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#1 Posted by TheDudeAbides (4 posts) -

It's a weird criticisms of RPG's that simply baffles me. "I don't like RPG's because grinding is boring." "RPG's are nothing more than grindfests."

Wait? Hold on. Grinding is a mandatory part of RPG gameplay? WHEN? When did this happen? I have never played an RPG where I felt a huge amount of grinding is necessary. I get to a certain level, look at the elements and mechanics offered, study the boss's fight pattern, and than come up with a strategy. Isn't that the point of RPG combat? Strategy?

#2 Posted by RollingZeppelin (1924 posts) -

It's not a problem with western RPGs but a lot of JRPGs and MMOs do require grinding in order to progress.

#3 Posted by TheHBK (5466 posts) -

It's not a problem with western RPGs but a lot of JRPGs and MMOs do require grinding in order to progress.

This. Especially when I see so many JRPG fans even saying, it gets good after 20+ hours for lots of recent games.

#4 Posted by squiDc00kiE (350 posts) -

Not to sound condescending, but you must not have played very many RPG's in the 90's and even early 00's. Grinding was an accepted part of nearly every rpg then. 60 hours was normal and it was fully possible to get to the final boss and be woefully under leveled.

#5 Posted by Scrawnto (2436 posts) -

If you've ever played a game like Pokemon, than grinding is absolutely a part of the game. Unless you luck out, and just happen to have a good team at the ready, you are likely going to have to train up some low leveled guys to beat certain gyms, and especially the end game stuff. I'm pretty sure that's not unique to Pokemon either.

Beyond that, even when you aren't grinding for the express purposes of leveling, simply progressing through the game can be a grind if the game has frequent random or unavoidable encounters. You can't just run from them all, or come boss time you'll have to go back and grind anyway.

Not every RPG is like that, but to talk like it's not a real issue is silly.

#6 Posted by Video_Game_King (36124 posts) -

For most JRPGs, I've only come across real intensive grinding when I went out of my way to avoid the battles. If I actually fight most of the battles that come my way, turns out I don't have to grind.

#7 Posted by RollingZeppelin (1924 posts) -

It's a bit old now, but I was loving FFX until it got to the mountainous region and I started losing battle after battle, then I realised I would have to go back into the region I just spent hours trying to beat in order to level up Tidus et al, until they were powerful enough to take on the random encounters in that region. That was probably the first game that I enjoyed but didn't finish.

#8 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (5284 posts) -

Because there are a lot of Jrpg's that require a shit ton of grinding.

#9 Posted by Zomgfruitbunnies (752 posts) -

OP's asking two different questions here:

1) Why is there a strong association between "grinding" and RPGs?

2) If "grinding" is so prevalent in RPGs, is it justified?

Discuss away, RPG people!

#10 Posted by Arabes (338 posts) -

@squidc00kie: I played a lot of RPGs in the 90's that didn't have a lot of grind in them - Fallout series, JA2, Baldur's Gate, Blood Omen etc. Grinding was not an accepted part of nearly every RPG, just the shit ones. You're right about the games being long and it being possible to get the end without being leveled enough but that doesn't make playing the game a grind. I didn't play many JRPGS because I don't like them very much so I can't speak to them.

#11 Posted by EXTomar (4530 posts) -

It is a downside of common RPG design. If you get stronger by investing time and energy then a valid strategy is grinding. Unless there are other mechanisms to counter it (time limits, automatic tuning, etc), the game will have no problems letting the player grind away.

#12 Posted by GaspoweR (2839 posts) -

It's not a problem with western RPGs but a lot of JRPGs and MMOs do require grinding in order to progress.

Yep that's what I thought of as well. In general, when I think of RPG's min-maxing and exploration come to mind.

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#13 Edited by Zeik (2270 posts) -

I've been playing RPGs for almost all my life, most them being JRPGs, and by and large the idea that excessive amounts of grinding is necessary to complete those types of games is straight up bullshit. Even most modern MMOs have significantly reduced the amount of grinding over the course of the game.

Although some people seem to have an inaccurate definition of grinding. Grinding isn't just fighting lots of battles on your way to the boss, it's when you actually have to stop your progress with the game to go out of your way and grind levels (or money, or whatever) to keep progressing. The amount of games that have those kinds of walls that are impossible to pass without going out of your way to get stronger are pretty few and far between these days.

