Grinding? I kind of miss it.

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Zeramae, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. Zeramae

    Zeramae It's okay by me Member

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    Now don't get me wrong. Grinding when each battle takes about 5 minutes (I'm looking at you Lost Odyssey as a semi-recent example) is a huge chore that kills the fun out of it; even more-so if you barely get the exp needed and you need to grind to survive.

    But; I still love a good grind now and then to defeat the epic boss which also requires a good strategy to boot. One of my favorite RPGs did this pretty well I think...but I remember replaying it and demolishing the game without grinding one bit.

    My point is this: If your character's growth is quick, fun, and encouraged; would you enjoy grinding in said game? And what is your overall opinion of grinding. Does it annoy you as a requirement? Does it annoy you even more that a game is too easy once you have done a bit of grinding?

    I plan on using grinding as a part of my game because of the way I am making my levels and such. I know it turns many people off, which kind of saddens me, but I definitely understand it. I myself hate grinding if the game's battles are boring and/or longer than a random fight should be.
     
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  2. Xenophil 2.0

    Xenophil 2.0 Tutorialist =3 Veteran

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    i feel the same as you, and honestly, my game has a need for grinding early on for the first boss > < which may make a few people stop playign but i really hope it doesnt
     
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  3. thejamesmcornett

    thejamesmcornett Villager Member

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    Well, that was part of the fun of playing the early FF/DW games, is you HAD to do that in order to progress anywhere in the game. Sooner or later, you hit a jump in the difficulty that required you to be a few levels more in order to make it easier, and you STILL had an element of strategy/luck involved. The last game that really made grinding fun was Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, and that was because even up to the last area, there were new enemies to be found and new items to be made that, if you were going to do the 100% of the game, you had to do. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Video Game is another great example, because it starts off somewhat simple, until you get to the end of Level 2, when you have to fight Lucas Lee. That's when you start having to boost your level and stats up via the money you earn from beating the bad guys.

    Where grinding lost its edge with me was, as you said, when it became almost a requirement in some of the later FFs. FF8, in particular, was bad about this. FFX is guilty too, especially if you're stuck trying to get one or two key spheres needed to progress your characters to the point where they can actually DO something against your next boss, but in FF8 it was nightmarishly insane! I stopped playing after the first disc because the grind was that bad. When you have to be around Level 20 just to beat the first real boss (I exaggerate, of course, but it was pretty dayum close to that as I recall), that takes some of the fun out of the game.

    My opinion? Grinding shouldn't be an issue until at least your third or fouth major boss character (which, if you do it right, should be at about your first MAJOR plot twist in the story). You want to give the player time to get used to the battling and the gameplay before you ramp the difficulty up, or you're going to lose them early on. At the same time, though, doing it later than that will set expectations that the game's going to be easier than normal, and any good game has to have at least some challenge to it early on to get the players thinking "Yeah, this is a game I HAVE to beat!"
     
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  4. timk1980

    timk1980 Apprentice Member

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    Ideally, I like what I'd call an "occupied grind". That is, a situation where there's enough side quests, optional areas to explore, and such, that aren't necessary for the main story line, but which provide some activities to fill the time while working on leveling up a bit.

    As for a pure, run around in circles where you think there's high exp enemies, kind of grinding, no, I can't say I'm much a fan of that. But with that said, it doesn't take much to improve a lot on that. As a huge fan of the Dragon Quest series, I'll use examples from it...

    Original Dragon Quest/Warrior was probably the worst I've ever known for forced grinding. Simply going all the places and doing all the things one needed to do to complete the story was only a few hours of gameplay. The forced grinding (and abysmal experience rates) made it something like 4-5 times longer than it needed to be.

    On the other hand, I love the way Dragon Quest 8 did some of this... on the overworld map, semi-hidden in plain sight, were treasure chests. It was worthwhile--or at least, not too boring-- to explore every nook and cranny of the world map in search of them. Similarly, there were special monster encounters on the world map to seek out. To full explore everything with the time and attention it deserved was enough to get all the gold and experience one needed. The bonus dungeon (and specifically, completing all of it's repetitions) were a bit of an exception, in that significant grinding was necessary, but I am more okay with that for a bonus dungeon.
     
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  5. Espon

    Espon Lazy Creator Veteran

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    I don't mind taking some time to grind up some levels, but I know most people rather not do it. I try to balance my games so that the player should be able to defeat the bosses as long as they fight a minimum number of battles within a dungeon. If they seek out and fight everything then they'll be a little strong, where as those that run away will find things a tad more difficult.

