Practicing and grinding: is it worth it to you?

Zannegan

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Feb 20, 2018
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I don't mind, provided it's not egregious. If a game is grind-heavy but not totally tedious, I usually occupy my brain with an audiobook so that I don't feel like I'm wasting my time trying to get to the "fun parts." If a game requires too much repetition though, I'll drop it. There's just too much good stuff out there to waste my time on the uninteresting.

What counts as egregious and uninteresting is obviously different for everybody though. My idiosyncrasy is that I don't mind grinding when leveling up leads to tangible upgrades to your character's movement (run faster, jump higher, glide, wallrun, etc.) For this reason, (plus the scavenger-hunt aspect) I absolutely loved leveling up in Crackdown. Also, I don't care what Todd Howard says, I want the agility stat brought back for the next Elder Scrolls and I want to be able to bunny-hop my way to a 12' vertical. Lol

Obviously, ideal game design for an action game/arpg would be all about you as a player getting better rather than just leveling up your character so you can dump bigger numbers on the enemy. That said, there is something satisfying about watching a character grow in power, especially if the world reacts to that power in convincing/interesting ways. Having low-level enemies flee when you've become too godlike in an open-world game or skipping random battles in a JRPG once you're a high-enough level is a neat way both to acknowledge the character's power within the context of the world and to nudge the real-world player to move on and seek bigger/better challenges.
 

mikestrife

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Jun 30, 2015
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Depending on the game, I'm completely ok with practicing. Mastering a game is a big part of what makes it a game. For most of the games you mention: Guilty Gear. Ghouls 'N Ghosts. Thunder Force III. The gameplay is the key driver and the later content are your reward for getting good enough to reach them. For fighting games like guilty gear I think you could have a beginner friendly story mode and then create extra modes that help build and test your skill as a player.

For story heavy games like Dragon Quest, I think the idea of extra challenging content is cool, but I think the main story should be accessible to all with no padding. That's kinda what people are there for and it's a shame to turn people off part way through.

I feel like there's a clear separation between people who play games to master them (speedrunners, competitive players, trophy hunters, etc), and people who just want to check out the design and story.

I didn't mind putting in a ton of time back in the day, but now there's too much to play. I have a fair amount of free time, and I still have a huge backlog, so I really can't get behind grinding, or game design that adds much padding.
 

Larxia

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Practicing and grinding are two very different things though.
I love games like Furi where boss fights are hard and you try to beat them over and over until you get betters and manage to beat it, that's practicing.
Repeating the same boring repetitive tasks over and over for rewards like experience or loot is grinding, and I hate that.
 

AzureDragoon

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May 30, 2018
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I think most gamers are into grinding and practicing is because of the combat system (or more precise gameplay) whether it's a shooter game or action RPG, or any kind of gameplay. But I think the term grinding/ practicing is for combat focus video games. As you are grinding to have better gears, to be better. What's the point of grinding if there is no one to compete?

Back to the point, there is also no point in grinding if you find the gameplay boring or it's not satisfying. It's actually hard to make people grinding in my opinion. Grinding equal repetition, if you don't like the game mechanic or feel boring, then there will be no motivation to actually repeat the action again & again.

Finally, I would say it's worth it, I love a good combat system, and if I have the chance to experience it in a different way (customization in gears, new boss/ challenges..) I definitely will grind it for quite some time.
 

Orpheum

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I put a lot of time into Warframe, grinding, farming, reading the wiki and just overall getting better at the game. However the more i play the more i actually feel the fatigue now after around 200 hours. Don't really know how people can put thousands upon thousands of hours into the game but to each their own
 

Fliviuart

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Depends. I progressively got better at Soulcalibur by playing it over the years (practicing, if you will) constantly starting with the first and up to now. I still play regularly on Vita, and it's amazing to see how I improved since I first played. It also helps I love the franchise and I adapt quickly.
Also, if it's a character action game with a great combat system, I do my best to learn combos and practice. So basically it depends on how fun the game really is.

Regarding grinding, I rather not. When games require me to do so, it's an instant turn-off. Most recent examples could be Ac:Origins and Nioh. The former requires the player to do menial side-quests to progress and I hate it when games block content that's right THERE, in your face. The latter has a lot of sidequets but they are optional. Still, the trial and error gameplay made famous by Souls games is getting a little thin on me since like most already mentioned, it's a form of grinding.
 
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Sentenza

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What's weird for me personally is that I can handle stuff like Dragon Quest and RPGs that require grinding, but absolutely can't find joy in games that require practice like fighting games or dark souls.
I feel the exact opposite of this.
Grinding JRPG-style, with tons of REPEATED un-engaging content, random encounters, level gating, etc, is by far my most despised thing in gaming.

Besides, Dark Souls is not "like a fighting game" at all, and it lets you get away with a lot by merely improving your equipment and a couple of stats. So I'm not sure where the analogy comes from.
 
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RuhRo

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Jun 22, 2013
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Honestly, I think there's no excuse for grinding. It's cynical and virtually every game with it would be better as a leaner experience without it.