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#14 Edited by wemibelec90 (1569 posts) -

I find I mind grinding much less when I get to choose the battles I want to fight, such as in the Tales series or Chrono Trigger. Being "forced" into a random encounter what feels like every five steps is somehow more frustrating.

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#15 Posted by Zevvion (1830 posts) -

Great, now I don't have to make a new thread.

I was wondering if Lost Odyssey is still worth playing today. I always wanted to play it because it's supposedly the spiritual successor to Final Fantasy X, a game that I loved a lot. But I'm also worried it may not have aged well and I heard from some people that it's way too grind-heavy.

Can anyone give me some advice on that game?

#16 Posted by Humanity (8874 posts) -
#17 Posted by WarlordPayne (694 posts) -

I played tons of JRPGs in the 90s and very few of them required grinding. The only reason you would have to grind would be because you were skipping fights and needed to catch up.

#18 Posted by Zeik (2270 posts) -

@zevvion said:

Great, now I don't have to make a new thread.

I was wondering if Lost Odyssey is still worth playing today. I always wanted to play it because it's supposedly the spiritual successor to Final Fantasy X, a game that I loved a lot. But I'm also worried it may not have aged well and I heard from some people that it's way too grind-heavy.

Can anyone give me some advice on that game?

I haven't played since near the time it came out, but even then the only thing I felt was truly exceptional about that game was "1000 years of dreams" short stories that you come across every now and then. Other than that it was decent.

I don't remember it being excessively grindy, but I can't say with certainty exactly how little is required.

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#19 Posted by Animasta (14651 posts) -

I can't think of any recent JRPG's that require grinding... maybe strange journey.

#20 Posted by alexl86 (620 posts) -

@thedudeabides: JRPGs and Blizzard, mostly. In most JRPGs you'll grind (combat for the sake of experience or items, not game progression) for at least 10 hours. In blizzard's RPGs(WOW and Diablo), grinding is the game. It's pretty much all you do.

Before I could grind for days on end, now I think any amount of grinding is a turn off, and RPG is still my favorite genre.

#21 Posted by Zeik (2270 posts) -

@animasta said:

I can't think of any recent JRPG's that require grinding... maybe strange journey.

Even that game really didn't require much grinding, if any. (At least until the very end when/if you fight Mem Aleph. But even then you've got the demon code system to circumvent grinding.)

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#22 Posted by Animasta (14651 posts) -

@zeik said:

@animasta said:

I can't think of any recent JRPG's that require grinding... maybe strange journey.

Even that game really didn't require much grinding, if any. (At least until the very end when/if you fight Mem Aleph. But even then you've got the demon code system to circumvent grinding.)

you do need to grind for macca though if you're going that route.

#23 Posted by CaLe (3916 posts) -

MMORPGs are associated with grinding. Do you know how many Furbolgs I killed to get that trinket, do you? No, and I'm too ashamed to tell.

#24 Posted by Zeik (2270 posts) -

@animasta said:

@zeik said:

@animasta said:

I can't think of any recent JRPG's that require grinding... maybe strange journey.

Even that game really didn't require much grinding, if any. (At least until the very end when/if you fight Mem Aleph. But even then you've got the demon code system to circumvent grinding.)

you do need to grind for macca though if you're going that route.

By the end of the game you should have more than enough macca to grab a couple great demons to get you through.

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#25 Posted by Cameron (595 posts) -

SMT IV requires some grinding on the default difficulty. Mostly for bosses. You might be able to get around it if you had a guide and knew their weaknesses before you fought them, but if you don't go in with exactly the right party composition you probably won't win unless you've been grinding. At the very least you'll probably have to go back and get some new demons who better suited to fight the boss.

#26 Posted by Zeik (2270 posts) -

@cameron: That's not exactly true. Although I died plenty in that game I didn't feel like it was for a lack of grinding. Readjusting your strategy/team/equipment was much more effective than going out and grinding levels. Occasionally I would fuse a new demon to help, but I don't consider that "grinding", unless I had to go out and recruit new demons to do it, which was rare. You can carry such a large stock of backup demons that's it's pretty easy to have several extras to suit different occasions.

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#27 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11502 posts) -
@animasta said:

I can't think of any recent JRPG's that require grinding... maybe strange journey.

Every Etrain Odyssey game. Really, any game with that deliberately old-school first-person tile-based perspective is probably guaranteed to be grindy at some point.

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#28 Posted by Zeik (2270 posts) -

@arbitrarywater said:

@animasta said:

I can't think of any recent JRPG's that require grinding... maybe strange journey.

