The Grind is a trying time, when patience is tested and loyalty is questioned. Upon reaching the maximum character level, do you continue to play, draining further hours into a game into which you’ve already sunk a significant amount of time? Or do you jump ship for something else, something fresh? The allure of new gear and bragging rights is the de facto method of player retention, a veritable carrot on a stick that promises worthwhile rewards should you put in the effort. It falls to content creators to strike a balance between character progression and challenge, a task that is unenviable in this age of public forums and player feedback. For better and worse, The Grind exists, and some games do it better than others. After all, World of Warcraft would not still be around over 10 years later if it weren’t offering something worthwhile.
I’m no stranger to The Grind. Each new WoW expansion has seen my priest and shaman reaching max level, and I’ve spent countless late nights conquering heroic dungeons, daily quests, and farming reputation rewards. For me, The Grind always felt worth my time, but after spending a lot of time in Destiny 2’s endgame content, I’m not sure I can return to the hallmark MMO of my early adulthood.
The Grind has never been pleasant. It requires dedication and patience, and demands daily attention. Artificial barriers to progress limit the amount of content you are able to consume in a given day: you may only do the heroic version of any given dungeon once a day, and many reputation and profession quests are only doable once a day. This is not the case with Destiny 2, where The Grind feels more fluid than in any MMO I have enjoyed in the past. Yes, Milestones are on a weekly reset timer, but there are enough methods of grinding power levels that I feel enticed to play even after completing them.
The way each slice of endgame content flows into the next feels organic in a way that other MMOs could not hope to emulate. Public Events, the most reliable method of landing those precious exotic enrgams without raiding, feel like a natural occurrence in the world. The closest comparison I can make is Guild Wars 2’s Dynamic Events, but rarely did those feel worth the trouble, whereas Public Events are a potential source of a worthwhile power upgrade.
Destiny 2 benefits greatly from being a part of a group. That’s not to say it isn’t fun alone, because it absolutely is, but so many of my nights these past couple of weeks have been spent staying up far too late with a couple friends as we dive into Strikes and Crucible matches. Because of the camaraderie, The Grind has become something to look forward to each night. This is emphasized by Destiny 2‘s user friendly interface and the intuitive approach to endgame activities.
The Grind used to beg for nurturing, for your undivided attention. It used to live up to its name as an unpleasant experience bereft of engagement. But no longer. Now The Grind works for me, not the other way around. I no longer feel beholden to daily limitations on character progression, which is the highest praise I can heap on an MMO in 2017. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some Public Events calling my name.