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Complaining bout grinding in RPGs, are they just approaching it WRONG?:

Always Right
DISCLAIMER: I have no idea how to make the title and what I'm about to say not sounds like such an elitist douche...sorry about that. Also, I there are always exceptions. Some games are designed to force the player to grind. For example, Retiring in Etrian Odyssey

And now the actual thread...
One of the most confusing complaint about RP Gs nowadays(for some reason, mostly JRP Gs), asides from being unrealistic, is that it forces the players to grind in order to beat the bosses.

My question is...in MOST cases, are the people complaining just playing the game wrong?

When an RPG is done right* . Reviewers and disgruntled players will complain about the game being a grindfest.

But here is what I noticed in most RP Gs these days...

Which leads me to come to this conclusion. People who accuse an RPG of being a grindfest are often playing the game wrong. Every single RPG I've played I've beaten without grinding. When I face a boss, I either beat it, or if I lose to it, I keep what kinds of attacks the boss used in mind and prepared my party to appropriately deal with the boss.

With this in mind. With the exception very few games and the even fewer players who intentionally flee from every single encounter, do the people who grudgingly level-grind to beat a boss just lack strategy or something?

Comments? Opinions? Counter argument?
PS-We can spend an entire thread debating about whether you can "play a game right/wrong", so I'll just say this.

If a game provides you with warriors and casters with all sorts of buff/debuff/direct damage spells. And if all you're doing is charging in with normal attacks while ignoring the caster's buff/debuff spells while still questioning why you can't kill a boss. Then you're doing it wrong.

tl;dr - "people who grind in RP Gs are often strong enough to beat a boss to begin with. Their problem isn't weak stats, but poor strategy."

edited 8th May '11 8:21:00 PM by Signed

"Every opinion that isn't mine is subjected to Your Mileage May Vary."
Or the people spend too much time running around in fields OHK'ing dozens of small enemies instead of trying to fight stronger ones to gain more experience faster?
Always Right
Well...that's....similar to what I'm saying, but my point is that if they're playing like the game intended them to play (explore dungeon and kill stuff on the way), there shouldn't be any reason to be grinding. And if you do find yourself in need of grinding, then it means your strategy needs changing, it doesn't mean your party is too weak (most of the time).

Hence grinding won't do anything unless you make yourself strong enough to take on bosses 2 dungeons ahead of the one you're stuck in.


This is also a possible reason why I always feel so overlevelled. I'm not overlevelled. The boss wouldn't be that much more challenging if I were lower levelled. The fact is, the bosses in RP Gs these days just suck, or your characters are too overpowered.

edited 8th May '11 8:31:56 PM by Signed

"Every opinion that isn't mine is subjected to Your Mileage May Vary."
It depends on the game. Some of them do expect you to grind
Nothing exists but you. And you are but a thought
Always Right
I mentioned that there are exceptions* . But I've seen way too many games be accused of grindfests, heck, I've seen people say ALL RP Gs are grindfests.

When in truth, most RP Gs, especially the ones today,


Also, I happen to like grinding...but I've never seen a story boss* that required me to grind.

Prime Example: Arc Rise Fantasia. Ignoring the So Bad Its Horrigood VA's, the game is great, story, gameplay, aesthetics, DIFFICULTY.

But if you look at a few forums and reviews, you will find a LOT of people complain about needing to grind just to beat the bosses. Now the bosses in that game are hard. Yes. But not once did I ever have to grind to beat any of the bosses. Not even the really hard ones late in the game. I died a few times, but I didn't need to grind.

edited 8th May '11 8:39:00 PM by Signed

"Every opinion that isn't mine is subjected to Your Mileage May Vary."
Reaching the Future, the hard way
I'm kinda inclined to agree with you. I feel that a game has a good levelup system going on if I'm strong enough to beat the boss by fighting most things that come my way. Most games, especially nowadays, do achieve this, where changing strategy can be more useful than just going up 5 levels. Sometimes if I look in the strategy guides, they'll suggest what level to be at that, imo, would be the level to overkill and murder the boss. This is partially the other reason why I prefer to not be that strong. I love if the boss puts up a good fight.

I would say that even retiring in Etrian Odyssey isn't exactly forcing a grind.

A character still has all their gear, which makes a significant portion of their power. Also, it's just 5 levels. As long as you press forward in the dungeon, the enemies will give enough EXP to let the slightly lower leveled character catch up.

Always Right
You're thinking of resting(lose 5 levels for a reset). Retiring is when your character's level is HALVED in return for a slightly buffed up character with a few extra skill points.

In that case, your halved character is probably too weak to even survive a normal hit from the enemies they were previously able to fight.

But with the exception of retiring, there is no need to level grind in Etrian Odyssey as well. Going through the labyrinth will often make you high enough level to take on the boss.

edited 8th May '11 9:03:39 PM by Signed

"Every opinion that isn't mine is subjected to Your Mileage May Vary."
 9 Cider, Sun, 8th May '11 9:19:24 PM from Not New York Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
The Final ECW Champion
With the Dragon Quest series, grinding isn't necessary to just beat the boss, but to get through the boss's lair. Get in a few screens, then you're clobbered. There's no avoiding it thanks to random encounters. You may successfully run away early but that gets less likely later. Eventually gold armor makes enemies bearable or you get lucky with a random drop, till them best make use of them random encounters and grind against things you can beat to get ready for the next Dragon's nest or evil forest.

