Every time I hear somebody complain about grind in MMO's, somebody comes along and says "All MMO's have grind. If you don't like grind, you shouldn't be playing MMO's. Go and play [insert random game with no levelling] Halo."
Brainwashed much? Why do MMO's need to have grind?
Let's pretend that I'm a gaming big wig making a presentation to my board of directors, before anybody's ever heard the term MMORPG.
"Welcome gentlemen! (This is 1998, there are no women on the board of directors of a gaming company)
I've come up with this great new idea for a game! Basically, we take the good old fashioned world of an RPG, and we let heaps and heaps of people run around in it and play together! What fun! I call it an MMORPG, as you can see from this breakdown:
- Players choose a class of character, aka a 'role' to play. Hence the term 'role playing game'.
- Everyone runs around in one big world together, giving the potential to be able to play with a large group of people. Hence the term 'Massively Multiplayer Online'."
"Gee Bill, that's a great idea. Gaming has never seen such a thing. Surely there's some way we can force people to pay through the nose for this."
"What? No, I just think it would be heaps of fun."
"Seriously Bill, get with the program. We can pretend that it costs a lot of money to run the online servers, and use that to justify paying a monthly fee! No other game offers such a large scale multiplayer environment, people will *have* to pay!"
"Look, ok, I guess we could justify $5 a month..."
"Bill ffs sit down. Now the problem is that people only play RPG's for usually 2 - 3 months. How are we going to force them to play longer?"
"Seriously, you can't *force* your players to - "
*board director uses floor lever to open secret trapdoor, dropping Bill in handy waiting pool of piranhas*
"So anyway, we need to force them to stay. Let's make it take roughly 10 times as long to get to the level cap."
"Ok Steve that's great, but what about when the players find all the best items in the game? Surely they'll use those to beat it somehow?"
"That's true Dave. Let's make the items completely random drops, with a miniscule chance that the good items that you actually *need* to do the hardest content will ever drop for you! It works for casinos, and it keeps people *totally* addicted!"
"Fantastic idea Steve! We can make the items special colours, as people are easily fooled by shiny trinkets!"
"Indeed Dave. Additionally, let's make the monsters hit so hard in the toughest areas that it takes a really unrealistic number of people to be ogranized together to have a chance of beating it! That will certainly present a barrier to finishing the game."
"I like where you're going with that Steve, great work! Now, where do you see a game like this going with an expansion?"
"Dave, you should know the answer to that... we'll add more levels, and make it take just as long to get those as all the other levels before them!"
*joint maniacal laughter*
Anyway, have I got my point across yet? If you think MMO's "need" grind it's because all you've played is WoW and EQ. Take a game like Guild Wars.
It has minimal grind, especially for PvP, well defined and balanced classes, tells a great story, and still gives me the potential to play with a massive group of players. Its only downfall is that it's not a persistent world, but I hear they're introducing this in Guild Wars 2, so I have high hopes for the future of MMO's.... grind free!