Why Do I Grind So Much In Dark Souls?

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According to the wiki for Dark Souls, the suggested character level for Anor Londo is anywhere between 45 and 60. For some reason I ended up getting there close to level 70, and I think it’s because I grinded a bit much beforehand.

Grinding is a notorious thing in RPGs. It’s usually either seen as annoying when a game requires grinding or annoying when a player chooses to do so, which is why I’m trying to figure out why I find myself doing it so much in Dark Souls. It could be for fear of the game’s difficulty but I think there are other factors at play.

In my last post about grinding I concluded that there are lots of reasons grinding might be annoying or not annoying. In my personal situation I find grinding annoying in many Japanese RPGs because I hate the repetitive transfer between real time exploration and turn-based combat. In other games though I don’t mind grinding if you have many goals to grind towards (other than simply getting past the next required point in the game) or if you have real tasks in the game to do while gaining experience points. I think all those reasons come into play in Dark Souls.

The most obvious reason to me for my grinding in this game is because it’s an RPG with real time combat. Compared to a turn-based game grinding in Dark Souls is relatively painless because I do it by engaging in regular action combat. It’s the same with Final Fantasy XII — grinding is far smoother and can probably be done far faster than in most JRPGs. I don’t think that’s the whole of it though.

I think what’s unique to the Souls games in this aspect is how much you actually do with experience points. The fact that in these games your experience points are also your currency is usually pointed out as a challenge and a reason for despair. Not only do you have to essentially spend your experience points to buy things, but you essentially lose both experience points and currency when you die. When you’re earning a bunch of souls however, it gives dual purpose to the number of things you can actually do.

Leveling up my strength to be able to use a certain weapon wasn’t even my main reason for grinding in Dark Souls. The real reason was to buy materials and upgrades for my weapons and armor. Leveling up just became kind of a side effect.

Overall I think the issue with grinding has to deal with two things: the pace at which experience and items are gained in an RPG, and the amount of things you can do with what you earn. A lot of old RPGs probably make grinding feel boring because all you’re doing is fighting to level up 20 times.

BULLETS:

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2 thoughts on “Why Do I Grind So Much In Dark Souls?

  1. […] Why Do I Grind So Much In Dark Souls? […]

  2. […] found it difficult to avoid grinding in his Dark Souls Diaries and words have been written about why it’s okay to grind in the game. Oswald also waxed lyrical about his own grinding experience because it helped with the bosses and […]

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