Every Etrain Odyssey game. Really, any game with that deliberately old-school first-person tile-based perspective is probably guaranteed to be grindy at some point.

EO1-3 could be pretty grindy. EO4 actually eased up on the grinding quite a bit though.

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#29 Edited by Brenderous (1098 posts) -

@thedudeabides said:

Wait? Hold on. Grinding is a mandatory part of RPG gameplay? WHEN? When did this happen?

Like, ALL the RPGs that came out in the 80s and 90s?

EDIT: Well, JRPGS for sure.

#30 Edited by ll_Exile_ll (1485 posts) -

@zevvion said:

Great, now I don't have to make a new thread.

I was wondering if Lost Odyssey is still worth playing today. I always wanted to play it because it's supposedly the spiritual successor to Final Fantasy X, a game that I loved a lot. But I'm also worried it may not have aged well and I heard from some people that it's way too grind-heavy.

Can anyone give me some advice on that game?

I did a ton of grinding in it, but it probably wasn't necessary. There is in area in the fairly late game where you gain 1 level per fight, so I spent a couple hours there toward the end and got every character to 99. It turned out to be a pretty dumb waste of time, since it made the last dungeon and final boss ridiculously easy.

EDIT: As for the game being worth playing, I played it about a year ago and enjoyed it immensely. If your a fan of SNES and PS1 era JRPGs, you'll probably really like Lost Odyssey.

#31 Posted by Hunkulese (2658 posts) -

@animasta said:

I can't think of any recent JRPG's that require grinding... maybe strange journey.

Persona games. Ni No Kuni.

#32 Edited by Zeik (2270 posts) -

@hunkulese said:

@animasta said:

I can't think of any recent JRPG's that require grinding... maybe strange journey.

Persona games. Ni No Kuni.

Neither of those games require grinding. (Unless you consider reshuffling skills for Persona fusions grinding, which I wouldn't necessarily deny, but it's not a necessity.)

Ni no Kuni I found too easy to overlevel. I had to go out of my way not to get too strong. Okay, to be fair, you might have to grind to get a familiar to join you, but getting specific familiars to join you isn't exactly mandatory.

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#33 Posted by GnomeonFire (700 posts) -

@animasta said:

I can't think of any recent JRPG's that require grinding... maybe strange journey.

Persona games. Ni No Kuni.

It's a good idea to grind in Ni No Kuni, but you don't have to. You can survive pretty much any fight off using familiars that heal and dodge. The rest of your team will likely die, but you can still win, bad idea though.

#34 Posted by jaycrockett (436 posts) -

RPG's usually involve character building. Grinding is just character building that you don't enjoy.

#35 Posted by Animasta (14651 posts) -

@animasta said:

I can't think of any recent JRPG's that require grinding... maybe strange journey.

Persona games. Ni No Kuni.

does going through the dungeon a second time REALLY count as grinding? you fight a new boss and get a new item. It's technically story content

#36 Edited by Darji (5294 posts) -

@animasta said:

@hunkulese said:

@animasta said:

I can't think of any recent JRPG's that require grinding... maybe strange journey.

Persona games. Ni No Kuni.

does going through the dungeon a second time REALLY count as grinding? you fight a new boss and get a new item. It's technically story content

it is grinding but you really don't have to grind in persona. You only have to grind if you are not very skilled in terms of combat. I really can not remember any jrpg in the last years that require grinding. Maybe a game like disgaea and of course various dungeon crawler.

#37 Edited by Zeik (2270 posts) -

@darji said:

@animasta said:

@hunkulese said:

@animasta said:

I can't think of any recent JRPG's that require grinding... maybe strange journey.

Persona games. Ni No Kuni.

does going through the dungeon a second time REALLY count as grinding? you fight a new boss and get a new item. It's technically story content

it is grinding but you really don't have to grind in persona. You only have to grind if you are not very skilled in terms of combat. I really can not remember any jrpg in the last years that require grinding. Maybe a game like disgaea and of course various dungeon crawler.

The funny thing is, despite Disgaea being considered practically the epitome of grinding RPGs, even those games require little to no grinding to complete the main story.

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#38 Posted by Darji (5294 posts) -

@zeik said:

@darji said:

@animasta said:

@hunkulese said:

@animasta said:

I can't think of any recent JRPG's that require grinding... maybe strange journey.

