Sorry Seph, I was more than normally unclear. And I certainly have had my garbled moments!
The first part was a quip against your comment, that maybe it doesn't have to be that way. The second part was actually directed to DocMog, the OP, but that may not have been apparent.
But to expand, if not to make clear: I quoted that snip of text because it said something to me, about this game and others I've played. Everyone gripes about "the grind" like it's an immutable fact of gaming existence, unchangeable and immovable like some big mountain you always have to climb over. It's particularly acute when people discuss MMO's. Sort of like getting married to the greatest gal in the world and bravely swallowing the fact that she comes with in-laws that are going to immediately move into the basement.
What IS grind? It's doing stuff over and over and over (and over and over and over) again that you really don't much care for, but you have to do anyways in order to get to something you would really prefer to be doing. Like getting attuned for a raid, or needing a particular set of gear in order to compete against a certain game mechanic (read: boss) or needing your crafting some arbitrary level in order to make that dye you need to get your belt the right color. Anything that is a time-sink without giving you a good experience while you do it is "a grind".
Now, I've never played FFXI. I barely touched Guild War The First, let alone any of the expansions. But ArenaNet and Guild Wars 2 gives me hope that this thing called "grind" might finally be acknowledged as a relic of that past. I've been disappointed before, of course, most recently by FFXIV so I'm not sure I can embrace or even fully believe half the things I read about the game. But since you called me on it, I'll say yeah, I'm going to put my chips on ArenaNet the next time and hopefully the roulette wheel lands on the black.
I encourage you to watch the introductory vid at the GW2 site
and tell us what you think.
FFXIV has some really good ideas in its game mechanic, but they're so buried under the weight of existing convention that they're smothered. The intricacies of crafting (and its supporting gathering professions) are amazing, I'm sincerely and utterly impressed by the thought and execution of it. There's enough number crunching in that area alone to keep a mountain of happy monkeys with calculators busy for a year. The cross-use of combat abilities is really nicely done, if not exactly ground-breaking. But then Square gave us nothing needing it and really, no reason to do anything except to "get levels".
And this is where Mog's part comes in... because games are built by developers, but gamers make them alive. Sort of like them being Doc Frankenstein but us, baby, we're the switch. It might be designed to terrorise the known world but without that spark, it's just gonna lay on the table.
Gamers on a forum can be at knife point with each other, and that's exactly what's required. Because the game is alive and people are passionate about it and willing to stomp all contenders in the race for supremacy. Active, noisy, boisterous, pains in the asses, all of 'em and that's what makes a game interesting to somebody who bought it, logged in and only then went looking for information. FFXIV will or will not fail for a lot of reasons but the moment people stop arguing
about it, it's dead, Jim. holy crap, i can't spell Edited, Jan 7th 2011 11:03pm by jadyness