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General: Why Did the MMORPG Become a Grind?



  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    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 

    Technically, it existed long before; several hundred single-player rpgs and several hundred MUDs.

    There is no modern game set up with a decade as average time-to-cap.

    The grind, I think, always existed to some degree.  Most people did not notice it until they were years into living constantly within the same game.  It is possible that games were just never meant to be abused by players to this extraordinary degree.

    Is it the game aging, or is the player's tolerance for mid-90s (even late 80s) design standards?  How many wild boars must Cartman kill to make love, not warcraft?

    Yet--Andrew!?  A thinly-disguised NGE rant?  Still ?!!!??!?!!!!  Just let it go already.

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • MephsterMephster Tyria, NJPosts: 1,188Member

    I love the grind as long as it is fun. It is about the jourmey not about how quick you can get things done. Played FFXI for many years, tons of grind in that game but oh the journey was so much fun. 

    Grim Dawn, the next great action rpg!

  • Skyy_HighSkyy_High Ithaca, NYPosts: 138Member

    Oh look. Another "Sandbox good, Themepark bad" thread. How novel. 

  • jgagliano09jgagliano09 LSL, MOPosts: 10Member

    I'm glad im not the only one out here with the same feeling.

    I loved the grind, not because it was a grind, but because every mob i killed I felt like I was headed to something better. I've always believed that people that play more and work hard should be rewarded. I don't get this EQ2 feature that balances 2 different level characters to make them more even.  When I was in PvP and saw someone below me I wanted to teach them a lesson. Go level up and then come back.

    As a classic DAOC player (oh god that game was a grind). I wasn't even aware there really were quests besides at lv 50.  But grinds never felt like grinds, and when I leveled I felt awesome.

    WoW did a great job creating quests, which was a grind, but you got great gear and learned an amazing story.

    MY Top 2 MMOs are Daoc and WoW because of their lore.  I love the Arthurian legends and I love how WoW have used all the stories from warcraft 1-3 to create its world.

    I'm currently back to daoc playing, and I really don't see the age as much as everyone else does I guess.  My biggest attraction was the endgame PvP and your continued opportunity to be rewarded for kills with new abilities. (Daoc really has removed all grind to get to lv 50 and to get good gear which is really nice for new people).  Daoc is actually a lot more populated then you think. Maybe I just favor RvRvR, you should really try Daoc if you havent before.

    I could really go back to WoW because of its great world and the new expansion ( I dont see why people think the panda expansion is so funny lol? A classic character from Warcraft 3 was the drunken panda).  It turns me off though because of the wild level disparity of trying to start over and go from 1-90?  And still the PvP.  

  • GamerUntouchGamerUntouch smithville ON, ONPosts: 488Member

    To get people to keep paying.

  • antshock35antshock35 cumming, GAPosts: 114Member

    What a great article of why mmos today fail and they don't make it ......While I don't agree with everything in the article some advancements have been leaps in bounds as far as story lines and player mechanics and enviroments. Some of these so called advancements have done nothing but to spur a divided commiunity of trad mmos with casual gamers only intrested in turning single player gmes into mmos with no end game and rail tracks of where you have to be and how you have to do it....

    In summary its about time some wrote a article about this and maybe this might be the tide where a dev actually goes bact to the roots of mmorpgs

    I can only hope

  • MeltdownMeltdown Home, NHPosts: 1,179Member Uncommon

    Decent article. I agree with a lot of people here thought pointing out the hyprocisy of calling EQ/UO pre-grind games. I think the focus needs to be less on what the ingame objectives are and more the pace and playstyle of the game.


    Take UO as an example, there was no real ability spamming, not rotations, heck most fighting involved doubling clicking something and anxiously awaiting the result trading blows back and forth with a goat (which was quite formidable and might kill you...). This created lots of empty time. Time allowed for social interaction... something that a lot of hardcore gamers often lacked in everyday life, and it was good. Social interactions and a slower style which allowed you to go off and fish for few hours without feeling like you are "wasting your time".


    EQ capitalized on this spare time notion, making people band together (for the most part) to progress through the game. Downtime, slow kill times, slow attack speeds, heck I could text-chat between skill uses and never worry about my DPS going down. Complex social relationships were the real game, honestly more like an RPG-chat room of sorts. The ultimate social experience resulting in raids. 


    But the biggest complaint which turned player away from games like UO/EQ was TIME. "Time sinks" were a household name, and "grind" was getting out there as a way to describe MMOs. Downtime, time to level, time time time. So Blizzard answers this all with reducing time, cut the downtime, cut the time between attacks, add more skills, and expand on other game concepts (quests, factions, etc.).


