I’m getting into Assassin’s Creed 2. I’m early in the game, and – I hope this is not any kind of problematic spoiler – I just spent a couple of hours grinding some fetch quests, despite my lack of any actual really useful weapon. If I’d just continued with the plot sooner, I would’ve gotten a useful weapon back. But no, I felt like I needed MORE $$$ so I groveled around even though I was essentially crippled combat-wise.
So this made me ponder grinding in games, and the ever-loving tension between being uber and being bored. I’m wondering exactly how OCD people here tend to be. POLL TIME!
Interesting question. I stayed up late last night wrapping up Assassin’s Creed 2 (crazy-ass ending, by the way) and found that I almost always sought out and completed the secondary quests that came up, with the exception of some of the assassination side quests. I also sought out all the collectibles, as I did in the original game, and in GTA, and in Crackdown, and in just about every game I play that features collectibles.
Now my first inclination when I clicked on this thread was to respond that I am not a grinder, because I associate that term with rpgs and repetitive tasks and battling for experience points, which I have no patience for. However, if the term also includes obsessively hunting down collectible items then it turns out I am one hell of a serious grinder. Hey, find something new out every day.
I’m quite anal with open-world games like Red Faction: Guerrilla or Assassin’s Creed 2. If there’s an icon on the map that I can clear before continuing with the storyline, I’ll clear it. Assassin contracts, cheating husband smackdowns (I love those!)… I’m even clearing all the treasure icons in AC2.
But I wouldn’t call it grindy since I enjoy it so much… I just like to take advantage of the tremendous variety this genre has to offer. I mean, there’s enough fun packed into the streets of Stilwater in Saint’s Row 2 to fill a dozen great games. I like to feel like I’ve thoroughly finished the games, not just raced through the plot. And once I hit the end of the game, I rarely go back to play more. Feels too anti-climactic. But I draw the line at collectibles that aren’t on the map like feathers in AC2 or the glowing pigeons in GTAIV. Life’s too short and I don’t use strategy guides.
Your poll is missing an option. I grind compulsively (currently working on finding all the asshatting discoverable crap in Brutal Legend), and I can’t not do it, and I generally hate it when I’m doing it and find it boring and terrible, but I can’t not do it, and it just makes me hate the game, but I still finish the game because of I have the crazy brains.
Fuck grinding. If I have to kill enemies or do some unfun treasure hunting just to keep getting through the good parts of the game, your game sucks ass and I’m not going to play it. Yeah WoW, that’s you.
I avoid JRPGs so generally don’t have to grind to make progress. I’ve only rage quit one recently, The Last Scenario, after I discovered my party wasn’t powerful enough for the multiple iterations of the final normal boss.
Otherwise, I am too committed to the greatness of the classics waiting in my backlog to 100% everything. Occasionally I will scum an out of level battle in an RPG if there’s a big reward that will make progress easier in the long run. Must have spent 30 minutes in Knights of the Chalice fighting four little demons to get some treasure they were guarding.
So you kind of have three (or more) types of grind going here in this thread.
Yeah, I didn’t mean “grind” = “do boring things you hate.” I meant “grind” = “complete every conceivable little repetitive task the game offers.” The former definition would obviously make “enjoyable grind” oxymoronic, but I prefer the latter interpretation since there is such a spectrum of feeling around this.
And yes, it didn’t occur to me that someone might hate the repetitiveness of 100% completion, but do it anyway. That does indeed sound… maladaptive, shall we say? I personally reached a grind-wall in Prototype, when I finally had ridiculous money and had bought everything I conceivably could. In fact, that’s another option I left off – “I grind until I have enough resources to get everything worth getting.” Gameplay-reward-driven grinding, in other words. The only constant with polls is that you can never think of all the right options…
The urge to complete the game is strong, the repeating crap is annoying. Thus I end up knowing the low levels of anything I play (or introductory bits whatever) so extensively that I can teach grandmothers with poor sight how to play games I know. Generally I turn off the single player. I still haven’t finished Kotor.
This translates into something odd when moved into mmorpgs.
Where normally I would be restarting to make sure I didn’t miss talking to bob the repair guy who wants me to stand on his roof for a minute and give me a cool hat, in the multiplayer I became a resource.
Where is this armor commonly dropped, the name of wierd outfits, the best path through a mid level instance no one has visited in forever.
I have taught folks how to tank the drakes in ST(flying ones… they knock you around), the best path through wailing caverns, how to get out of some mid zones in one quest run so on.
And yet I am nothing to a friend of mine who is literally an encyclopedia of useless trivia about several mmorpgs item databases/quest locations so on.
A game needs to do a few things to rope me into obsessively doing sidequest stuff (apart from being fun enough to keep playing, of course):
It needs to show me where they are, and how many are left. I’m not going to get a map off the internet and go over the entire world again even though I’ve already found about a third of the collectibles. GTA is notoriously bad at this, same thing with the mining nodes in Red Faction. Batman and Ratchet & Clank: Crack in Time, on the other hand, tell you exactly which areas you’re missing stuff in. Crack in Time even puts all of them on your map.
