Is Grind Only Killing the fun or is Grind all That’s Left?

After expressing my concerns about the overall grind level in Sea of Moving Ice, and Neverwinter in general, I couldn’t stop thinking about the issue. I like to start with a quote from forum manic beckylunatic. She often states how the game is too much about stuff you want to do versus stuff you have to do. Normally you have a certain task list for any given day that you need to work through until you can freely decide how to spend the rest of your time. As I mentioned in my post, this task list is slowly getting out of hand.

No freedom in progression

As counterpoint I often hear that nobody forces players to do certain things. Only because 36,000 RAD are up for grabs each day, players don’t need to reach the cap. You also don’t have to run Influence or revisit old campaigns for Refining Points or Marks. That’s absolutely true, but doesn’t change the fact that the progression system nonetheless requires players to run specific stuff for specific rewards over and over and over again. You don’t have a choice. At some point you need to do the stuff anyway. If not today, then tomorrow or next week. Otherwise there’s no progression.
The issue might even go a bit further anyway. Going back to the quote from becky I caught myself thinking what fun parts of the game you could do if you really had the choice. And quite honestly, I couldn’t come up with a lot. It seems like every single system, dungeon and story is part of the grind. Where’s the true endgame challenge, a goal outside Refining, the unique elements? Professions, Strongholds? Grind! Dungeons, Skirmishes? Grind! Events? Grind! Foundry? Gone!

Gauntlgrym, Castle Never… Those were the days

In hindsight it might not be surprising that grind is all that’s left when all they did was adding grind on top of grind on top of grind. But the game hasn’t always been this way. I remember how exciting my first runs of Castle Never were. It was not “go complete a thousand times” content. You needed to work for a completion and when you mastered the dungeon, you got a guaranteed major reward. I was sweating after my first Draco kill. For real, it was intense. I never ever had the same feeling downing a boss again.

Or let’s take the original Gauntlgrym design for example. It eventually failed because it lost viability over time and had some other flaws, but it was intriguing. Going into a large-scaled PVP battle that decided about the tier of dungeon you could do afterwards was actually something different. I liked the concept and played it a lot, although I only really realized how much after it got shut down.

And you know what? People were more or less doing it voluntarily. Outside the PVP campaign it was not attached to any sort of endgame relevant grind. The Special Armor Set you could get was only a nice alternative and minor incentive. But GG would earn Glory like Domination and the PVE dungeons loot like T1s and T2s. Choices.

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PVP might be the way to go?

Thinking back a lot of excitement actually came from PVP. Open World was a disaster, but back in Mod 3 fighting a Domination between the Heroic Encounter farm and doing dailies was a nice change of pace. I actually enjoyed the Mod a lot although I never was as fond of Black Ice and the attached Armor Sets.

Sahha PitchIt’s obvious that PVP as true endgame skill mode could pave the way out of boredom and it’s beyond me why there’s not more effort to introduce a true team league/lobby system or solo queue ranking. Instead they developed Strongholds PVP to become yet another fail. You can include Sahha here as well. The devs came up with something cool on paper, yet everyone just moaned about the rewards and how that piece of shit mechanic is not worth your time. That wasn’t justified, on the other hand the devs shouldn’t have included it in the event grind. Already at my review of the Summer Festival I stated how neat a Sahha tournament would be. Do a team ranking and solo queue with unique rewards and give the whole thing a completely different feel.

PVE needs a challenge outside grind

PVE clearly needs a challenge outside grind, like Castle Never was. After you had done all Tier 1 and Tier 2 content, it was the ultimate challenge to beat with the ultimate prize. Keygate at least has brought up the reward aspects of the issue and maybe something good will come out of it. Of course other activities like a deep, explorative profession system could also help. Or the Foundry? All I know is that the game needs a cool and rewarding feature, because currently it has none.

That’s why grind is only one part of the issue. The other is that the alternatives even for those that don’t care as much about progression are not there. Players might no longer be able to pick between stuff they want to do versus stuff they have to do, but only between the type of grind they want to run.

Are there still elements in the game that you thoroughly enjoy outside the progression grind? Share your list and thoughts in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board.

Neverwinter UN:Blogged is always looking for writers to contribute to the blog. If you are an active player and search for a way to spread your opinions, analysis, diaries or reviews to more than 35,000 regular visitors, then don’t hesitate and contact us on our message board or email! We are currently especially looking for console and PVP content, but that’s not exclusive. There is no frequency requirement, you post how often you want.


j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.

10 thoughts on “Is Grind Only Killing the fun or is Grind all That’s Left?

  • November 29, 2016 at 8:05 am

    The main characteristic of the game besides the D&D Theme, is the action combat system which still remains one of the best around. Add to that the fact, gamers like to PVP and the growth of MOBAs over the years. It seems that if Cryptic decides to develop more domination arenas or put new game modes like “last standing”, “everyone vs everyone” etc, it will be a recipe for success. It will bring back lots of people and even give some kind of purpose to grind (although it would be best to grind pvp to get pvp eq)

  • November 29, 2016 at 8:20 am

    I have played since open beta. The game was fun. There were real dungeons with secret areas. There was fashion and dyes and personalization. No it is grind and fishing. I don’t plat a DAnd D based game to fish. The Zen market is broken and no one fixes it. The solution to the money problems they think is to make everything bound and a grind so you have to buy Zen to progress. But they are wrong. Sell emotes and dyes and fashion in Zen market. Hell yeah people will buy them. Let me dye my mount. I’d spend 20 on that for sure. Make the game fun again. Bring back the old dungeons. There is a very real lack of imagination here on the devs part. I have zero intention of grinding out the new weapons. I don’t need them to run content. I just ground out the twisted ones. Why the hell do I need a new set when there will just be another set in 4 or 5 months. No I’m build the old useless Frostburn to wear at Xmas and working on my stronghold. Cause that’s more fun. Want to revive the game fix the Zen market. Let us trade coal wards and keys again. Unbound the game and the market will fix itself. He’ll if I could give my teammates keys like in the old days I’d buy a lot more. But the devs have up on new fun stuff and it’s just rehashed grind and aborted dungeons.