I give Dragon Quest a pass because them and Ultima did it first but feel little incentive to play Shim Megami Diablo since they think its funny when three sessions are spent walking through the same halls to get murdered in two in new halls, assuming wrong the level up from the boss I was grinding to beat would let me coast for awhile.

Maybe I'm not using the right strategy in some games, but RP Gs tend not to be open with their mechanics. I use Golden Sun as an example of a game where I didn't need to grind, but that's because my friend told me how to recognize the right attacks and what gets the best results when finishing an enemy. The game tells none of this for no good reason. Exploring gets the right moves, equipment and recruits to not need to grind but it was very vague on an early mundane skill you'd need to get far off the main path. Specifically it says you can change moves with class change, nothing else.

You could struggle along, because you didn't know you could go into a hut with a nice sword in it, you don't know who to protect from water, don't what to kill with fire and don't know what to hit zombies with to make them drop herbs. This isn't Revive Kills Zombies or the The Infinity Plus One Sword, this is simple stuff that makes the game more fun if it just told how.
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 10 Madass Alex, Sun, 8th May '11 9:34:46 PM from the Middle Ages.
I am vexed!
I think one issue might be these RP Gs failing to adequately tutor the player in their own strategies. For instance, with Demons' Souls, I found the game initially frustrating because I only knew how to play it as an action game. The game itself didn't teach me a thing past the basic controls. It doesn't even make it clear how to level up. There were some cool aspects to that, of course, like discovering solutions and weaknesses, but a lot of the game's difficulty comes from a sort of meta Broken Bridge where the gap is in information.

That's a fairly extreme example. But a lot of RP Gs suffer by not making their own potential clear or making the most effective strategies boring. Like having one character heal while others constantly use their best attacks.

While Mass Effect isn't exactly heavy RPG, I think it handled this well. Its combination of real-time combat and various tactical options made it extremely clear to the player what their options were. You could defeat strong adversaries not only by having the right abilities and strong characters, but by using the terrain and fighting efficiently. There needs to be more of that, I think. Give players the room to create strategies and tactics that suit their own approach.

edited 8th May '11 9:35:48 PM by MadassAlex

 11 Rocket Dude, Sun, 8th May '11 9:36:12 PM from AZ, United States
This hat doesn't fit!
I think that FPS-RPG games give you plenty of freedom to take any strategy (especially when you can get a Sniper Rifle and shoot enemies from a distance). Leveling up becomes more secondary when you can take any approach to a situation.

edited 8th May '11 9:36:48 PM by RocketDude

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 12 Moe Dantes, Sun, 8th May '11 9:37:42 PM from the Land of Classics
cuter, cuddlier Edmond
I think people who complain about "grinding" in RP Gs are, in fact, playing them wrong.

I do not grind. I have never grinded. My whole approach to RP Gs is to just go ahead and do what I'm supposed to. If things go badly for me, I either use an exit spell or fight my way out (depending on what options are open to me), rest up, and try again. This usually means I enter the dungeon stronger than I was the first time. This is as close as I ever get to "grinding."

I sometimes think that my approach is the only correct one, arrogant as that sounds. It's at the very least the most fun.
 13 Madass Alex, Sun, 8th May '11 9:39:40 PM from the Middle Ages.
I am vexed!
^^ You can replicate that freedom outside of FPS RP Gs, though. You have to create a set of mechanics that support that sort of tactical freedom.

edited 8th May '11 9:39:55 PM by MadassAlex

Always Right
Sounds like the problem is just a matter of observation and exploration...

Following my example using Arc Rise Fantasia.

When I finally met a boss that truly challenged me even when I prepared against him, a Cool Old Guy with An Axe to Grind, I was high enough level, or maybe even overlevelled against him, but he still whooped my ass before I can bring him down to 75% health.

But instead of grinding, I just took note of the nature of his attacks.*

1)He does very little actions every turn. *

2)He mostly uses wind element to one-shot multiple party members with almost full HP. *

3)His most dangerous attacks hit multiple targets. *

When I see other people play the game, most of them don't even bother to move their party around, and they get torn to pieces in the first turn. Those who don't have parties that are way overlevelled.

edited 8th May '11 9:49:33 PM by Signed

"Every opinion that isn't mine is subjected to Your Mileage May Vary."
 15 Usht, Sun, 8th May '11 10:15:54 PM from an arbitrary view point.
Lv. 3 Genasi Wizard
Try Shin Megami Tensei, namely Strange Journey. You can grind all you want and you still won't be able to beat half the bosses without a proper strategy.

edited 8th May '11 10:17:03 PM by Usht

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 16 Aondeug, Sun, 8th May '11 10:16:44 PM from  Our Dreams
Oh My
I only really grind because I like grinding. Insane I know. It's a repetitive habit though and it brings me joy. I always grind in Dragon Quest. ALWAYS. It's a tradition. The series is nostalgia in game form and grinding even when it is an entry that doesn't require it as much I will grind. I must grind.

