“Grinding” in video games has gotten a lot of buzz lately with the push towards loot box and gacha design. When it comes down to it, the player should never feel like the game has become a grind; even if they are replaying levels or content. For today’s post, we’re going to look at two very different areas of focus that allow designers to mitigate the feel of grinding.
Today’s Critical Thought returns to the topic of grinding in video games. While there is a time and place for grinding, there is a point where grinding should not happen, and what I call “Dead Time” grinding, or when there is not tangible benefit or purpose to it. Few games suffer from it, but it’s important to point out when this happens and how to avoid it.
Grinding is never a good thing and signifies when a game design’s progression model stops working for the player. The actual form of grinding can be difficult to describe, because it’s different for every video game and genre due to the mechanics involved. Sometimes the grind is mechanical, other times it’s just the nature of the game and how it’s played. For today’s post, we’re going to try to define what grinding is and some telltale signs to avoid when building your game.