I’ve found myself playing more sessions that focus on ‘grinding’ recently, a common enough term and trope in MMORPGs. Mindless repetitive activities without any specific driven story or path seems to appeal more than usual at the moment. It motivated my brief return to Black Desert Online before going away on holiday, I played the game daily for just over a week before the shine wore off once more. It’s one I return to occasionally for the combat and the mob grinding: the fast, combo-based combat lends itself to chain-mob slaying very well indeed. I have problems with several aspects of the game but the ‘level by grinding mobs’ isn’t one of them.
I’ve been tempted to return to Lord of the Rings Online as well, strangely less by the main story, than by the feeling I should finally catch up the deeds on my main character. I focused for years on leveling and the epic story books, so his traits are woefully behind. ‘Deeding’ is a mixture of exploration and grinding mobs in this MMO: the slayer deeds involve quite serious kill totals as well (later ones require multiple hundreds of monsters in two tiers). That’s not to paint it as a negative aspect of the game, when I’m in the mood for grinding it’s great combined with some gathering, even if the monsters are ‘greys’ and die in a hit or two. When Syp posted recently on level-scaling in MMOs, I immediately thought of the impact this would have on deed grinding in LOTRO – if you couldn’t out-level the zone and come back to speed-farm helpless monsters it would be a very different level of grind…
I’ve even been doing grinding a bit in World of Warcraft recently, albeit for weekly quest purposes. The latest weekly quest is to slay 100 demons in the Broken Shore zones. That’s pretty easy to combine with other tasks such as the World Quest near Felsoul Hold that gives you an unlimited ammo cannon for shooting rapid-spawn felbats out of the sky.
I can balance this easily across my available gaming time; over the weekend I played a couple of short but immersive story-focused sessions in ESO, the kind where I take time to read everything I come across and immerse myself as deeply as possible in the rich lore. Combat remains a very big part of MMORPG gameplay however, and sometimes stripping away the quests that bookend or justify it, and simply settling into the ability rotation for a session of wandering and fighting, can be fun.