Mmorpg games today require way too much grinding. This isn’t a new trend, as the leveling system has been with us since the dawn of the online games, but I’m surprised that developers haven’t found a new way to allow players to advance. The most enjoyable aspects of MMORPG games aren’t killing rabbits and snakes, but rather raiding with friends and participating in PvP. When was the last time you heard your friend tell you the time he killed orcs for six hours straight and had a blast? Not often I hope. Some games actually deal with the grind a lot better than other, as World of Warcraft actually had interesting quests which were also a great source of experience, but games like MapleStory were all out grind fest with nothing else to do but grind.
When I quested and grinded my way to level 60 in World of Warcraft [Pre Burning Crusade] it really didn’t feel like a chore, as I was constantly questing or instancing with friends. World of Warcraft actually handled the leveling system very well, as there were alternatives to grinding. I did however at times find myself grinding for hours at a time after I finished all the quests I could find. These weren’t fun times, but I kept telling myself that once I hit level 60, I’d be have more fun, and I did. The problem was getting to 60.
MapleStory, a free Korean Mmorpg, is the epitome of grind. The only way to level up is to grind, and unlike World of Warcraft where you can reach maximum level in a month or so of casual play, it’ll take well over six months of hard core playing to reach level 100, which is only half way to the game’s level cap. Another problem in MapleStory was that combat wasn’t at all interesting, but rather an absolute chore. It wasn’t time efficient to kill monsters in MapleStory that didn’t die in single hit, as you could get significantly more experience one hitting lower level monsters than two hitting higher level monsters. In order to level up once at level 60 or so, you’d have to slaughter 7,000 monsters, which can be extremely time consuming and definitely not fun, as it wouldn’t be at all challenging.
Games like Fly for Fun and Hero Online also have similar experience models where killing higher level monsters isn’t as efficient as slaughtering lower level monsters en masse. Another problem with these games are that the experience needed to level up increases exponentially as you level up, which makes the grinding even more of a chore. I’m hoping that one day developers find a new way for players to advance and spend more time actually playing the game, rather than grinding to a high enough level to be able to enjoy the game.