    Only time grinding would be necessary is for the optional content. Some of the hidden bosses are going to extremely tough (especially if you're playing on Hard mode) and the only way you'll be ready is if you take the time to find the best gear and maximize your weapons and armor, which is kind of below average by the end of a normal play through the game.
     
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  6. Zeramae

    Zeramae It's okay by me Member

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    Interesting posts guys!

    I've always liked the idea of using optional content as a way to boost a player's strength without them having to run back and forth to level up to defeat something. I am going to have to find a good balance between grinding and tackling harder fights with a chance to win if you know how to exploit an enemy.

    IMO as far as RPG battles go; my favorite boss fights are those that I barely get by winning, knowing for a fact that I am underleveled. It gives a higher sense of accomplishment, and something I'm hoping to emulate in my current project. I'm just worried where to strike the balance between the more casual and people like me who grind for a long time in order to get a feel for the game at the beginning. After doing this, some games I could even wipe out every single boss in less than three turns. (Blue Dragon comes to mind here)
     
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  7. Reynard Frost

    Reynard Frost Designer Member

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    I hate grinding. The rule of thumb should be: "If I progress through the game without stopping at any side content, and I flee from no battles, I should be able to defeat anything." Sure make grinding required to make the fight EASIER. But do not make it a requirement to complete the game or I assure you, I'll just stop. :p
     
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  8. RyanA

    RyanA Happy Cat Veteran

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    I liked masked grinding, outright grinding is boring for me :3
     
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  9. Kaiser

    Kaiser Veteran Veteran

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    I love grinding, just as much as side quests. The princess can wait I gotta get this certain item to get this other item to get an item of worth then lose that item to get another item that will open the door of time to collect 7 medals, that will give me the master sword to find 8 maps to find many pieces of the triforce @_@
     
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  10. Peltron

    Peltron Orange Ventius Leader Veteran

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    I don't mind grinding at all. The only problem I had with grinding was Phantasy Star Online for Xbox etc etc. I had to constantly grind to beat one boss and it took forever to even do that. If it doesn't require you to actually try and level up, the game is just boring to me. What's the point of battles then if you just want to fly through them? Might as well not even be there.

    Takes everything out of the game, I think.
     
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  11. Psyker

    Psyker Degibeta Team Veteran

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    I have to agree with Reynard on this one. I put 6000+ hours into MMOs over the past 12 or so years so I'm pretty much fed up with grinding. Yep it took that long :D

    Being able to play through the main story beginning to end without having to grind is definitely a plus. Doing side content along with the story should only make it easier. The only thing I agree with having to grind for is optional end game content like difficult dungeons or optional mega bosses with millions or billions of hit points.
     
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  12. Necromus

    Necromus Veteran Veteran

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    I don't know what you did in FF8, but FF8 is really the only FF that actually promotes low lvl runs, since bosses scale with your party.

    The more you grind, the weaker you would actually get, depending on how you use the Junction system. There is no grind in FF8, not at all.

    And why does "doing it right" mean that you have to have a plot twist after 4 bosses? Thats some trope or something? Sounds funny lol

    Grinding nowadays should never be an issue to actually beat the storyline, that's something for the optional things.

    Creating a char development system that actually makes you want to fight some more battles is a whole different story tho, thats what people should aim for imo.

    You know, where you can progress on your char bit by bit, not just by the all mighty lvl up. Learning/upgrading skills, gathering materials to craft things, stuff like that.

    The more you can actually gain from fighting some more battles than you would need to when just going straight to your next destination, the better.

    That will lead to a natural grind, thus making people simply want to fight.
     
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  13. punram

    punram Veteran Veteran

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    I think a good example of a system that supports grinding and more casual levelling is Pokémon. They're pretty easy games through and through, but stacking levels in the wild is fun and addictive (to me at least). Encounters in long grass make it so the player has the choice of grinding put in front of them, and the possibility of new Pokémon to catch or just encounter is always a motivation.

    For me, this is a really good way to balance between the two types of players. Players who just have a few battles each route will have to rely on type advantage and other aspects more, whereas high levelled players will be able to blast away at enemies with brute force - which is a good thing. I think the idea of the player becoming very high levelled and obliterating future opponents is too often considered to be a bad thing amongst RPG developers. If the player worked for this kind of power, let them keep it. It makes the experience more rewarding, which is probably going to be more enjoyable than a one that is too challenging.
     
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  14. Zeramae

    Zeramae It's okay by me Member

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    @LordBagardo

    I hope you're right. I'm taking a completely different leveling approach where growth is almost guaranteed after every battle, so those who love to grind are going to become super deadly if given the chance.

