Thursday, September 9, 2010


There has been some talk about 'grinding' in recent days. In my opinion it comes down to player mentality.

1) If a player wants a MMO to be 'just a distraction' after work, every minute of his 'valueable time' should be fun. He will not remember any activities, because they do not have any meaning for him. And because he does not even want to remember them. It is all about passing time. An example is using the dungeon finder in WoW although there is nothing to gain from it. It can be fun, but it has no meaning. The player does not remember it and there would be no reason to.

2) If you want a MMO to be interesting, like watching a good play at the theater, however, you are interested in a meaningful activiy. The main motivation is not to pass time, but to experience art.
For this player mentality, monotonuous repetition is not a problem, if it is still immersive. Repetition is part of the game designers toolset. Hacking lumber to build your own in-game house for two weeks may be boring as an isolated activity, but it can still be a lot of fun, if the final house means something to you.

The problem in understanding (2) is that some players look at fun like an inherent property of a isolated activity. I wrote about that fallacy before.

You should also check out what Evizaer wrote about grind. I like his definition a lot:
Grinding is when the mental process of play breaks down because it became separated from the game’s meaning.

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