Eliminating Grind in MMORPGs
Playing an MMO can be a time-consuming, life-encompassing past-time; especially if you have an addictive personality. Sitting on a desk chair for hours on end grinding your character like a maniac won’t help you keep fit, but it does get you that much closer to the almighty level cap. But is this really the purpose of playing such a game? Should it not also be about the journey as much as the destination?
There’s no doubt that nearly every player wants to be the best. There are few people content to meander through their virtual life, leveling so slowly that several expansions are released before they reach level six. No, most want to crack on and watch the levels skyrocket, but sometimes this can mean sacrificing fun for boar-slaying monotony.
Sword 2 – Level Up!
There are some MMOs, such as 4Story, that are stupidly grind-heavy and others that tend to make leveling either quick and easy or not the main focus of the game. Guild Wars is a pretty good example of the latter, as leveling tends to just happen as a result of questing, eliminating much potential grinding. The game’s focus on story means that, although ultimately important, leveling takes a back seat. Unfortunately the trade-off for this, and one of the main gripes people have about the game, is that the level cap is so low, meaning you’ll be hitting the ceiling in no time, leaving little else to accomplish aside from acquiring fancy new tools to maim people with. It’s fun to pretend maim.
Iris Online – Quest Description. Questing For XP
Binging on XP
One of the more obvious ways of scooping the grind out of an MMO is to pour experience points down player’s throats so in the first 10 minutes they’re 8th level. Atlantica Online, Eudemons Online and Sword 2 are good examples of titles that pile on the levels with minimal effort. The upside to this method of character progression is that the ‘one more level’ syndrome takes over the player’s mind, forcing them to keep playing to the next level – after all, it’s only 300xp away! This way ultimately conditions the player to keep trudging on with the promise of a level reward. The downside is that this just creates the illusion of less grind, when in reality there’s probably the same amount as any other game expect that it’s on a faster ‘drip’ than the others. There’s no difference between a game that has medium grind time with a 50 level cap and a game that levels double the speed with a 100 level cap.
Florensia Online – Grinding
I, Grind Bot
A more sophisticated method of reducing, or even eliminating the need to grind was implemented in Magic World Online. Strangely enough, this game utilities a built-in bot to allow the player to automatically take actions while away at the computer. Ordinarily, bots are an annoyance to MMO developers, but here they have used it to create a unique game. Magic World Online isn’t the only game with a “built in bot” either. Jade Dynasty, Godswar Online and Voyage Century all have built in bots too.
Magic World Online – Built in auto-leveling Bot
It’s not wrong for MMOs to ask players to while their time away by grinding, but when experience points are few and far between things start to get ridiculous. It’s all about hitting that sweet spot where grinding makes you feel like you’re getting somewhere.
Let us know what you think. Are you happy to grind away, or do you prefer high xp rates in your MMOs? What do you think about the in-game bots in some MMORPGs?
By, Scott Malthouse