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General: Why Did the MMORPG Become a Grind?

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,581MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

We are pleased to bring our readers a new voice here at MMORPG.com in the form of Andrew Hallam. In his inaugural column, Andrew wonders how on Earth MMOs became grind fests. See what he says and then weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments.

What does the phrase MMORPG mean to you nowadays? Travelling through the World of Warcraft showing off your epic loots? Defeating dark Jedi with your guild mates or perhaps for some, myself included, it represents a problem within gaming as a whole.

Read more of Andrew Hallam's Why Did the MMORPG Become a Grind?

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
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Comments

  • Lord.BachusLord.Bachus Den HelderPosts: 9,064Member Uncommon

    The grind came with EQ, Tough we didnt mind grinding back then, as it was the first virtuall 3D reallity 

     

    Best MMO experiences : EQ(PvE), DAoC(PvP), WoW(total package) LOTRO (worldfeel) GW2 (Artstyle and animations and worlddesign) SWTOR (Story immersion) TSW (story) ESO (character advancement)

  • rammur65rammur65 spokane, WAPosts: 57Member

    I never considered it grind even back in the day it was immersion in some ways in the days we called it hunting we needed spidersilk or wanted it we would go hunt spiders thats how our characters would thrive in the virtual worlds nowdays there is no immersion everyone seem to be zoned into the so called endgame crap me most my guildy we enjoy the journey we enjoy the gamingworld the virtual playground the developers make for us to enjoy. new generation of mmo players are whiney qqers anymore problably should be playing the mmo genre to begin with stick with console game if you dont liek the said grind.

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 19,979Member Uncommon

    Ah a fellow old school, BitterVet ™ who favors sandbox style titles such as UO, SWG and EVE over standard theme park fare.

    Count me a fan, though I think the real issue isn't the addition of grind, to me grind pretty much defines the genre. (don't kid yourself, you were grinding something back in UO, even if it was only money/resources)

    What you really miss from these titles is the virtual world feel that they all have, even if you grind in them (and I ground endlessly for cash in EVE myself) their basic design makes the universe feel more alive and vibrant.

    So don't slam the grind, its not inherently evil, rather slam the fact most MMO's have evolved (?) into MMO like games instead of MMO worlds.

     

    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
    "I don't have one life, I have many lives" - Grunty
    Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  • VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,640Member Uncommon

    Awful article. Really. Jaundiced and somewhat elitest, and I am being kind.

     

    EQ, despite it's grind (I will be clear here and say I like grind, if it's the RIGHT kind of grind), very much felt like a world and very much offered me a feeling of adventure, and people RPed in it all the time. It was as much of a ROLE PLAY game as you wanted it to be.

     

    I suspect the author did not even play the game and is only intererested in demonising it through second hand experience and assumption.

     

    When you ask 'Why then is it that most of your time is spent killing massive amounts of 'enemies' without making a single dent in the storyline'? you show me you didn't understand EQ at all. Though it had a backlore, a pretty disposable one tbh, it was NOT about making an impact on an established story. This is you showing me again you fail to understand what you are blaming. 

     

    Tell any guy that stood there at the moment of completing his epic he didn't feel like a goddam hero.

     

     

  • jpnzjpnz SydneyPosts: 3,529Member

    Wasn't UO/EQ the most grindiest MMO if we look at them now?

    I really don't get this 'back in my day' stuff when it comes to grind.

    Heck, the advert for WoW was 'There are QUESTS till max level!'.

    Gdemami -
    Informing people about your thoughts and impressions is not a review, it's a blog.

  • sirphobossirphobos Ames, IAPosts: 614Member Common

    Everquest was the grindiest MMO I"ve ever played by far, but it was fun, so I didn't care.

  • kantseemekantseeme millville, NJPosts: 709Member
    Originally posted by Vesavius

    Awful article. Really. Jaundiced and somewhat elitest, and I am being kind.

