View From the Road: An Axe to Grind, Part 1

tehroc

New member
Jul 6, 2009
1,293
0
0
WOW is a terrible example. Sure it doesn't have hunting based grind, but questing based grinding is no different. The object still remains to increase that blue bar, quests are just an end to a means. Being that the majority of quests say 900/1000 are not interesting, what reason Trog the orc why he needs 10 wolf fangs is moot; I just don't care, all I know is I've been given a monotonous task (which is really what most of these quests are, just tasks) that slightly raises the blue bar when complete.
 
Apr 28, 2008
14,634
0
0
The_root_of_all_evil said:
Each kill MEANS something, and that's what stops it being a grind.
Especially when its that medic who'd just about to deploy an ubercharge.

But yeah, I call a grind a grind when I'm not having fun. I'd say the definition is different for everyone.
 

Grey_Focks

New member
Jan 12, 2010
1,969
0
0
I consider something a grind when it becomes mindless repetition, and thinking about what your doing just isn't necessary anymore. In MW2 I have to work for every kill, and I feel like I earned that little "+50 XP" that pops up. That, and the gameplay itself is it's own reward. I'm not playing so I can get to the next level, I'm playing because I want to punish anyone foolish enough to be on the enemy team, and the leveling up is just something that occurs as a result of this.

Whereas take Final Fantasy, and the grinding's only purpose is to slowly make some little bar fill up so you can suck less against the next boss. I HATE this type of grinding with a fiery passion, and it's the reason why I really avoid MMORPGs and JRPGs that use it so goddam much.

It's also why I liked Oblivion more than Morrowind
*runs away*
 

theSovietConnection

Survivor, VDNKh Station
Jan 14, 2009
2,418
0
0
I think the core difference is in how much fun your having doing said task. If you or I were having fun killing X number of enemies on WoW, it isn't really a grind for us, because we enjoy doing it. Whereas to someone who might easily get bored of it, to them it would be a grind.
 

Mordwyl

New member
Feb 5, 2009
1,302
0
0
Again, John, you missed the real reason of a grind within a game: Padding. The developers cannot manage to make the game more challenging by natural scaling difficulty as seen in action games and resort to having the player waste time. As seen in the Disgaea games, which are the epitome of grinding, no matter how powerful the opponent may be enough grinding will make the game a breeze.

This is wrong. As seen in plenty of older RPGs a player may just as well progress through the game casually and still have no need to wander in an area for an indeterminate amount of time just to get strong enough to go through the next hurdle. Also, for most MMORPGs what is the reward for grinding enough to level? Access more enemies to grind on as the previous lot was slowing the rate down? How can you even call that gameplay?

World of Warcraft went in the right direction by making character growth seamless through quests, whereas others such as Guild Wars gave the player a particularly low maximum level and focuses on proper skill management for the right occasions.

Every second spent grinding is a second wasted from exploring new territory, finding new puzzles and interacting with new characters.
 

coldfrog

Can you feel around inside?
Dec 22, 2008
1,320
0
0
adderseal said:
I think Pokemon is grind-tacular, but I still love it to bits. I think that with a MMOG you need to play every single day without fail, otherwise the careful web of contacts you've built up just fall apart. Your friends will get better at a much faster rate than you will. With Pokemon it's just pick-up-and-play when and where you want. You can give it a week, a month, the in-game trainers won't care. They'll just stand there waiting for you with the same leveled Pokemon. This is why I'm against an online Pokemon- it works so much better as a single-player game that allows mindless grinding fun without forcing any obligations on you.
You can choose to go down the competitive battling route and get those obligations, but that's your decision. It's not an integral part of gameplay.
Actually, I personally am not in the least bit against a multiplayer Pokemon, and while I'm pretty sure it's not going to happen, here's why I think it could be great.

The biggest thing in pokemon (in my opinion) is the very strong limiting factor of four moves per pokemon. Your total adds up to 24 moves per team, but factoring in the danger of switching out a pokemon makes your use of said moves required to be much more strategic. When do you want to send out those team buffs, and how late are you willing to heal yourself before you think you will lose the upper hand? Not to mention moves are limited as well. You often have to think about these things, and it takes strongly away from the "attackattackattack" mentality of basically every other leveling game.

