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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: The Grind

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65 posts found
  VancePants

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/17/12
Posts: 44

3/18/13 9:00:47 PM#21

The most reasonable post level-cap solution has to be based around User Generated Content. It takes the work ethic, skill set, and creativity of the players and reinvests it into the game. It sustains the community and let's game makers focus on moderation instead of content peddaling, so it's also less of a grind for them (har har).

 

Releasing strong content creation tools is probably more difficult with an MMO, where server control is so important, but I believe providing those digital Legos and harnessing the imagination of the players is the key to lasting success. 

 

EDIT: Good article btw.

 

:D

  FrinkiacVII

Novice Member

Joined: 1/23/13
Posts: 45

3/18/13 9:15:53 PM#22

What kept me coming back to my main "toon" on CoH (the only MMO I ever played with any regularity, and even then I took some long breaks, like for months at a time) was the ability to team up with people and just chat over the in-game chat functionality.  It was fun.  People would need my archetype to do a mission, I'd join, we'd enjoy it.  After a while I used to enjoy edjucating newbs (and by that I mean showwing them the ropes) and helping other people get stuff they wanted, etc.  I used to give people spare influence a lot.  I did grind for some things, but more often than not it was for stuff I wanted my character to have, because I thought they would.  I once logged in at 7am on a saturday morning (okay, twice) just to use Warburg when there were no other people lurking there to gank my Peacebringer so he could get the "Rocketman" badge.  That was the only character I ever tried to get that badge on, because he was my "space guy" toon.  That kind of stuff really appealed to me.

Edit: one thing hat used to annoy me was people who were never on anymore, or when they were, it was strictly on the test server just to beta whatever new thing was coming.  Allowing the community to beta test new content before it was fofficially released sucked all the oxygen out of the room as far as my fun level was concerned, because I didn't want to do test server stuff and everyone else was there exclusively for like a solid week or two whenever there was new stuff to try out.

 

"Well sure, the FrinkiacVII looks impressive - DON'T TOUCH IT - but I predict that within 100 years computers will be TWICE as powerful, ten THOUSAND times larger, and so expensive that only the five richest kings of Europe will own them." -Prof. Frink

  AlBQuirky

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/24/05
Posts: 2713

Tomorrow's just a future yesterday...

3/18/13 9:56:22 PM#23


Originally posted by Matt Miller
What motivates you still playing your character when you’ve reached the level cap?


For me? Nothing. Maybe in game friends getting together for some fun, but really? Nothing. "End Game" to me means just that: End of the Game.

I dislike reaching the end game. I am sad when it happens, especially in the heavily story-driven MMORPGs released these days. I just saved the world! Why on <insert MMO game world name here> would I go back to someone else's meager "quests?"

I played my level 50 (max level) Defender in City of Heroes because I had acquaintances that held Task Force Races, had a weekly Sunday Event, or speed Cimerora runs. I had fun side-kicking or mentoring with lower level players and helping them out. In other games where the only end game consists of developer generated content solely for end game, I soon left.

For me, and I know I am different in this than most other players, I play MMORPGs for the journey, not the destination.

- Al

Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
- FARGIN_WAR

  sketocafe

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/19/11
Posts: 466

3/18/13 10:14:41 PM#24

What motivates you still playing your character when you’ve reached the level cap?

Something I've yet to encounter.

WoW held me longest after hitting the cap the first time in TBC, I spent a lot of  time doing the badge grind and then working up through the raid tiers. That worked once, and only in that expansion. Maybe it was because it was new to me, maybe it was because it seemed a difficult goal that first time to get into raiding (and it kind of was starting out in BC roics and Kara/ZA etc.) With wrath it was a lot easier to get started, but I was pretty sick of it soon and when the last time gate came down on Icecrown I never logged back in after the first time we attempted Arthas. I'd stabbed the fucker, and apparantly that was enough for me. For months beforehand, I had only logged in for raid time, and maybe a couple hours to farm flasks etc. 