     

    EQ, despite it's grind (I will be clear here and say I like grind, if it's the RIGHT kind of grind), very much felt like a world and very much offered me a feeling of adventure, and people RPed in it all the time. It was as much of a ROLE PLAY game as you wanted it to be.

     

    I suspect the author did not even play the game and is only intererested in demonising it through second hand experience and assumption.

     

    When you ask 'Why then is it that most of your time is spent killing massive amounts of 'enemies' without making a single dent in the storyline'? you show me you didn't understand EQ at all. Though it had a backlore, a pretty disposable one tbh, it was NOT about making an impact on an established story. This is you showing me again you fail to understand what you are blaming. 

     

    Tell any guy that stood there at the moment of completing his epic he didn't feel like a goddam hero.

     

     

    This^ all day long

  • dieman4dieman4 washington, WAPosts: 8Member

    Amen to that. The closest thing that felt really awesome back in the day was Runescape..which i had a blast playing it till all the changes came afterwards. And finally Neverwinter nights...that game even though it was more of a RPG, the gameplay was amazing.

  • NadiaNadia Canonsburg, PAPosts: 11,866Member Common

    i hate faction grinds -- i dont mind experience grinds

    I prefer slower leveling

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,906Member Uncommon

    Things to do in a basic themepark MMORPG:

    1. kill mobs
    2. kill other players
    3. gather items from kills
    4. gather items from resource nodes
    5. group run mazes killing mobs and gathering items (dungeons)
    6. do tasks for NPCs (one or more of the above)
    7. read storyline (related to tasks)
    8. watch cut scenes (related to tasks)
    9. assemble items into other items (crafting)
    10. buy items from vendors
    11. buy or trade items with other players
    12. equip items on character
    13. buy skills from vendors
    14. adjust skills / stats via UI
    15. interact with others in the process of doing the above

    These things are done for two reasons, character progression (unlock skills, stats and new environments) and passive entertainment via storyline.

     

    The reason MMORPGs are grindy (repetitive) is because there's a limited number of things to do.  The only things that change are environments and complexity of mechanics used to to do these activities.

     

    Change games to get away from the grind?  Not likely.  Most are rehashes of the same activities with changes in how the activities are done, but not the activities themselves.

     


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • calranthecalranthe stoke on trentPosts: 356Member
    Originally posted by Vesavius

    Awful article. Really. Jaundiced and somewhat elitest, and I am being kind.

     

    EQ, despite it's grind (I will be clear here and say I like grind, if it's the RIGHT kind of grind), very much felt like a world and very much offered me a feeling of adventure, and people RPed in it all the time. It was as much of a ROLE PLAY game as you wanted it to be.

     

    I suspect the author did not even play the game and is only intererested in demonising it through second hand experience and assumption.

     

    When you ask 'Why then is it that most of your time is spent killing massive amounts of 'enemies' without making a single dent in the storyline'? you show me you didn't understand EQ at all. Though it had a backlore, a pretty disposable one tbh, it was NOT about making an impact on an established story. This is you showing me again you fail to understand what you are blaming. 

     

    Tell any guy that stood there at the moment of completing his epic he didn't feel like a goddam hero.

     

     

    Actually please do not try to say everyone enjoyed it, most of the people I knew were completely burnt out by the spawn rate, the grindfest and even the epics.

    Grind is never good it is what a developer forces you to do without innovation.

     

  • PyrateLVPyrateLV Las Vegas, NVPosts: 1,096Member Common

    MMOs arent "Grinds" any longer. They are freaking "Facerolls" They are so easy, it takes no effort to get to max level.

    No or limited DP,  Fast Travel, Soloable Content, Everyone has a Healing ability, etc.

