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The Casual Life by Wintyre Fraust

An older, casual player's perspective on MMOG's in general and GW2 in particular.

Author: Meleagar

How To Get Rid of Grinding

Posted by Meleagar Thursday November 17 2011 at 10:41AM
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Many paid professions or jobs require us to do the same menial tasks over and over.  I remember I once had a job as manual check sorter for a bank (before it was all automated). I stayed on that job, as I remember, one hour. It was either quit or find a cheap clinic that could perform a while-you-wait lobotomy.

I'm not saying all grinding is a bad thing.  Some people like  repititious key-pounding and doing the same thing over and over with different clothes or make-up on. Liberace comes to mind.  I'm just talking about getting rid of the bad grinding. I don't mind doing the same thing repititiously, but doing it from a sense of having to, or of not being able to advance unless I spend long hours doing so, makes such activity become un-fun very quickly.  Given the nature of the MMOG format, what can be done to remove the need for grinding - but still allow those who want to grind or for whatever perverse reason enjoy it, grind for additional benefit?

If a game implemented a 24/7 advancement feature where one's character was advancing all the time regardless of how much time one spent doing anything else, or was even offline ( like Eve's advancement tree), then the necessary grind is removed from the game and replaced with the "I wanna" grind. If you made it so that grinding added advancement on top of the 24/7 amount everyone got all the time, then there would be added reward/benefit for grinding, but such play would not be necessary in terms of advancing your character.

Plus, you get all the other benefits of 24/7 character advancement - a sense of involvement in the game even when you aren't playing; a sense of relief from feeling like you have to play; the freedom to do what you wanted in the game instead of what you feel you have to do, etc.

Master10K writes:

But with that AFK progression in Eve comes with 2 problems. It rewards players for not playing the game and it discourages any newcomers as they'll feel inferior because everyone else who's been playing longer will always be better. The best way to remove the grind in a game is to make it optional and provide the player with enough options.


Take your standard battlegrounds type PvP. You as a new max level player will feel the need to grind out whatever PvP rep, in order to get better gear. It's a grind because you can't effectively PvP without the gear, so you'll have to play match after match feeling like crap, until you reach the highest and get the best gear. The way to remove the grind from that is to make the gear not matter, so that only those that actually enjoy PvP'ing will PvP. There's one upcoming MMO that will do that.

Thu Nov 17 2011 5:44PM Report
Meleagar writes:

If there are level caps, then of course those who come in later will eventually catch up, and I suggest they will catch up sooner than in other games because their character will be advancing 24/7. 

However, even with EVE-style progression where there is essentially no level cap, I propose that everyone who comes into the game later be set at increased 24/7 (say, 1.5x or 2x) until they reach "timer parity" set by a timer that begins when the server is activated.

The 24/7 system doesn't reward people for not playing the game; it simply doesn't penalized them for offline time.  People have lives and don't want to feel "left out" because they can't devote as much time online as others.

It doesn't discourage newcomers as much as traditional MMOGs.  As far as providing options for advancement, any game that directly regulates advancement to time spent online is not maximizing their appeal, IMO, nor utilizing the medium to its potential. Why limit character advancement to time spent in-game, when there is no such physical or necessary limitation?

Surely we all realize there are a lot of time-starved gamers out there that only have so much time to invest in any game; MMOG's are more problematic than non-MMOG's because time doesn't stand still when one isn't playing their character in an MMOG.  Everyone else is advancing.

Also, it's a lot easier to compete with other MMOG's when you don't demand all the spare time of your players by insisting they play your game like a full-time job if they want to advance at a reasonable rate.  And, with 24/7 advancment, one doesn't log in and ask "what must I do?", but rather "what do I want to do?".


Sat Nov 19 2011 6:10AM Report
pussilicious writes:


/10 characters

Tue Nov 22 2011 2:36AM Report
MikeTheSaint writes:

When I swing a weapon into a living, breathing (or not) creature with an animation that looks as though it should be cleaved in two or blast it in the face point blank, the creature will rarely react as though that has just happened.

Too often it will just continue to swing at me unphased and a % of its little red bar depletes and eventually dissapears and my little yellow bar increases a small %.

After a varying amount of this it dawns on me I am grinding and most likely bored and that MMORPG's are by and large shit.

I played a single player game recently called Dead Island, ok I'm comparing apples and oranges but when I booted this particular orange in the stomach it doubled over and I could smack it round the head with a shovel making it fall down so I could then stomp on its chest/head/nads.

Not once did I feel I was grinding and that was with me fighting only 1 type of enemy, and if it saw me before I saw it, it would waste no time closing the distance.

In fact my only complaint was that it didn't go on for long enough and there werent more stunning locations to visit.

Wed Nov 30 2011 7:41AM Report
Meleagar writes:

I agree that any enjoyable activity is not perceived as grinding, and something that adds to enjoyment is a diversified experience.

Too often, though, developers think "diverse" just means different clothes and terms on the same mechanics.

Wed Nov 30 2011 10:23AM Report
aattss writes: My view is that how bad grinding is isn't about how much grinding you have to do, but rather about how fun the experience is. Leveling up should be an incentive to play the game, so if leveling up is boring and repetitive, a portion of the game itself is boring and repetitive. Thu May 15 2014 9:39PM Report writes:
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