Any sidequests themselves have to be pretty easy overall. If I run into hard ones and figure that I’m probably going to get stuck and give up later on, I won’t bother. Getting all Pro times in the Red Faction race sidequests would have required several replays of each mission, so I just started to ignore them.
It needs to dangle carrots in front of me. Crack in Time is very, very good at this. You almost always know what you’re about to get, and it’s always something cool. Batman is the only modern game I bothered finishing the collection hunt in, partly because it was pretty easy, and partly because the Riddler was a great story carrot.
It has to let me backtrack to get stuff, or have some form of chapter selection. I couldn’t be bothered to get all the audio logs in Dead Space since you can miss them. I could be bothered to get all the medals in Resident Evil 5 since chapter select makes it trivial. JRPGs are right out.
I don’t have a single platinum trophy, but there does seem to be a trend that’s leading to collectibles being less of a FAQ-mandatory pain in the bum. I certainly welcome that, Crack in Time really surprised me with it’s longevity.
I’m no completionist unless I find the game exceptional. Either that or I’m too old for it now, as the last game I went crazy completionist on was SOTN.
I’ll grind if I find the grinding itself interesting, like in TWEWY. But in general, a game has to be spectacular to have me deal with a grind. FFXII for example is pretty solid and I’m playing it again. The grinding is halfway decent due to the metagaming aspect, so it’s not too bad. I find myself enjoying it at times.
Brutal Legend is a good example for this one, because it’s the game that’s currently driving me to distraction. I’m pretty sure that if Tim Shafer knew that I had overridden his game soundtrack with Air Supply and Barry Manilow (all ironic - I totally wear a shirt that says “I’m Listening to Air Supply and I Love It” while I’m doing this) because I was just plain tired of hearing the same twenty or thirty songs over and over, he’d come to my house and kill me. In that game, there are dragon statues, and hidden things that you pull out of the ground with a guitar solo, and “legends” that are little story segments, and little San Francisco Pier viewer locations, and ALL of them give you resource points that buy you improvements to your character as they unlock according to the game story, and they’re all hidden to varying degrees. So what did I do? I went out and I found a map that shows where every one of the buggering things are and I am currently running through the parts of the world that I have presently unlocked, mostly on foot, finding all of this piddly bullshit because there are ridiculous incremental rewards that I have to finish. I’ve at least grown to the point that I didn’t feel compelled to get all the freaking flags in the first Assassin’s Creed, but when you tie rewards to this stuff one of the broken things inside of my head starts leaning against me to go get all of them. And if I don’t, I feel like I’m missing something. And if I do, I hate the entire game experience. That’s what I would classify as grind.
I probably should just go home and flip the bird at the television and not go get all those stupid little dragon statues and a bunch of music that I probably won’t appreciate as much as I ought to, but the very fact that those things exist will still make the game suck a little bit for me, because I’ll know that I’m not getting them. That’s why I hate grind so much. I, however, am a crazy person.
I don’t mind occasionally grinding for xp in games if it means having an easier time of it on the main storyline. Dragon Age is a good example. You can totally skip all the Chanter’s Board and other misc quests, but doing them nets you levels and equipment that make the actual plotline stuff go a lot smoother, so I’ll do them. Plus, when games like DA or Mass Effect make the side quests fun and interesting it really helps.
As for “grinding” in the sense of collecting items for the sake of an acheivement or reward in game, I’m not so into it. Most of the time the reward is not to scale with the amount of effort required. Mass Effect was a good example, as the rewards for all those little “collect/scan all of these items” quests were not really all that helpful in completing the game.
On the other hand, certain games set off my quest and/or loot OCD big time. Neverwinter nights is a good example of this. I could never play a NWN game without clicking every container and searching every room for loot to haul back to town and sell, even on the side quests. Games with a quest log litreally scream at me to finish those logged quests for sake of completion. This is part of why I dread MMORPGs, as you’re likely to find me killing a Tuesday night knocking out “grey” quests I don’t get experience for simply to get them off my log and/or get the reward for having done an entire series or specific number of quests despite the fact that simply deleting them from my log would be far easier.
IF I enjoy the game, and it has a task for me, I want to do it. Orb hunting in Crackdown, stunt jump hunting in Saints Row 2, skill points in two-handed axes in Wow, I’m there. Hell, I even downloaded a map to find the kitties in Superman Returns because I was enjoying the flight mechanics in an utterly flawed game (doesn’t he have super-hearing, though?).
I think I want to hold on to the world as long as I can somehow.
I used to be a lot more grindy. Now I just don’t have either the time or inclination. I may grind levels here and there, or grind money for an important purchase or upgrade, but that’s about the extent of it.