    The "Grind" was taken away long ago

    Tried: EQ2 - AC - EU - HZ - TR - MxO - TTO - WURM - SL - VG:SoH - PotBS - PS - AoC - WAR - DDO - SWTOR
    Played: UO - EQ1 - AO - DAoC - NC - CoH/CoV - SWG - WoW - EVE - AA - LotRO - DFO - STO - FE - MO - RIFT
    Playing: Skyrim
    Following: The Repopulation
    I want a Virtual World, not just a Game.
    ITS TOO HARD! - Matt Firor (ZeniMax)

  • kantseemekantseeme millville, NJPosts: 709Member

    Your grinding no matter what your doin. Grinding Qusts, grinding resources, grinding gear, grinding achievments, etc etc

     

    I for one like grinding. Standing out in some field somewhere gathering mats while getting some of the exp i lost doing something stupid. Or grinding out workorders and the like. It makes me feel like im working towards something.

     

    Bring on the grind!

     

     

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    MMORPG didn't become a grind...they've always been a grind. Repeatedly killing monsters, repeatedly clearing dungeons, repeatedly turning in quests...it's part of the game.

    I think the title of this article is misleading. It's not about MMORPG becoming a grind, it's about the transition from virtual worlds to games. Virtual worlds are cool, but with a few exceptions, they don't sell as well as games. If there are more people who like games versus worlds, then it makes sense that there are more developers who like games versus worlds as well. Blaming greed is easy. Nobody ever suggests that Rift was what it was because that's what Trion's developers want to make. Sure, money is good, but they liked the game. Ditto for TSW. They didn't make a virtual world for reasons above and beyond simple greed.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,640Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by calranthe
    Originally posted by Vesavius

    Awful article. Really. Jaundiced and somewhat elitest, and I am being kind.

     

    EQ, despite it's grind (I will be clear here and say I like grind, if it's the RIGHT kind of grind), very much felt like a world and very much offered me a feeling of adventure, and people RPed in it all the time. It was as much of a ROLE PLAY game as you wanted it to be.

     

    I suspect the author did not even play the game and is only intererested in demonising it through second hand experience and assumption.

     

    When you ask 'Why then is it that most of your time is spent killing massive amounts of 'enemies' without making a single dent in the storyline'? you show me you didn't understand EQ at all. Though it had a backlore, a pretty disposable one tbh, it was NOT about making an impact on an established story. This is you showing me again you fail to understand what you are blaming. 

     

    Tell any guy that stood there at the moment of completing his epic he didn't feel like a goddam hero.

    Actually please do not try to say everyone enjoyed it, most of the people I knew were completely burnt out by the spawn rate, the grindfest and even the epics.

    Grind is never good it is what a developer forces you to do without innovation.

     

    Please do not tell me grind is never good when I personally enjoy it.

     

    And, btw, actually, I didn't say EVERYONE enjoyed it. Please do not put words into my mouth. What game does EVERYONE enjoy?

     

    EQ wasn't for the faint of heart and there were burnouts, sure. It was a demanding game. Even the most easiest spoon fed games of today, and not just MMORPGs, get burnouts though so I don't take that as a criticism of EQ. Ask a dev the percentage of players that finish any game. It isn't high.

     

     

  • FadedbombFadedbomb Aiken, SCPosts: 2,081Member
    Originally posted by Vesavius

    Awful article. Really. Jaundiced and somewhat elitest, and I am being kind.

     

    EQ, despite it's grind (I will be clear here and say I like grind, if it's the RIGHT kind of grind), very much felt like a world and very much offered me a feeling of adventure, and people RPed in it all the time. It was as much of a ROLE PLAY game as you wanted it to be.

     

    I suspect the author did not even play the game and is only intererested in demonising it through second hand experience and assumption.

     

    When you ask 'Why then is it that most of your time is spent killing massive amounts of 'enemies' without making a single dent in the storyline'? you show me you didn't understand EQ at all. Though it had a backlore, a pretty disposable one tbh, it was NOT about making an impact on an established story. This is you showing me again you fail to understand what you are blaming. 

     

    Tell any guy that stood there at the moment of completing his epic he didn't feel like a goddam hero.

