An enjoyable grinding - possible?

  • It is impossible to create a very big game in a short amount of time, and players play games very fast, which could make your game obsolete in hours if not days. Therefore, some game designers turn to grinding.

    The point of grinding, is simple: to make player play the game longer and make the player keep on doing repetitive things over and over. Because let's face it, we can't produce a new Call of Duty every week.

    Many games these days, some players have been caught in the psychological trap, where their ultimate goal is simply to reach the highest point in game possible. But up to this point, if you have played a few MMO or other games that require you to grind, have you ever feel "what have you been doing?" And then, you start thinking, "so if I reach Lv. 99, or got all collectibles, then what's next?".

    What can we do to prevent this? How can we make grinding fun?

    I am looking for some game design that makes the player wants more and enjoys the grinding. (or if possible, something beside grinding that is different to players almost every time, and not repetitive)

    Am I looking for something that is impossible from the beginning? Because from what I've seen around from casual games to hardcore games, grinding becomes a chore that zombifies the players. Or am I missing something?

  • There is a bit of a shift in gaming land since quite a few years. More and more games want their actions to be able to influence game play.

    Like you turn into a monster cos you kill a lot, or run around in a pink tank top cos your a girl character.

    Different out comes of the game involving players choices along the way that influenced it.

    No more static levels which make you follow a particular course, but diversity in paths taken.

    Want to start on the last quest ? just go ahead .... dont expect it to be easy though.

    Those sort of things ... When Im playing a game, I want to be involved.

  • Most of what drives people to grind is the sense of progression, and in that regard, the "resolution" or the "ending" part of the game is postponed as much as possible. So much so that the grandest of finales pale considering the grinding hours.

    So I think the best way to improve the grinding-based games is focusing on what comes with grinding and make it grand instead. I think the best example will be minecraft. No matter how much minerals you mine, how many woods you chop, you will always be able to make something grander with them. As four friends, we have worked day and night, in shifts, under the ground digging lots and lots of minerals and chopping woods over woods and built ourselves the grandest of castles with everything in it. It had an observatory, library, barracks, prison, courtyard, throne room, kitchens, bathrooms, towers, ballistae, hidden passages... yet still there was room for improvement. Even if worked a year and made our castle perfect, then we could still build a town around it. It's endless, so the grind taking forever is meaningful now.

    Though as it happens people generally use construction mode or cheats to get the resources neccessary, but played in our way, it was actually a fun grind, and the result was much more sweeter.

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  • +1 for Minecraft.

  • IMO, grinding is work.

    You give examples of games, but in the end, you're still talking about work, and just admit that it is a kind of work YOU do enjoy.

    As far as I'm concerned, I don't have the time/will to go and mine hundreds of thousands of blocks in Minecraft to "build" virtual monuments.

    To me, it would sounds like a huge waste of time and nothing enjoyable.

    So I don't believe Minecraft's grinding is really the solution you're looking for.

    As you defined grinding as repetitive, one solution would be to break the repetitiveness to make it so that the player is always doing something different, meaningful and fun.

  • Any game with enjoyable grinding is purposely built around the grinding aspect. See the Diablo series, or better yet Path Of Exile, Minecraft, Don't Starve, Swords & Potions 2, the Anno series, etc.

    In all other games it always feels arty, like being superimposed on something already working fine without.

    So, if you are able to make the grinding an essential part of the game, it will be accepted.

  • I am prefering the competitive approach (Dota 2) to grinding. Grinding is annoying for me.

  • Grinding can definitely be enjoyable. MMO's and more recently the flood of casual apps prove it's possible to engage an audience despite repetitive gameplay mechanics.

    What makes grinding less terrible? Diversity. If you can at least jump between grinds, it's more bearable.

    The most successful example of this is Runescape without a doubt. The entire game is one big grind, but there's enough diversity in the grind to keep people from clawing their eyes out.

  • Little Grind + Big Rewards = Fun

    Grinding is work and it's not fun. The trick to make it seem fun is the rewards. The rewards have to be worth the extra effort. The better the rewards, the less it seems like work.

    ------

    Not Fun Example:

    Chopping trees for wood = 1 log

    1 log = an arrow

    5 logs = a bow

    I'm not looking forward to chopping trees at all because I can see how much work is needed and it doesn't seem worth the effort. I have to chop 5 tress just to make a bow, and then another 10-20 trees just so I can get enough arrows to hunt with. Arrows get used up quickly, so as it turns out, I'm working more than I'm having fun.

    Fun Example:

    Chopping trees for wood = 10 small logs

    1 small log = an arrow

    5 small logs = a bow

    7 small logs = push cart

    10 small logs = catapult

    Now, I can build a bow and make 5 arrows with 1 log! Too easy. If I grind some more, I can make 10 more arrows! I'm not dreading chopping wood because the reward for doing it is so great. And now that I chopped 2 trees, it just takes a little longer to build the next great thing. I can already see that the more hard work I do, the more fun I can have and I'm not thinking about grinding. I'm thinking about the fun I'm going to have.

  • Give people a way out, either by questing or IAP. Or bonus dialogue choices. Or just give them a choice on where, when and how to grind.

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