The Daily Grind: How long can you grind content in an MMO?

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It might seem kind of odd, but part of my problem with playing Final Fantasy XI back in the day was just about the time spent grinding in any given zone. Now, I’ve mentioned before how a bit of grind can be a good thing in its own right, but the thing is that speaking personally I start to get pretty bored after a couple of hours. That was a real problem in a game where grinding could easily mean spending many, many more hours sitting in one place and grinding away at a leveling camp.

Some people are not like this. If you tell them that the fastest way to do something is to run 50 dungeons at 10 minutes each, well, the next eight hours just got filled in without a slight complaint. Other people are not like this in the other direction, and even half an hour of doing the same thing is going to get old. So how long can you grind on content in an MMO? Do you have a higher or lower tolerance for it?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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You tell me. :|


Grind is your perception of whether something repeatable is enjoyable.
If it is enjoyable (which is tied to a lot of things including fun, rewarding short and long term, relaxing or taxing, and more), then you don’t perceive it is grind. If it is not enjoyable, you call it grind.

So actually, grind is just you recognizing that you are not enjoying yourself, and that it takes a repeating situation for you to recognize it. A game that constantly try to make all situations new for you (removing repeating situations), might very well hide that you are not enjoying the game (some part of the game anyway).

The other thing is that humans are excellent at pattern recognizing, so the more mmos/games you play the more patterns, aka repeating situations, you will notice. The grindless game (as in non repeating patterns) is more or less impossible, and if you think you are playing one, you are probably just not seing the patterns (or ignoring them).

Does not check email

The levels of mmo burnout

1.) dumb fun
2.) grind
3.) grind but resent game
4.) grind but resent yourself
5.) donuts

Lethia Myune

I lived all my gaming life with the impression that i love to grind. I like making goals for myself and slowly work for them and if that implies grinding random content i’m fine with it.

But…then i took a LOTRO to the knee and i finally learned what grind for the sake of grinding actually means. 200 orcs, type A, B and C for a 1% increase in your stats, LI paaaainful grind, crafting grind, lotro points grind (optional but a huge incentive for ppl to grind), quest grind, 130 levels of story grind, running around a map the size of a RL small country to talk to NPCs about flowers grind and another 20 ways of grinding OR bypass via the shop …LOTRO has it all.

If you want to do it all in this game, the grinding parts are intertwined and not really optional. You can of course just “enjoy the story” but yeah…if you take it like this, the grind in any game is optional to a degree. If i hear anybody about korean grinders again..i swear… lol


I don’t enjoy grinding in any game, doesn’t matter if it is killing 30 bats in Eastern Plaguelands or grinding some raid for a chance to drop some cosmetic loot. I get bored with it and try to do other tasks instead, such as open world PvP in WoW Classic or just socializing with random people in capital cities in other games. Sadly most MMORPGs have terribly flawed game design where you can’t level up by doing what you enjoy, such as open world PvP or by socializing with others (though EVE Online did it best where you just buy skillbooks and then wait until the skill is finished training, and training always going on no matter what you do) so I must do tedious work by grinding quests or dungeons or raids to level up and to get things like specific cosmetics. Hopefully future MMORPGs will provide more options for leveling or getting costmetics and other gear instead of only giving this option:


I’ve been playing Ark since it was Early Access. At the most basic level that game is *all* grind. Gather materials to make building parts. Construct buildings. Find things to tame to put in the buildings. Breed the things you’ve tamed to make stronger things. Gather an army of stronger things, then start collecting Tribute items to open a portal to fight one of the Boss creature. Fight one of the Boss creatures over and over for Element to make the highest tier of building pieces. Use the Tek building pieces to make even stronger buildings…

But to me it feels different than “sit at this camp and kill essentially the same twelve NPCs over, and over, and over and over and overandoverandover… They aren’t going to enjoy themselves. And neither will you.” I can do whatever seems like the most fun at any given moment. If I want to just get on Typhoon and fly around for a bit, then that’s what I’m doing for the next half hour. I’m not getting random tells from people all to happy to explain how whatever I’m doing is wrong, or upset that I’m there at all. (Or in games like STO, to tell me that I should kill myself for having a Caitian character, which has happened more than once.)

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Schlag Sweetleaf

For as long as I’m having fun. Which depends on both the activity and my current mindset, though usually this lasts at most a couple hours even for things I love doing and I’m in the mood for.

One caveat: the reward doesn’t figure, at all, in whether I’m willing to grind something. If I would not be willing to repeat an activity for no reward at all, then I won’t do it for a reward either.


I can grind level alts very easily and I find older games that have slower leveling curves to be more enjoyable. But in the end I need to be able todo them on my own time. The second the grind is dungeons or such like in end game I just can’t do it. Hell I am getting to the point that I love FFXIV but if there was a way in NG+ to get exp to level my alt jobs I would be happy as I am not going to get on the daily grind ever again its just not fun.

Grinds need to have a level of that I really don’t need to give my whole attention as if I do then that makes a grind hard for me as I like todo them to relax and multitask.

Demon of Razgriz
Demon of Razgriz

Only game I’m grinding events in is STO and that’s because I want a Vengeance. Once I got that, and maybe whatever the Sumer Event ship is, I’m done with the whole process. The time required isn’t worth it for most items that ultimately aren’t worth it in the long run, especially anything that requires you to grind out another event/mission string to make a set.