Repetitive skill-based gameplay, like in Dark Souls, is less objectionable since, if done right, it can at least force you to continually develop new strategies and that can be dynamic. But that's true only up to a limited point - the moment you're going back and re-clearing areas you've already been through, it just turns back into grinding with very minor variation and few revelations in strategy. Every Souls game would benefit from less of that repetition - they're strong, in my view, because you're exploring incredible new areas and soaking up the atmosphere, not because of the grind.

All of this has contributed to my feeling that a six hour game that constantly throws new story and assets at you is much more valuable than a 100 hour game where you're hitting the same buttons over and over while viewing recycled content. The former is art and can really make you think and experience new things, the latter is sometimes entertainment but mostly just boring.

I say this as someone who has lost hundreds of hours to, for instance, the Diablo series. I don't think I got anything out of that after the first dozen hours of each game, and even though I fell for the Skinner box, it felt exploitative.

(A minor wrinkle to the above is multiplayer - those first dozen hours or two in a Diablo game can be gratifying because of the co-op: the team-work and communication with a friend or loved one becomes the rewarding content, even though the actual gameplay is numbingly repetitious. But this, too, only holds up to a certain number of hours. Those games should be leaner and more respectful of gamers' time.)
 
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Heck no.

Cheap as hell way of padding out a game and a hallmark of poor development and foolish game buyers who support them.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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Bumping this thread since I've seen discussion surrounding practicing or "just playing games for fun" popping up a lot on the forum and the discord over the last 2 weeks. In particular, I was inspired by my conversations with @Shifty. about their achievements in Devil May Cry 3 and 4 this past calendar year.

---

Also, any games you've been practicing recently?
 

ethomaz

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Grinding is relaxing and calming.

I can’t live without it.

I love all the numbers of multiples stats and the maths behind it too.

I love to steal every single rare item from enemies even if it take hundred tries.
 
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Al3x1s

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Nov 24, 2018
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I like practicing and grinding in the Monster Hunter series since it's always about honing your skills against the particular monster with the particular weapon moveset and not just to level or whatever. I don't think it's the same when a game is simply hard to pass certain stages or bosses, that would mean all your attempts at a given Souls area/boss is practicing/grinding too, it's just trying to get past it and yeah if the process of doing that is fun then I'll certainly stick with it but if it seems like it's a badly made encounter with bad systems that lead to unfair deaths I could easily give up on it too. Or just admit defeat if it's too hard for me, I don't think I finished the Ghouls & Ghosts (Ghosts n Goblins?) arcade game back in the day, that would take too many quarters to get good at it, ha. I don't know which of all the changes in World are at fault but my Monster Hunter behaviour changed with it, I only beat each boss enough to progress and finish the game, with just a few milestone grinds to assemble certain gear and move on...
 
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Mikstl

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Jan 9, 2019
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OH YES, I can remember my head burning because of grinding all day long. But TBT I'd like to play it again
It's pleasant to meet a person who used to play it in times it was full of hardcore. By the way do you play now?
 

Lemorans

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Jan 9, 2019
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It's pleasant to meet a person who used to play it in times it was full of hardcore. By the way do you play now?
I don't play now 'cause I don't like main servers, and classic servers are impossible to play because of expensive subscription
 

Mikstl

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Jan 9, 2019
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OH YES, I can remember my head burning because of grinding all day long. But TBT I'd like to play it again
Unfortunately, I need to go now. I think you're a nice fellow, would you like to play with me on Skelth? It's a classic European server.
 

zenspider

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I'm all about that* grind. Does it pay off? Hell yes.

It's what I love about fighting games. Feeling that hook - that glimpse at how much reward, fun, and expression may come with mastery -
is like nothing else. It's not just a game you can play anymore, but a place you can go.

I used to 'grind out' ideas for mech programs in Carnage Heart. I'd read SFIII frame data at work and try to think of creative strings and traps. Recently, I've been practicing short hops, b-reversals, and RARs in Smash Ultimate for 10-20 minutes a day, trying to meditate on that muscle memory.

I think 'high score' grinds are super interesting. It's like war with your mind for a zen flow state. I find it really difficult to get that competitve with, ultimately, just yourself. I imagine speedrunners are getting to really challenging head spaces as well.
 

korvd

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Dec 22, 2018
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It's pleasant to meet a person who used to play it in times it was full of hardcore. By the way do you play now?
the hardcore times are in the past
but still I really love Skelth for its atmosphere, it never changes
and the second thing is the balance. afaik It's known as one of the most balanced servers in the mmorpg world
 
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Silvawuff

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I used to enjoy a grind or a challenge that required repeat attempts or muscle memory, but now I feel my time is better spent or more valuable and lose interest with these kinds of challenges. I guess it depends on the game -- a good example is the tree escape from Ori and the Blind Forest. It requires you to understand the mechanics the game has introduced up to that point. I was stuck on it for a good few hours, took a break, thought about it, came back and beat it on the first new attempt.

I've done my fair share of MMO raiding. This content requires a lot of muscle memory, memorization, and coordinated team work to clear. The fun here is working with others to overcome a challenge, and I really enjoy this kind of game play, even if it breaks into monotony in the game itself.
 

Daymos

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Jul 26, 2013
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If there's no "practicing and grinding" then it isn't worth playing. You do realize you are 'practicing and grinding' for everything worthwhile that you're doing in real life right?!

Don't let the selfish spoiled-brat mentality overtake our video games. Just quit gaming and go watch a movie. lol.. or post on message boards all day while your game is sitting still (damn I need to stop!).
 
