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Enjoying the grind

Something that seems to be a factor in video games now more than ever is grinding.

Many, many games out there have you grinding for levels or materials or stats pr currency to better your progress.

RPGs have done this for years but even more genres do it now.

Most of the time the grind is usually really dull and boring and takes forever...

But are there any games where you've needed to grind for long periods of time and actually enjoyed it?

Of you have, what were you doing and which game were you playing?

Was it necessary grinding or did you do it by choice?
 

Sheikah_Witch

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I like, at times, to make a playlist that's like 2-3 hours long, prepare some food and have a 'grind time with myself', haha. I did this in Xenoblade Chronicles X I remember, there was a place where the grinding was easy and dull but the music and food made it enjoyable :)
 

Azure Sage

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It really depends on how it's done. I'll use Fire Emblem as a recent example. In Awakening and SoV, grinding was done entirely in battles and although it wasn't exactly hard to find a good fight, that was the only thing you could do to grind and it got old fast. In Three Houses, you can also grind your skills up through teaching and monastery activities, not just battles, and that combination of aspects where I'm not forced into one option for grinding is great. Plus, teaching and monastery activities are really rewarding for me. I think 3H really nailed how to do grinding right.
 
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I actually find myself disagreeing with the idea that more games now have long grinds to them. My experience has been that game makers are better at balancing resource requirements and dishing out more carefully considered rewards for more meaningful uses of your time in game.

The last example of grinding I can think of that I played was Monster Hunter on the 3DS. However, again I think it was handled fairly well. I never had to specifically set time aside to finding material unless I wanted a vary particular weapon or set of armour. I could quite happily put together a hodge podge of equipment based entirely on the resources I had collected along the way to completing mandatory story elements, and as such my experience there was a positive one. From what I've heard of the older games, you very much did have to grind if you wanted any equipment at all.

I'm not generally a fan of experience and levelling gates to continue games though. Those are, in my opinion, a poor method of extending play time. I'm much fonder of games that focus on your own personal skill level with the game being a blight to your progress as I find greater satisfaction in becoming better at playing the game than I do in boosting a character's stats.
 

mαrkαsscoρ

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Xenoblade Chronicles is the only game where I openly grinded for fun, there may have been some games where I didn't mind it much but this game I genuinely had a great time just fighting enemies, wouldn't even mind if I did a session w/o making any story progress
 

Shroom

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It depends on the game I guess.

With games like say Pokemon, the grind isn't too too bad because you're typically working towards a foreseeable goal, usually being an evolution or new move. In that way, there's an enticement to grind, and while stat changes are nice, they usually aren't my main focus. Levels also could be sped up with items and usually didn't take too long to achieve, so I guess this would be my "good" scenario because the game rewards me for putting in time, but it tends to respect my time. If you want some amazing EV/IV, perfect nature Pokemon, then yeah, you've got to put in a ton of time, but to get a mon that's going to get you through the game and be dependable, the game doesn't ask much of you.

The game that I played most recently that sucked to grind in was DQ7, but that's just because everything in that game was slow. Stat growths stunk, mastering jobs to get jobs you actually wanted stunk, and to do so, you actually had to regress on stats by taking on other jobs, and the game wasn't really made around this idea. The game was just made to be big, and I never really felt like I grew much until the end of the game, but because the game itself moved so slowly, it just didn't feel great. It was less of a: "Yes, I've been building up for this moment!" and more of a "jeez, finally I get to here, can we just be done now?" What was the point? It was tedious, it didn't even feel like taking a step towards getting to my destination each time, it felt more like a crawl.

If I don't feel rewarded for my grinding, it's not satisfying, but I also don't want to necessarily be coddled. I want a game to respect my time, and to reward me for putting in a little extra work..
 

Terminus

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I hate it, invariably. Time spent doing a repetitious activity over and over and over isn't engaging, It's literally just a way to pad the runtime of your game.

If you have to stop what you're doing and spend ages doing a task dozens or hundreds of times over to get on par, IMO that's a failure of game design.
 

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It really depends on the game and how it's done. If grinding is incidental to the rest of the game - like if it just sorta happens as you play it - then it's fine. I dunno if that even meets the definition of "grinding" however. Usually the term is used in the context of something you have to do on the side and as a matter of course. Games like Diablo or Skyrim or Dragon Age Inquisition are all about the grind. The game is the grind. In other games grinding is something you have to do just to meet some arbitrary threshold, like having to play a certain number of matches in a sports game before you can continue.

If all the game is doing is holding you back from making progress until you've done x number of repetitive tasks, then it's just padding out the experience instead of offering up meaningful content.

Another sort of grind I dislike is found mostly in role playing games, where you need a certain skill level to beat a task. You know you can meet the requirement, just not yet. So you go off and grind a ton just to get your expee up to pass the threshold. That's not always even what's intended. But just because players want to pass that check they'll go out of their way to grind on their own time.

Any grind can ultimately get to be intolerable after a while. Usually by the time I get to the point in Skyrim where you no longer have to grind because you're already at level 60+ in most skills and the game's dropping ebony and daedric weapons as common loot now, I'm already bored with the grind - even though Skyrim has a ton of story quests to play regardless of how much grinding you do to maintain interest, the whole slog can just get to be too much. Either that, or maybe it's because after you no longer have anything to grind towards, the game just kinda loses the point of playing?

