Grinding and Engagement

I really, really hate grinding. It’s one of the quickest ways to get me to stop caring about a game. Some people love it, just turning their brain off and chipping away at something, but it always bugs me.


It stems from my love of finding creative solutions to problems. I’m not a brute force type, and grinding always feels like a brute force method. I’d rather find a complex problem and come up with a functional, creative solution to it than do a bunch of mindless repetitive work. Most of the people I know who either don’t mind or actively enjoy grinding tend to talk about doing “something else” while grinding, usually netflix or something. I get the concept, but it doesn’t work for me.

I like to fully immerse myself in my entertainment. I very rarely mix entertainment media, and when I do one of them is starkly on the back burner, and is barely getting any attention. The only one of these I can think of is FFV, at certain points, where I realize I can grind some levels or AP by setting up an autobattle engine (I’m playing on iOS) and literally not looking at the screen for 20 minutes while I do something else. If it’s taking up more attention than that, I want to be giving it my full attention. I don’t tend to listen to my own music when I’m playing a game, nor do I watch TV while gaming. I’ve talked to people who read a book with the TV or some music on in the background and it’s something I can’t fathom.


As a kind of adjunct to this, I tend to do poorly with games that don’t fully engage me. A great example of this is Diablo, which a lot of people love and I’m fairly ambivalent about. Moment-to-moment combat isn’t quite deep enough to keep me engaged, and there’s nothing in the game EXCEPT combat, so I don’t get the activity variance that I do in, say, MMOs. Similarly, Warhammer tabletop wargames tend to fall under the engagement threshold for me– there isn’t enough gameplay ‘meat’ for me to sink my teeth into, it boils down into “roll a whole bunch of dice” rather than relying on tactics or clever application of special abilities.

Little bit of a ramble today, but it’s something I’m thinking about.

Source: Digital Initiative
Grinding and Engagement

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