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Hobbesian

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Nov 2, 2017
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I'm older, so very rarely do I play games "Just or fun" or "Just to vegetate" anymore. I find that to be a spectacular waste of time.

This is why I value fighting games so much - they're a medium for self-actualization AND socialization. They're pretty much the only video games I play these days outside the rare single player experience every now and again. Truth be told - if it weren't for fighting games I'd likely have no video games in my life at all.

Being part of a competitive community allows one to partake in a conversation greater than themselves, amongst their peers and in a broader sense. I could never go back to just using them as a tool for escapism or to waste time. Life is way too short for that shit .
 
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prag16

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If there's no "practicing and grinding" then it isn't worth playing. You do realize you are 'practicing and grinding' for everything worthwhile that you're doing in real life right?!

Don't let the selfish spoiled-brat mentality overtake our video games. Just quit gaming and go watch a movie. lol.. or post on message boards all day while your game is sitting still (damn I need to stop!).
Most people play video games to unwind and take a break from real life. Why would I want games to be just like real life in terms of 'practicing and grinding'?
 

Hobbesian

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Most people play video games to unwind and take a break from real life. Why would I want games to be just like real life in terms of 'practicing and grinding'?
Because some people recognize the trap of the modern rat race and want to escape that. It's Humanism at its most defiant- to find self-actualization in everything is peak development.

Not to say that everything at all times should serve this end, but most people suffer from not having a proper balance relative to them, and dimple their paths to an early grave as a result. Most people are alienated from their jobs, have no energy to self-actualize at home - so they're alienated from their forms of escape as well. It's a pitiful systemic cycle and video games don't have to serve it.
 

SLB1904

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Oct 24, 2017
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nope. its boring and tedious i like to play a game and eventually put the game down and never touch again.
 

autoduelist

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I like hard games. If a monkey could do it, I'd rather be doing something else. That said, i like hard tactical games and hard dual stick shooters. I avoid hard platformers. For some reason I'm great at the chaos of dual stick shooters but no good at the fixed difficulty of jumping at a precise moment. I'm not good at rhythm games either. So yes to hard ,but only in select ways. I play all games on the hardest difficulty.
 

Nymphae

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I'm older, so very rarely do I play games "Just or fun" for "Just to vegetate" anymore. I find that to be a spectacular waste of time.

This is why I value fighting games so much - they're a medium for self-actualization AND socialization. They're pretty much the only video games I play these days outside the rare single player experience every now and again. Truth be told - if it weren't for fighting games I'd likely have no video games in my life at all.

Being part of a competitive community allows one to partake in a conversation greater than themselves, amongst their peers and in a broader sense. I could never go back to just using them as a tool for escapism or to waste time. Life is way too short for that shit .
Pretty much exactly how I feel. I still play big new single player games occasionally, mostly a force of habit, nothing in the past several years of gaming has really resonated with me in a meaningful way. I play things and forget them fairly quickly. I liked Spider-man a lot this year and RDR2, but they're already on my shelf collecting dust.

But I play a fighting game every single night without fail, mostly this past year or so it's been SFV but I'm having so much fun digging through old gems that I never really got into when they were released. Growing up I had always played them in between other big games, mostly just mashing with friends and never taking any of them very seriously, and thus never really appreciating their true genius. Now it is without question my favourite genre. Each game is it's own unique blend of systems and art styles that can be played competitively for ages. Watching tournaments online and studying the wealth of knowledge available now is some of the most fun I've had with gaming in my entire life.

I just wish there was more of a scene where I live, I don't really play with anyone locally, just online. I have never been to any tournaments or events or even practiced with any decent players, so a lot of times it feels like I'm an outsider looking in on this community I really appreciate and respect.
 
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Shifty.

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Sep 25, 2015
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I have been summoned! I must have missed this thread back in June.

As @DunDunDunpachi mentioned, I'm quite familiar with a certain kind of grind. I'll happily spend hours honing my skills in a character action game in order to style all over it, but it takes a really exceptional RPG to get me to commit that kind of time and effort to the equivalent make-the-numbers-go-up grind present in that genre.

Whoops, went and wrote another essay.

I think at its core my fascination with the skill grind stems from being afraid of higher difficulties as a kid (ergo, implied failure). I was all about picking the easy route and cheating my way to victory where possible, and just did not understand my childhood best friend when he talked about wanting a challenge. "B-but what if I never get to the end and beat the game?!", I'd think to myself.

There came a point when I started playing stuff that simply didn't give you the option of an easy route, or in some cases actively made you feel like a chump for choosing it.


For a while I simply took the L and cheesed my way through as best I could, coming away from tough games disgruntled and with a vague feeling of "you're doing it wrong" in the back of my mind, but no mechanical explanation to back it up. Why design games to be so hard that you can't just pick it up and do what it asks of you, right? Surely nobody can actually do these things.

How little I understood of the human ability to adapt.

I think the turning point was a combination of few things. The first was seeing a friend's big brother fight Nicchae and Ishtaros in Ninja Gaiden Black- probably the hardest encounter in the game, buried deep within the post-game mission mode and composed of two variations of Alma, the hardest boss in the main game.

