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Games with the most rewarding grinding


Meat
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Not that kind you dirty dog. Which games give you the best reward or eg the biggest or most satisfying power advantage for grinding out XP? Ideally I want a game that lets you level up so much you’re practically invincible.

 

Final Fantasies are always a good bet. Haven’t played 15 though. I hear Diablo 3 might be a good choice too.

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Recently found Dragon Quest XI does a good job of it. Early on you only get 1-3 skill points per level but once you’re past level 50 you start getting 10-15 per level and your party begins to really snowball in power.

 

The game somehow manages not to feel like a grind despite the series particularly inventing grinding as we know it today.

 

Also the grind is more enjoyable when you know where to find metal enemies and how to kill them. I can’t do justice to how satisfying it is to jump 2 levels with every character because you killed 2 Hardy Hands in one battle.

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Bloodstained. This was my latest game to finish and it seems to have something about it which makes you want to do everything, enough so it was my first ever platinum effort (bar the standard one you get in Batman Telltale for finishing it). There's more involved than just your standard level, but collecting shards which come as random drops from every enemy and give you unique special abilities, then once you have these, they can be further dropped which acts as levelling up. Then you have levelling familiars and getting loot in general. It just makes you want to ensure you regularly kill enemies as there are numerous gains from doing so. 

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I'm streaming a playthrough of Half-Minute Hero's "Hero 30" mode at the moment and the core loop of its "grinding" is really satisfying. The premise of Hero 30 is that you have 30 seconds to complete each quest. However, the Time Goddess can be visited and - for a fee - will reset the clock for you. The catch is that every time you perform a reset, the fee for the next reset increases... however, as you're defeating foes and earning cash, you're levelling up and can defeat more enemies quicker with each 30-second run. Every time you pay to reset the clock, you're essentially daring yourself to defeat even more enemies in the next run, and it's pretty compelling. :) 

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Disgaea's a great example. I'm not bothered by story in games, and found the levelling of equipment much more compelling, so when I finally decided to try to complete the story I breezed through most of it without a hitch. (The item levelling is a bit of a vicious circle, since you'll get all the way down the dungeon of a really nice sword to level it up fully, only to be rewarded with a slightly better sword that now needs levelling up too. But the game is bags of fun, so I'd just dive straight back in (and probably get a new slightly better unlevelled sword at the end again...))

 

Morrowind was one where I did something similar (and I can imagine the same holds true for most of the Elder Scrolls games). In Morrowind I ignored the main quest, bumbled about doing whatever I wanted for 80-odd hours all the time assembling a full set of equipment enchanted with regeneration spells. I was pretty much unkillable by the end - even having several enemies attacking me at once couldn't drain my health as fast as it could go up. I enjoyed it immensely.

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Destiny is the antithesis of what he’s looking for really, the levelled enemies, constant resets and terrible RNG make it fundamentally unsatisfying to grind in Destiny, because even if the RNG blesses you the enemies will scale up with your level and Bungie will reset it all and force you to do it again from scratch soon.

 

I think too many games also have the Skyrim issue of a tipping point. The levelling system basically disadvantages you until about level 30 when it starts to tip towards providing you with a huge advantage. Whilst it’s satisfying to be smacking enemies about, it has the odd effect of combat getting far easier as the game goes on.

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The World Ends With You handled grinding well by exposing the numbers behind everything. If you wanted to grind to get a particular badge then you could tailor the game towards achieving that goal. Nice and user friendly. Really contrasted with Castlevania:Order of Eccelsia on the DS which was the drizzling shits by comparison. Oh you need item X for this villager? Well after quick check on Gamefaqs (because the game won't tell you) you know to go kill the giant Placeros on this corner of the map over and over again until the random number generator says you win. Might have to kill 500 of them, might be lucky and only need to kill one, who can say? Not your luck stat anyway. That's piss all use as an indicator. 

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Grinding Skyrim’s crafting system to make ever better gear with which to create ever better gear was satisfying to me. I’d played a good chunk of the game ‘normally’ and then abused the system to become all powerful. The first time I loosed an arrow and it sent a draughr flying backwards and and skittering through a dungeon was a good cherry on top. Of course it was terribly unbalanced and killed any challenge but the process was fun in a way that some grinds can be.

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2 hours ago, sir stiff_one said:

Grinding Skyrim’s crafting system to make ever better gear with which to create ever better gear was satisfying to me. I’d played a good chunk of the game ‘normally’ and then abused the system to become all powerful. The first time I loosed an arrow and it sent a draughr flying backwards and and skittering through a dungeon was a good cherry on top. Of course it was terribly unbalanced and killed any challenge but the process was fun in a way that some grinds can be.

Yeah I was going to post this!! Felt like I was so smart and breaking the game.  And I did! It got too easy so I stopped playing.   

 

Disgaea was mentioned upthread too - that was great because you could abuse the system in clever ways, eg set up deadly traps /etc using geodes then combine all the enemies into a single massive enemy who couldn't hurt you.  Very clever!  But again, I got bored after I'd done that a few times, the prospect of repeating it over and over on all characters / equipment, for no real reason, just turned me off. 

 

I generally don't find 'grinding' fun at all though, doing super repetitive mindless work just doesn't appeal to me, man.  

 

Although I suppose you could argue repeatedly fighting a boss in a game like Souls is a form of grinding, but this is the kind of grinding that appeals to me, because the improvements are tangible and real, made by my learning... As opposed to mindlessly fighting trivial enemies over and over to increase stats / wait for item drops.. Yawn!

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16 minutes ago, robdood said:

Although I suppose you could argue repeatedly fighting a boss in a game like Souls is a form of grinding, but this is the kind of grinding that appeals to me, because the improvements are tangible and real, made by my learning... As opposed to mindlessly fighting trivial enemies over and over to increase stats / wait for item drops.. Yawn!

 

I see what you are saying here, but even Souls games pretty much require you to spend your souls to upgrade your stats, right? And given the loss mechanic you'll be doing this against the same low-level trivial enemies or else you risk losing all your souls before you can spend them.

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37 minutes ago, SozzlyJoe said:

 

I see what you are saying here, but even Souls games pretty much require you to spend your souls to upgrade your stats, right? And given the loss mechanic you'll be doing this against the same low-level trivial enemies or else you risk losing all your souls before you can spend them.

Kind of, though you could argue that you don't need to level up to proceed, really. 

 

It's kind of why I think levelling up in the soulsbourne games is one of the worst parts, and actually leads to more frustration than is necessary.  

 

It's also kind of why I'm starting to think Hollow Knight (which I'm only just getting round to playing properly) is probably the best execution of the 'explorey' metroidvania game formula yet.   Even more than Dark Sousl. :O

 

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I guess Tetris is the ultimate grind game, but one you only gradually get better at rather than ever becoming all powerful.

 

Its weird, I will happily spend hours grinding in a game if it makes me more powerful, which defeats the challenge, but in a different (equally relevant imo) way than simply playing through without doing so. 

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