Since Pokemon is, in a way, already an MMO with strictly PVP interactions, there is not much farther it needs to be taken to include single player and team leveling. The grouping would be tricky because the nature of the game (especially the turn-base-d-ness) makes five people fighting at the same time likely to waste a lot of time. Perhaps they would have groups that skip all the random encounters and go straight to a challenging boss fight. If you put those bosses on the scale of a WoW boss, you've got a challenging fight that is likely to drain your resources, and more likely than not you'll need to put together a complex group of characters to make the fight possible. The strategic possibilities are vast, and I certainly think it could provide a unique way of looking at things.

The best part for me, though, is the idea that gear is never an issue in a game like pokemon. The only thing to consider is smart move sets and versatile teams. This gives a huge chance of everyone getting to experience the full content of the game. Even more so, I think it could be neat to have a TM Drop from bosses where a couple TM's drop, much like WoW gear (or even better, Guild Wars). Perhaps certain TM's are only available from a challenging fight that you can do once a day (or once a week for some fights).

There are other things it has going for it already: An already existing level cap means we've set our limit, and I doubt many people would have a problem with lowering that limit for an online game if only so it is quicker to get to what would be the end-game content. Items, in my opinion, are quite balanced already, and the economy of items is likely to be strong. Not to mention the trading of pokemon that would occur.

OK, I've gotta back off this for a bit, I thought way too much about something that is not going to happen. Nevertheless, I think it could be fantastic (and it already has the playerbase! Do it, Nintendo and Game Freak! You know it's a winner!)
 

Ravinak

New member
Nov 5, 2008
166
0
0
snowman6251 said:
You know what the most obnoxious quests in MMO's are? Go fetch me 10 wolf hearts.

Seems straightforward enough. Kill ten wolves, loot their corpses, collect reward. Except apparently some wolves do not have hearts.

I'm sorry MMO you're right. A mammal having a heart is a recessive trait. How could I be so stupid?
I agree with you, but it can also be argued that you damaged the heart beyond salvage when you killed it.
 

snowman6251

New member
Nov 9, 2009
841
0
0
Ravinak said:
snowman6251 said:
You know what the most obnoxious quests in MMO's are? Go fetch me 10 wolf hearts.

Seems straightforward enough. Kill ten wolves, loot their corpses, collect reward. Except apparently some wolves do not have hearts.

I'm sorry MMO you're right. A mammal having a heart is a recessive trait. How could I be so stupid?
I agree with you, but it can also be argued that you damaged the heart beyond salvage when you killed it.
That was always the excuse I gave when my wolf failed to produce a heart but seriously, come on. Most of the time you're collecting wolf hearts to grind them up into potions and crap like that anyway so I really just think its dumb.

And its not like if you kill it one way you damage the heart and kill him another way and its fine. Its totally random. I played a rogue when I played WoW and I never really strayed from the ambush, mutilate, eviscerate cycle when leveling so there's no excuse like "You did it wrong". Its just random and designed to make you have to kill move wolves.
 

snowman6251

New member
Nov 9, 2009
841
0
0
Irridium said:
The_root_of_all_evil said:
Each kill MEANS something, and that's what stops it being a grind.
Especially when its that medic who'd just about to deploy an ubercharge.

But yeah, I call a grind a grind when I'm not having fun. I'd say the definition is different for everyone.
Ugh. God damn snipers and spies ruining all my hard work.
 

WickedArtist

New member
May 21, 2009
69
0
0
I consider grind to be the continuous repetition of the same task for an extended amount of time within the same context.

The negative aspects repetition in the same context is already established, but doing so continuously is what I think defines grinding. What I mean by continuously is without any intervals where you spend time doing any other task.

If a game charged you with killing twenty five thousand wolves before you could continue and do anything[\b] else, you'd get tired very quickly. You'd go kill the first few wolves, then the next few, then the next few, and very quickly you'll start experiencing system fatigue. You're operating in the same context, within the same boundaries, for the same purpose, repeating the same set of actions.

Now if the game did something a little different, and said you can go ahead and do any number of tasks (progress through the story, do some quests, craft some items, gather some materials, hunt for treasure), but eventually: you're going to have to kill twenty five thousand wolves. The task remains the same, but doing all those other things in the meantime keeps things interesting and refreshing. A good game would let you kill those twenty five thousand wolves while you're doing all those other tasks.

The "problem" I see with MMOs is that they are, essentially, of infinite length, but barring updates and social aspects (like PvP) the overall number of activities you can be doing is finite. For you to keep playing, the game either needs to provide further updates and upgrades that let you partake in new activities, or to design its existing activities to last for as long as possible, even forever. The latter results in the inevitable grind. The former is what some developers (Blizzard/WoW) are doing, updating the game with expansion packs to add more content.

