Have you been playing an online video game and heard the term “grinding” come up? If you haven’t then chances are an encounter will come with a few more hours played. If you have then you’ve probably already formed a strong opinion either for or against the polarizing strategy.
What is Grinding?
Grinding is the act of partaking in a repetitive task for an extended period of time in hopes of reaping huge rewards in the form of loot, points, or leveling up for the effort. It is most often practiced in massive multiplayer online role playing games (MMORG’s) or solo role playing games (RPG’s).
An example of grinding often found in many games is repetitive combat against a singular opponent. A player may encounter a beast that reaps a huge reward when defeated. If the game regenerates the beast upon defeat, the player can choose to stick around and defeat the beast ad infinitum while racking up loot, points or whatever reward continual success reaps.
Blizzard’s Diablo III gained immense popularity on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and continues to be played a few years after its initial release. It’s hard to play online with folks on a journey and not encounter someone or full parties that aren’t into grinding.
The grinding in Diablo III can be so intense that more experienced players partake in speed grinding. This type of grinding requires a complete mastery of character classes, how seasons unfold, and how to acquire legendaries. If simply accumulating loot for repetitive actions is the minor leagues then speed grinding is making to the majors.
Why Do People Complain About Grinding?
Grinding is a term that has become somewhat of a stigma in the video game world depending on who you talk to. Those opposed to grinding are often quite vocal about their displeasure and seem to spend as much time complaining about it as they do playing games.
Those in favor of grinding need all the time they can get to grind away. Then newcomers come along, hear someone mention the term “grinding,” and wonder what the heck all the fuss is about.
Grinding complaints aren’t often directed at folks playing single-player role playing games. Yes, if they share all the Achievements or Trophies earned then maybe someone might call them out for grinding to complete certain tasks in a seemingly impossible amount of time.
More often than not grinding complainers hail from the MMORG’s because they can see their party members or random people within the world grinding away at some task for rewards. Purist players opposed to grinding feel like grinding rpg games affords an unfair advantage to the grinders.
Is it fair if someone in your party spends half their time grinding and ends up 10 levels higher than anyone else? Jealousy from other party members might set in. Surely the party won’t be as tight as when it started.
On the flip side, one adverse effect grinders may experience is addiction to the process. They may get so caught up in grinding to score known rewards or be allured by potential bigger unknown rewards that they forget about the game’s main quest or story.
Moderation seems to be the best answer to the ongoing grinding epidemic. A little grinding here and there won’t upset anyone. Just don’t overdo it and fall into an endless cycle that negatively impacts everyone around you.