Persona games. Ni No Kuni.

does going through the dungeon a second time REALLY count as grinding? you fight a new boss and get a new item. It's technically story content

it is grinding but you really don't have to grind in persona. You only have to grind if you are not very skilled in terms of combat. I really can not remember any jrpg in the last years that require grinding. Maybe a game like disgaea and of course various dungeon crawler.

The funny thing is, despite Disgaea being considered practically the epitome of grinding RPGs, even those games require little to no grinding to complete the main story.

Yeah grinding in JRPG is almost dead and I think it is a good as the death of random encounter^^

#39 Posted by Zevvion (1830 posts) -

@zevvion said:

Great, now I don't have to make a new thread.

I was wondering if Lost Odyssey is still worth playing today. I always wanted to play it because it's supposedly the spiritual successor to Final Fantasy X, a game that I loved a lot. But I'm also worried it may not have aged well and I heard from some people that it's way too grind-heavy.

Can anyone give me some advice on that game?

I did a ton of grinding in it, but it probably wasn't necessary. There is in area in the fairly late game where you gain 1 level per fight, so I spent a couple hours there toward the end and got every character to 99. It turned out to be a pretty dumb waste of time, since it made the last dungeon and final boss ridiculously easy.

EDIT: As for the game being worth playing, I played it about a year ago and enjoyed it immensely. If your a fan of SNES and PS1 era JRPGs, you'll probably really like Lost Odyssey.

Thank you, that's exactly what I needed to hear. I tend to accept positive criticism faster than negative ones for some reason. You are the first person to respond very positively, while in another board responses were mostly negative/okay. I still take yours over theirs for some reason.

#40 Edited by shinjin977 (748 posts) -

After reading through this thread it seems the problem of "having to grind" have less to do with design and more to do with not taking advantage of the game's system. Example of a grind fest;

Disgeae any of them

Plant vs. Zombie 2

Zelda: Wind Waker because FUCK those tri pieces, you guys in the west got the good version

FF4

MonHun games

Of cause, I feel like any game that allow you to break the system in some way to make your party over powered do not count as a grind game. In a case like that, the player is simply not taking the advantage of the system, did not yet fully understand the system enough to break it or simply refused to. Its like if I play FF8 and not understanding the junction system, resorted to grinding (which I did the first 5 or so hours).

@zevvion

You do not have to grind in that game at all if you select your accessory carefully. If you get stuck on a boss take a look at you inventory something in there is the key to beating it and the game aged incredibly well.

#42 Posted by Abendlaender (2768 posts) -

Western RPGs absolutely DO have grinding, but they are much, much smarter about it. "Grinding" is basically doing sidequests, which is obiously a much more entertaining way to "grind".

#43 Edited by Zeik (2270 posts) -

@abendlaender said:

Western RPGs absolutely DO have grinding, but they are much, much smarter about it. "Grinding" is basically doing sidequests, which is obiously a much more entertaining way to "grind".

Except games like Elder Scrolls, where there is absolutely straight up (and somewhat poorly implemented) grinding, given how the skill system works. Oblivion and Skyrim have worse grinding mechanics than most JRPGs that come to mind.

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#44 Posted by TowerSixteen (542 posts) -

I think it's because in most genres of games, if your bad at it, the game forces you to get better at its core mechanics to progress. If your bad at an rpg, though, you can grind it out. Rather than admit they're not great at a game, however, people instead call the grinding necessary, when in most well-balanced RPG's, eastern or western, it patently isn't. And the reputation is so firmly ensconced that people end up grinding when they don't need to because they see it as inevitable- think the p4 endurance run. That game is perfectly beatable on hard mode, only going through each dungeon and clearing the maps once. Yet Jeff and Vinny spent hours on useless grind, mostly because Jeff insisted-without evidence- that it was "necessary".

#45 Posted by Quarters (1635 posts) -

I don't know if I've played a JRPG that didn't require it to some extent, save for something like Kingdom Hearts. Western RPGs don't really have that issue, though. Like others have said, they are done more through quests, which are infinitely more interesting to work through than filling up a XP bar through hours of killing.

#46 Posted by Abendlaender (2768 posts) -

@zeik said:

@abendlaender said:

Western RPGs absolutely DO have grinding, but they are much, much smarter about it. "Grinding" is basically doing sidequests, which is obiously a much more entertaining way to "grind".

Except games like Elder Scrolls, where there is absolutely straight up (and somewhat poorly implemented) grinding, given how the skill system works. Oblivion and Skyrim have worse grinding mechanics than most JRPGs that come to mind.