  • November 29, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Unfortunately, no.
    God I loved this game a long time ago, heck, even started completely over to play on PS4. But I quit with Key gate. The devs rolled it back, but it was too late. I’ve moved on to other things, like FFXIV and waiting on Crowfall.
    I still have a place in my heart for this game, so I’ll keep checking back to this fantastic blog, I hope the future improves, but… I don’t like the odds.

  • December 1, 2016 at 1:10 am

    I shed a few tears.. That was so cool! I still don’t understand why those old mechanics gone instead been reworked.

    There is too much monotonous campaigns in the game with daily quests. And it is really good if it is well rewarded and if it is only one part of content instead of being all game process.

    A lot of my friends and me personally asking for improving of PvP content. We know cryptics can do that better then any one else because cryptics can combine PvE, story and PvP in one interesting game mod.

    Also we hope that after upcoming changes in DCs and GWFs devs are really going to improve PvP part of the game. And we hope that they’ll do that in their unique style because that gauntlgrym system was awesome.

  • December 1, 2016 at 2:17 am

    The game has become monumentally boring now, Strongholds has just added increasing levels of Grind, The new content is yet more grind, its just not as much fun anymore.

    They dont listen to us they took out the fun stuff like the old epic dungeons, the ability to solo them by walking up to a door etc and PVP just sucks with very few interested in it any longer. If they think beefing up PVP will help them they are in for a rude awakening imho.

    Mimic King appeared promising us he would bring back the fun and improve the QOL how long ago? What did we get, Key Gate.
    Players have begged for stuff like fixing Siege, or changing the influence targets on Strongholds for ages, they promised to address them and here we are months on and nothing!

    • December 1, 2016 at 4:40 am

      I agree with you that there is a lot of things in game which should be reworked. But it is a very complex and time-consuming process. There is no official information yet but I suppose that in spring we’ll see a lot of improvements.

      • December 1, 2016 at 7:01 am

        Removing specified and unique rewards from each dungeon , plus the ludicrous way you have to earn AD, is a bad start.. why run a 20 min dungeon and earn 10k ad, when you can run a 5 min one and earn the same?

        Add on top of that , the odorous the implemented grind over grind, here is your result.

        They really screwed this game up at the start of mod 6.. but it wasn’t the difficulty settings that did it, it was the removal and not re-implantation of new dungeons with new rewards.

        They still struggle on how to do this.. you can get more money per hour right now fishing, then defeating tiamat, drufi and orcus combined.

        They simply do not know how to reward players right… the concept that you need to run 1 dungeon 1-5000 times each mod, is wrong, no one want to do that really, but this what they give you. Not only that, now they expect you to spend 40-50 hours to open up said dungeon, PER character.

        Its not just the grind, its the grind, to grind, to grind now.. without any acknowledgement of the other grind, we already have to grind.

        I think most of us would agree, that what we really want to do , is to log into a game, play with friends in some sort of co operative manner to progress together.

        That is to me, what a basic shell of mmo pve is .. I dont think it will be fixed, I have no real hope this game will be better, it will HOWEVER remain for people who dont mind doing the stuff they are making.. I guess more power to those poeple, its just not fun to me anymore. I however do not at all believe it will be fixed, I have the exact opposite feeling, this is the new direction they are funneling the game into.

        pvp.. shoot me, I gave up on at the start of mod 6, up to that point, I probably did oh… 20k matches or so.. it was once my favorite part of the game.. and I dont think in the next year they could fix it if they even tried.. and I doubt they really will.

  • December 1, 2016 at 7:43 am

    The problem is none of these devs, CMs, whoever in charge of this game are actively playing this game. It blows my mind when Strum said in the stream ‘oh I haven’t unlocked fbi yet’. How the hell he knows what our pain is if he never run that dungeon and here we are complaining how crappy the reward is.

  • December 1, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Pvp for a lot of us is the answer to a whole other game. At least for those of us that started in mod 5 or so, PVP has never been a valid alternative. Its been well known as fundamentally broken since those days and likely before.

    Fixing that side of things won’t make the game as a whole more fun. Especially now in the years since those things were broken down, most people are PVE. Sure some would come back if there was some sort of revolutionary change that was industry leading and awesome. ..but how likely is that? They quite obviously arent trying to innovate and create, they are trying to string along the current playerbase with cut/paste content and minimal programming.

    Absolutely the grind has gotten ridiculous. That is however because its easy to create. You drop a spread sheet, add some RNG, a few static pictures and you’re good. At the same time you avoid all those hard things, like dynamic systems dealing with all the permutations of player powers.

    The only answer is bring back old dungeons in the short term, with some decent rewards while at the same time putting actual work into new ones as well. Keep the grind that exists now, and stop adding to it so that people don’t lose the work that they’ve put in.

    They need to stop punishing players for playing and perfecting their game.

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