I couldn't believe it- I wasn't even able to get through normal mode at that point, and here was Jack kicking the ass of not one but two nightmare bosses at the same time. Perhaps it comes with age, I concluded. I guess at some point you just magically grow up and become very good at video games.

:messenger_tears_of_joy:

Some time later having admitted defeat in my attempt to finish Ninja Gaiden, I played through Devil May Cry 1 relying on whatever cheese strats I could come up with and feeling cheated whenever the game handed me a D rank for having the gall to not die for lack of healing mid-way through a mission. I thought the story, characters, setting, combat and unique weapons were awesome, but was still baffled as to why the game was being so mean about the whole thing.

Funnily enough, Devil May Cry 2 is the game I have to thank for all this in the end. I played through that straight after, wanting to see how much it had improved on the already-strong elements of the original, and came away wondering what on earth had happened. It was still hard - for different reasons that I was yet to understand - but where was all the cool shit?

I put DMC1 back in to verify that I wasn't crazy, and that they had actually somehow made things worse in the sequel. This was unusual for me- replaying games wasn't really something I did back then, normally I'd be off to the nearest EB Games or GameStation to trade it in for something else, but I had to know.

And sure enough, better game feel straight out of the gate. Not crazy. I rolled through the first mission with no trouble, having unconsciously internalized a bunch of mechanics over the course of my first run. Juggling the bloody puppets to death was easy compared to the tougher end-game stuff I had acclimatized to. Onto the mission clear screen, aaaand...

A-RANK


...Me? Say what?

Cue a newfound drive to press on and keep playing, to experiment with the mechanics and confirm vague suspicions about things like jump iframes and the devil trigger's defense buff into hard, usable knowledge. I wanted to beat the game at its own game, so to speak, and now the way to do it made sense.


I started making actual attempts at the secret missions that at first seemed utterly, ridiculously impossible, only to uncover secret mechanics deviously hidden in their well-designed and easily repeatable setups. How do you kill a sin scissors in one hit? Why, you parry its blade with your own and use a point-blank shotgun blast to shatter its mask of course. How about getting the orb floating in the sky out of double jump range? Easy, you hop up the nearby staircase arrangement of floating skull baddies because double-jumps off of enemy heads can be repeated indefinitely.

This was really something. Each new learning bringing with it not only the feeling of being better at the game, but hard proof in the form of the style meter and mission ranking. Not simply defeating enemies, but humiliating them with Smokin' Sick Style. And thus began a life-long obsession with character action and the skill grind.

So to conclude in short: I love the skill grind because I was mentally scarred by mean video game design as a child because it feels rewarding to improve, and results in being able to consistently execute...


And that, my friends, is a reward in and of itself.

(Also, stealth GAF Discord advertising- you should get involved. Yes you, [vis_name][/vis_name]! It's a cool way to get to know your fellow posters in a more immediate environment than the traditional forum. Stop by and say hi!)

Allllso because I can't resist talking about Monster Hunter...

Monster Hunter is an interesting case because it kind of covers both bases- on one hand you're grinding resources in the form of monster parts, but on the other you're sharpening your abilities with your weapon of choice and becoming a better hunter. I've played MMOs in the past that had plenty of the former but very little of the latter, and I can't say it was the mechanics that kept me playing so much as the social interaction with other players. Go figure.

GAMING IS SUPPOSED TO BE A WASTE OF TIME.
CAN YOU PLEASE PUT THE MEGAPHONE DOWN I CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE SAYING

For real though, I think that's time-wasting on a different level than the time-wasting people assign to the idea of grinding. There's filling time with a hobby, and then there's feeling like that time was fulfilling and well-spent. Fighting the same battles over and over with a larger goal in mind just doesn't cut it for some people like strings of AAA set-pieces or open-world adventuring do.
 
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Hobbesian

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Nov 2, 2017
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Pretty much exactly how I feel. I still play big new single player games occasionally, mostly a force of habit, nothing in the past several years of gaming has really resonated with me in a meaningful way. I play things and forget them fairly quickly. I liked Spider-man a lot this year and RDR2, but they're already on my shelf collecting dust.

But I play a fighting game every single night without fail, mostly this past year or so it's been SFV but I'm having so much fun digging through old gems that I never really got into when they were released. Growing up I had always played them in between other big games, mostly just mashing with friends and never taking any of them very seriously, and thus never really appreciating their true genius. Now it is without question my favourite genre. Each game is it's own unique blend of systems and art styles that can be played competitively for ages. Watching tournaments online and studying the wealth of knowledge available now is some of the most fun I've had with gaming in my entire life.

I just wish there was more of a scene where I live, I don't really play with anyone locally, just online. I have never been to any tournaments or events or even practiced with any decent players, so a lot of times it feels like I'm an outsider looking in on this community I really appreciate and respect.
Where do you live?
 
Jun 23, 2013
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GAMING IS SUPPOSED TO BE A WASTE OF TIME.
Living is a waste of time. Are you going to the moon, exploring Mars, going through a wormhole or discovering interstellar travel? Then everything you do is pointless basically.

Life is designed around fairly pointless things formed as work which revolve around doing things that do little to deliver the betterment of mankind other than subsistence and self preservation.