In older RP Gs it's more or less always needed to some extent. Once we entered the SNES era we began moving past it and yeah a lot of the time when people bitch about "being forced" to grind it's because they lack an idea of really how to play it and form strategies.

And then you have series where even if you do grind you're fucked without at least some form of strategy beyond "HIT THE THING WITH OUR STRONGEST ATTACKS AND NOTHING ELSE. JUST MASH THAT CONFIRM BUTTON!!!!". We need that. A lot of it. With balls to the wall hard difficulty. MAKE ME CRY. MAKE ME RESET. MAKE ME WISH FOR DRAGON QUEST 1 ON THE NES.

edited 8th May '11 10:18:27 PM by Aondeug

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I love games that allow me to raise an army of characters by giving me adequate places to increase my stats - see Final Fantasy Tactics A2, for example. It's not necessary, but it's fun and adds variety.
 
Welp, Redbeard is angry
Most of the Jrpgs I played pretty encourage grinding, due to the following poor design choices.

  • random encounters happen way too much (love random encounter meter in etrain odyssey though)

  • running away is worthless because it has a high fail rate

  • stats are vague the intruction manual does not explain how they are translated in battle (you know what would be nice Fire Emblem? Giving me the fucking formula for Attack Speed so my guy doesnt get attacked twice when a baddie runs up to him on his phase!)

  • stat buffs and de-buffs are useless in common battles (which in turn makes not use them on bosses because of their uselessness)

  • Useful spells such as revive or kickassium are available to you get to a certain level.

Jrps that i played and liked do not have at least one of these problems.

edited 8th May '11 10:47:48 PM by MedicoreNed

A-HYUK!
I don't mind grinding, but there can obviously be too much.

I ragequit Earthbound because the grinding was absolutely insane. Dropped in the wilderness with a new character at level 1 surrounded by crazed deer who do insane amounts of damage while I (and my monkey partner) can only do 1 damage, even with critical hits, and I have to practically stop my progress in the game to attempt to get him up to the point where he isn't one/two-shotted by everything in the vicinity?

Go fuck yourself.

*ahem* Anyway, most of the modern RP Gs I've played haven't required me to grind much, if at all. I'm not gonna say that people who do need to grind are "doing it wrong", however. That'd just make me feel like an elitist jackass who can't fathom any other styles of play other than my own.
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Grinding in Fire Emblem? That's only an option in Sacred Stones or if you choose to arena spam.

[up] Agreeing with that last bit.

edited 8th May '11 11:00:10 PM by SpellBlade

 
Always Right
RP Gs have their problems, but regarding your complaints...

*random encounters happen way too much (love random encounter meter in etrain odyssey though)

This has little to do with grinding. Level grinding is when you intentionally stop proceeding forward and walk a few circles or so just to find random encounters to level up.

I don't consider exploring a dungeon and doing quests(or subquests) grinding.

stat buffs and de-buffs are useless in common battles (which in turn makes not use them on bosses because of their uselessness)

These are generally useless in random encounters because monsters in random encounters are generally too weak to last long enough. Unless they're extra strong mooks.

Buffs and de-buffs truly shine in boss fights where the battle lasts long enough for whatever damage or defence boost to make a noticeable difference in battle, even more noticeable than direct damage spells even.

*Useful spells such as revive or kickassium are available to you get to a certain level.

The main idea is that you don't need those kickass spells at certain earlier bosses, and you need them against later tougher bosses. Hence those spells shouldn't be necessary against the bosses the person intended to grind against if he/she is at the appropriate level.

That said...you could grind in Fire Emblem?

edited 8th May '11 11:05:00 PM by Signed

"Every opinion that isn't mine is subjected to Your Mileage May Vary."
Sacred Stones had a world map with wandering enemies and two optional repeatable dungeons, and the various arenas across the games allow you to fight in them repeatedly. Particularly useful in seven, thanks to the Dance Glitch.
 
 23 Spirit, Sun, 8th May '11 11:12:00 PM from America Relationship Status: Gay for Big Boss
That said...you could grind in Fire Emblem?

If the previous ones are like Radiant Dawn* then yes and no. There's only so much experience that can be earned, but after you have the advantage in the levels you "grind" by killing off all enemy units before fulfilling the level's win condition.

 24 Spooky Mask, Sun, 8th May '11 11:16:11 PM from Corner in round room Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Insert title
You can grind in Fire Emblem, but its extremely tedious if you do :P(it involves leaving boss alive and taking all equipment from your character and letting boss attack you since you get 1 exp regarldess(sp?) if you attack or not and heal if your character gets it)

Alternatively, attack the boss, but less boss heal. Though, that can be bad since equipment can break in fire emblem.

edited 8th May '11 11:16:51 PM by SpookyMask

Time to change the style, for now
Always Right
Sounds like the game wasn't made to let players grind, and the levels a player gains while playing through is all he/she needs to carry on.
"Every opinion that isn't mine is subjected to Your Mileage May Vary."
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