sep 03 2008 9:31AM Report
Anofalye writes:

I want more grind, not less.  However, I need to believe and trust in the game, and be willing to commit my time...none of these are happening atm or would in the near future, the MMOs are not up to my tastes atm.


I like "grinding", but if the point of doing it is to be able to *Raid/RvR/PvP*, well, no thanks, I don't want to do it anymore as the final goal is not what I want.  I want to master the system (aka been the best in my field), if the best in my field are peoples doing something else, why even bother with what I am doing?  I won't waste my time and just go "grind" something else...and no, I won't be raiding/RvRing/PvPing, I will be doing something else...aka not subscribing.

Wed Sep 03 2008 1:56PM Report
Maverynthia writes:

I think the idea of grind comes from the void of having no quests to do. Thinking about console games and one-player games, you didn't have grinding (or much grinding). It was get quest, finish quest and level up along the way. The concept of an MMORPG is broken as you grind, you don't quest which is what you SHOULD be doing in an RPG as RPG were all about the adventure. I think if more companies make quests (that are doable at the level you should be) for all level groups, both solo and in a party, then grind would be eliminated.

Basically grind can be defined as a void of having no quests, no direction, and no goal, thus the only thing left to do is fight monsters.

Wed Sep 03 2008 4:17PM Report
AndyLee writes:

I have to agree that grinding is essential feature of a MMO, at least currently. for console games and one-player games, you just play them for weeks. while for mmos, you will spend years time on them. So no matter how many quests, dungeons the game has, it will eventually turn to grind-fest (just have a look at WOW).

And many mmos have noticed the pain of grinding, they provide players with some functions in game to help leveling up fast, like offline training/training ground in Conquer Online. At least you can let the machine grind for you.

Wed Sep 03 2008 10:31PM Report
Azmaria writes:

@Maverythia: I would agree with you, with the exception of your idea of quests not being a my mind, the kill X of Y mobs is just as much of a grind as going out and killing X of those Y mobs on your own.  They just add a little flavor text and a reward at the end.  I'd love to see a MMO come out that had quests all the way through that were a bit more meaningful (or at least 60% meaningful quests, 40% grind quests) to make me feel like I was actually doing something in the world.  An alternate idea for this is making those grind quests feel meaningful by making the flavor text actually be happening in game. 

Example: Quest-GiverA - "Oh no!  These wolves are killing all of my sheep! ((you see wolves in the background killing and dragging away sheep in a wolfy manner))  Adventurer, please, can you help me save my livestock?"  If you win, your reward would be something to do with, you guessed it, wool!  And the farmer's sheep would be safe to graze another day until the next adventurer came along and started the quest.

Wed Sep 03 2008 11:54PM Report
DocSpencer writes:

Great ideas, I like the explorer one, but have a balancing suggestion for it. Everyone should gain the map automatically as they travel, like the mini map in a strategy game, but what makes explorers special is that they can draw on theirs. They could add colors to areas for terrain or draw treasures on it. Everyone else would just see the outline of an area basically. The explorer could make them see everything :D

I think that Perfect World International is a good anti-grinding game, and so is WoW, but WoW isn't free like Perfect World. In PW there is NEVER not a quest for you. The leader of a town you are in always has a quest for you that you are capable of, or the Merchant does or w/e. There is even a quest to get to a new town for small amounts of XP, which makes you WANT to travel to new cities, which leads you to the next group of quests. It is never ending.

Sat Sep 20 2008 7:38AM Report writes:
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