My Wife is a Grinder

Thursday, June 13, 2013
My wife and I have our own play styles. In most fps titles, she is a bruiser, charging into the fray to engage with smgs and shotguns blazing. I prefer to hang back with a precision weapon, waiting for the perfect shot. we occasionally switch up, but for the most part our play styles compliment each other well.

We are both experienced players. Our skill sets are well developed but each of us has their own particular key talents. I'm a more tactical player, my wife is gutsy and great at supporting her teammates. She has one talent that I have never been able to touch. My wife can grind like she's made of sandstone.

This is not my wife literally, but figuratively.

I've seen it time and time again. She'll sit down in front of a game like Fable or Skyrim (or Ni No Kuni at the moment) and she will focus on one task for hours. In Pokemon, she will endlessly fight wilds, even lower level ones, and rack up a ridiculous amount of XP. I watched her spend four hours just filling beer steins in Fable II. She will wander the mountains of skyrim for ages, either killing everything she sees for xp, or crafting more and more incredible items. 

I can't touch her patience level for grinding. She's been at it for years, but she says it just sort of came naturally to her. As best as she can recall, the first time she tried grinding was playing Links Awakening. Early in the game, she spent a solid week just chopping up grass and pots in one area - over and over again- until she decided she had enough money. With that, she was able to buy the shovel before she even entered the Mysterious Woods.

One of her peak achievements happened long ago, when Neopets was a new thing. She decided one day to become the queen of Fuzzles, a small and -at the time- fairly pointless item used here and there for quests. Day after day, she bought out the cheaper merchants stock of fuzzles and would then sell them for just a fraction less than the next lowest price. Once those sold, she would use the profits to do it again with the next tier, essentially "leap frogging" her prices until she had the only fuzzles on the market. She did this for weeks. The price of  fuzzles skyrocketed, and my wife made a tidy sum. Months after she stopped playing the game, the price of fuzzles remained in the high 40's to 50's, more than ten times their original selling price. The price has since leveled out, but my wife's foray into market cornering was pretty incredible.

Games she grinds for generally need to have an engaging story for her to put in the effort. MMO's focus on grinding would seem to be a natural fit for her, but for the most part, the common lack of immersive stories turn her off them pretty quickly. 

Why does she do it? Why spend hours on hours, working the same area of the game for 5 rupees at a time, or putting in a full shift cutting wood? She says that she just hates not having enough money, or not being able to advance the story because she's too low level to move on.
While my wife made millions, I spent most of my time like this.

I can't do it. I've tried. At most I can put in an hour before I have to turn the game off. Her zen like ability to sit and repeat is second to none that I know. The most frustrating thing for me, is that because it just came naturally to her, my wife doesn't have any advice for people like me that struggle with grinding so much. She's as clueless as I am when it comes to explaining how she achieves her meditative calm. It's not all bad though; she does offer to help me out from time to time.