    It was never anything deceitful by Blizzard to remove this blight of timesink from the genre, they answered the demand from the market and were rewarded greatly for it. But Blizzard was smart and realized people still needed to spend TIME in the game in order to collect on monthly subscription fees. Thus the endgame. Time was no longer distrbuted through the game, but focused on the end of the game to keep players playing... and AH the "grind" shows its ugly face.


    TL;DR the article misses a key point in that the "grind" was more of a social experience and made it tolerable. Now there is more focus on actual gameplay and the "grind" is more apparent.

    "They essentially want to say 'Correlation proves Causation' when it's just not true." - Sovrath

  • eddieg50eddieg50 Tolland, CTPosts: 1,727Member Uncommon

    Shadowbane was a great game without the grind, unfortunately developers put forth a game with lag and crashing and despite the good game play it was killed because of that, Darkfall supposedly the spiritual successor to Shadow does not seem to have the game play.

    A lot of people praise SWG but it had such a small pop why?

    To me Vanguard is a bit less grindy because the fights are more engaging and with diplomacy and an advanced crafting system there is more to do.

  • kantseemekantseeme millville, NJPosts: 709Member
    Originally posted by Skyy_High
    Oh look. Another "Sandbox good, Themepark bad" thread. How novel. 



  • Segun777Segun777 Jade Dynasty Correspondent Lemont, PAPosts: 97Member

    About the same time we stopped loving the grind. I remember when people used to say WoW was too casual because there was so little grinding. When did we stop loving the grind?

  • nuttobnuttob Plantation, FLPosts: 291Member

    The big change in grind came for me when I started playing WOW after being in EQ for  a few years.  EQ was the king of all grinds for me.  I liked to solo, so I rolled a necromancer, and found myself killing the same mobs over and over and over again to level.  I enjoyed it at the time, because I had nothing to compare it to.  Then WOW comes along, and it became more of a quest than mob grind which I thought was an improvement.  However, being able to kill a mob in WOW with my eyes closed was a big turn off.  They made it way too easy.  Grind is part of the game in mmorpg's, if you don't like it, then don't play it is my take.  I happen to like the slow progression when it is somewhat challenging and fun to do.  The moment it becomes boring I move on.


  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member

    Problem is that most/all of the current "virtual worlds" are grinds now too.

    I haven't played a MMO where I haven't felt like at times I was just "grinding" since UO.

    UO never felt like a grind.

    Even the power-hour skeleton respawn killing for skill ups didn't feel like a grind because it was always a social experience.

    EvE, SWG, FFXI... any of the old/current "virtual worlds" learned far too much from EQ and not enough from UO.

    Well, EvE is the best by far but the isk grind and PvE grind are two of the worst Grind offenders in the genre, IMO.

    But I don't pretend to be a master of EvE, not by a long shot.

  • CaldrinCaldrin CwmbranPosts: 4,505Member Uncommon

    who knows...


    People called Darkfall a grind.. but i enjoyed the amount it took for me to develop my character...


    I think for some reason most people that play MMORPGs these days are the instant gratification lot and anything that takes time to do is a grind..

  • TalulaRoseTalulaRose Long Island, NYPosts: 842Member Uncommon

    Grind became popular when the ADD crowd started to play MMORPGs in numbers. Before the term grind most enjoyed the slower pace and socializing as they played.

    Now its populated with terms skill and compitition...and I'm not talking about pvp. You see these terms thrown around like prosac. Before it was just raid content where you would see these terms come up. Then it was 5 man hard mode. Now its everywhere. Myself, I don't know what this compitition is but I am sure that someone is using it as justification to act like a tool.

    And when I got my flaming sword it was the best thing. Many had got theirs before me but I wasn't thinking about them, there was no make belief compitition. It was just me and my sword. Also loved my Cloak of Flames and my Short Sword of Ykesha.


  • MephsterMephster Tyria, NJPosts: 1,188Member

    Money and because mmos were never meant to be able to finish in a weekend like we have today. 

    Grim Dawn, the next great action rpg!

  • MMOGamer71MMOGamer71 Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 1,930Member Uncommon

    Good read up to:

    "On the story side of things, Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of the few MMO's to take storylines seriously."



    Then I stopped.

  • fenistilfenistil GliwicePosts: 3,005Member
    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



    F2P & Freemium games are as grindy as p2p ones.  Often even more. 

  • kantseemekantseeme millville, NJPosts: 709Member
    Originally posted by Caldrin
    who knows...   People called Darkfall a grind.. but i enjoyed the amount it took for me to develop my character...   I think for some reason most people that play MMORPGs these days are the instant gratification lot and anything that takes time to do is a grind..

    i feel the same way.