     

     

    Agreed, albeit i agree with his points about the industry becoming nothing but a cash-cow to be milked post-WoW. However, EQ felt 10000x more of a breathing world than SWTOR, WoW, Rift, aion, or TERA ever have/will.

    I'm still holding out hope that EQ3 will be a return to greatness, but that's merely a fan talking out of his bum :(.

     

    Games I wish would be develoepd & mirror their predecessors:

    DAOC 2 (been said as a giant "Hell No"...so /epicSadFace)

    EQ3 (from pre-alpha screenshots looked like WoW, again /epicSadFace)

    Planetside 2 (so far, kind of iffy)

    ArcheAge (looking like a massive Asian-based grindgame with a sandbox design)

    TheRepopulation (a good attempt at another SWG, but the design is so far "chunky" at best)

     

    The Theory of Conservative Conservation of Ignorant Stupidity:
    Having a different opinion must mean you're a troll.

  • saurus123saurus123 nonePosts: 567Member Uncommon

    its all becouse p2p model

     

    devs wanted players to stay as long as possible in thier mmo so they invented grind ;D

  • hardiconhardicon jackson, MSPosts: 358Member

    you want to know what happened to the mmorpg.  two things, WOW and MONEY. 

     

    uo, eq, ac, daoc, swo.  Those were the last true massively multiplayer online roleplaying games.  Those felt like actual worlds that you lived in, not a place you were visiting.  unfortunately the consumers voted with their wallet and didnt play those games.  Blizzard made WOW and originally it was very different from what it is today.  WoW designed to be that virtual world that allowed players to do the fun things without all the boring stuff that people didnt like to do.  Wow made a lot of money.  other developers and more importantly publishers and investors saw this too.  They wanted that money, so the age of the wow clones began. 

    To tell you the truth we as gamers can only blame ourselves.  We are the ones that paid for the products.  We voted with our wallets and our wallets said Wow.  developers and stuff are in this for the money so they are gonna make the type of games they think they can make more money.

     

  • VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,640Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by saurus123

    its all becouse p2p model

    devs wanted players to stay as long as possible in thier mmo so they invented grind ;D

     

    Rubbish. A lot of F2P games have huge grind.

    And if you think they don't want you in game, and in shop, as much as possible so they can sell you their junk you're tripping.

    Both payment models require you to be invested and coming back for more.

     

  • Xstatic912Xstatic912 New York, NYPosts: 365Member
    Faction grinds are the worst, and most times the rewards were not worth it..Pfft

    So basically the article is saying we need more role playing in mmo..

    Well unless some big company can make afford to take that risk without the need for a big sub number..

    Then like eve, the role playing experience that the author is looking for will come from a Indie dev that has little to no ties to wall street..

    The big guys want to push for quick return on there investment in these big mmo release, they probably look at it as a short term thingy.

    more & more mmo releases keeping feeling like console game with Co-op.. Buti'm guessing
  • KilsinKilsin NSWPosts: 342Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Vesavius

    Awful article. Really. Jaundiced and somewhat elitest, and I am being kind.

     

    EQ, despite it's grind (I will be clear here and say I like grind, if it's the RIGHT kind of grind), very much felt like a world and very much offered me a feeling of adventure, and people RPed in it all the time. It was as much of a ROLE PLAY game as you wanted it to be.

     

    I suspect the author did not even play the game and is only intererested in demonising it through second hand experience and assumption.

     

    When you ask 'Why then is it that most of your time is spent killing massive amounts of 'enemies' without making a single dent in the storyline'? you show me you didn't understand EQ at all. Though it had a backlore, a pretty disposable one tbh, it was NOT about making an impact on an established story. This is you showing me again you fail to understand what you are blaming. 

     

    Tell any guy that stood there at the moment of completing his epic he didn't feel like a goddam hero.

     

     

    Agreed.

