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On Two Different Kinds of Content Grind

Victor Barreiro Jr. Posted:
Columns The Eorzea Prospect 0

Every few months, I tend to get stuck in a rut in Final Fantasy XIV, mostly letting my sub continue while I dabble in other games and check on my moneymaking routines from my retainers.

Most people will likely gravitate to a game they can feel less stress in, but I have this tendency to trade the stress of FFXIV for the stress of some other game, and allow myself to burn out on the other game so I can enjoy what I have in FFXIV.

These days, I’ve traded my dragoon spear for a grenade launcher and a sword-whip as a space ninja in Warframe. These two games are notably very different from one another with the exception of one major aspect: They both have grindy gameplay.

I’ve spent quite a fair bit of time in both FFXIV and Warframe, and while I’m neither a gaming expert nor a psychologist, I thought I’d spend some time discussing why these two games have the same, yet different psyche-rewarding but burnout-inducing forms of grind.

The base premise

Final Fantasy XIV and Warframe have a lot content grind, and the base idea behind both is similar: Your character can become anything they want, and you can level both your character class and weapons to suit your desired playstyle. .

In FFXIV, your character can become any of the classes by changing his weapon, and then leveling up that character class and replacing the class’ associated weapons and armor to become stronger.

In Warframe, you basically choose a starting warframe to represent you as a member of the Tenno, and you can eventually build and become other warframe types by completing missions and unlocking various locales in the solar system. You get stronger by leveling up and modifying your warframes, weapons, and gear.

Both have a pretty hefty random number generation (RNG) system in place– or at least that’s what I call both the loot systems in both games.

While there is a specific loot table for everything, you still have to run quests and content to progress and become a stronger fighter. Sometimes you’ll get lucky. Sometimes, you’ll have horrible days.

FFXIV’s differing content grinds

When I go through the content grind in FFXIV, it’s primarily a very long-drawn out process for a reward that may or may not feel rewarding. It feels difficult to explain because it’s easy to create counterpoints, but I’ll try to give examples.

The first major content grind is to actually complete story content. This can be achieved by focusing your character on a path, and then leveling up and becoming stronger in order to be able to complete story-based challenges with other characters. For me, this is where all the fun of the game comes from: from learning more about Eorzea and being one with the world.

The second content grind – which is the first major breaking point for my patience when going all-in on FFXIV for a time – is the grind to level up different jobs and classes in order to try something new and to generally while away the time in the game world when you’re done with grind number 1.

There’s no assurance that you’ll enjoy running the same content repeatedly, because you already know what’s at the end – because you were already there once before using a single playstyle.

Finally, the other two types of content grind are the power acquisition grind and the tangential content grind.

The power acquisition grind refers to your character going through a lengthy process of amassing something – whether it’s levels, wealth, or the relic weapon questline – only to find that the payoff may not be equivalent to the struggle. This may be due to the fact that you need the acquired power to just stand equal to your enemy (such as character’s fighting levels, item levels, or crafting and gathering levels), or in the case of amassing wealth, the only thing you want can’t be acquired (i.e. Housing on a jampacked server).

The tangential content grind, meanwhile is the grind required to gain something that has no bearing on story content (Gold Saucer). While I could throw housing here, it stands to reason that personal housing also serves as a role-player’s goal to establish himself as someone of fine reputation, so I’ve left it to the power acquisition grind.

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Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr. / Victor Barreiro Jr. maintains The Devil’s Advocate and The Secret World columns for MMORPG.com. He also writes for news website Rappler as a technology reporter. You can find more of his writings on Games and Geekery and on Twitter at @vbarreirojr.