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Hint's in the title. Is it bad for an RPG to involve levels/equipment/money grinding? Most of my favorite RPG's involve grinding in some fashion, and I typically don't mind too much, as long as my character actually feels stronger because of my efforts. Agree? Disagree?

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Personally, I love grinding - that's the main reason of playing RPG games for me - battles.

Unless the 'battle system' or game is boring - but grinding in good games is really enjoyable for me.

(Especially raising characters to max level just before the final boss =3)

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Some say yay, some say nay! Grinding is mostly appealing to obsessive gamers such as my self. If you want to have some grinding in your game,

then like riki says the battle system has to be fun. I personaly find it to be anoying when you hit a wall that forces you to grind, when you actually want to proceed the story.

And if being "overpowerd" is a likely possibility then you have to have challenges in the game that requires this. Otherwise your game will be easymode (if becoming overpowerd is easy) or

stagnant (if lots of grinding is required). Either way it can easily become boring.

 

The games where I decided to dig in and grind was games that had a purpose to do so.

 

Ex. FF IX Ozma (hardest boss ever faught!), Tales of graces defeat the dragons at the vilkines cryas!

 

Being forced to grind (alot) to progress usually ends with me putting the game down for good.

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I'm old school so I like grinding as long as the battles are fun. Grinding enemies where you can just spam skills gets boring. That's one thing that turned my off of MMO's.

 

I've noticed in more recent years, games seem to require less grinding. People want instant results now (instant gratification). So it seems less and less players are willing to spend hours grinding levels.

 

Grinding isn't inherently bad. The question is: Will it turn more people off than it attracts? If you want to make a game that requires level grinding, it's imperative you make the battles entertaining. Interesting characters, classes, skills, enemies, and troops. (and anything else that you're going to implement.) Make the battles require some strategy. It doesn't have to be anything super complex for normal enemies; just enough to make the player use various skills instead of just spamming them.

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Like any tool, grind isn't inherently bad or good. It's how it's used.

 

If the grind is mechanically involved in the game so that it adds to the experience (for example, making your way up the ranks of an organization, gaining points to build your character) it can be good.

 

Adding grind for the sake of grinding in order to arbitrarily lengthen the game however is pretty poor game design imo.

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I like grinding in games because I'm a gamer. Grinding is fine but you just have to use it correctly. If you don't it'll shut off a lot of gamers from your game. You have to be careful when that happens because you don't want a reputation of making too-hard games.

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Some games that I like don't actually need grinding but the game kind of encourage me to do because I can make things easier after grinding.

I want the game to make me want to grind because there's a reward.

Games that force you to grind if you don't want to is the thing I don't like about grinding. Pokemon is a good example for games that make you want to grind!

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If the battle system is fun, engaging, and tactical in at least some fashion (read: no spamming "attack"), then I'm okay with a little bit of grinding. But only in really good battle systems~ XD Otherwise, I find grinding tedious and timewasting. 

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I like grinding. I grew up on FFVII, grinding is part of me now.

Also Bravely Default broke me since it gave job classes each with heir on EXP table so yea... I'll complete it soon, just let me finish maxing out all job classes~

 

As long as the game doesn't actually require you to grind to beat certain areas (some grinding is okay, but don't make it a chore for each area/boss).

Grinding  is normally a reward to people who like to spam enemies, but the game should still flow normally without having to grind.

 

To counter balance the grinding/non-grinding, it's usually added that people/developers add in hidden areas and dungeons with stronger monsters/bosses/treasures for those who do wish to grind and unlock all secrets.

 

Thats my opnion on it anyway.

I liked FFX for it's hidden unlockable dungeon that let you fight stronger enemies, and was better to grind in and get items/exp.

It isn't a dead end for players sinc eit's optional, but it also gave you something to do after you beat the game. It gave a goal to the player to go back and find new stuff.

Also, coliseums. Can't go wrong with a fight arena that might allow you to fight past bosses, but stronger. :P

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Grinding is great, but as stated, it depends on how you use it. I, for one, seem to have a nack to make games where the story doesn't need grinding, but the side-quests and optional bosses need it severely. Curse you Ysoria.

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Agree some is fine if the battle system is fun and the fights are varied enough.  However, I really appreciate "no encounters" armor or weaker enemies running away so that grinding is a choice.  What often happens to me is I try to see and experience EVERYTHING/get lost/forget the quest destination was the NORTH Plains of Twitching Asphyxiation/fail to figure out how to unlock the bridge/forget where that stupid NPC is etc. (maybe I last played the game three weeks ago) and in running all around the map end up way more experienced up than I should be or want to be.  A game is a lot more fun if I can pursue a goal without constant interruption and delay from wretched little ice slimes or something.

