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Have you got a grinding addiction?

You know you’ve done it, we all have, who hasn’t?
What I’m talking about is the act of "grinding" in games, meaning the repetition of crafting, farming, playing level one fights for bonuses – the simple act of repeating a step over and over and over again for seemingly inconsequential gains. Now in real life none of us would often willingly engage in this (generalisation I know), but really people seem to go out of their way to engage in innovative, unique, interesting jobs – no one wants to do the same task ad nauseam. So why do we choose to do this in our down time when gaming? What really is the appeal of grinding?

  • Personally I have been guilty of this when it comes to RPGs, especially in the Final Fantasy series. There is always the main objective of completing the story itself, but knowing that there are other potential sidequests, bonuses and easter eggs often leads to an uncontrollable urge to spend time grinding to levelling up characters. Another element that has added to this addiction is the use of achievements and trophies, and the need to have that sense of completion. On a side note I have also experienced this with some mobile games, only to delete them after months with the question "what was actually achieved by this?" – midado 6 years ago
  • I've done more than my share of grinding, too, and sometimes hate myself while I'm doing it! It can be so boring. (In multiplayer games, I've often griped along with other players about just how boring it can be.) I'm wondering if the appeal has a lot to do with the significance of the gains. You wrote that the gains are "seemingly inconsequential," but I'm thinking that they have to be consequential on at least some level in order for us to pursue them. As midado writes, maybe it's the completionist in us? Or maybe we grind for a purpose and then stop once we get what we were going for (or at least close enough)? – JamesBKelley 6 years ago

Auto Battle in JRPGs - An Upgrade or a Shortcut?

You’d be strapped to find a gaming review that doesn’t address grinding. Grinding is usually a process of gaining character experience, including repetitive tasks such as farming items or engaging in enemy battles. Over and over and over again – ad nauseam. In recent JRPGs, the concept of auto-battle has been introduced. In games such as Square Enix’s Bravely Default and Atlus’ Persona 4, the player is granted the ability to create an enemy-shattering battle strategy. This strategy, once plugged into the game’s battle system, can be automated. No more memorizing moves or smashing X. The game plays itself.

By eliminating the need for grinding, does the inclusion of auto-battling present an upgrade for JRPGs? Or does automating battle systems cheapen the game and ultimately result in developer-condoned cheating?

Possible approach: Comparing and contrasting auto-battle in other games.

  • I think this topic will be particularly interesting to pursue considering the general focus on the story in JRPGs. Is it the case that JRPGs care more for story than they do for gameplay and does this affect whether we view Auto Battle as an upgrade? The option to Auto Battle in some entries in the Fire Emblem series seems particularly interesting, considering the series is notorious for its difficulty and strategy elements. – Lbrook4 6 years ago

Is 'grinding' a fair or contrived mechanic in RPGs to extend gameplay? Was it more warranted in the past than it is now? Why?

Talk about the concept of grinding in video games (Single-player console games. MMO’s would be an entirely different topic). Often RPGs, especially JRPGs, require players to spend time mindlessly fighting enemies to up their level enough to advance the plot. Is that still warranted in today’s game environment? Was it warranted in the past? Is the level-up system outdated?

Use examples of RPGs from the older generations (SNES, PS, PS2, Gameboy, etc) and modern generations (WiiU, PS4, XboxOne, etc). Did technical limitations play a role? Is it an old tradition that’s stubbornly clinging to life? Am I wrong in suggesting it’s outdated and it is still an essential part of RPGs?

  • Wow! This is a really really fascinating topic. I think you are really diving into a very deep area of discussion with this topic! But it is one that merits alot of discussion. One question I might ask the writer to think about is this: "when writing this topic is how deep will this conversation be?" Will a casual reader be able to read an article about grinding and understand the article with little to no knowledge of RPGs or will does the writer have to include alot of background to help clear up information and make this topic more clear to people not immediately familiar with rpgs. Just some food for thought. Regardless, this is an AMAZING topic to address in an article! – SeanGadus 7 years ago
  • As a gamer, having played a certain amount of mmorpgs, and other games which require a grind, I am sure you can relate to all the other gamers that have probably been familiar with it. Today I feel there is a more of a "Pay2SkipGrind" option in all games. I am not sure that level up is outdated but it gives players a goal to get to feel that their countless hours atleast got them something. – Fluxz 7 years ago
  • Honestly, this might be a little too philosophical, but I have always appreciated grinding. It has always felt a little closer to true life than a lot of aspects of video games. For instance, grinding seems to connect closely with practicing sports. When you practice something like baseball, you simply need to go to the batting cages and hit a baseball at a certain speed over and over and over again. It might get a little boring, but only by crazy amounts of repetition can you ever expect to improve and advance as an athlete. I think this is true of almost all areas of life--the necessity of practice to perfect a craft. You know, the whole 10,000 hours, Malcolm Gladwell thing. Anyways, I feel like I would argue FOR grinding because of this idea that it connects the game a little more closely to the real world. – Squirrels 7 years ago
  • I think it would be worthwhile to address how grinding has "evolved." For example, turn-based RPGs like the older Final Fantasy games are nostalgic certainly, but probably too outdated for today's modern gameplay. FFXV and Kingdom Hearts (to name a few games), while still RPGs, took out the turn-based gameplay and integrated more seamless gameplay while still forcing the player to grind. I think the difference between these grinding methods lies right there, in the seamless-ness. – Christina 6 years ago