So to start this off, maybe you already know what it is but I better answer the question just in case. What is grinding? I can assure you it isn’t the dancing kind. Instead, grinding in video games refers to repeating the same or similar actions, in order to earn something as a result, whether it be loot, experience, but usually something of value.
Now, to someone who hasn’t heard of or engaged in grinding, you may think it’s silly, I’ve certainly had my moments. But the reality is grinding takes many forms, has varying degrees, and is something that is very common in games. It can range from killing the same monsters over and over in an MMO to level up, to trying to get headshots with your newest gun in Call of Duty. The first time I can remember grinding in a game was in Pokemon Gold as a kid, after getting my starter and catching a new Pokemon I trained them up in the early routes until the first gym leader didn’t stand a chance (Whitney’s Miltank was still a nightmare though).
So why do people do it?
Surely if you are just repeating something over and over again it’s bound to be boring, and sure, maybe it does get boring every so often, but if you are grinding, the benefits almost always outweigh the negatives.
While I definitely can’t speak for everyone, I can at least speak for me, and perhaps a couple of my reasons will resonate with you. But without further ado, let’s jump into it:
1) The reward
Perhaps the most obvious and straightforward reason, but generally when you are grinding, you are doing it to achieve something or get something out of it. I could go on and on about this, so I’ll try to keep it brief. As I mentioned earlier, this may come in the form of experience so that you can level up and become more powerful. It might also be a certain special piece of loot that only drops from a particular enemy, and/or has a really low drop rate. Maybe you just really like doing the same thing over and over again and that’s the reward for you.
But to give an example, in Borderlands 2, certain legendary guns and equipment have a higher chance to drop from specific enemies, so the best way to get them is, surprise surprise, to kill the respective enemy that drops the item you want over and over again. Thus the grinding begins. I can confidently say I have spent more time grinding gear in Borderlands 2 than I care to admit, but to this day whenever I see an orange rarity drop my heart still skips a beat in excitement.
Either way, leveling up or looking for gear, it’s designed to make your character stronger, thus allowing you to proceed through the game with relatively more ease than before, or even get past a part that had you stuck prior. In some games, grinding may almost be a necessity to progress, and in others, an optional means to make the game a bit easier. Overall it’s that satisfaction and enjoyment gained from reaping the fruits of your labor that drives grinding, and makes it rewarding and fulfilling.
2) It resembles real life
Think about, what do you do in real life? You go to work/study day in and day out, which possibly doesn’t vary drastically on a day to day basis, until one day you get your paycheck, a promotion or a pay rise or an awesome exam result. Sound familiar? Because it parallels what you do in games when you grind for that experience or loot.
Of course, this assumes your day to day life doesn’t vary much, and mine doesn’t, but perhaps what I’m getting at is being able to relate to real world experiences. If you are conditioned in the real world that repeating something productive over and over again yields results, surely that would translate over to a gaming situation.
Even beyond just work and study, learning skills follows the same pattern. Learn. Repeat. Profit. Well, something along that line anyway. Life is full of examples I’m sure, but I like to think that when I get into a game, grinding is an almost instinctive thing to do just because of how well it follows and reinforces this pattern.
3) It provides a good platform for learning and experimenting
This may be stretching it as far as what grinding includes, but you can let me know. Taking a while a stop and do some grinding against the same enemies gives you an opportunity to test out new equipment or skills, while at the same time reaping the benefits of grinding, as well as not progressing further into the game. Certainly sometimes before I want to proceed into what may be a pretty difficult part of the game, I will make sure what works and what doesn’t, and what to watch out for. For this, beating up the same enemies I know that I can take out without too much danger over and over again seems to be an effective method of testing, as well as learning.
Practice makes perfect, and the more time you spend learning how the game works, the better you will get at it. In this way you aren’t even just leveling up or finding better loot, but you can also become a better player. It’s a win win.
4) It’s low stress
Sometimes just sitting back and not having to think too much about what I’m doing can be a good way to relax. Combined with the earlier reasons and in the right situation, repeating the same, usually non-difficult task over and over can almost be therapeutic in it’s relaxation, even more so if there is something that I am trying to accomplish by the grinding.
But I am just one person, and these are a few reasons I can come up with, I would love to hear from you. Why do you grind in video games? And what are your thoughts on grinding in games in general? Let me know in the comments below, and if you enjoyed this post, be sure to give it a like. Until next time, stay beautiful 🙂