What's your thought's on Level grinding in JRPG's?

Josh_727

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I'm just curious to get peoples thought's on this.

What I love about JRPG's is the visual style. Like games from the golden age of jrpg's like final fantasy, legend of dragoon, all kinds. That's kinda the reason I've always wanted to make one. They've always been my favorite from a design perspective.
But the slow level grinding and turn-based systems are what I've never been a huge fan of. That's the reason I never invested a ton of time into them growing up. I loved flipping through gaming magazines and seeing all the new ones coming out. Visually they were great. But again the very slow level grinding was the unappealing part for me.

Back in my high school days (the 90's, I know im old lol) me and a buddy of mine loaned each other our games for PS1. His was final fantasy 7. I played it and was quite impressed. But I had so much trouble trying to get past certain parts of the world. I asked him how to do it and he kept telling You have to get in more fights and level up. The stronger your party is the easier it is. But the menu driven battle system in that game was so tedious and took so much patience it kinda prevented me from doing a lot of things in that game.

So I guess I'm just curious to get everyone elses take on this.
 

RCXDan

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Oh I can't like, stand excessive grinding. It's one of those cardinal sins a game can make for me, cause time wasted grinding could be used to invest the player into the world and stuff like that.

Any game that gives me the option to solve a problem with my current tools or a way to speed up the process of grinding exponentially is a winner in my book.

Chrono Trigger did it the best out of the old school types, seeing as a natural playthrough would give you more than enough power to spare.

Even for postgame, there's ways to increase difficulty other than just make the numbers higher... like introducing more complex strategies and forcing your players to figure it out themselves, although optimally with a good push.
 

Josh_727

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Oh I can't like, stand grinding. It's one of those cardinal sins a game can make for me, cause time wasted grinding could be used to invest the player into the world and stuff like that.

Any game that gives me the option to solve a problem with my current tools or a way to speed up the process of grinding exponentially is a winner in my book.

Chrono Trigger did it the best out of the old school types, seeing as a natural playthrough would give you more than enough power to spare.

Even for postgame, there's ways to increase difficulty other than just make the numbers higher... like introducing more complex strategies and forcing your players to figure it out themselves, although optimally with a good push.
Yea I know what you mean. For me personally it's the slow pacing. Final fantasy tactics for example. I realize it's not a gung-ho type of game. It's intended to make the player pay attention to a lot of thing's and plan out each move carefully. But the sloooowness. UGH.
It was the same with FF7. The pacing wasn't AS slow at tactics, but it's the same deal.
 

MushroomCake28

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I personally like grinding. This is really a personal preference subject. Of course excessive grinding is not fun, but just the right amount is pretty enjoyable for me (and I'm quite tolerant lol). Ultimately it comes down to the reward you get from grinding. If it's not really rewarding, it will be boring, but if it's super rewarding (getting rare items, leveling up, becoming overpowered, rare skills, etc.) it can be super fun.

Personally in my games I make it so that grinding isn't necessary for the main story. For endgame side quests though, grinding is a must. I think that's balanced, as player that play a game for enjoyment of the story can have fun, and more hardcore players that play games for completion can also have fun.
 

Josh_727

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I personally like grinding. This is really a personal preference subject. Of course excessive grinding is not fun, but just the right amount is pretty enjoyable for me (and I'm quite tolerant lol). Ultimately it comes down to the reward you get from grinding. If it's not really rewarding, it will be boring, but if it's super rewarding (getting rare items, leveling up, becoming overpowered, rare skills, etc.) it can be super fun.

Personally in my games I make it so that grinding isn't necessary for the main story. For endgame side quests though, grinding is a must. I think that's balanced, as player that play a game for enjoyment of the story can have fun, and more hardcore players that play games for completion can also have fun.
Yes definitely personal preference. I get where your coming from. I honestly don't know if there's an action rpg where you can level up. I was thinking Zelda, thats the type of rpg gameplay I prefer. but I don't think theres any leveling in it.
Thanks for your reply though. I'm interested to get everyones input on this.
On a side note, getting secret items is a good feeling :)
 

lianderson

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Grinding is a test of a player's patience and willpower in relation to the game they're playing. Good grindy games require less, bad grindy games require more.
 

Josh_727

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Grinding is a test of a player's patience and willpower in relation to the game they're playing. Good grindy games require less, bad grindy games require more.
Curious,. is grinding what you prefer?
Personally I get more entertainment from games like tales of phantasia where there's still leveling up but it's done through more of a hack n slash system.
What games do you think have better grinding compared to bad grinding? And thanks for your reply.
 