I'm not a big fan of MMOs in their current form, but I am interested in seeing how developers take that technology forward, rather than treat it as an ill-defined and ill-designed genre.
 

oranger

New member
May 27, 2008
704
0
0
Sooo...by your hypothesis, context changes the repetition on an action into something meaningful?
but how? you don't say, you just claim it happens through "quests" and such.
Player A pushes button 80 times to get a coin. meaningless.
Player B pushes button 80 times to get a coin to buy another button to push. Also meaningless.
Player C pushes button 80 times to get a coin to buy another button to push to SAVE THE WORLD.
Still meaningless.
The grind is an element of game design, one that is much reviled for a reason.
So whats the difference between killing a bunch of enemies in one game as compared to another?
Nothing, but if you love a game, its all you have.
 

Chipperz

New member
Apr 27, 2009
2,594
0
0
oranger said:
Sooo...by your hypothesis, context changes the repetition on an action into something meaningful?
but how? you don't say, you just claim it happens through "quests" and such.
Player A pushes button 80 times to get a coin. meaningless.
Player B pushes button 80 times to get a coin to buy another button to push. Also meaningless.
Player C pushes button 80 times to get a coin to buy another button to push to SAVE THE WORLD.
Still meaningless.
The grind is an element of game design, one that is much reviled for a reason.
So whats the difference between killing a bunch of enemies in one game as compared to another?
Nothing, but if you love a game, its all you have.
The context is in the medium of games. I have yet to play a game that had any meaning whatsoever (except Hello Kitty Island Adventures, which helped me stop World War III, but that's a story for another time), and all that's left is enjoying the experience. Every action in gaming since about 1979 has one of two outcomes (using your example);

Player A pushes a button 80 times to get a coin. Meaningless.
Player B pushes a button 80 times to get a coin and has fun while he's doing it. Meaningful.
 

Fearzone

Boyz! Boyz! Boyz!
Dec 3, 2008
1,241
0
0
Grind (GRIYND) v. : repeating the same action in the absense of new content. See also: farming.

Repetitive killing in Uncharted 2 is not grinding if the levels pass quickly enough.

Mining, fishing, or picking flowers to make a potion, over and over is grinding, even though there no combat.

Saying that grinding must involve the accomplishment of something is too diffuse because everything done in a videogame arrives at some goal, varied though it may be.

Queing up for battlegrounds 20 times to get some item may be considered grinding, though the varied nature of PvP I think can be argued offers its own new content each time. Rarely do two Warsong gulches play out the same way in a generally even match.

It is endemic to MMOs because by their nature, first they have to be massive, and second they have to keep the subscriptions up, which means wasting your time a lot. MMOs can at least in theory get around it, if they choose, if they offer bucketloads of new content from pursuing MMO goals like leveling, making money, trades and professions, and the like. But it is easier to just make the player do the same thing 50 bajillion times instead. So yeah, my opinion is any and all grinding reflects a failure of gameplay. I look forward to your next article.
 

Danzaivar

New member
Jul 13, 2004
1,967
0
0
This would be why I love to level characters on WoW but can't stand to hover around at 80.

1-80 is working through zones, completing story arcs with general advancement. At 80 it's just grind grind grind for everything, boss drops, emblems, gold, whatever. People who skip the quest text and just look at it as 'stuff to do to fill the bar' are missing out, tbh.
 

Jared

The British Paladin
Jul 14, 2009
5,630
0
0
I suppose in a sense, any online game is the same which involved lvl and such...when it comes to gaining exp, and grinding...taken donw to its basics..its all the same
 

Aurgelmir

WAAAAGH!
Nov 11, 2009
1,566
0
0
What I see as a problem though is that people will "find" grinding in any game they play, no matter how well constructed the game is.

I mean I hear a lot of people complaining that WoW is grindy, just because they HAVE to do quests over and over again to reach the highest level.

In my mind grinding is only the act of mindlessly killing mobs in order to get stronger so that you can continue with the game. (FFXI sort of fits this bill too, since it had other queste etc. that was doable now and then)
 

The3rdEye

New member
Mar 19, 2009
460
0
0
[WoT]

Mr. Funk seems to be oversimplifying things, not to mention coming across as somewhat biased.