For side tasks, some games can get down right ludicris with the insane amount of grinding having to be done. Final Fantasy games are the worst for this. I mean, there are single bosses that take like three hours at best to kill only because they have 40 individual health meters. But then there's crap like the lightning dodging mini game in FFX where you have to successfully dodge 100 random bolts of lightning in a row to get the game's ultimate weapon. Seriously? What nonsense is this? Whoever thought that anyone would find that entertaining? That's not fun! It's cruel and unusual torture!
 
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Are there any games where you've needed to grind for long periods of time and actually enjoyed it?
My answer is No.

But let me explain. The no is I've not needed to grind at all. However I did it anyway and enjoyed it.
Im my opinion the games that don't need grinding but have the option there are the best. That way the player can choose to not grind and have a tougher lower level run through or an easier post grind play through. A good recent example of this is DQ-XI. Zero grinding is needed to beat the game, but if you want to grind you will make a few specific boss battles a lot easier and the metal slimes make grinding a lot easier. DQ series fans will understand this and how it affects grinding.

I will say grinding makes the first run through of Persona 5 a lot easier too. Due to the nature of the game, you need to set up your grind sessions around a well placed safe room though so you can use it as a base and not use any healing or MP items (to maximise each grind session. This is for XP but the drawback is if you're too powerful you kill enemies too fast and have less chance to keep them alive so they give you the option to capture them as Personas.
Don't grind for cash though. If you really want to do that, just abuse the Mementos boss exploit for that. The Royale version coming in 2020 might patch this exploit out.
It's actually fun to grind here as it doesn't change any of the outside dungeon stuff, which is more than half the game and can't grind that by design.

Breath of the Wild - Korok searching, is a grind and in my opinion one of the worst parts of the game. The number of them is not the issue. For me the issue is they break the natural flow of the game. That flow being world exploration. BotW is a world exploration first game and everything else second. being forced to analyse every nook of every area for the Koroks is annoying. Even when you know all of the signs that a Korok is there, you are then just looking for those signs and not admiring the scenery at your own leisure. How deeply or broadly the player explores the scenery should be up to the player, not forced upon the player in way of a pointless collectable (after getting a certain number of them).
In my opinion 1 Korok in the game or 900 of them makes no difference. I think even one of them is one too many as they are poor design.

Xenoblade Chronicles X and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was fun to grind in. Mostly because the battles were fast paced and integrated well into the game. They didn't have long battle intro and outro sequences. Add in the great music in both games really helped too. Farming faction XP in XCX was also a fun grind. Sure there is an optimal way to do it, but overall it was desgned very well. It just happened when you played the game. You just chose your favourite activity, be it combat or farming collectable pickups on the ground or doing quests or whatever and assigned that task to give faction XP. Essentially killing two birds with one stone.

XC2's lootboxes - the cores were fun to farm, but not fun to open because, like all loot boxes how many you need to get what you want is all RNG with terrible odds. This lootbox RNG in my opinion is the worst part of XC2.

***

The grinds I hate the most are RNG grinds. The ones where you have to do the same thing thousands of times over hoping for a rare drop of loot or some other RNG based event to happen. Knowing that RNG determines the length of the grind, not how long you grind for or player skill to me is a slap in the face. Blizzard games are infamous for doing this. Diablo 2 and World of Warcraft especially. Diablo 3 is not so bad. Even though sets and specific legendaries are needed for certain builds, you can farm junk versions of them easily enough so you can get your build going and then up the game difficulty to farm better versions of the loot your build needs.

Farming loot boxes in any game is not fun, be them free or paid. I am very glad that the slow process to eliminate this from video games has started.

lightning dodging mini game in FFX where you have to successfully dodge 100 random bolts of lightning in a row to get the game's ultimate weapon.
Super Mario RPG had the same. Get 30 (if I remember correctly) bounces in a row with multibounce to get some of the best armour in the game. There's other crap like that in the game too for other best in game armour. I either cheated to get the armour or never bothered with trying for it legit. Why bother as it's not needed to beat the game and 100% not fun to grind garbage like this.

The Captain Toad and Super Mario Galaxy 2 Grandmaster stages are both grinds as well. Simply because without insane skill it takes a **** load of tries to beat them. So many that the average player will give up long before they get the job done. Grinding Grandmaster stages in any game is also 100% not fun and something I mostly refuse to do outright.
For the record I define a Grandmaster stage as one that is at the end of a game and is many many times harder than the rest of the game. A pointless barrier to 100%ing the game.
Sure the Darker Side of the Moon in Super Mario Odyssey was the hardest stage in the game but it was honestly not that much harder than the Dark Side of the Moon and didn't feel Grandmaster-y at all. For me I found a few of the Dark Side of the Moon, Moons just as hard to do, though a lot shorter to complete.

***

We need to stop thinking of XP grinds as the only grinds in video games. Many of us grind in video games for things that are not XP related. Be it loot, or Grandmaster stages or cash or speed runs for the personal best times or something else.

I do think speed run grinding does not really count here as if you are doing this, you are doing it by choice and it's not required at all to beat the game.
 

DarkestLink

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Seems like an oxymoron. Grinding, by design, is meant to be dull tedious work. It has no place in gaming IMO and the only sensible use of it is in MMOs in which the developer's goal is to:

1) Waste as much as your time as possible, so you spend money longer.

2) Incentivize you to spend more money to buy in game currency or the like.
 

Quin

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Depends highly on the game.
Monster Hunter is the best game where I can enjoy the grind. The combat is so great that it doesn't matter THAT much that I'm not getting that 1% drop.
I also don't hate it in dragon quest. Its kinda comfy, probably because of how simple the battle system is.
Dragon warrior 1 NES version is the only one that goes way over the top with it, so much that it ruins the game.
 

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