You may have heard the phrase “grinding” in video games, but you may not know what it means. Is it excellent, awful, or somewhere in the middle? And what kind of games include grinding?
Here’s an explainer on what grinding is in video games.
Grinding in Video Games, Explained
Grinding in video games refers to doing the same activity over and over again in order to obtain experience points (XP) or gaming goods such as rare loot or in-game cash.
Though one might argue that doing the same thing over and over again is a characteristic of any game (i.e., a gameplay loop), grinding is often when you execute the same activities, or missions, to the point where it becomes tedious.
Grinding may be found in games that include a progression system, an in-game store, or an unlock system. Grinding is often used in role-playing games (RPGs) or online multiplayer games to drive you to level up to perform particular missions, earn enough in-game cash, or unlock certain things.
Grinding is something you’ll be acquainted with if you’ve played any of the current Assassin’s Creed games, or shooters like Battlefield, Call of Duty, or Warframe. You’re grinding if you’re undertaking one more side quest to level up or playing one more match to unlock a certain skin, weapon, or equipment.
Related: What Are Metroidvania Video Games?
Video game grinding might be subjective. On the one hand, you may feel as though what you’re doing is repetitious, dull, and only a means to a goal. As a result, it qualifies as grinding. On the other side, you could like the sensation of progress, stress release, and in-game prizes so much that the term “grind” doesn’t come to mind.
This is mostly determined by two factors: your tastes and the quality of the game’s aspects. For example, if the storyline is outstanding (like in The Witcher 3), or the gameplay is engaging, you may not mind doing side missions or performing repeated activities with similar mechanics (Dark Souls).
However, if the material is weak (as in Marvel’s Avengers), the tasks are tedious (as in AC Valhalla), or the gameplay is repetitive (as in Anthem), you will rapidly tire of it. To add insult to injury, corporations may use grinding mechanisms to artificially lengthen a game and lure players into paying money.
Grinding Makes Up Just One Aspect of Video Games
If you like video games, you’ve probably played some where grinding is enjoyable and others where grinding is a nuisance, but you may not have realized there was a term for it.
At the end of the day, video games are made up of a variety of diverse aspects, some of which you will like and others of which you will despise. It is up to you and the game you are playing to choose where video game grinding fits on that spectrum.
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