I played about 200 hours of Skyrim and never felt like I was grinding.

#47 Posted by Green_Incarnate (1788 posts) -

Ain't nothin wroooong.... with a little bump and griind.

#48 Edited by Zeik (2270 posts) -

@abendlaender said:

@zeik said:

@abendlaender said:

Western RPGs absolutely DO have grinding, but they are much, much smarter about it. "Grinding" is basically doing sidequests, which is obiously a much more entertaining way to "grind".

Except games like Elder Scrolls, where there is absolutely straight up (and somewhat poorly implemented) grinding, given how the skill system works. Oblivion and Skyrim have worse grinding mechanics than most JRPGs that come to mind.

I played about 200 hours of Skyrim and never felt like I was grinding.

Then you clearly never tried to level smithing. There's no way that's anything but grinding. But that's only the most blatant. Spamming Invisibility over and over to level Illusion magic was definitely grinding.

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#49 Edited by Zevvion (1830 posts) -

@zeik said:

@abendlaender said:

@zeik said:

@abendlaender said:

Western RPGs absolutely DO have grinding, but they are much, much smarter about it. "Grinding" is basically doing sidequests, which is obiously a much more entertaining way to "grind".

Except games like Elder Scrolls, where there is absolutely straight up (and somewhat poorly implemented) grinding, given how the skill system works. Oblivion and Skyrim have worse grinding mechanics than most JRPGs that come to mind.

I played about 200 hours of Skyrim and never felt like I was grinding.

Then you clearly never tried to level smithing. There's no way that's anything but grinding. But that's only the most blatant. Spamming Invisibility over and over to level Illusion magic was definitely grinding.

Oh yeah, I remember actually stopping to play Skyrim because I couldn't make any Dragon Armor because I was stuck at Black Smithing at 50 and it took foreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeever to craft all those iron daggers and encumbrance only allowed so many iron to be taken with me, unless I left most of my equipment at home. I just lost interest. I never thought about it, but yeah, you're right. That was probably the suckiest grinding ever. I remember Patrick saying he didn't like JRPG's because of grinding, but I never really had that problem.

#50 Posted by Zelyre (1132 posts) -
@zeik said:

@abendlaender said:

Western RPGs absolutely DO have grinding, but they are much, much smarter about it. "Grinding" is basically doing sidequests, which is obiously a much more entertaining way to "grind".

Except games like Elder Scrolls, where there is absolutely straight up (and somewhat poorly implemented) grinding, given how the skill system works. Oblivion and Skyrim have worse grinding mechanics than most JRPGs that come to mind.

Really? I'm going to have to disagree with that. Both Oblivion and Skyrim's base game had level scaling. You could skip content and still be able to complete the main quest without any issues. If you want to grind out your enchanting and blacksmithing to 100, that's all on you. Remove those two skills and you essentially have a system that simply allows you to create a class by using the skills you enjoy using. Oblivion penalized you for grinding - enemy encounters got harder the higher level you got, so if you decided to sit and grind say... athleticism and evocation, you were screwed.

In a game like Baldur's Gate, combat was more like a puzzle. Once an area was cleared, you could travel to and fro without issue. Side quests gave you an opportunity for more combat, which meant more XP; but it also gave small bits of story, even if it didn't relate to the main quest.

In ye olde JRPs, you'd hit brick walls called bosses. And I'm not talking about bosses like Ruby and Emerald which boiled down to, "Hey, grind out chocobos for Knights of the Round. Then grind out Mimic materia. Then grind it out a few more times so you get copies. Oh yeah, make sure you're level 99!" To this day, I have no idea why Ruby/Emerald/Diamond existed. No one said, "Hey, good job for killing that giant thing terrorizing us!" You just got a ton of gil, XP, and an ultimate weapon that'd help you take down the next super-boss.

There were main plot bosses that would simply swat you down in a few hits if you weren't level X. Grind out an additional 5 levels and that boss became a challenge.Cast Ultima? Why yes, I'd like that! Equip this magicite? Now, to the Veldt and grind that shit out! Awesome, Celes, Locke, Terra, and Mog are level 99. Time to beat the game. Oh. I -have- to use every party member? Well, back to The Veldt to level up Strogoss, Realm, Umaro, and Gau. (I mean really, who used Umaro and Gau?)

Then you have things like FF8's draw system where you simply repeatedly drew from creatures for spells.