What is Farming? [Gaming Definition, Meaning]

Definition

Commonly known also as grinding, the act of farming in video games does not mean playing Harvest Moon, but to repetitively repeat the same action over and over again in search of a specific item, or to gain a certain amount of experience points to level up. Whilst some find the act of farming to be a calming one, most find it monotonous and dull, to the point of enjoying the game less the longer they have to farm.

The act of farming can include such instances as killing the same few monsters over and over again, repeating the same quest to get that 1 in a million RNG (Random Number Generation) item that you know in your heart you will never get, or to simply gather up a specific amount of materials to craft that one sword you really want. Farming is mostly a tedious act, so why do people do it? Here at Honey’s, we want to explore the why’s and how’s of farming to maybe make your life a lot less tedious.

Reasons Why You Farm:

1. The Game is Too Hard

Now this isn’t saying that the game has a bad difficulty curve or that you’re required to be at a certain level to beat the boss, but some games really enjoy playing the numbers game with you. Sometimes a boss can just one-shot despite you having little difficulty up till then, and it’s purely an issue of you not being high levelled enough to withstand enough hits to unleash your cunning strategy. In this kind of cases, farming is usually an unavoidable act.

Games where stats are important are commonly RPGs, or more commonly, JRPGs. Despite whatever strategy you might pull out to target the weak point of the monster, or memorising its movement patterns, sometimes you just can’t win (period( because the monster kills you in one blow. Most people try to farm the minimal amount to barely win against the boss, but sometimes a person can go overboard with farming and the monster that was previously a challenge now gets killed in one hit. Farm in moderation okay?

2. You Suck Too Hard

Well this one will be a hard pill to swallow for many people. How can I be that bad? It’s not me, the game is just too hard! Sometimes, that is true. Perhaps the game has stacked too many cards against you for the boss fight to be fair. However, at other times, it’s more than likely that the boss was perfectly winnable at your current stats but you just can’t find that winning strategy for it. That’s completely okay. If you want to farm in order to overcome the boss, no one is stopping you. The game was paid for by you and you should enjoy it however you want.

Dark Souls III

  • Developer: FromSoftware
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Release Date: 12 April 2016
  • Platform: Xbox One, PS4 & PC

Though Dark Souls 3 is the third game in the franchise, pretty much the same thing can be said in general about all the games in the franchise. Dark Souls 3 has you play the titular chosen one that doesn’t seem so chosen about 90% of the time when you’re dying over and over again. Famed for its difficulty, Dark Souls 3 doesn’t compromise at all when it comes to player death. Dying can be harsh, and the game is meant to feel like that. Prepare to die indeed, for Dark Souls 3 and any other game in this franchise is basically about you dying and rage quitting. You can’t handle the death!

A perfect example of this scenario is the Dark Souls franchise. Not to mention bosses, even the normal areas can seem hard to some people. In a world filled with strategically placed archers and cleverly disguised treasures, it is 100% possible to die at any point of time in the game. It doesn’t even let you pause! However, the one thing that those who have completed the game can agree on is this; the game has never been unfair. While some numbers are involved throughout the game and how you distribute your stats can affect your chances, at no point does the game make it impossible to win. Hell, one guy fought against a boss at a low level with no equipment and he managed it through sheer skill.

3. The Game Just Requires It

Maybe you really wanted to be friends with this one guy in the game. Perhaps you like his personality, or the boost he gives your character seems to be a really attractive one. Well too bad for you, the game won’t let you befriend him unless you have a high enough level in XXX stat. What do you know? The only way to get that XXX stat high enough is to grind the same activity over, and over, and over again. It goes to the point that you just become so sick of doing that activity, that when you finally reach the stat you swear off that activity completely. Then you discover you need to raise that stat again…

Persona 5

  • Developer: Atlus
  • Publisher: Atlus
  • Release Date: 4 April 2017
  • Platform: PS4

Returning once more after years of inactivity, Persona 5 is the latest edition in the franchise. You play as the leader of a group known as the Phantom Thieves. Your job is to steal the hearts of people in an alternate world to make them change. By night you’re a thief, but by day, you’re a student. Manage your daily life as a student. and your night life as a thief. Both are equally important to eventually clear the game. Make friends, improve yourself and steal hearts. Those are the name of the game when it comes to Persona 5!

A game that is well known for doing this is the Persona franchise (specifically 3-5). You wanted to be friends with this guy? You’re not brave enough. Oh you wanted to help that crying girl? You’re not kind enough, jerk. What’s that? That option should just require common sense and not max intelligence? Too bad! As fun as the Persona games can be, there are times where it frustratingly gates off certain paths purely due to a numbers issue, wherein XXX stat just isn’t high enough. This can be painful, and grinding that particular stat even more so.

