Grinding to Valhalla*

(*with special thanks to Randolph Carter’s perfectly-named project!)

Most games are repetitive by their very nature. You never go up the ladders and down the snakes in Monopoly, for instance, or try to make words in Ludo. I’ve played dozens of games over the years and it doesn’t bother me that they’re always the same — after all, when I sit down to play Monopoly, I know what to expect and that’s part of the fun.

MMOs are repetitive too. How you kill something doesn’t change all that much whether you’re level 1 or 100, and of course the fact of killing (or “defeating”) stuff to advance is common to most. You can’t suddenly go to catching butterflies as a method of advancement.

Most of us are fine with repetition. We do a lot of it in real life, and we do a lot of it in games. Sometimes it’s a little tedious, but most of the time we do it without thinking, or even with pleasure.

So when does repetition become the dreaded grind?

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