Grinding

Being required to perform repetitive and tedious tasks to advance.

Grinding is a game mechanic where players are required to perform repetitive tasks. Each task earns the player experience points, levels, items or some other in-game benefit. The player will need to repeat the task many times to accumulate enough of the rewards for them to make a difference.

Often, the more you play the game, the more tasks you have to perform to get the same benefit as before. For example, level 1 may require you to perform 5 tasks, but level 2 may require you to perform 10 tasks for the same increase in level. This "ramping up" of the repetitive tasks allows new players to get hooked on the gameplay before it becomes too repetitive and boring. By the time the grind becomes excessive, players have already become addicted to the gameplay and continue playing even though it's not enjoyable anymore.

It should be noted that Grinding is the core mechanic of many games, and some people enjoy it. For those people, this isn't a dark pattern. However, if Grinding is combined with other dark patterns, like Pay to Skip where you can spend money to skip parts of the grind, then this dark pattern can be amplified.

Another way this can be amplified is by combining it with the Wait to Play dark pattern. If you need to perform 10 tasks, but you only have enough energy to perform 5, now you have to put the game down and retain some Endowed Progress. This is a powerful urge to come back to the game later and complete your goal.


Examples

Cat Game - The Cats Collector! Cat Game - The Cats Collector!
"You have to feed the cats and then roll a set % chance to get one. If you don’t get one that’s more time you’ll have to repeat the tasks."

Gems of War - Match 3 RPG Gems of War - Match 3 RPG
"Leveling team skills requires random drops that can only be acquired by going to set locations and replaying them over and over... or by spending money to avoid said grind."

Age Of Magic Age Of Magic
"Character shard are really hard to get, very low drop rates, and high requirements."

Mortal Kombat Mortal Kombat
"Characters are leveled up through combat and missions. A player must grind stages and missions in order to progress through the game and compete with higher leveled teams."

World of Tanks Blitz MMO World of Tanks Blitz MMO
"Yes, for events, unlocking new tanks, etc ..."

MARVEL Strike Force MARVEL Strike Force
"Raids, Wars, Blitz and Arena all do this."

Walking Dead: Road to Survival Walking Dead: Road to Survival
"The whole game is a repetitive grind"

Magic Duels Magic Duels
"You must play/win games to buy more cards."

Hearthstone Hearthstone
"the quests are almost universally "winning with X type of card / deck." So you might have to play a deck you don't like because you need to win with Priest."

Roblox Roblox
"there are a lot of grinding games on roblox"