Most use that currency earned from such work activities for various items and activities which divert their attention from reality to effect that they are in fact doing something. In reality, we're all just escaping from the mundane nature of existing. Whether it's videogames or snowboarding.

But I've had a few beers, so don't listen to me.

:messenger_sunglasses:
 

Holgren

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Dec 27, 2018
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I think I'm too old to grind my skills in a competitive game (like OW, Starcraft, fighting games, etc.). I do enjoy them to an extent, but I plateau pretty fast since I am not willing to spend many hours practicing to get better. I'm just more interested in improving on other kind of stuff that compliment my social skills or my job.

I am still the undisputed best player of 2D fighting games between my friends though.

Edit: Oh and the DS/BB series are definitely not grindy at all.
 
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prag16

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Because some people recognize the trap of the modern rat race and want to escape that. It's Humanism at its most defiant- to find self-actualization in everything is peak development.

Not to say that everything at all times should serve this end, but most people suffer from not having a proper balance relative to them, and dimple their paths to an early grave as a result. Most people are alienated from their jobs, have no energy to self-actualize at home - so they're alienated from their forms of escape as well. It's a pitiful systemic cycle and video games don't have to serve it.
Games are also supposed to be fun. If video games are a major part of your self-actualization you may have a problem. If you are in a good place other than games, but you still feel compelled to "enjoy" games chiefly in this way as a minor part of your self actualization, you may have a different type of problem. But to each his own, and I am not a psychologist.

I can self-actualize just fine elsewhere. Family life, work, and even in the realm of "fun" hobby type things, finding out last year that my old decaying skills as a musician were able to be revived enough on very short notice not to embarrass myself in front of a couple hundred people (to be fair, many of them drinking heavily), that was a lot more rewarding than flaunting my sick Mario Kart skills or my gold CoD camos. Nobody gives a shit about those things.

Shitting on people who want to relax and play some story based games instead of Ninja Gaiden Black NG+ xXx insanity mode doesn't strike me as 'peak development'.
 

petran79

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I try the old method of using one credit in arcade game ports. Surprisingly it works much more efficiently instead of brute forcing infinite credits in shmups or practicing infinite combos. It only requires devoting 10-20 minutes a session, any day of the week. This pure gaming time is well spent.
No need to reach the more difficult last stages straight away.

Because out of the more expensive action games with dozens of hours, most of the time is spent on walking aimlessly and watching cutscenes with checkpoints and health regen. Actual gaming time that is engaging and testing the player is much less. And eventhen player is already tired as if having watched a movie.

Same for puzzle adventure games. If I am stuck I can leave it for months till I try again.

Simulation and strategy games are a different beast though.
 

cormack12

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Mar 21, 2013
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I don't mind the grind to an extent, but not in everything. If the game is built around end game loot drops and min/max then I have a threshold I don't mind reaching. In terms of raiding I like the first part, which is the puzzle of what strats to use and how best to approach the battle. Then I like the middle part where you try and hone it to a perfect run, quickest time, farm status etc. But after that when you're just stood round all waiting for the same drop and rolling on it then it gets tedious.

I hate far more the general grind through a game and side missions.
 

Hobbesian

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Nov 2, 2017
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Games are also supposed to be fun. If video games are a major part of your self-actualization you may have a problem. If you are in a good place other than games, but you still feel compelled to "enjoy" games chiefly in this way as a minor part of your self actualization, you may have a different type of problem. But to each his own, and I am not a psychologist.
Please. Tell me what type of problem you think I might have. Furthermore, tell me about how you don't have any problems at all, because you're the paragon of normalcy and your life is the summit of perfection, Mr. Tony Robins.

The fact that you think self-actualization and "fun" are mutually exclusive concepts pretty much says enough to me. Makes me think you haven't self-actualized hardly at all beyond being able utilize internet forums.

I wasn't shitting on anyone but just highlighting the known observable sociological fact that most people in the modern zeitgeist lack modes of self-actualization and that mindless entertainment, a category video games can and do fall into, can be an element in a positive feedback loop with negative socio-psychological effects .

This shouldn't be controversial.

I wasn't shitting on anyone and it's obvious that you rolled your eyes over the premise of the post and completely ignored the actual content. You can self-actualize every activity in your life, none, or some value between - the point is to self-actualize somewhere and that video games can provide that through myriad forms (competitive gaming, streaming, content creation, and much, much more). You're the one shitting on people talking about how "no one gives a shit about those things" which is demonstrably false. Twitch/Youtube stands as a monumental middle finger to your crotchety and anachronistic nonsense. You're exposing your ass.

Some people don't like to rhythmically vegetate and waste time with mindless entertainment unless they're getting prepped for bed. That's me. Every now and again I want to vegetate and do something mindless like anyone else, but this isn't a habitual, homeostatic state for me, with any activity, and I'd argue it shouldn't be for anyone else with a healthy and balanced lifestyle. If a person that chooses to do this feels like they're executing their life at its helm, I won't begrudge them at all.
 
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Hobbesian

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Canada, relatively close to Toronto, but I don't really know anyone out there. I was thinking about possibly going to the Canada Cup this year just to check it out.
You need to go. CC is easily one of the best Tournaments held every year in terms of production value and execution. The whole point of going to a tournament is to just play as many people as you can, socialize, and experience what it's like to play the games you like in a competitive setting. No matter how green you think you are: you won't be the worst player there, and you won't be the newest either. People are generally very nice towards newbies in the FGC, despite what some people that have never interacted with it outside forums/stream chats might think. It's also the best way to find out where the locals are in your area so you can have people to play on a consistent basis.

