Whether you’re slashing through hordes of enemies with a sword or gunning down waves of mutated zombies with a machine gun, it’s all part of the grind. The grind is the glue that holds all video games together. Grinding is the most tedious aspect of any video game but it’s also the most important mechanic. Developers like Ubisoft seem to disagree, purposefully designing their games to require intense grinding in order to profit off lazy gamers with deep pockets. Loot boxes were just the start of a shifting tide in video game development. No longer are the corporate executives underestimating the monetization value of the gaming industry. We are in an age of prosperity, where some of the best of gaming is being produced in rapid succession. But with abundance comes corruption and developers are now not only giving players the ability to cheat through their games but thrusting it down our throats through micro-transactions. In order to prove those corporate snobs wrong and salvage the true essence of gaming from their greasy fingers, we need to talk about it. Open up the lines of communication and make people aware of the problem, and what better franchise to target then Assassin’s Creed.
The definition of grinding is often misinterpreted and has been the center of gamer concerns since the beginning. Grinding is the process in which a player gains experience. In most video games the player is required to grind in order to get to higher levels which will make the game easy enough to complete. Farming or killing a certain enemy repeatedly is one of the many factors of the grinding process and holds the bulk of the criticism. The repetition becomes boring quickly and the more difficult the game, the longer the grind. Grinding doesn’t only apply to killing enemies over and over again. Practicing is also grinding. Repetition is the defining factor that differentiates between just playing the game.
Going in practice mode and learning new fighting combos or playing practice games with friends doesn’t just make your character strong, it also makes you a better player.
To all the gamers that complain about grinding I ask you this; if you took out the grind entirely, would the game be fun? The answer is no. Being overpowered at level 1 may be enjoyable at first, more so if you’re playing alone, but it will get boring because there is no room for growth. Grinding creates a bond between the video game and the player, strengthening both simultaneously. It also makes the end game worth it. If at level 1 you are given the best gear in the game then what are you supposed to do for the next 100 hours of play time. Removing the grind makes the endgame worthless. It also calls into question the reason behind why you’re playing the game in the first place. Did you just spend $60 for a couple of achievements and bragging rights or because you wanted to actually play a video game and get your money’s worth?
In the new instalment of Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft apparently believes gamers buy video games, and not just $60 copies but deluxe $120 editions, just so they can spend more money on experience boosts. I’ve heard complaints similar to Shadow of War where the game is designed so that after a certain level it is almost impossible to play any further unless your willing to shell out more money for micro-transactions.