Grinding – How To Level Efficiently
Grinding – How to Level efficiently
If you are not familiar with the word Grind (in the MMORPG sense) it means to do one task the most efficient way possible in a repetitious manner.
Time / XP
The foundation of a grind is the amount of xp you make in the shortest time possible. Yes, be afraid, math is a tool of the Grind mentality. I tend to use an hour scale to find out how much xp I can be making in a given amount of time. As for a quick reference: Before an hour of grind I’ll always note the amount of xp I’m going in with, and after that hour is over I’ll check to see how much I have at the end. This tells me how much XP I’ve made in the first hour. I’ll continue this process two or three more times or until the hunt has ended. This way, I can properly gauge when my group was at its most efficient grind.
After doing this a few times while paying attention to what your group is doing during the grind you’ll note a few possible holes in your xp grind. A few of the common ones are: time in between kills, talking, deaths and looting. It is very important to make sure those hunting with you are like minded when it comes to grinding out the xp. Picking members that like to talk or that are so far below you in level, that death seems to find them often, shouldn’t even be considered as a group member. In regards to looting, you can either set the group at random loot (which distributes loot at random throughout the group) or if you don’t care about loot, deem it a first come first serve. Either way, decide how you will do loot ahead of time so that during the fight it does not become a discussion. Discussions cost time. Moving on.
Grinding is not a Personal Affair
While you may have fun grinding and enjoy the people you are doing it with, it is best to look at grinding as a business affair. The only major common concern that you and your grind group has, is that you are there to get a job done. Now I’m not saying this makes it more fun, I’m simply saying this outlook will benefit your xp gain more then any other. You are a team, and on that team, players may not be the best of friends, but they play damn well together. While you may not think that a grind partner of yours is necessarily a fun person to goof off with, he may be an xp machine. You’ll hopefully find the sweet spot and have enjoyable partners that know how to play their characters extremely well and understand the fine art of grinding.
Another factor in the business approach to grinding is that every group member should understand the importance of keeping the grind going. If your group member tends to take many breaks during a one hour grind then he is in-turn lowering your xp flow and basically not doing his job. If it seems to you that the elven fighter in your group has a bladder the size of a butter bean due to how often he goes afk for a “bio break” he’s hindering your xp. If every group member knows the importance of xp gain in your grind group, they would realize they are compromising the entire group if they decide to slack off.
One of the things that oddly enough really helps the flow of xp, (though you won’t believe me) is not talking in game. Yes, I know this sounds extremely militant, but once again, this is to ensure maximum xp not to make friends. My view on talking during the grind group, is that if you are waiting for a skill to cool down, or you are waiting on a party member to arrive, by all means… have fun, talk it up. When you are grinding as hard as you possibly can, and wanting to see more xp an hour, every delay in a skill use is basically 1 more second of damage. Over an hour of time, with a full chat going on during fighting, that’s a decent chunk of time you could be earning xp. My grind groups are never completely silent, there’s always some witty retort to previous banter when you are running on your way to the next monster/villain. However, we use an efficient free voice program called “Teamspeak” set at voice activation. We can verbally communicate what we need to say. We have a good time with a very small amount if any in game chat, but we also made truckloads of xp.
Another side effect of the grind approach is that you may not be a great with public relations while on your grind. If you are in a Guild and it needs assistance while you are on your grind, you are basically ending your group’s grind session, because they cannot continue without you (more on this next paragraph). If you are in a serious grind group, this is a very shunned event and your group may have real issues with it. Yes, your grind group does not have to be in your Guild. My best grind groups were never associated with my clan or group. They were basically people who I thought played their characters exceptionally well and understood the complexity of a grind.
Keeping it Small
Since the major point so far is efficiency it will be in your best interest to keep your group small. Depending on where you intend on hunting, or what monsters you intend on fighting your group may differ. The main thing is to limit your group to the necessities. If each of your group members does their job exceedingly well, you may be able to pick up slack for extra classes that other groups usually hunt with.