Go.

Also, try hitting Facebook and searching for groups in counties/cities relatively close to you. Chances are quite good there's a scene under your nose that you didn't know about. Canada is large, but it has many active scenes, as evidenced by the popularity of CC.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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I have been summoned! I must have missed this thread back in June.

As @DunDunDunpachi mentioned, I'm quite familiar with a certain kind of grind. I'll happily spend hours honing my skills in a character action game in order to style all over it, but it takes a really exceptional RPG to get me to commit that kind of time and effort to the equivalent make-the-numbers-go-up grind present in that genre.

Whoops, went and wrote another essay.

I think at its core my fascination with the skill grind stems from being afraid of higher difficulties as a kid (ergo, implied failure). I was all about picking the easy route and cheating my way to victory where possible, and just did not understand my childhood best friend when he talked about wanting a challenge. "B-but what if I never get to the end and beat the game?!", I'd think to myself.

There came a point when I started playing stuff that simply didn't give you the option of an easy route, or in some cases actively made you feel like a chump for choosing it.


For a while I simply took the L and cheesed my way through as best I could, coming away from tough games disgruntled and with a vague feeling of "you're doing it wrong" in the back of my mind, but no mechanical explanation to back it up. Why design games to be so hard that you can't just pick it up and do what it asks of you, right? Surely nobody can actually do these things.

How little I understood of the human ability to adapt.

I think the turning point was a combination of few things. The first was seeing a friend's big brother fight Nicchae and Ishtaros in Ninja Gaiden Black- probably the hardest encounter in the game, buried deep within the post-game mission mode and composed of two variations of Alma, the hardest boss in the main game.

I couldn't believe it- I wasn't even able to get through normal mode at that point, and here was Jack kicking the ass of not one but two nightmare bosses at the same time. Perhaps it comes with age, I concluded. I guess at some point you just magically grow up and become very good at video games.

:messenger_tears_of_joy:

Some time later having admitted defeat in my attempt to finish Ninja Gaiden, I played through Devil May Cry 1 relying on whatever cheese strats I could come up with and feeling cheated whenever the game handed me a D rank for having the gall to not die for lack of healing mid-way through a mission. I thought the story, characters, setting, combat and unique weapons were awesome, but was still baffled as to why the game was being so mean about the whole thing.

Funnily enough, Devil May Cry 2 is the game I have to thank for all this in the end. I played through that straight after, wanting to see how much it had improved on the already-strong elements of the original, and came away wondering what on earth had happened. It was still hard - for different reasons that I was yet to understand - but where was all the cool shit?

I put DMC1 back in to verify that I wasn't crazy, and that they had actually somehow made things worse in the sequel. This was unusual for me- replaying games wasn't really something I did back then, normally I'd be off to the nearest EB Games or GameStation to trade it in for something else, but I had to know.

And sure enough, better game feel straight out of the gate. Not crazy. I rolled through the first mission with no trouble, having unconsciously internalized a bunch of mechanics over the course of my first run. Juggling the bloody puppets to death was easy compared to the tougher end-game stuff I had acclimatized to. Onto the mission clear screen, aaaand...

A-RANK


...Me? Say what?

Cue a newfound drive to press on and keep playing, to experiment with the mechanics and confirm vague suspicions about things like jump iframes and the devil trigger's defense buff into hard, usable knowledge. I wanted to beat the game at its own game, so to speak, and now the way to do it made sense.


I started making actual attempts at the secret missions that at first seemed utterly, ridiculously impossible, only to uncover secret mechanics deviously hidden in their well-designed and easily repeatable setups. How do you kill a sin scissors in one hit? Why, you parry its blade with your own and use a point-blank shotgun blast to shatter its mask of course. How about getting the orb floating in the sky out of double jump range? Easy, you hop up the nearby staircase arrangement of floating skull baddies because double-jumps off of enemy heads can be repeated indefinitely.

This was really something. Each new learning bringing with it not only the feeling of being better at the game, but hard proof in the form of the style meter and mission ranking. Not simply defeating enemies, but humiliating them with Smokin' Sick Style. And thus began a life-long obsession with character action and the skill grind.

So to conclude in short: I love the skill grind because I was mentally scarred by mean video game design as a child because it feels rewarding to improve, and results in being able to consistently execute...


And that, my friends, is a reward in and of itself.
It's great when the game slowly reveals deeper mechanics and tricks as you play. Being able to clear an area in 1/10th the time as before because you learned a handful of new mechanics and enemy weaknesses is deeply satisfying and makes you want to dig deeper. The CAPCOM/Clover/Platinum chain of action games seems to understand this idea, which is why I think those games are so enduring to fans.

It's worth pointing out that this sort of grind goes beyond simply "unlocking all the weapons" or "maxing out the skill tree" or "leveling everything up".

Those objectives are fine, but when you can string things together because you've learned and practiced (not just found the best weapon) it rewards in a way that simply "beating" the game cannot. I would liken it to a puzzle without any "right" answer. Your only indication as to how well you solved the "puzzle" is that rank and/or score at the end of each segment.


