Thursday, August 18, 2011

Random Shots: The Demand For Grind

  • Syp over at Bio Break has a post up about the horrendous grind involved in building up the Hall of Monuments in Guild Wars. In the post (in the title actually), he wonders if ArenaNet is going to carry the grind forward into GW2. The funny thing is that Guild Wars was never a game about grind. It's time for a history lesson for those of you who were not there from the beginning.

  • A question came up in the comments about the endgame, which I think explains a lot. ArenaNet designed Guild Wars to finish with a PvP endgame. The idea was that after people played through and finished that campaign, they would naturally want to pit their characters against one another on the field of battle. The campaign even trains you in the PvP mechanics during the missions in the Crystal Desert.

  • But a funny thing happened with their game. People started playing who had no intention of ever participating in PvP. (Conversely, there were though who hated the PvE and fought for [and won!] the ability to play PvP only. But that's a different story.) ArenaNet suddenly found themselves with an entire crowd of players who rejected their endgame. So in one of the most amazing moves I've seen from a game developer, they made an entirely new endgame.

  • New high level areas were added to the game: Sorrow's Furnace and Tomb of the Primeval Kings. These new endgame zone offered unique "green" quality weapons that came with the best bonuses available by default. Grinding these zones for green drops quickly because the new PvE endgame.

  • But that wasn't enough for most people. Everyone wanted to see bars going up, so that's what ArenaNet gave them. Titles were added with the Factions Early Start Weekend. And, oh boy, did people go crazy. In every way you might suspect. But titles were just things to help you pass the time. I gave you a goal when you had nothing else to do. And you got a nice title to wear out of the bargain.

  • But titles did not get that intense until Eye of the North was released with its Hall of Monuments. Now that grinding titles helps fill out the monument, people who had little interest in doing so before through themselves into the fray just to get the rewards in GW2. People for whom the system was not designed.

  • So when someone asks why Guild Wars is such a grind, remember that it was the players who wanted it that way.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. Stupid players, they always ruin games.

  2. I'm not sure the players demanded titles as much as they simply didn't object too much when they were added because for the most part they were and still are optional.

    This is coming from someone with 27 max titles though.

  3. @ Blue Kae - That's one way to look at it. :)

    @ Hunter - Certainly, players weren't asking for a specific implementation. But their (our) desire for something else to do in the game was a strong motivator for ArenaNet. Of course, I neglected to talk about the Elite Missions that were later added. But in every case, I think ANet responded to their rather crazy customer base quite well.

  4. As long as the entire game isn't grinding, I think having grinds in there for players that get off on standing in one spot killing things for hours is actually a pretty good idea.

    LoTRO has this whole virtue system where you earn really really modest stat buffs either by hunting for various landmarks or (much more frequently) killing hundreds of on specific type of mob. I certainly am not up for it all the time, but once in a blue moon it gives me something mindless to do that feels useful. If you can pair it with some sort of crafting mat gathering, so much the better.

  5. @ Yeebo - Oh absolutely. I like that, in both LotRO and GW, you can dip your toes in and get some small benefit, but get big rewards for diving in fully. Options are a good thing!