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Feature: Dragon Quest IX And The Happy Grind

Game journalist Rowan Kaiser takes a deep dive into into why grinding is actually an enjoyable experience in Square Enix's RPG Dragon Quest IX in the latest
Game journalist Rowan Kaiser takes a deep dive into into why grinding is actually an enjoyable experience in Square Enix's RPG Dragon Quest IX in the latest Gamasutra feature article. "I normally hate grinding. I haven't ever really enjoyed a Dragon Quest/Warrior game for precisely that reason," he explains. "I hated it in World of Warcraft, preferring to use the Auction House if possible. I managed to do it enough to get a gold chocobo in Final Fantasy VII, but couldn't motivate myself to defeat the ultra-hard optional Weapons," Kaiser says. But the way that Dragon Quest IX handles the common RPG level grind is actually successful, thanks to a combination of different factors working in harmony. One of those factors might seem like a detriment to a video game, as Kaiser argues that a "not-so-great main quest" actually helps make grinding more appealing in Dragon Quest IX. "In many JRPGs, the storyline is the main attraction -- or at least, the game's designers want you to think that it is, thanks to constant attempts at manipulation via unskippable cutscenes and conversations," Kaiser says. "In Dragon Quest IX, the storyline is so far down the priority list that you can happily play for 40 or 50 hours in the middle of the game without even trying to progress. You're free to run around trying to gain levels and Alchemize." For several more factors that examine how the game gets grinding right, read the full Gamasutra feature, available now.

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