  • mnemic666mnemic666 asdf, CAPosts: 209Member Uncommon

    There doesn't really need to be much said on this topic...The biggest reason is player retention. The cheapest and easiest way to retain players is to create tasks that need to be repeated MULTIPLE times in order to achieve a goal. Want to keep players around for a while? Release about 20 daily quests that reward reputation, but gate them and make the entire faction process take 2 months + (Firelands dailies).


    That and technically ANYTHING is a grind. Ever played multiplayer MW or BF? That's a grind. You're repeating the same activities over and over and over again.


    Grinds AREN'T BAD! Really, they aren't. HOW THEY ARE PRESENTED matters. It's the same thing with questing. SWTOR, GW2, TSW and TERA all have pretty similar questing content (although TSW does have awesome investigation quests), in that they all have standard kill/collect/talk to quests as one of the primary questing activities. But the quests FEEL different in each game because of how they are presented. SWTOR/TSW do fully voiced directed cutscenes with different styles, GW2 has them appear more organically by "running into" them, and TERA has the traditional delivery method of questhubs and text blocks.


    I really don't like how everyone has jumped all over "grinding" as if it's inherently terrible. It's like people jumping over linear endgame progression now (primarily GW2 fans, and before you start raging I've pre-ordered the game and love the hell out of it from what I've played already). There's nothing WRONG with linear progression and "gear hamster wheels". It's a method of delivering content and providing an incentive to continue playing. Is it pointless? Yeah, but so is every other activity if you look at it in a vaccum. If people have fun doing it, who cares?


    TLDR: Grinding is fine and there's nothing inherently wrong with it. Just like with questing, it's how it's presented that matters.

  • divmaxdivmax JhbPosts: 106Member

    Best article ever.


    This is exactly how I feel. I despise grind in MMO's and especially when developers don't even try to obfuscate the grind with story/immersion elements. All I can imagine are these smug developers laughing at their customers, who are paying them to play their terrible content over and over. And then developers initiating pyramid schemes like Sign up a Friend to mask the fact that the content is not actually fun enough to play by itself. If the content is good, the people will come.


    And when did the MMORPG become something you enjoyed only after you hit max level? When did the destination trump the journey? The very concept of an end-game is broken. In a virtual world, you don't have one. You should be enjoying what you are doing ingame from day 1 all the way until you stop playing. No game today has this (some come close), but its an ideal that is largely ignored by developers in favour of the ideal of a Cash-cow.


    I like virtual worlds, not repetitive action/arcade games. Else, I'd go and play... a repetitive action/arcade game. They have their place. But this is not it.

    PS. To those saying grinds aren't bad: I think you are confusing "repetition" with "grind". "Grind" has a negative connotation precisely because its bad. If a game has a "grind", that means by definition that the repetitive elements are poorly presented. There is no such thing as a positive "grind" anymore than there is a bright-side to a plague.
  • TheNitewolfTheNitewolf StockholmPosts: 102Member

    Funny (or sad) when you only have to read the title of an article to know the author has no clue. As mentioned several times before in this thread, grind has been around for ages.

    My Signature

  • tollboothtollbooth grants pass, ORPosts: 298Member Common

    I enjoy games that make the grind fun.  I would much prefer a year to get to lvl cap then 2 weeks.  I'd much prefer xp parties grinding on mobs then solo questing.

  • divmaxdivmax JhbPosts: 106Member

    apologies double post - every time I refresh, my post seems to randomly appear and then disappear.

  • MardukkMardukk Posts: 2,059Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by tollbooth
    I enjoy games that make the grind fun.  I would much prefer a year to get to lvl cap then 2 weeks.  I'd much prefer xp parties grinding on mobs then solo questing.

    Couldn't agree more.  And the way you make the grind/mob killing more fun is that each different type of mob drops loot specific to that mob.  No tagging of mobs though, anyone that hits that mob will get loot. This universal loot stuff is getting really old. 


    I can't say I agree with much the OP is complaining about.  What the hell is he talking about "grind"?  It's the anti "grind" people that have scared devs into making 1 month long MMO's.  Have any of the newer MMO's had more than a couple months content.  If OP thinks these newer MMO's are a "grind" he has a serious problem. 

    They need to stop steamlining everything and bring back a little inconvenience in order to help immersion.  Let me kill my own town guards but then I destroy my reputation and have to go to vendor's under the town ala EQ or I'm booted out of the town until I bring my rep back up though whatever means necessary.  Give players a small bit of freedom again. 

  • TalulaRoseTalulaRose Long Island, NYPosts: 842Member Uncommon

    If you like what you are doing then its fun.

    If you don't like what you are doing then its a grind.

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