Grind is a concept that no gamer wants to experience, and yet, it’s very hard to nail down what it is. Some genres like to boast that they’re about grinding, but they may not really be a grind. We’ve talked about the difficulty of defining grind previously, and it’s still an important element for designers to consider.
“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 focuses on downtime in video games and how it can cause problems with player retention. Downtime can be either from grinding, to UI issues, and even just loading. A good game designer can find and figure out how to reduce downtime, but it can easily sink a good game if not handled correctly.
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.