Allllso because I can't resist talking about Monster Hunter...

Monster Hunter is an interesting case because it kind of covers both bases- on one hand you're grinding resources in the form of monster parts, but on the other you're sharpening your abilities with your weapon of choice and becoming a better hunter. I've played MMOs in the past that had plenty of the former but very little of the latter, and I can't say it was the mechanics that kept me playing so much as the social interaction with other players. Go figure..
MH is a great series for this sort of thing. The combat never requires the same acrobatics as DMC or Bayo, but it certainly rewards the player who learns the ins and outs of combat and learned the enemy routines.
 

ROMhack

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Truth be told, I'd like to practice and git good but I don't care about games enough to do it. I enjoy a challenge but only if it requires patient, methodical play (which is itself a type of challenge).

The difficulty in most games often comes down badly scaled enemies and it's not something I think is ever worth my time - for the simple truth that I have a lot of interests that I'd rather spend my time on instead.

If you're a speed runner or tournament player or just really into online play then it makes sense.
 
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*Nightwing

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Sep 24, 2014
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I used to love grinding, but ffxiv ruined it for me (haven't played since stormblood). I hate having to memorize enemies patterns of attacks to win, that is not gameplay skill it's playing a game of memory. I love grinding that lets me attack any way I want and has multiple ways to win, if not I find it boring and tedious and a waste of my time since it is sans enjoyment for me.
 

prag16

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Please. Tell me what type of problem you think I might have. Furthermore, tell me about how you don't have any problems at all, because you're the paragon of normalcy and your life is the summit of perfection, Mr. Tony Robins.

The fact that you think self-actualization and "fun" are mutually exclusive concepts pretty much says enough to me. Makes me think you haven't self-actualized hardly at all beyond being able utilize internet forums.

I wasn't shitting on anyone but just highlighting the known observable sociological fact that most people in the modern zeitgeist lack modes of self-actualization and that mindless entertainment, a category video games can and do fall into, can be an element in a positive feedback loop with negative socio-psychological effects .

This shouldn't be controversial.

I wasn't shitting on anyone and it's obvious that you rolled your eyes over the premise of the post and completely ignored the actual content. You can self-actualize every activity in your life, none, or some value between - the point is to self-actualize somewhere and that video games can provide that through myriad forms (competitive gaming, streaming, content creation, and much, much more). You're the one shitting on people talking about how "no one gives a shit about those things" which is demonstrably false. Twitch/Youtube stands as a monumental middle finger to your crotchety and anachronistic nonsense. You're exposing your ass.

Some people don't like to rhythmically vegetate and waste time with mindless entertainment unless they're getting prepped for bed. That's me. Every now and again I want to vegetate and do something mindless like anyone else, but this isn't a habitual, homeostatic state for me, with any activity, and I'd argue it shouldn't be for anyone else with a healthy and balanced lifestyle. If a person that chooses to do this feels like they're executing their life at its helm, I won't begrudge them at all.
This contains a ton of assumptions about me personally, personal attacks, and is dripping with pretentious condescension. Seriously, goddamn man. I though there was a rational discussion going on in this thread but maybe not?

Nowhere do I say fun and self-actualization have to be mutually exclusive. And while some segment of internet strangers care when you get gud on YouTube/Twitch, I'm still pretty comfortable saying that most people don't pay much if any attention.

Some people want / like to do that stuff, that's fine. I don't begrudge anybody. You seem to have a bigger problem with the behavior of others than I do based on your visceral overreaction to my post, as you say several far more inflammatory things than anything I said.

Ha. "The modern zeitgeist". Get over yourself, man.
 
Jun 9, 2012
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Practicing and grinding are like the exact opposite of each other.

Grinding = mindless repetition and tedium so you can make a progress bar fill up or have the RNG smile upon you

Practice = conscientiously leaving your comfort zone in order to sharpen and improve your skills at the game


Grinding is almost always bad. It’s basically like a combination of gambling (trying to get rare random items) and a shitty job (doing something mindless and repetitive in the hopes of being compensated for it later).
 

Shifty.

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It's worth pointing out that this sort of grind goes beyond simply "unlocking all the weapons" or "maxing out the skill tree" or "leveling everything up".
Yeah, absolutely. As Kamiya said in regard to The Wonderful 101, 'the first playthrough is just the tutorial'. Finding all the equipment and maxing out upgrades is just the beginning of learning your character's full kit.

And, to repeat some stuff from the Discord because it's and interesting discussion for forum-side, this kind of grind doesn't even stop when the game tells you that you're the greatest S-rank stylebeast who ever lived.

Ranking / style algorithms are only so smart, since most of the time they only measure the amount of non-repeated moves landed across a rolling time window and reset your score multiplier upon taking damage. Mechanically, using Helm Breaker to attack an enemy from above, jump-canceling it off their head on hit and then doing another one isn't stylish because you repeated a move. In reality, jump cancelling has an extremely tight window, so using it to remain airborne and land two attacks that would usually ground you, blow the enemy back and end your combo is rad.

At that point, the best (and harshest) judge you have is yourself.


A fun thing to compare it to is anime power levels: Sometimes you hit a ceiling, but then you have to go even further beyond. Skill grinding is the hyperbolic time chamber of video games.