TheoAllen

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I generally dont hate grinding. Even i prefer a game that has progression system (exception can be made). I would grind even if the game dont ask. The boss need the right level to beat? I probably already do it or overshoot my level so it becomes too easy. However, i'd probably hate it when it becomes demanding. Like if i think my grinding is enough but apparently not enough. Or when the item i need is a drop with random chance.

I think people who hate grinding just want to enjoy the actual core of the game, which one of them is the story.
 

Josh_727

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I generally dont hate grinding. Even i prefer a game that has progression system (exception can be made). I would grind even if the game dont ask. The boss need the right level to beat? I probably already do it or overshoot my level so it becomes too easy. However, i'd probably hate it when it becomes demanding. Like if i think my grinding is enough but apparently not enough. Or when the item i need is a drop with random chance.

I think people who hate grinding just want to enjoy the actual core of the game, which one of them is the story.
I know what you mean. But yea when grinding becomes an essential chore that's when its no fun at all. Honestly I can play an rpg wheres there's a lot of grinding to level up, and the combat system is all turn-based and menu driven (Like earlier final fantasy), but I would REALLY have to be in the mood to play it.

Funny story. Back when I was a teen my grandmother drove me to blockbuster once to rent a game for my sega genesis. I picked Phantasy star 4. I didn't know it was a jrpg at the time, I just thought the cover and screenshots looked cool. So I brought it home and started playing it. The first battle I got into was in some dungeon in an academy. When I realized what kind of game it was I was like "Not one of these f**ing games" lol. But I have to say the visual style of jrpg's really grew on me because a lot of my friends in high school were huge fans of that stuff.
 

TSR

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I like grinding, but I think it should be optional. For me, a systematic style of play (speaking to everybody, explore entire areas, get all treasures and secrets (or at least the most obvious ones)) should render the most "normal" difficulty level. Just going straight ahead for the story should be challenging while grinding should render the game easier.
 

Josh_727

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I like grinding, but I think it should be optional. For me, a systematic style of play (speaking to everybody, explore entire areas, get all treasures and secrets (or at least the most obvious ones)) should render the most "normal" difficulty level. Just going straight ahead for the story should be challenging while grinding should render the game easier.
How do you think grinding would be an optional feature? Do you mean that in terms of gameplay, like turn based vs hack n slash? Or more like it is in zelda where there is no leveling? Actually I take that back. You do have to collect hearts to increase your life span. But nothing really in the way of getting stronger.
 

TSR

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No, I'm speaking of regular random encounter rpg games like final fantasy. Grinding should be optional in the sense that the game should have reasonable difficulty without having to do grinding (staying in the same area willingly, just to get more encounters and leveling up). But if you choose to do grinding, it should be rewarding (you get more power so the fights get easier).
 

Josh_727

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No, I'm speaking of regular random encounter rpg games like final fantasy. Grinding should be optional in the sense that the game should have reasonable difficulty without having to do grinding (staying in the same area willingly, just to get more encounters and leveling up). But if you choose to do grinding, it should be rewarding (you get more power so the fights get easier).
Yes that I completely 100% agree with. Like I was saying it's no fun when it becomes a chore and ends up being a lot more time consuming than it should be. Staying in the same area to build your level is where all jrg's get tedious if you ask me. It's like you have to keep defeating the same kinds of enemies over and over in order to gain enough HP and EXP to fight stronger ones. I wish there were more of a strategy aspect to it instead of all the dragging to level up.
 

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I like the feeling of progression that grinding provides but I feel that it is more of a remedy than a cure, with its own negative side effects; Nothing feels quite as boring as being over leveled or as frustrating as being under leveled. Granted this is not limited to just JRPG's; with how ubiquitous leveling systems have become its a common issue in many action games and even shooters now.

Likewise nothing quite brings the pace of a game to a halt more than being forced to grind to keep up with the difficulty curb or meet the requirements for certain game elements. (Having to grind again is the reason I don't want to replay many games with RPG elements in them)

TLDR I like grinding, but I think other options of progression are generally better.
 

Josh_727

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I like the feeling of progression that grinding provides but I feel that it is more of a remedy than a cure, with its own negative side effects; Nothing feels quite as boring as being over leveled or as frustrating as being under leveled. Granted this is not limited to just JRPG's; with how ubiquitous leveling systems have become its a common issue in many action games and even shooters now.