Since then, with later wow xpacs and any similar game I can barely stomache the thought of starting a gear grind type deal after hitting cap. If the first month of raiding doesn't offer a lot of fun times and interesting encounters, I stop logging in.

Now I just play EvE and won't ever hit a cap. I go through periods of high and low activity, which seems to help to refresh my desire to play after a longish stretch of only logging in to set a training que. All of the content I truly enjoy in EvE is created with other players, so there's no end to it. It also comes in fits and starts, with a bit of boredom sometimes which may help make the exciting moments moreso because of their relative rarity. 

As to your question, I dunno. Whether it's a themepark or sandbox I'd suspect the key to keep me interested is to create interesting systems which allow for some flexibility in the day to day experience you get. I didn't even last my usual month in Pandaria endgame because of those damned dailies, but I fucking loved them on Quel Denas on my first (pvp) server, because while the quests didn't change, the world pvp could make it different e'rry day.

  Battlesnake

Novice Member

Joined: 10/26/09
Posts: 5

3/18/13 10:51:38 PM#25

The main motivator for me as a player is a challenge that requires me to think, adapt, get in "the zone", etc.

Repeating the same task over and over CAN be challenging, but is not necessarily fun.  Leveling in a game can be fun if you're still mastering the mechanics.  Same as raiding can be fun if nobody in the group has a strategy yet (until they Google it and ruin the fun).  PvP can be endless fun if it is fair, because human opponents learn while you're learning so the challenge never stale.  AI cannot compete with that.

 The learning IS the fun.  And when you apply what you've learned and succeeded your body literally rewards you with drugs.

So I just need an end-game that rewards the player through an IV!

  h0urg1ass

Elite Member

Joined: 11/29/05
Posts: 286

3/18/13 11:35:22 PM#26
Originally posted by Shroom_Mage
Grind can be defined as work toward a reward without fun.

Add fun and it's no longer a grind.
Remove the reward and it's no longer a grind.
Remove the work and it's no longer a grind.

The difficult part here is fun. Fun is the best way to get players to play your game, but rewards can be used to entice players to play when fun doesn't exist. However, this creates a grind, which can cause player burnout. When a player is burned out on a game, that player is less likely to log on again each day.

For most games, rewards are completely unnecessary, but with MMOs where players expect and are expected to play for months or years, it can be difficult to keep a game fun, causing developers to look to grinds to keep people logged in.

Nothing sums it up better than this.

For me, "fun" is defined as exploring and finding new things to do spontaneously.  This is why I find the Fallout and TES series to be a lot of fun.  It's different for everyone.

  yangdude

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/15/12
Posts: 64

3/19/13 1:55:34 AM#27

I still pay PWI because I dont have much time up my sleeve and really cant be bothered learning a new game (I have GW2 but havent jumped into it yet for certain reasons).  Although outdated by the sounds of things, I keep playing because of the promise and excitement of new things with major updates when they come along.  The OP hits the nail on the head.  PWI was really badly grindy from levels 1-80 until fairly recently, now grind type quests for those levels have been updated and are quicker and easier with much greater rewards.  For levels 80-100 but, the grind is terrible and people just bypass those levels usualy with a particular system in place that defeats the whole purpose, but gets you to end-game reasonably quickly.  There is now a call from players to similarly change those level 80-100 quests to make them worth doing also.

I have thought for some time now that player housing as an end-game activity should be more greatly developed.  I think I was reading in Acheage (not sure) about the housing and tax to keep your house and such things and I think this is where its at.

I mean, imagine at end game everyone running around in the high-end op gear.  At that point the only thing that might set people apart is a self build house/ship or something similar - something you cant buy - where a small structure shows little effort, but a castle shows great effort.  I would love to see something like that.  The whole mechanics of grinding proves to me that people WILL grind if the reward is worth the effort (think of somthing simple like Mine Craft).  I would embrace an opportunity to build something big in an MMO if the effort directly correlated to the results and if they couldnt be overshadowed by the simple act of using real cash by someone else to get similar result to all the hours/days/weeks that someone else might put in.  

  laxika91

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/27/10
Posts: 50

3/19/13 3:16:31 AM#28
For some unknown reasons I always loved grinding on Lineage 2 back in the time. I think it's because my clan and the open world pvp. (You was in danger 24/7 :))
  Card1nal

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/19/13
Posts: 2

3/19/13 4:00:52 AM#29

(Off topic: When I jumped into WoW for the first time, I lvled up to 20+ just by killing mobs. Until I realized that these exclamation marks above the NPCs actually meant something :P For someone who used to wrap his keyboard with duct tape so that his toon could auto farm endlessly for days and days, quests were the best anti-grind thing ever.)

