Episode 42: Grist for the Grind

A grist mill's wheel in repose

The play pattern of “grinding”, or repeatedly playing the same content in order to level a character or earn rewards, is surely one of gaming’s most curious idiosyncrasies. How can playing the same content time and time again be fun? In fact, games dating back to the classic JRPGs of the 8-bit era have shown that well-designed grinds can be quite satisfying, affording players the opportunity to pursue and accomplish goals in a pleasant continuous loop. That kind of equilibrium doesn’t happen without effort though, and uninspired or careless designs can easily tip grind-based gameplay in much more tedious directions. So: what makes for the perfect grind? On Episode 42 of Vertical Slice we’re taking a careful measure of this unique gameplay motif, and looking for the delicate mechanisms that keep player-friendly grinds in balance.

Show Notes

  • Monster Hunter: World has arrived to great acclaim, enchanting veteran hunters and series newcomers alike with its deep gameplay and charming personality. If you’re curious what all the fuss is about, Gaijin Hunter offers an excellent review authored from the standpoint of a long-time Monster Hunter fan.

Image credit: Roger H. Goun