We all have things we love about Guild Wars 2, places that make us cheer out and say “yes, this is my ultra-mega place!” We all have classes, abilities, and features we’re passionate about, either negatively or positively. This is a place to share all that. Once a week I’ll be raising a Guild Wars 2 question to the community– hopefully an interesting one– and we’ll share our opinions. I’ll start off with my opinion just to get the ball rolling, but these questions will not have any right or wrong answers, so feel free to argue with me to your heart’s content!
One of the recent hot topics on the official GW2 forums has been the subject of grind in Guild Wars 2. What is grind, exactly? The easiest way to define grind in an MMO is to compare it with how we normally think about the saying “back to the ol’ grind.” It refers to work, right? Going to a boring 9 to 5 job day after day, repeating the same, uninspiring tasks. That’s a grind.
Now, in an MMORPG grind can refer to a few things. Usually weeks worth of daily quests are the perfect example. Want something cool? Better prepare to do something boring for a while to get it. Farming over and over for certain materials or extra cash also fits. Running dungeon run after dungeon run to the point where you’re kind of sick of the place is another good example.
Most players assumed Guild Wars 2 would be fairly anti-grind. No raids. No teetering stack of purple gear to chase after. Instead, ArenaNet promised fun things. World completion! Exploration! WvW! Jumping puzzles! The leveling journey was one that most gamers who were tired of daily quests enjoyed thoroughly. Then came legendary weapons, which are pretty much the definition of grind.
Most players were satisfied with the type of grind legendaries require, however, and still are. The fact of the matter is– as boring and monotonous grinding for materials or items can often be, it’s still a goal. A journey unto itself. MMORPGs are all about goals, and lofty goals can sometimes be very healthy in-game and in real life. And hey, let’s face it, some of the legendary weapons look pretty sweet.
But as the months passed, ArenaNet started adding in more items and activities that could also be considered grind-centric. I say “could” because the subject of grind is extremely subjective. Some players may consider the drive for exotic gear to be grindy. Others may feel the mystic forge’s random material requirements might be grind-intensive.
And what about the super rare items that we’ve seen in Shadow of the Mad King and Wintersday? Some of the best fluff items during both holiday events were very rare, and required either a little help from the gem shop or farming (and a little luck). Then we have fractals, ascended gear, and the upcoming laurel system. Even some of the best crafting recipes require a bit time spent hunting rare materials.
And here’s where the subjectivity comes in. Are these goals, or are they grind? Is farming fractals for a piece of ascended gear different from farming World of Warcraft heroic dungeons for a piece of epic gear? I definitely think there’s a difference, mostly due to the fact that Guild Wars 2’s endgame gear climb is entirely optional, and for the most part, fairly cosmetic in nature.
What do you think? Is Guild Wars 2 becoming a little grind-centric or are the game’s endgame goals more fun, completely optional, and thus inherently more fun? Sound off in the comments section below!