When did Games become Work?
Or did work become a game? While World of Warcraft is not the only game guilty of it, this is high among the reasons I stopped playing that particular game. A significant portion of my game time eventually became dominated by repetitive actions which in themselves were not particularly enjoyable, but promised a contribution to future activities. Why not just make the whole game fun and fresh? I understand the ideas behind the needs for these items, such as an economy or producing new usable items and weapons. Still, farming cloth or metal, or grinding, does not make for a compelling gameplay experience. There must be a more mentally rewarding method to provide the player with these resources. The word grinding holds a negative connotation for me now, because it represents going through the same portion of the game time and time again. Sure, a game should have some replay value, but this is a separate issue.
I should mention that it shows up in other games too, but more commonly in role playing games. RPG’s and grinding are a very obvious example of this phenomenon, but the genre is not bound to this fate. Mass Effect 2 is an excellent example of a role playing game that avoids this behavior almost entirely. Yes, you can scan planets for resources, but it doesn’t take a lot of time, and you don’t really have to if you don’t want to.
As always, I’m interested to hear different viewpoints on this topic, and your comments are most welcome.