The difficulty in most games often comes down badly scaled enemies and it's not something I think is ever worth my time - for the simple truth that I have a lot of interests that I'd rather spend my time on instead.
Indeed, pure attack and defense scaling doesn't make for a good replayable skill game. Remixing enemy encounters and other elements (ex. item placement in classic resident evil) is much more interesting because it fundamentally changes the experience rather than simply demanding better execution.

Case in point, the Kingdom Hearts series: Critical Mode in 2 is a precision-engineered challenge that tests your knowledge and execution of everything Sora can do- summons, drive forms, more obscure utiility magic like Magnega and Reflega, you name it. But for whatever reason, every game to feature it since has reverted its meaning to "harder hard mode". Huge step back.

Practicing and grinding are like the exact opposite of each other.

Grinding = mindless repetition and tedium so you can make a progress bar fill up or have the RNG smile upon you

Practice = conscientiously leaving your comfort zone in order to sharpen and improve your skills at the game


Grinding is almost always bad. It’s basically like a combination of gambling (trying to get rare random items) and a shitty job (doing something mindless and repetitive in the hopes of being compensated for it later).
How about, say, spending hours in a fighting game practice mode training specific inputs, or trying to nail a particularly long and easy-to-drop combo?

Forcing yourself to throw out fifty successful pretzel motions in a row can feel pretty grindy, even if the reward of sharper skills is ultimately worth it. There's a middle ground here.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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Practicing and grinding are like the exact opposite of each other.

Grinding = mindless repetition and tedium so you can make a progress bar fill up or have the RNG smile upon you

Practice = conscientiously leaving your comfort zone in order to sharpen and improve your skills at the game

Grinding is almost always bad. It’s basically like a combination of gambling (trying to get rare random items) and a shitty job (doing something mindless and repetitive in the hopes of being compensated for it later).
When I think of "grinding", I think of that as really repetitive practice, bordering on the un-fun. That's why most people don't do it. I suppose the term also applies to RPGs, "really repetitive battling".

Lots of high-level play requires muscle memory. There's a simple pleasure in running through moves in Guilty Gear or playing through a single section over and over in a shmup because you know you're slowly building up the muscle memory necessary to take down that part. And when you return to the game and pull off a complicated maneuver several times in a row -- flawlessly -- it feels far more satisfying than, say, the ding of a Trophy or collecting all the SHINY from a stage.

What's an example of "practice" that you feel meets your definition? Just curious.

Ranking / style algorithms are only so smart, since most of the time they only measure the amount of non-repeated moves landed across a rolling time window and reset your score multiplier upon taking damage. Mechanically, using Helm Breaker to attack an enemy from above, jump-canceling it off their head on hit and then doing another one isn't stylish because you repeated a move. In reality, jump cancelling has an extremely tight window, so using it to remain airborne and land two attacks that would usually ground you, blow the enemy back and end your combo is rad.

At that point, the best (and harshest) judge you have is yourself.
The best ranking systems can still be used as a fair judge between two high-skilled players. As simple as it is, this is why I like playing for score. Your route might be different, your choice of weapon pickups might differ, you may take down the enemies and maintain your combo-chain in very different ways than I might. At the end, your score is either higher than mine or lower. This allows for asynchronous multiplayer (just like in the arcades decades ago) where anyone can practice and grind to get a better score. No pressure, no heckling or callouts, no audience, just you and the game.

I suppose my one disappointment with character-action games is that they lack that competitive aspect. Or at least, it's not something the community cares much about, but I could be completely mistaken there. As an aside, your detailed explanations of action games is really making me want to get back into one.


A fun thing to compare it to is anime power levels: Sometimes you hit a ceiling, but then you have to go even further beyond. Skill grinding is the hyperbolic time chamber of video games.
This is so funny, but so true. You're kind of playing the game on a meta level. It's easy to point at the grind and say "wow, totally un-fun. Not for me". Must it really be un-fun? Reaching the end of the level is a goal. Attaining a certain skillset via practice and grind is another goal. If you want to beat the game, who cares? But if you want to master the game (for whatever reason you've decided), the grind is just another means to meet your goal.

I admit this requires a particular mindset. To say that this is the "true" way or "best" way to play games is incorrect. People want to play games to unwind. Sometimes a difficult game is more frustration than it is worth. However, I think every gamer should have at least 1 or 2 games they aim to really master, and this will involve frustration, practice, and grinding. You have to think of it as just another facet of the game.
 

Samus009

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It's a mechanic that requires immense time in exchange for the best items or max lvl. I can see how it appears as padding in some titles but in some it's almost like a challenge in its self.
 

prag16

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Indeed, pure attack and defense scaling doesn't make for a good replayable skill game. Remixing enemy encounters and other elements (ex. item placement in classic resident evil) is much more interesting because it fundamentally changes the experience rather than simply demanding better execution.
This is huge, and simply changing health/damage definitely accounts for too much of the 'difficulty scaling' we see in games. Some of that is fine/expected, but I always liked the old Goldeneye model as a good starting point. Instead of making the same stuff more of a chore, add more objectives to force you to use new strategies and spend time in different areas of levels, etc. I'm sure some games still do it, but while optional objectives show up, I don't see the added/removed based on difficulty level very much.