    Once again, thanks for the comments all. It's really helped me flesh out my idea!
     
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  15. Hesufo

    Hesufo Homu! Member

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    Grinding should be a no-no in a RM game since the player audience is much more cautious with the time they spend. They got a dangerously low attention span!

    Random battles are sometimes considered to go hand-in-hand with grinding, perhaps to force the player to do it even if they don't want to. Commercial games may get away with it, because you actually paid for the game, but I wouldn't waste my time with some random RPG Maker if it makes me grind levels up in order to get through a boss, for example.

    I try to discourage the possibility of grinding in my projects. As I use an AP-based class system (like FFT), the player may get an extra skill or a bit of bonus power/equipment if they decide to grind, but experience levels matter very little in a character's stats, which is the way I like to do it. Also, experience curves get pretty steep after a certain point in a specific area, so the player is discouraged to stay in the same place, killing monsters for too long.
     
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  16. Knightmare

    Knightmare Knight of the Night Veteran

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    I like grinding. Always have and probably always will. The only time I don't like it is when the battles take too long and battles occur too frequently.
     
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  17. Tuomo L

    Tuomo L Oldbie Veteran

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    Each battle takes 5 minutes in Lost Odyessey? I'm sorry, are we playing the same game? That's how long boss battles took. :huh:

    I hate grinding and have never reinforced it on my players. In almost all my games, the challenge doesn't come in just numbers and looking if you have big enough numbers but rather new sorts of moves and finding means to get the skills to beat the foes. If a RMN game enforced me to grind, I'll just edit it and put a level increasing event instead and spare myself the trouble of the artificial extending of the game's time and can better focus on the meat and story of the game. I really don't want to go running around killing rats for 30 mins and heal in between when I can just do that and progress the story.

    Grinding is just means of artifically extending your game time and shouldn't be used in anything. Getting equipment and rare drops through grinding should be option but it shouldn't be requirement in order to progress the main plot, maybe in order to beat secret things or such but, no, never the main thing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2012
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  18. amerk

    amerk Veteran Member

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    Like everything else, grinding should be properly balanced.

    My view, the proper way is: The player goes through a dungeon, fights everything they come across, they should be averaged out well enough to tackle the end boss. They should not be forced to stand in one spot (unless they choose to) and fight for an hour to gain enough levels.

    I admit, some games I do like to stand around and fight, but I tend to do this early on in the game just so I don't have to do it later, and only when I really like the game and the battle set-up. There are also times when I fight my foes without intending to grind, but then I need to get back to town to restore. And that's fine too, but a game that will have you go back and forth through a dungeon multiple times is better off with non-random enemies, because if I'm in the middle of a dungeon with random encounters, and I'm forced back to town, the next fight could be my end.
     
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  19. Sailerius

    Sailerius Engineer Veteran

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    I loathe grinding. If I'm playing an RPG, and I can't beat a boss, and upon online consultation, I discover that my problem is that I didn't grind enough, I will almost without exception stop playing the game. The very notion of grinding is fundamentally at ends with Vonnegut's #1 rule: don't ever design your story (in this place, game) in such a way that the reader (player) feels that his time was wasted. If a player is grinding on their own, without being forced to, that's one thing, but you should never, ever, ever make someone do it if they don't enjoy it.
     
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  20. amerk

    amerk Veteran Member

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    This is why I think the best approach is to design the battles based on the average player making it through, fighting what they come across without running, but without being forced to grind in one area for any length of time.

    I'm still on the fence about random encounters, though.

    1. Event battles makes it easier to leave a place if you suddenly run low on health, and realistically, a person would be able to see and avoid encounters in the real world. Plus there are scripts designed to make event battles more entertaining, between using projectiles to immobilize enemies, or even being able to cause pre-emptive attacks by sneaking up on the enemy.

    2. Random encounters makes it a bit more challenging, as long as they don't happen too often, and there are scripts that create random gauges to notify when a person will hit a random encounter. Also, you can create repel systems that lower the encounter rates as well.

    Either one is fine, as long as grinding is kept at bay. As much as I loved the NES Final Fantasy/DQ games, grinding was a bore. Of course, back then, without as many rpg's saturating the market, complaining got us nowhere, and being poor, it was a big treat whenever my parents splurged on a new game, that I wanted the game to last as long as possible.

    But somebody once said it best: If the grinding was removed in those games, you'd be left with a few hours of gameplay. By adding the grind, they extended it for several hours.

    And that's all grinding is, just a means to extend the game longer than it needs to be.
     
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