On topic: Imho, grind is actually something good, a nescessary evil simply because it' s vital for every MMOs success. Now before you start raging think about this: why WoW was such a big success? Yes it was innovative, yes it had great lore etc but it's secret weapon was the so called (and much hated these days) "hamster wheel".

Every P2P MMO needs a hamster wheel in order to make players play (and pay) for a loooong time. Which means that the hamster wheel (aka grind mechanisms) is actually what makes an MMO addictive and I believe addiction is the real reason someone will keep playing a game 24/7.

That's why I believe, modern MMOs fail to achieve the numbers (and longevity) of their predecessors. After all, grind is like nicotine. Every smoker knows that it's bad for our health, yet it's what keeps us smoking.

But maybe I m wrong. Gamers demand so much these days but are less and less eager to pay for it, so it could be that even we (the gamers) don't really know what we want . But it makes me sad that technically excellent games like GW2 failed to capture me for a month or two, while grind-fests like EQ or even vanilla WoW kept my interest burning for years.

  lukez

Novice Member

Joined: 9/01/06
Posts: 9

3/19/13 4:07:39 AM#30

in different mmoRPGs i had different "end game" experiences....

in DaoC it was RvR, MLs, Artifact farming, Grinding twinks, socialising....

in SW:G it was hanging out in cantinas talking to people while i dance for them, getting the latest rumors from crafters, spending hours and hours traveling the galaxie to find a new perfect outfit, designing hourses for other people, destroying that nasty star destroyer with my B-wing.....

in my short vacation in WoW it was raiding cause there was literaly nothing else to do anymore... people didn't meet to just hang out.... i made 0 friends in WoW with which i still play....

in COH/COV, CO, DCUO it was making great outfits for myself trying out new powers cause they look amazing.....

in my opinion grinding was one of the best experiences in mmoRPGs i ever had... spending hours and hours camping ML/Artifact spots in DaoC with a couple of friends so we can finaly get that damn item and hoping noone comes and steal the spot was amazing...

im a big enemy of those instanced raids/dungeons and quests.... not quests in general but how they are in mmoRPGs.... in p&p rpgs a quest was sometimes a weeklong epic task given by a stranger to do something that was challanging.... in todays mmoRPGs its kill 20 bunnys cause they threaten the world and the next quest is kill 22 frogs cause they threaten the world... and then comes to endless GRIND for items.... it doesnt matter to me how fancy you call it raiding questing farming or whatever its still a mindless grind killing the same boss over and over and over again....

i still remember an 4 hour long talk with some stranger in SW:G i had never met him before i at that time rented out my lots to make some quick cache.... and we spend hours running around to find a perfect spot for him to place his harvesters....

i sincerely hope that the coming mmoRPGs bring some of the old stuff back but i think the problem is less the game then more the player

  Wicoa

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/08/07
Posts: 1569

3/19/13 5:18:03 AM#31

I have bait and switched my play style! I am no longer content with the current "theme park" style endgame, i.e raids, dailies, gear farm.  Infact in recent days I have returned to dark age of camelot and am enjoying keep taking and so forth.  I am not a pvp'r by heart all I know is this is more fun playing with and against people rather than mostly alone or to a raid schedule with set time frames and time expected.  I do sometimes like getting things done on my own or in small teams in short pockets of fun engaging content.  I am not against PvE I just don't like where it is at the moment, such things as raiding and especially dailies do feel too much like work.

Although I will say I did enjoy the slight difficulty level and the time CoX raids took.

  erictlewis

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/08/08
Posts: 3047

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.

