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.

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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.

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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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