For the most part of what I hope will become a discussion of sorts is going to be my perspective from mainly playing WoW. I have played other mmos however I find it easier to explain using WoW as an example.
Grinding its part of every mmo its mostly what you do to obtain things be it loot, mounts, achievements, making money or PvP. These are primarily what you'll end up doing with a few exceptions (RPing, exploring, etc.)
Many of us will remember doing these things and enjoying it at some point however at grinding as a whole has became tedious in recent mmos. And a reason I feel why is simple. "Want too" versus "have too".
With world of warcraft during my time in the burning crusade and wrath of the lich King I would continually do dungeons and raids not expecting anything from it down to the sole reason I would he rewarded for downing a boss or finish a dungeon with the concept of tokens.
With these I would be able to purchase upgrades to my current gear without so much as worrying about not getting a drop in the dungeons and raids. And this made me also enjoy playing alt characters as it wasn't hard to get decent enough gear without being demoralised. The gear may not of been as good as that which dropped but it was good enough to allow me to pull my own weight.
Now with the likes of recent expansions legion and battle for azeroth they for the most part removed or changed the previously mentioned gear obtaining adding the likes of mythic+ (harder dungeons with a random weekly contributed effects that made the way you did the dungeon different) albeit fun the loot system changed to be unreliably random.
The loot was complete garbage, by which along with may or may not getting a piece of gear you wanted but also you had to contend with the random element of the gear being randomly upgraded (I believe the latter part is being changed I am unsure) and this constituted as well with your weekly reward chest for doing higher dungeons.
So you've just worked for a week and didn't get anything out of it, its demoralising. So you decide to play an alt and hope for more luck.
This is where the last system comes into place, the artifact power (AP is what you get for doing more or less anything to effectively get stronger)
Now with artifact power its a must for the most part you have to grind it to keep up with others especially at harder difficulties. Doing it with one character can be time consuming but AP (artifact power) is only bound per character so if you switched to a alt you now need to do all that stuff all over again and I know some would say what about faction reputations for the most part with those, they are optional.
Now with my tangent almost done the way I now see mmos is do I do it because I want too or have too? If I have too then I lose interest almost immediately compared to if I wanted too.
Thanks if you read this.
Tl;Dr. I enjoy things in a mmo because I want to not because I have too
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