Why Grinding Is Fun…?

If I’m to believe that RPGs on the whole don’t blow a big bag of dicks, then it stands to reason that grinding must be fun.

Most people, including RPG fans, talk shit about grinding; but I’m not sure why. As I understand it, having to “grind,” means having to fight a shit ton of enemies to level up and continue a story or quest, as opposed to only fighting a regular ton of enemies. The logical fault is that no matter what, you’re going to fight more enemies.

That’s what I don’t get; if all you do in a game is fight enemies, then what difference does it make how many you have to kill before leveling? Whether I level after ten kills or after one-hundred, guess what I get to do after I level up? Kill more enemies.

If grinding bothers you because it takes too long to reach the next part of the story, then it stands to reason that you’re just playing the game for the story and don’t care as much about the combat. After all, if you liked the combat, you’d be willing to do more of it.

But if it bothers you that you aren’t leveling or getting gear fast enough, then my mind is boggled. You only level and get new abilities/armor so that you can do more fighting.

But don’t let me be dismissive. Clearly, there’s some reason that people are bothered by the need to kill shit impeding them from killing more shit. I’m just not sure what it is, yet.

I know that personally, I always seem to be in a rush to finish a game so that I can play the next one. At the same time, I’m perfectly willing to stop playing a game when it loses my interest. If I get to a grindy bit and decide I don’t like the game’s combat, then I quit playing. If I love the game’s combat, I won’t be upset with the grinding.

I did complain about the grinding in Tera at times, and then I had to take a step back and wonder why I cared. After all, there aren’t a huge variety of monster types in the game—most of it was the same shit. Plus, I almost always stuck to one rotation, regardless of opponent. I didn’t like grouping, so I wasn’t trying to min/max or get geared to take on higher-leveled dungeons, either (which would only mean more fighting, just now with a group of assholes).

What bothered me about grinding? I don’t know. I think it was some kind of desperation to get to level 60. After I reached 60, I spent like a week and a half just doing dailies (which were always the same shit), and I only went to a couple of dungeons. I was still grinding, but was totally content about it. What’s up with that?

It doesn’t make any sense to find grinding boring in a game that you enjoy for the combat. The best I can do is chalk this up to humans being weird. I think we get addicted to the game telling us that we’ve accomplished something, even if the accomplishment is empty—which leveling up is, because it just lets you do more fighting. At some point, I have to question if we enjoy playing the game, or just enjoy the idea of “leveling up.”

It’s hard to say, because I can’t get into everyone’s head. I’ve put hundreds of hours into Phantasy Star Online and Tera Online, both of which can only be called grind-fests. While in Tera it took me longer to get over grinding, in PSO, I never even noticed it. I just liked playing the game, and replaying the same area over and over wasn’t a pain because, well, it kinda felt like the point. And the rest of the game was just more of the exact same shit, so what difference does it make?