    I think grinds are actually important in an MMORPG believe it or not. As long as they make you want to do it, no one is ever "forced" to grind, it is a players choice to grind.

    If you want something, go get it, if it's hard, it should be worth more, if it takes a long time to get and is hard, it should be even more valuable to me in some way shape or form, but no one is forced to do it.

    Casual players can play they want and avoid the grind if they feel its work or too hard or they do not enjoy it and hardcore players can grind for hours until their heart is content and gain a benefit from it.

    The problem that usually arises is the casual players get upset and want to have all the shiny things the hardcore players have but are not willing to put the effort in and work for it, for a multitude of reasons, whether it be work, family, lazy...whatever but I believe that is the main issue and why games are so easy these days.

    These days, everything is either spoon fed or handed to player and everyone is getting used to it and expecting it to be even easier and faster...

    Community & Web Manager | Visionary Realms, Inc.
    Visit our Development Website.

  • VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,640Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Fadedbomb
    Originally posted by Vesavius

    Awful article. Really. Jaundiced and somewhat elitest, and I am being kind.

     

    EQ, despite it's grind (I will be clear here and say I like grind, if it's the RIGHT kind of grind), very much felt like a world and very much offered me a feeling of adventure, and people RPed in it all the time. It was as much of a ROLE PLAY game as you wanted it to be.

     

    I suspect the author did not even play the game and is only intererested in demonising it through second hand experience and assumption.

     

    When you ask 'Why then is it that most of your time is spent killing massive amounts of 'enemies' without making a single dent in the storyline'? you show me you didn't understand EQ at all. Though it had a backlore, a pretty disposable one tbh, it was NOT about making an impact on an established story. This is you showing me again you fail to understand what you are blaming. 

     

    Tell any guy that stood there at the moment of completing his epic he didn't feel like a goddam hero.

    Agreed, albeit i agree with his points about the industry becoming nothing but a cash-cow to be milked post-WoW. However, EQ felt 10000x more of a breathing world than SWTOR, WoW, Rift, aion, or TERA ever have/will.

    I'm still holding out hope that EQ3 will be a return to greatness, but that's merely a fan talking out of his bum :(.

     

    Post WoW I agree. I don't hate that game, never played it, but it was definitely the point where the move of the genre into 'broad appeal' started to kill innovation.

  • Loke666Loke666 MalmöPosts: 17,949Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Lord.Bachus

    The grind came with EQ, Tough we didnt mind grinding back then, as it was the first virtuall 3D reallity 

     

    What? you should really know better. You usually have more MMO knowledge than this. :(

    The first MMO ever was already in 3D,it was called Meridian 59 and released early 1996 (I played it). It invented stuff like the trinity and the skills on cooldown thing.

    It also invent the grind, but I blame monthly fees.

    And OP should also know better, both M59 and the realm (that released mid 1996) were over a year before UO and both clearly MMOs, both had in fact a lot more in common with modern MMOs than UO.

    I remember my first MMO quest in M59, I was to kill 10 rats in the moat.... Did that a few times since.

    EdiT: Lol, I forgot the whole point.

    M59 invented grind, but I think most of it was because of the monthly fees, not anything else. The longer you play the more they earn, singleplayer games never had anything like that.

  • nhatnhat york, PAPosts: 114Member Uncommon

    I don't know, let me ask you.

     

    When did Call of Duty, playing the same 5 maps over and over again started to become a grind?

    When did playing a Football game 100000 times become a grind?

     I work everyday, it's a grind.

  • Loke666Loke666 MalmöPosts: 17,949Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by nhat

    I don't know, let me ask you.

    When did Call of Duty, playing the same 5 maps over and over again started to become a grind?

    When did playing a Football game 100000 times become a grind?

     I work everyday, it's a grind.

    Yeah, but most people quit those games when they become a grind.

    Work and MMOs start out that way and we continue with them anyways. But at least you get paid for work, who do we keep grinding gear?

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