3/19/13 6:43:45 AM#32

The grind does not bother me as long as their is a reward worth obtaining at the end.  Folks complain about grinding now days, they don't remember swg.  We had the holo grind for jedi back in the day, that was changed to grinding out xp to dump at the vialiage, not that was a true grind.    A lot of the newer mmo's don't put in artificial grinds, however they forget to reward you. I will just point at swtor for instance.  There was a grind put in at level 50 so you could get purple add on's for your gear,  well the problem was well after a very short grind you were left with nothing but pvp.

 

  vadess40

Novice Member

Joined: 1/15/13
Posts: 37

3/19/13 7:12:55 AM#33

That pretty much summarizes the grinding that's involved in MMOs. I look forward to the day when I can be the veteran looking back and sharing my tales to the newbies.

I think the appeal of endgame stuff for me is that I can really flush out my character's potential. Sure, in games like SWTOR I can get the best kind of gear of his or her level as I go through the motions of gaining experience and going through the story, and I can use their moves in the best way possible but it isn't necessary for me to do so to the full extent as doing end game stuff. When I reach the level cap, though, my sole mission is to flush out my character's abilities as well as get them the best of the best gear so they can live up to their potential. Hence why I like to raid so much and why I'm willing to grind my way through dailies and hard-mode flashpoints/dungeons. 

  Squeak69

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/21/13
Posts: 952

cheese cheese wheres da bloody cheese

3/19/13 7:41:42 AM#34

what keeps me going is haveing a connections with my char.

tools to RP when i want to with friends without haveing to make do, with areas people arnt likely to harras us in.

content that is fun to go through even if not tuly rewarding, cause eventually i WILL get all best tweaked build possable and then whats left to do? wait for more ubber gear please no.

i do like collectables, things like badges, intuitive crafting for more then gear upgrades, vanity pets, that i get in game rather then buying off the shop of via constant grind, one time items for event. you know the show off dun stuff that dousnt actully affect game play.

. . . . . . . . .base editor with my base that i spent 5 years building. . . . . . . .  ;_;   i miss my base.

F2P may be the way of the future, but ya know they dont make them like they used to
Proper Grammer & spelling are extra, corrections will be LOL at.

  Tithenon

Novice Member

Joined: 1/31/11
Posts: 105

3/19/13 8:38:41 AM#35

This one might be a multiple poster for me, as it's a long article and I'm taking things out as I think about them.

 

"The obvious problem here is content creation on the developer’s part. They just spent 4+ years making enough content to satisfy the leveling grind for at best three months, and at worst a marathon weekend bender."

 

First, spending four years or more on content to satisfy the leveling grind is unnecessary and kind of ridiculous.  Put together a plan and stick to it, don't just make the same crap we've been playing with for fourteen years: FedEx, Kill, Gather, and Zone; the plan I'm talking about is developing story lines to flesh out, with short, medium, and long chains of tasks.  Oh, and that's another thing: it's NOT a quest guys, it's a task, at best.  A quest would be, potentially, thousands of what you call quests, now, which each are a single task the character is called on to complete and receive a reward for.  It IS possible to have stories with substance and length, as well as being what grinder's and leveler's are looking for to move ahead.  As long as they're making XP and getting goods from the game, who cares beyond that what they want.

 

Second, I could not possibly perform all tasks developed over four years or more in three months or less!  If someone's incapable of spreading time out while playing this game, so they might enjoy it and take time to see all of the other things the developers busted their tails to put into the game, they have a problem far beyond completing tasks.

  Tithenon

Novice Member

Joined: 1/31/11
Posts: 105

3/19/13 8:52:03 AM#36

"Developers need a player to feel like they are constantly working towards accomplishing something, but don’t have the resources to create eternal gameplay. What they end up making is either “dailies” or something akin to a Raid: a mechanics-heavy piece of content that can be repeated (usually at time-locked intervals), giving out fractions of a reward for each completion."