4. You Really Wanted Excalibur-kun

So you’ve reached the end game and want to take on the final boss. However, before you do so, you want to gear your character in the coolest and most fashionable swag you can get your hands on. Off in the distance, you see that wonderful recipe for Excalibur-kun, the A-Class noble phantasm that will simply make your character a badass swordsman ready to save the world. You can’t get what you want without effort though. Excalibur-kun requires you to prepare 50 hermit crab shells, 21 gold ingots, 55 mithril bars, etc.

With the amount of effort it takes to get some of these items, it can feel like maybe that time spent grinding for those items could have been enough to secure you a college education had you worked instead. The pain of watching the monsters you kill over and over, not drop a single one of the items you need is simply excruciating. Even more so when that weird online guide you translated from Japanese that assured you that you would get it from that monster. There’s really nothing to it. Either you grind or you abandon it. You’re probably over-leveled anyway.


Ways Around Farming:

1. Walkthroughs

Now this is the most obvious solution, but also the one which works best. Sometimes a boss has a specific way of being defeated but you couldn’t discover it. So you waste hours farming away to be strong enough to defeat the boss conventionally, only to discover that everything after the boss is super weak. That’s just a waste of your time right? There are plenty of spoiler free walkthroughs online that only cover what you have to do step by step, without unveiling the context behind your actions. So there will only be minor spoilers at most.

In the first place, why is there such a stigma against using walkthroughs? If you can’t find a particular address, do you ask for directions or spend hours walking around searching for it? Similarly, would you rather spend hours trying to beat that one boss or experience the way the boss was meant to be defeated by getting a little hint online? Of course, getting a walkthrough all the time is no fun. If you can uncover something with an average amount of difficulty and have fun along the way, go for that instead. It’s all about balancing difficulty and fun.

2. Git Gud Nub

It is perhaps one of the most overused terms by gamers everywhere, especially the mega-elite-lives-in-their-mother’s-basements gamers. While it is often said in a derogatory fashion, this can sometimes be good advice. Perhaps you are simply unfamiliar with the mechanics of the game and you’ve managed to get this far simply by fumbling around. Now this particular fight requires you to know how to…let’s say riposte but you can’t get the bloody thing to work. Should you farm, or would beating the game at its own game (all the puns intended) be more satisfying?

We always find the David vs Goliath stories the most interesting to read. The underdog that defeats the giant by the barest of victories despite their disadvantage always makes the audience go wild. So why don’t you play the role of the underdog? Instead of taking hours to grind up your character and curb stomping that boss, why not read up on the game mechanics from the in-game guide. Then you can go ahead and practice those skills on the weaker enemies. When you finally defeat the boss, it won’t be because your numbers are so much better than his, but because you mastered the game mechanics to the point that numbers aren’t a factor anymore. Isn’t the feeling of achievement so much better than the relief of having finished farming?

3. Exploits

Now this goes last because it can be highly controversial. Some people think that exploits ruin the experience of the game. Others are of the opinion that if it is in the game, they are perfectly justified in using it. A quick search online will quickly net the many exploits that are available in a particular game, and you can use them as you will once you’ve encountered the exploits. So the question here is, should you use those exploits?

That’s a hard question to answer. The group of people who value exploits the most are speed runners. These elite gamers are sometimes only able to get that miniscule timing upon clearing the game through sheer exploitation of the game mechanics. When those same people get revered, are exploits truly wrong? At the end of the day, the answer is quite simple. It is your game, bought with your money. Enjoy it how you will. If these exploits help you get around the farming and allows you to enjoy the game more, go for it! If you enjoy going through the game as intended, that’s fine too! You do you, because that’s the only thing that matters.


Final Thoughts

Farming is a concept that will never truly disappear. It is hard for games to find that perfect experience that will let you get past each encounter naturally because every person has a different perception of difficulty. At the end of the day, they can only factor in the tastes of their audience and adjust accordingly. Whether you choose to farm or not is entirely your decision. Just remember, the point of a game is to have fun, and if you aren’t having fun, you’re not doing it right. Or maybe the game just sucks?

Aria

Writer

Author: Aria

Hi, this is Aria. I have abandoned the 3D world for the 2D one. Occasionally I leave the 2D world to write my thoughts down. With that said and done, it's time for me to depart once more to the forbidden world, my waifus await.

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