Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Grind, But Why?

I wanted to further a discussion and follow up to a Rank-N-Vile post having to do with gear grinds.  In today's MMO most players, casual especially, feel as if the game really comes to a grind at the later levels or end game.  Understandably so.  Gone are the days of being a part of a larger community where the end game is to protect or capture a city for your realm, rather than rank and gear up a single character.   But when and why has all this changed?  There are a few reasons in particular that I believe contributed to the fall of a true community gaming experience, and implementing what we have now.....gear grinds.

  • Blizzard, and World of Warcraft
To me, one of the largest culprits of instituting a grind for a player.  8 hour long Molten Core runs are one thing, but becoming a rank 14 High Warlord is another.  Weeks could go by where a player had to run organized AV runs in order to be the best on the server, and to obtain all the end game gear possible.  While they certainly contributed to today's grinds, one can hardly blame them.  Blizzard is in the business of making money, plain and simple.  They found a great way to keep people engrossed in a world for months and years on end, slowly taking their $15 a month.  13 million subscribers later, they are still thriving.  Not to say Blizzard is the only culprit here, any good MMO today does the very same thing.  This does lead me to the next reason of today's gear grind...
  • The Gaming Community
Instant gratification.  People want their characters to be the absolute best, rather than their realm.  It's all about me, me, me, and not about us, us, us anymore.  There are no benefits in today's MMO for a realm to be the best, but only for an individual player to be top dog.  Think about it.  What is the ultimate goal of Warhammer?  Capture the opposing realms city, right?  But what good does that really do for your realm?  None.  It only helps the individual player by getting them tokens, loot bags, or renown.  You just happen to  need assistance from your realm mates in order to do it. 

Unfortunately I don't believe this will change in today's game, or tomorrow's for that matter.  People just won't change overnight, and because of that neither will the gaming companies.  They will continue to lean on gear grinds as a money making tool.  The longer it takes you, the more money they will make.  If they make it to easy, they will lost out on a significant amount of money and even lose subscribers who get bored because they have completed everything so quickly.  Only time will tell I guess, but I think the gear grind is here to stay.

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