 

How absolutely despicable this entire paragraph is; I know it's the truth, but I think this is why I've never "finished" an MMORPG.  The closest I ever came was World of Warcraft, and I stopped playing that just prior to Burning Crusade, after I explored the last square centimeter of every bit of space I could get into, whether I was supposed to get into it or not.

 

It should NOT be the Developer's responsibility to come up with further content; the game is over, and a final task should be set for the player, a congratulations for winning, a great closing video, and that's it.  Most players will have, by this time, played this game over the course of a couple of years, it's time to move on, anyway, so do so.

 

Dailies and Raids are the utterly despicable part of my statement, above.  I'm one of those strange people who utterly despises PvP and WILL NOT participate in it, except in a game like MechWarrior Online, where it's something of a necessity and is magnificently done, and I likewise despise Raids.  The idea of being a part of a small army destroys my characters uniqueness, ruins the way I prefer to play, and diminishes the immense power I have grown through the course of the game to almost nothing.  Of the Raids I have participated in, and I avoid these like the plague, it has been this overblown, underbuilt, bit of crap that is only a larger instance, having monsters that are, except for their hit points, otherwise insignificant.

 

Raids and dailies should not be necessary, and I will not be doing them if I can help it.  To make them a major part of any story line, as they have in Lord of the Rings Online, I'm coming to find out, is ridiculous.  There are much better means of pulling off late to end-game content than these hustles and dodges.

  Squeak69

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/21/13
Posts: 952

cheese cheese wheres da bloody cheese

3/19/13 8:57:59 AM#37
Originally posted by Tithenon

"Developers need a player to feel like they are constantly working towards accomplishing something, but don’t have the resources to create eternal gameplay. What they end up making is either “dailies” or something akin to a Raid: a mechanics-heavy piece of content that can be repeated (usually at time-locked intervals), giving out fractions of a reward for each completion."

 

How absolutely despicable this entire paragraph is; I know it's the truth, but I think this is why I've never "finished" an MMORPG.  The closest I ever came was World of Warcraft, and I stopped playing that just prior to Burning Crusade, after I explored the last square centimeter of every bit of space I could get into, whether I was supposed to get into it or not.

 

It should NOT be the Developer's responsibility to come up with further content; the game is over, and a final task should be set for the player, a congratulations for winning, a great closing video, and that's it.  Most players will have, by this time, played this game over the course of a couple of years, it's time to move on, anyway, so do so.

 

Dailies and Raids are the utterly despicable part of my statement, above.  I'm one of those strange people who utterly despises PvP and WILL NOT participate in it, except in a game like MechWarrior Online, where it's something of a necessity and is magnificently done, and I likewise despise Raids.  The idea of being a part of a small army destroys my characters uniqueness, ruins the way I prefer to play, and diminishes the immense power I have grown through the course of the game to almost nothing.  Of the Raids I have participated in, and I avoid these like the plague, it has been this overblown, underbuilt, bit of crap that is only a larger instance, having monsters that are, except for their hit points, otherwise insignificant.

 

Raids and dailies should not be necessary, and I will not be doing them if I can help it.  To make them a major part of any story line, as they have in Lord of the Rings Online, I'm coming to find out, is ridiculous.  There are much better means of pulling off late to end-game content than these hustles and dodges.

. . . . . . . everything you just said you hated is pretty much what made up the meat of every MMO since they started comening out are you sure actully like MMOs as a genra

F2P may be the way of the future, but ya know they dont make them like they used to
Proper Grammer & spelling are extra, corrections will be LOL at.

  Tithenon

Novice Member

Joined: 1/31/11
Posts: 105

3/19/13 9:04:17 AM#38

"What motivates you still playing your character when you’ve reached the level cap?"