Likewise nothing quite brings the pace of a game to a halt more than being forced to grind to keep up with the difficulty curb or meet the requirements for certain game elements. (Having to grind again is the reason I don't want to replay many games with RPG elements in them)

TLDR I like grinding, but I think other options of progression are generally better.
I guess I never thought about those parts. The JRPG I played the most was admittedly FF7. In that game I was always under leveled a lot more than over leveled. But the way it's played is the reason I just couldn't bare it for more than an hour or 2 at a time. As with most jrpg's.

Now, ninja gaiden for xbox was a different story. Impossibly hard but so much fun. I remember having to defeat a lot of the soldier ninja's in order to collect orbs and buy better weapons. That kind of grinding I didn't mind. That game knocked it out of the park.
So you're right. There's definitely other methods of progressing that are a little more captivating as an alternative to turn-based.
 

RCXDan

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I guess the other big thing is how you frame grinding. Like if doing the regular activities (fighting monsters, getting materials for quests, etc.) is fun, if it's engaging, then it's alright.

Like... I guess the real thing that bothers me about grinding is being forced to climb to the absolute top of stats just to even match the difficulty. This is the main reason I will never defeat Baal in Disgaea D2, it's asking me to essentially devote all my time to defeating a boss to the point where it's not really worth it after a while?

If you're at the level cap and still barely scrape by, the game needs some adjusting.
 

Josh_727

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I guess the other big thing is how you frame grinding. Like if doing the regular activities (fighting monsters, getting materials for quests, etc.) is fun, if it's engaging, then it's alright.

Like... I guess the real thing that bothers me about grinding is being forced to climb to the absolute top of stats just to even match the difficulty. This is like, the main reason I will never defeat Baal in Disgaea D2, it's asking me to essentially devote all my time to defeating a boss to the point where it's not really worth it after a while?

If you're at the level cap and still barely scrape by, the game needs some adjusting.
Havent played Disgaea, I'll have to check that one out. You mentioned Baal, for a second I thought you were talking about Diablo 2 but that was Bail I think lol. But yes having to invest so much time and sanity into a boss fight. That's another tiring and not so intriguing thing. I wont lie, some games do it better than others. I remember reading an article a while back about some boss in an online final fantasy game that these gamers were fighting for like 24 hours straight and eventually they just gave up. No thanks.

I do agree that making it engaging is important. Honestly though that's where too many titles fall short.
 
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lianderson

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Curious,. is grinding what you prefer?
Personally I get more entertainment from games like tales of phantasia where there's still leveling up but it's done through more of a hack n slash system.
What games do you think have better grinding compared to bad grinding? And thanks for your reply.
If the game is good, I don't mind grinding it. If the game is bad, I ain't gonna waste my time.

Good and bad are obviously subjective and different for each person, but if I had to pick an objectively good grindy game, it would be Final Fantasy Tactics. I got no issues in grinding on that due to the amount of rewarding and crazy builds one can create. In fact, a part of the major appeal to that game IS the creation of those rewarding and crazy builds.

As for a bad grindy game, I'd have to choose the cliché RM game. You know, the one where you get little to no satisfaction when you level up because you don't really care about the game at all.

In short, the more appealing your game is, the more likely people will put up, or even enjoy, your game's grinding.
 

Josh_727

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If the game is good, I don't mind grinding it. If the game is bad, I ain't gonna waste my time.

Good and bad are obviously subjective and different for each person, but if I had to pick an objectively good grindy game, it would be Final Fantasy Tactics. I got no issues in grinding on that due to the amount of rewarding and crazy builds one can create. In fact, a part of the major appeal to that game IS the creation of those rewarding and crazy builds.

As for a bad grindy game, I'd have to choose the cliché RM game. You know, the one where you get little to no satisfaction when you level up because you don't really care about the game at all.

In short, the more appealing your game is, the more likely people will put up, or even enjoy, your game's grinding.
In terms of looks I think FFTactics is amazing. But for gameplay not so much. But I do respect your taste in rpg's.
I've been told Tactics is one of those games where patience is key. Apparently it has a pretty good plot that's very political.

Good and bad are VERY subjective lol. I can't really recall a traditional jrpg where I enjoyed the grinding if it was turn-based. Like I said in an earlier reply I would really have to be in the mood to play one like that. I much more prefer hack n slash like zelda.

BUT........ If were talking something like World of Warcraft where the grinding is a little more continuous and less waiting, then yes, I would pretty much be addicted to level progressing. But that's just my taste in rpg's.
 

TSR

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By the way, @Josh_727 , your profile image is a battle scene from Tales of Destiny, isn't it? Really cool game :thumbsup-left:
 

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