One of the more charged terms in the lexicon of gamers is GRINDING.
MMO players almost universally hate grinding, though there’s a certain breed of single-player RPG gamer that enjoys it. But what exactly IS grinding?
I think it means different things to different people and I think that leads to some confusion when we’re talking about games. So I’m hoping we can have a discussion about this. Let’s hear what YOUR definition of grinding is.
I’ll get things rolling:
To me, grinding is when a game forces you to kill the same mobs in the same place over and over again in order to progress. In the worst sort of grinding, there’s no quest or other reward involved: you just need to kill the same monsters over and over again to get combat experience to take you to the next level (or until a mob drops a required item) in order to move on. So kill, wait for respawn, kill, wait for respawn.
Substitute in similar monotonous tasks for grinding in crafting.
The best (worst?) example of grinding to me is any circa-2005 Asian MMO where you’d get 1 quest every few levels and in between you’d have exactly 1 type on monster that you’d have to kill at each level and no way to move forward except sitting there and killing that 1 mob every time it popped.
Conversely, if a game gives you a series of quests that require you to kill the same mobs, I see that as the ‘best’ kind of grinding since the monotony is broken up by returning for quest rewards that hopefully make you stronger. If there are alternate quests you can do instead, I don’t even consider this grinding (or maybe grindy) since you have other options that will let you move forward.
So that’s my long-winded definition. What’s yours?