 

Again, I've not reached the level cap in any of my current games, because I don't play those ridiculous placeholder events at the supposed "end-game".  You said it best, there should be no level cap.  Frankly, if levels were removed altogether, replaced by skills and abilities being raised individually, instead, and content worked so the types of opposition you and/or your team faces scaled for them, and gear was removed as a primary reason to play the game, and there were no requirement for grouping (which, right now, in EVERY SINGLE GAME, is group or die), but positive reasons to group were built into the games, then I could concentrate on character development and exploration, like I want to.  The guy who wants to grind would have every reason to grind through all of the content, in whatever order and for whatever reason they wanted to.  The person who wants to craft could get their crafting skills up all the way without the necessity of grinding through level-based zones.  Then, we could really see a true advent of sandbox MMOs, instead of the hybrid sandbox/theme parks developers are trying to push through, now.

  JohnR

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/15/12
Posts: 12

3/19/13 9:04:43 AM#39

What kept me playing my maximum level characters (and not alts) in my fave MMO (COH) was  the joy of playing the character.  In that MMO (COH) rather than other MMO's I could "play  down" or be "exemplared" (to use COH terminology) and thus able to partake in my share of loot, scaled appropriately for the team size and level.  Later on City of Heroes developed an Incarnate system for maximum level characters--and like many people I plugged away at it, reaping the rewards.  While in the In-Game rewards would be deemed "worth the effort" by many, what really kept me coming back was the fun of teaming up!  Too bad, there's just no other MMORPG on the market today that has even 1/2 the creativity, fun, and puts players in the driver's seat at City of Heroes.

I really enjoyed reading your article, Mr. Miller.  In fact, you are one of the reasons why I read MMORPG.com e-magazine at all.  Since COH ended, I am just not into MMORPG's at all.  Maybe that's just as well, since I do have other interests and hobbies, such as local grassroots politics, and I'll admit an MMORPG as fine as City of Heroes diverted me from RL heroic causes.  Still, I and others sure miss the fun we had in virtual space.  Hats off to you, sir. /em holdtorch!

  Tithenon

Novice Member

Joined: 1/31/11
Posts: 105

3/19/13 9:08:46 AM#40
Originally posted by Squeak69
Originally posted by Tithenon

"Developers need a player to feel like they are constantly working towards accomplishing something, but don’t have the resources to create eternal gameplay. What they end up making is either “dailies” or something akin to a Raid: a mechanics-heavy piece of content that can be repeated (usually at time-locked intervals), giving out fractions of a reward for each completion."

 

How absolutely despicable this entire paragraph is; I know it's the truth, but I think this is why I've never "finished" an MMORPG.  The closest I ever came was World of Warcraft, and I stopped playing that just prior to Burning Crusade, after I explored the last square centimeter of every bit of space I could get into, whether I was supposed to get into it or not.

 

It should NOT be the Developer's responsibility to come up with further content; the game is over, and a final task should be set for the player, a congratulations for winning, a great closing video, and that's it.  Most players will have, by this time, played this game over the course of a couple of years, it's time to move on, anyway, so do so.

 

Dailies and Raids are the utterly despicable part of my statement, above.  I'm one of those strange people who utterly despises PvP and WILL NOT participate in it, except in a game like MechWarrior Online, where it's something of a necessity and is magnificently done, and I likewise despise Raids.  The idea of being a part of a small army destroys my characters uniqueness, ruins the way I prefer to play, and diminishes the immense power I have grown through the course of the game to almost nothing.  Of the Raids I have participated in, and I avoid these like the plague, it has been this overblown, underbuilt, bit of crap that is only a larger instance, having monsters that are, except for their hit points, otherwise insignificant.

 

Raids and dailies should not be necessary, and I will not be doing them if I can help it.  To make them a major part of any story line, as they have in Lord of the Rings Online, I'm coming to find out, is ridiculous.  There are much better means of pulling off late to end-game content than these hustles and dodges.

. . . . . . . everything you just said you hated is pretty much what made up the meat of every MMO since they started comening out are you sure actully like MMOs as a genra

 

That is absolutely correct.  These are called MMORPGs, Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games, and they should live up to their classification; otherwise, rename them MMOCGs, or Combat Grinds.  cRPGs are NOT, except in rare circumstances, such as with Oblivion and Fallout 3, related to role-playing at all.  LotRO has come close, but there are still essential social elements that are left out, and it is not truly an RPG.

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