SideNote: “Destiny,” “Borderlands,” and the endless grind

2418811-destinynewscreenshot21SideNote: “Destiny,” “Borderlands,” and the endless grind

MMO video games have become more popular in the world of console gaming. “Destiny” is a more recent installment that received many mixed reactions. The problem? Well the words “repetitive” and “grind” often came up.

Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to pop in, or even buy “Destiny” yet. Instead I’ve jumped back in time and purchased a cheaper copy of “Borderlands.” Halfway into “Borderlands” and… there are some issues.

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A past MMO-based franchise that I’ve enjoyed is “Dead Island” and “Dead Island: Riptide.” They weren’t by any means perfect, but they captured my attention for the week it took to beat each of them.

“Grinding” is a reoccurring theme in all of these franchises. The wordy meme above really describes it perfectly. You keep fighting the same bad guys over and over again so that you can get the next-best weapons or items (or get money to purchase them), and then you rinse and repeat until finally you’re bored of the game.

Some games have pulled off the MMO formula better than others. It sounds like “Destiny” didn’t quite change the game, but more or less made us realize that this is a persisting problem in the genre.

Borderlands-GameplayInitially each of these games have a storyline. It sounds like “Destiny” may have one of the most disappointing stories in video game history. So far I haven’t been too attached to anything going on in “Borderlands,” but there’s enough humor to grab my attention.

“Dead Island’s” story always felt apparent, and I felt like I never really wanted to do side-missions or explore because I only cared about the story. But once the story was over for “Dead Island” the game was shelved. I had no intention of popping in-and-out of other people’s games or searching for greater weapons, or obtaining a higher level for my character.

PC_1080p_000.bmp“Borderlands” and “Destiny” seem to want to keep its audiences around a little longer.The grinding in “Borderlands” has felt very excessive to me, and at times it has sucked the fun right out of the experience. Granted, I am only halfway into the game with full intentions on beating it then grinding my way through the sequel.

I haven’t played “Destiny” yet, but after hearing about the grinding, I find myself more and more reluctant into even going down that road. “Grand Theft Auto Online” can be considered a MMO, there isn’t much collecting as there are online activities. It to can get repetitive after awhile, but Rockstar is constantly throwing out free updates that add more to the experience.

Eventually Rockstar will stop making updates and move on to the next project. It’s become common practice for video games to try and keep us there long after the story, with MMO experiences or with competitive multiplayer. But just like a good television show, more video game studios should embrace a game’s ending. It’s better that a game ends on a high note, rather than sucking a gamer into something repetitive until they get bored of it. Almost like hearing a good song, then listening to it over-and-over until you are sick of it.

Again, the MMO genre can be done in a way to keep players entertained for a long time. But they can’t keep players entertained forever. Variety in gameplay is important, but there can only be so much before the game starts feeling repetitive or like an endless, boring grind. And it’s better to end a game on a high note, rather than playing it into the ground.

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