While I will agree that grinding (being repeated actions or a repeated series of action to obtain a specific goal) can be tedious, the question of timeframe and difficulty is completely ignored. There are some RPGs that are brutally unforgiving with character death, while simultaneously requiring the player to assemble certain elements in order to progress their character forward with XP, money and equipment with rapidly increasing time requirements as opposed to games with little penalty for character death in combination with advancing quite rapidly. He is correct in saying that one of WoW's more notable features was the questing and quest incentives (which hopefully applied to the class you were playing at the time). However, if a mage in WoW wanted to obtain a Staff of Jordan at lv 40 or a Glowing Brightwood Staff at 54 (I am pre-Burning Legion so bear that in mind), they would need to repeatedly kill a specific enemy type in hopes of obtaining the drop or acquiring enough gold in order to purchase it from the AH from people who had done the same or just gotten insanely lucky. The player could alternatively run instances to obtain comparable or superior items, but regardless of other factors they would need the luck for a particular enemy to drop said item, otherwise they would have to rerun the instance again. Barring incredible strokes of luck, repeated action for the purpose of reaching a specific objective. While the individual quest's flavor text is nice, few quests rise above the overly used formula of bring item to this person or kill those guys.

In a similar omission, there are some inherent difficulties in comparing a large number of FPS games to MMORPGs, the central one being that when playing an FPS the player starts and ends each match in essentially the same condition. You'll always begin the match with just a knife and a pistol, and you will always end the match with just a knife and a pistol. The reason so many game modes have a central objective, time limit or point cap to the match is because otherwise it would become boring. Certainly the human element of your opponents is noteworthy in regards to combating tedium, but the one dimensional character played in an FPS really shouldn't be compared to the multi-faceted MMO avatar. The main issue with RPGs is the question of how far the character has to go in order to reach their next achievement and how much resistance the player can endure before the process becomes less enjoyable. The main obstacle for the developer to overcome is to ensure that the player is fittingly rewarded for their achievements, and that is where the trouble lies. I would suspect that when the proverbial Batman proclaims that the game is "Just a grind!" that they merely felt that the invested time and effort were not well rewarded and of course the level of accomplishment each player feels from the same achievement will vary person to person. This is also omitting the impact of having PCs contest against any computer opponent: the cpu characters will always react the same, and more often than not become formulaic.

On a similar note, Mr Funk makes the comparison between story driven games such as Drake's Fortune or Mass Effect(s) and MMORPGs and it is the intent of the developer where most of the frustration seems to be coming from. In ME the intent of the developers was to allow the player to experience a story through someone they had a fair yet limited amount of control over. While it was nice obtaining weapon upgrades, the fighting was indeed a means by which the character would advance and experience more of the story, which in that context amounts to a linear series of intents or objectives. MMOs on the other hand deal more with the spectacle of what the individual player themselves can do and the setting they can perform in, particularly in regards to other players. While the player does need to obtain levels in order to equip better weapons or spells, at the same time the player is advancing for the sake of those abilities or equipment as part of defining what their character is and what they are capable of. One mage may wish to obtain the AoE ice effect in order to control crowds. Another may wish to obtain the distanced AoE ice effect in order to bring down multiple enemies at once. In each example the player's intents are different, but they will both have to kill 100 mandragora to obtain it. In ME the intent of different player's are the same; to get the next tasty vittle of story which will be exactly the same for all of them, but how they approach the path leading to it is left to their own discretion.

I realize that next week's article will counterpoint most of what he has said in regards to "grinding", I just felt the need to address what I felt to be omissions and inconsistencies in what he wrote.

[/WoT]
 

SL33TBL1ND

Elite Member
Nov 9, 2008
6,467
0
41
I think you're wrong on the count of WoW about it being fine because of the narrative context. I mean, does anyone actually read the quest text? I thought not. That's why I liked DDO, the game was made and advertised as a dungeon crawler. No dicking around with pretending to be more. It came out and said, if you want to run dungeons constantly with your bros, play me.
 

RelexCryo

New member
Oct 21, 2008
1,414
0
0
GamesB2 said:
My generally accepted definition of "grind" is doing something tedious over and over again.

It's what puts me off MMOs the most... those hours where you know you're doing arbitrary quests and killings low level enimies so you can kill slightly less-low level enemies.

APB is looking pretty good... too bad my PC doesn't get used for gaming enough to warrant me paying for subscription.

And how many thousands I must have killed in Halo so far...
This^. What defines grind is how fun the act of combat itself is. If combat is fun, it is not a grind.

Oh and as for APB:

APB isn't working very well. You constantly go up against MULTIPLE high level enemies and get slaughtered as a newb.