Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thoughts about grinding

Why on earth am I doing this? Isn't it a sign of mental illness? To hour after hour walk around in a circle, killing the same mobs over and over again with the same spell until I resemble a brain-dead bot? Is this really what I pay thousands of Swedish crowns for every year? Is this entertaining?

These kind of questions tend to come up towards the end of a major grinding session. Often they end up in an inner monologe like this:

"You grind because you want to make it possible to later do what you love most of all in the game - doing raids and instances. To do that doesn't only cost real money fees to Blizzard, the grim reality is that you also have to invest your gaming time into it. No grinding - no gold, buff food, gear and other stuff that is necessary in order to see new content. Everyone has to grind, it's a part of the game, unless you're that kind of player that take advantage of others, and you're not. You have to keep improving your gear through enchants, gems or crafted set, do your homework just like everyone else. And if you'll just try to have fun every single second by constantly running instances and raid you'll end up bankrupt. So shut up and keep grinding, soon enough you'll be partying again. Try to think about how much better you'll be once you get the x-gear, x-enchant, x-brodery!"

On other occasions I try to see the point of the grinding as it is, I put on a pair of glasses making me see it through a positive, pink glimmering filter. From that perspective the grinding isn't necessary boring just because it's repetitive. On the contrary - its's a kind of meditation - a chance of mental recovery. Throw, throw, loot. Throw, throw, loot. Throw, throw, loot, drink. Run to the next spot. Throw, throw, loot. The brain is drained from thoughts and everyday life worries, the game turns into a kind of "take a breath-let out the breath-focus on the breathing"-exercise.

I can also do the opposite, becoming very alert and present, putting all my attention to what I'm doing, really trying to make the very best out of every single second. The grinding is turned into a mage training camp, where I'm trimming myself, trying out new strategies, killing the mobs faster, with elegance or in a different way.

Another dimension that can transform the most hopeless grinding mission into a joyful party is the social one. Sometimes you come along a player at the same spot, who rather than competing for the mobs joins you, and you share the loot equally. Suddenly the mob killing has turned into an exercise of cooperation and maybe you'll even chat a little between the pulls.

But the best vaccine for grinding fever is to make sure you've got nice company in your headset, someone to rant with, or at least listen to, no matter if it's instance running or raiding going on. As long as there's someone there, it doesn't really matter what I'm doing at the moment, time flies and before I know I'll have all the primals I needed without knowing how it happened.

The need for grinding is periodical. For me I had a whim of grinding last autumn, when I got the spellstrike set, that I also had to make a brodery on the pants. I gave it to myself as a gift when I turned 40 in rl. Unfortunately (?) just a couple of weeks passed before the T4 head dropped, with an irresistible set bonus, and the spellstrike head was put into the bank vault, very little used if you compare it to the work I had put into it. Things happen. Odd enough I never felt robbed of all those hours I had put into that cap, the very feeling of achieving my goal had been a reward in itself.

Ever since that the grinding has been on a minimum level, I only do it to enchant gear uppgrades and to get buff food. But now I've got the feeling that I'm about to start grinding again. It's about time that I raise my butt and get together my Fel Armaments in order to get exalted with Aldor. A better shoulder enchantment is one of those things that has been too long on the "to do-list".

Another huge grinding project I'm considering is to start out the hunt for the new alchemist stone, coming with the 2.4 patch. The old stone was expensive, too much grinding if you compare it to the benefits from the trinket. Now the stone has got a bonus damage of 63 and suddenly it's becoming seriously interesting. But it will mean A LOT of primals. At a closer look 39, of which 13 will be fires, not a favourite one to grind for a fire mage.

Probably it would be wiser to grind something else, that is easier for me, and to sell it at AH and bye fire for the money I get. But there will be some kind of grinding, that is for sure.

First of all I think I'll put my teeth into the Naga colony in Zangarmarsh. If I just do the quest Now that we're still friends... enough times to be revered with Sporeggar, a transmute recepie earth-primal water is awaiting. That is a transmute that should be able to give me a steady income, in parity with any kind of daily quest. Gold that I can transform into Aldor reputation.
I'll just have to make up my mind and start the job, dedicated to reach the goal another time.

There's no bad weather, just bad clothes as we say in Sweden. To grind isn't just necessary, but also fun and meaningful. It's just a matter of your mindset.

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