When figuring out how large you want your group to be, we have to make another quota. You can do this by the hour or look at how long it takes you to kill a group of mobs and the xp you receive from it. For example, if you have 4 characters in your group and you kill a group of mobs that earns each individual 100xp, and it took you 30 seconds to kill that group. You then add another member to your team, which brings it up to 5 members, and then kill a similar group of 10 mobs. However, this time you do it in 25 seconds and make 80xp. While this isn’t a perfect grind (where you would kill groups of mobs non-stop without need of rest or in-between breaks or chance of death), you can still estimate the total xp for an hour. With 4 members there would be 120 encounters (60 seconds/30 seconds * 60 minutes = 120) * 100 xp per minute and this would earn each individual 12000xp. For the 5 member group you would have 144 encounters * 80xp per minute would equal 11520 xp per hour. While the numbers aren’t extraordinarily different, whenever you add party members you must remember that you are also adding one more person who may need to take a break, or that may not understand the necessity for an efficient grind.
Another thing to keep in mind, is that your group should be so tightly-knit and efficient that if one group member cannot hunt, your group should feel a huge hit in xp. If not, then your group isn’t as efficient as it could be. Every group member should be 100% instrumental into generating xp in the least amount of time possible. If your group can continue on without you, without much loss in time or xp, then you are overhead and unfortunately not helping the cause.
Setting Goals for Yourself
One of the things that helps the grind mentality is setting reasonable quota’s for yourself during a certain time frame. I always had a daily quota and a weekly quota that I tried to meet. This was a realistic number that usually was slightly higher then what I would earn if I stuck to my grind schedule. I was taking into account playing for fun when not in my grind group and making extra xp.
If you set a reasonable goal for yourself, this allows you to plan your character’s development a little better and just gives you a boost in self-confidence. You’ll know when you should hit that next level almost by the hour, and how much adena you’ll have when you get there, as well as what to spend it on. Setting goals and quotas are simply a way for you to plan your character a week ahead of time.
There’s No Need to Challenge
Your goal is to get the most xp in the shortest amount of time, not to constantly challenge your group by fighting higher level mobs. Using a previous example, if your group killed 10 lvl 15 mobs in 30 seconds gaining 100xp and had no down time for endurance/health recovery, then moved to 10 lvl 17 mobs and received 150xp in 50 seconds and required your entire group to rest for 30 seconds after the fight (while having a higher risk of death), its pretty obvious that on the time vs xp, you’ll want to be killing more lvl 15 villains.
There’s simply no ego in a grind. You are there to get xp, not to boast or test your abilities. Leave practicing for another time. The one thing you need to do is apply the time vs xp formula on the fly and the more efficient you do this, the more your group will benefit.
The Daily Grind
This is what puts it all together. The most important part of a grind is getting 3 or 4 like-minded people to do it with, setting a time of day and agreeing to show up each day, at that time to grind for a few hours. Grinding with a wide variety of people only hurts your xp income. If you have to spend 15 minutes telling a person your usual rules of how you hunt, then that’s 15 minutes you could have spent getting xp. If you play with the same people over and over, you become a much better player and teammate overall. Your skill timing will be impeccable; also your awareness of your teammate’s actions and your group’s stability will increase dramatically over a short period of time.
If you can find 3 or 4 other people who share the same view that you do on grinding, then you’ll have no problem in setting a time of day to do execute your grind on a daily basis. Your grind doesn’t start when you get out and start hunting, it starts when you start searching for a group. If you eliminate the time it takes to find a competent group then you are increasing your xp dramatically.
A good 3 hour daily grind is what I always administered. A lot of other make-shift groups may hunt for 8 hours with rag-tag hunters, some of which don’t account for buffs or damage classes. However with your extremely efficient group of grinders you should have absolutely no problem out-leveling those people in a fraction of the time they put in.
After a rather militant approach to hunting as mentioned in this article, it is easy to see that this style of play is not for everyone. Casual gamers will never be strong grinders and grinders will always out-level the causal gamers.