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Not So MMO: The Grind Exemplifies The Best In MMO And FGC Players

By Joseph Bradford on August 06, 2019 | Editorials | Comments

The Grind Exemplifies The Best In MMO And FGC Players

Wait - I know what you’re thinking. How does the fighting game community, more commonly known as the FGC, remind you of anything to do with the MMO community? The games themselves have nothing in common. No one has ever looked at Capcom’s Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition and thought how much it reminded them of World of Warcraft. Conversely, the only thing Black Desert Online has in common with a fighting game could be the combo combat system found in the MMO. But there is one thing each of these communities exemplify moreso than any other gaming community out there: the Grind.

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Grinding in an MMO is a way of life. You aren’t going to get the best gear to take on your next mythic raid without grinding. Leveling a healer to aid your guild in their next PVP session can be a grind if you’ve only got a few days to do it in. Guilds themselves grind the latest raids to get the coveted “World Firsts” that dominate gaming forums and confer onto their members bragging rights for life.

Conversely, “getting good” in a fighting game requires that same mindset. You grind in the labs to learn frame data, you grind to learn about each character’s hit box and movesets. You also grind online in leaderboards to qualify for events such as Capcom Cup and more. Finally, each tournament, like the Evolution Championship Series which took place this past weekend in Las Vegas, feels like a raid. Each combatant grinds out of their pools to eventually battle their way to Top 8, and hopefully a championship.


Image via Carlton Beener/Triple Perfect Inc

But at the end of the day, the grind an MMO player goes through is wholly different than that of the grind someone trying to achieve their EVO dream. However, the motivations and type of player who climbs to the top is too similar to miss.

Some players strive for recognition. Guilds don’t just do World First races simply to feel great about the accomplishment - though that is a huge part. No, it feels good to be able to say you were part of the guild that took down a raid the rest of the world is struggling with. At the same time, old school FGC players would flock to their local arcades, eager to prove themselves in their respective game.

“Everybody’s trying to grind to be number one,” Stefan, a local member of the Vegas FGC, told me at Evo on Saturday. “People grind to be the best because they love the game.”

Joseph “Stylo” Chiaramonte agrees with Stefan.

“You grind to get better. You grind your matchups, you grind to beat your rival - you grind to be the better player and end up on that Grand stage.”


Image via Carlton Beener/Triple Perfect Inc

That yearning for recognition can be found in competitors across all games. KawaiiFaceMiles, a well known Tekken 7 player who acts as a Brand Ambassador for Victrix, wants to be counted among the best in the sport.

“I want to be a strong player - I want to go up and sit on stage and want everyone to say “Oh, JDCR vs KawaiiFaceMiles - we don’t know who’s going to win, instead of “Oh, JDCR has this one.”

 

For an MMO, you might grind for a myriad of reasons - whether it be to powerlevel to have an alt ready for an upcoming expansion, or to get the best gear for your character in order to be of help in an upcoming raid. For some MMOs, the grind is simply to experience the fantastic stories these MMOs tell, especially in a game like Final Fantasy XIV, where it may seem grindy, but the payoff is worth it in the end.

For some, however, the grind is about information. Guilds nowadays detail their strategies to help other players experience the raid content, unlike in the early days of World of Warcraft where guilds would keep their strategies secret. For some competitors at Evo, that drive for knowledge of their game pushes them to compete and grind in the lab. But obviously too, keeping some of that info to themselves can only help in a competition, much like the guilds of old used to do.

Omar, also known locally as ThatGuyMars, grinds for that info.

“For me, it’s information. Being in this community, we share information to help level each other up - kind of like power leveling. But when you’re that first person to get in that uncharted territory like learning new tech. And it’s always helpful to compete against someone who doesn’t know that information.”

For some, the grind can be daunting. I know personally it’s why I have a hard time leveling alts in an MMO - I have a hard enough time grinding gear and levels when playing on my main character let alone a secondary one. However, Tiana, also known locally as T_Envy, getting to the grind of a competition is easier with an amazing community.


Image via Carlton Beener/Triple Perfect Inc

“This is actually my first time competing in something like this,” she told us at Evo. “The community is a real great help. I have a group of female players I play with that Netherrealm Studios kind of supports called “Babeality.” That’s where I get a lot of my information about my characters. The community here in Vegas is so good, they are great about learning [Mortal Kombat.] I’m not really an online player - I hate trolls - so going to my locals helps build me up a lot too.”

At the end of the day, one common theme runs through the FGC and MMO community: the love of the games we play. MMO players wouldn’t grind those levels and take down those raids if the payoff wasn’t worth it in the end. It requires determination, skill and lots of training as well.

Learning skill rotations, active buffs and debuffs, understanding every minute detail of a raid is just as difficult as training your muscle memory to perform frame-perfect inputs on the Grand stage at a major event. Just getting to that stage in an event is like the lead up to a final raid boss. Yet, as Marcus “The Cool Kid” Redmond, a Street Fighter V player who competed in Top 8 at Evo 2018, told me over the weekend, you have to have that mentality to be the get to that level.

“Be part of that one percent - those players who are only worried about winning and making Top 8. I want to be a part of that.”
Joseph Bradford / Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he''s not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don''t get him started on why Balrogs *don''t* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore