The Grind

Grind: A word used in any MMO representing the repetitive actions taken in order to make the character stronger. The grind is also a substitute for normal life functions. Sleeping, eating, drinking and being social are not important, when it comes to grinding.

UrbanDictionary.com

The word Grind can be used in a variety of ways; dictionary.com even has 19 separate definitions for the word grind. In gaming and daily life this word has just as many uses. One could say, “I am so tired of the daily Grind” or “I’m going to grind some mobs today” or “that kid has an axe to grind.” As it is defined above, “to grind” in MMORPGs means to do any repetitive action that helps your character. The most common grind in the World of Warcraft is that of grinding for experience. In certain cases straight up grinding with a well geared character can net a higher experience per hour ratio than questing, especially when one has a level and a half of rested experience (the character receives twice as much experience from killing a mob as they normally would). In these cases grinding can be an effective way to level a character.

But the grind is NOT fun, although games in essence are repetitive because of the finite rules and variables within the game, the cyclic and hours long sessions of pressing ctrl+1, 4, 1, and shift+4 become quite obnoxious. Because I have chosen to grind, instead of enjoying the game as I should with questing, I have turned the game into a job, into the simplistic goal of reaching the next bar or level rather than seeing the whole picture, that of reaching level 70.

One perk that I have noticed about LOTRO is that the grind is NOT an effective way to level a character. Although rested experience is gained pretty quickly, without even having to log in an inn, killing mobs is not an efficient way of gaining experience. The game designers have ingeniously taken the emphasis off mindlessly killing mobs and putting emphasis on doing quests. Since questing is the most efficient way to level, the game designers have essentially forced the gamer to pay attention to what he is doing. It is quite hard to do a quest without reading it or having an understanding of your general area, and so much more importance is placed on the storylines and geography of each zone. In WoW, a player can easily grind 10 levels and spend all of their time in just 3 or 4 small areas with quickly spawning mobs and never do a quest. This is essence takes away from the game experience and replaces the fun elements of role playing games with a repetitive task that although sometimes efficient, is not fulfilling.

The grind can also be used in reference to the daily tasks that a person has to do to just exist. It is not uncommon to hear someone complain about “the daily grind” and they are referring to the seemingly useless tasks that we do everyday such as school, doing chores, shopping, etc. In reference to the myth of Sisyphus, the week is the stone and as the week progresses we push the stone up the hill. The weekend is when we get to take a break, but that is when the rock rolls back down the hill and we have to start all over again at the beginning of the next week. This becomes an endless cycle that can be viewed as hell on earth. As each year passes, another begins and the rock just rolls back down the mountain. Not only does the game become a grind, but life itself does. But this is a purely pessimistic view of the world and is not a true representation of all that life offers. Although life may be a grind, it is an interesting one.

-Seth

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One thought on “The Grind”

  1. I agree.. The grind, daily or in-game, can become — as you say — obnoxious. Every MMORPG has its GRINDY elements — things you have to get through to get the juicy loot. Let’s hope we aren’t skipping that narrative in the text bubbles!

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