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I have said it before but, the ideal of growing stronger by doing things and leveling up in some way is good, but that's not what "grinding" is. When talking about "grinding" that is explicitly staying in one place doing the same thing over and over, and that is bad. It's a obvious skinner box. It's simple filler used to pad out the game without needing to do anything. I have said before, that if your rushing to the next boss or next story point and are underleveled and can't beat the boss, that's one thing. You can always go back and explore what you missed. If you have done everything you can do and still are forced to stop and do the same thing over and over to get to the point where you can beat the next challenge though, that is a prime sign that your game doesn't have enough content and are padding the game out with unnecessary grinding.

 

I am not saying that battling isn't fun, that gaining levels isn't enjoyable, that needing to spend a little time and effort to do things isn't rewarding. But when the game just stops and leaves you with no choice BUT to battle the same things over and over? That isn't fun or enjoyable. It's tedious busywork you put in to make the game seem longer and you know it. Heck, I kinda like game designs where you can't endlessly grind and are basically forced to go new places and do new things if you want to make any progress. I find it a lot more satisfying to keep moving and doing new things.

Edited by KilloZapit

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A note:

If you intend to implement grinding into your game, you better be sure to add alot of enemies to your game with alot of variety in troops.

Even for someone who likes to sit and grind in an area for good exp/money, no one likes fighting the same enemies and troops over and over.

Make sure their is variety, that way even casual players can enjoy the battles without a constant "oh no, it's this guy again... dead."

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I can't think of a single game I've ever played where I said to myself, "man I'm enjoying this grinding, it's so much better than seeing new content". No, it doesn't happen. Fighting the same battles over and over again for a drip feed of gratification is not honest or quality design, and it's been a detriment in just about every game I've played that has it. As Kilo says, it's padding. It's free "value" when you're making a game without you having to do any actual work making content or assets or anything meaningful to the game and it's the absolute peak of mainstream lazy design.

If players chomp through content faster than they should and you have to resort to throttling them back with the slow rise of numbers, then there's something very wrong with your core design or asset pipeline. So yes, grinding is bad, and ideally your game should feature none of it, or only player-motivated grinding. But at the same time, grinding might be necessary for you to salvage the pacing of your game.

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If grinding is involved, it's also suggested to add in, even if an uncommon encounter, that one enemy that gives you a bunch of exp or money.

This helps ease out the pain of grinding, and in general makes for a nice encounter when battling.

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The general consensus is that grinding shouldn't be mandatory to progress in the game but should be rewarded if the player chooses to pursue it. Whether or not the characters become easily overpowered depends on how well you design their stat progression and exp requirements in relation to how soon/late you introduce stronger enemies.

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I'm going to go wildcard and give a blanket 'yes'. I think it's bad. Yes, grinding can be fun. Yes, grinding is most of what Fire Emblem: Awakening is to me, and that's also fun. But when considering the difficulty curve in a game, grinding can seriously break the flow of a game.

 

Oldschool RPGs had a lot of grinding because of data constraints. If there was no need to grind, a lot of these games would only be a couple of hours, maybe. The need to grind really only bloats play time. Advertising long play times is kind of a weird thing, so how meaningful is it, really?

 

Worst case scenario, you wind up with situations like Shin Megami Tensei 4. I love this game, but the beginning of the game forces you to grind to be able to even handle the very first enemies in the game easily. This usually takes me between sixty and ninety minutes to get to the point where I don't have to grind anymore. But then you hit the first boss, and he can easily one-shot most of your demons. So you need to grind more. And then you need to grind even more because the second boss is very close to the first. Now, you're already ten hours in, and the game has only just started, and everything beyond this point is pretty easy due to your previous grinding and an admittedly awkward and poorly tested difficulty curve. SMT4 is saved by its really cool skill system and battle system, though, but a lot of RPGs don't have those.

 

As a mindless time waster, grinding can be good. Especially in games like Fire Emblem: Awakening, where you can kind of tailor each of your characters the way you want, it's neat to see what you can do with your favorites. But in terms of game balance, I can really only see it as being destructive. I'm a patient person, but even I have given up on games that seem to demand grinding. I'd much rather play a game where you can play through without having to stop and beat up on the same monsters for three hours. Like Valkyrie Profile!

Edited by SpookyMothman

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