My answer in 2017 is much different than it was 20 years ago.
Diablo 3 is the simplest example of a skinner box at hand and I am playing it in spurts. Pretty much every game today has some form of “grind” within in order to artificially extent the end of the game. Most are built on the concept of logarithmic power curves – that is, progress at the start is much more pronounced than at the end.
D3 has this in spades. It takes relatively little effort to be able to clear T6 content. A fresh player may take 4-5 hours. An established player can get someone from 0 to T6 in about 20 minutes. Getting to T10 can vary, depending on rolls for gear and some luck. Let’s say another 10 hours or so. T13 is another ball game, as it required near optimum pieces of gear and rolls. Not only do you need the proper item, you need it with the proper stats.
For example, for one build I am trying, I need to equip a Ring of Nailuj Evol. This ring has never dropped for me, and I’ve seen hundreds of legendary/set rings by now. I had to craft around 500 to get 1. And rings can roll pretty much any and all stats, whereas I need 3 core – crit hit chance (1-10), crit damage (10-50), and a socket. I can make due with 2 of the 3, since I can enchant another part. If I don’t have those 2, then I need to actually re-roll the item entirely. That requires Bounties (clearing 5 quests per act, for a total of 25). Each Bounty clear allows me to reroll twice (at T10). It was about 30 runs before I had the 2 minimum stats, and each run is 15-20 minutes.
That was for 1 piece of gear. I have another ring, an amulet, gloves, and a weapon that are hyper dependent on stats, all pulling from a large pool. I’m drawing the line at 30 hours here. I may hop in here and there, but I think my D3 time is done for this season. Can’t really complain for 30 “free” hours of gaming!
I’m finding that diversity of grind has an impact on me. Seeing the same stuff non-stop, pressing the same keys again and again, that’s not much fun. WoW’s legion invasions and activities kept me going a whole lot longer than I had expected. I stopped WoW not for the grind but because I had done all the content I cared to do, and maxed all that I thought useful.
I am not against that grind. I understand why it exists – content locusts are all over the place. Heck, I spent weeks camping the boots in EQ, and I raided in WoW for extremely marginal gains for a long time. I’m certainly not asking the game to change, more than I am realizing that my threshold for the grind is so much lower than where it was before.
I am trying to keep up to date on the Destiny 2 news. I know what’s involved, I’ve seen enough streams. I’ve read numerous places that the end-game activities are lacking, which is the main reason I’ll be looking at the PC version rather than PS4. I’m somewhat hopeful that the staggered released approach will be mostly completed a month from here.