Tree of Savior, Thy Name is Grind

I’ve had an unusually large amount of time to play Tree of Savior this week and because of that I’ve progressed further in the game than I otherwise would have after only a few days since launch. Last night I logged off having reached level 44 and with a third class rank and a whole new appreciation for what the phrase “level grind” actually means. I didn’t go into the game unaware that grinding mobs would be the optimal way to level but up until around level 36 I either had a quest to work on as well or I could quickly grind the level or two I needed to get to the next stage of the main storyline. But oh boy, is there a progression wall when you reach the mid-thirties and not nearly enough diversity to get you through it.

Thankfully I found a group of other players to join and we camped the same spot for probably an hour grinding through wave after wave of “Pawned” monsters (yes, that was the mob’s actual name.) And to be fair, this was actually a lot of fun. Because of the way enemies spawn in Tree of Savior—more or less all at once and in waves—there is down time in between mass killing sprees. The four other players I was grouped with and I took this time to chat about the game, share experiences and tips, and generally enjoy one another’s company. The gameplay was not engaging but the comradery was and when that group disbanded (and after I took a short break) I set out to find a similar team to level my character with.

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This was a lovely group of people to hang out in an abandoned mine with.

 

Well, lighting did not strike twice; at least not last night. After trying and failing with a couple of smaller groups I finished the rest of my evening grinding wave after wave on my own until I finally eked out one more level and made it to 44. I don’t think I would be exaggerating to say it took at the very least 40-60 minutes of non-stop grinding mobs with no option for questing, no alternative maps or zones to switch to, no change in enemy types whatsoever. I’m not sure if I was having fun at that point or merely being stubborn, but either way I pushed through one more level before calling it quits.

This experience was eye opening for me however, and has left me wondering whether or not this is simply a temporary speed bump to push through that gets better after level 46 (as one of my group members assured me it was) or if it is what I can expect from the leveling experience from here on out. If it’s the latter, I really see no reason to play a character in this game past level thirty, because while the myriad of classes are an enticing carrot at the end of a rather lengthy stick, the gameplay is simply not engaging enough for me to stay motivated until I gain access to them. I mean, what’s the point of grinding 100 levels (or whatever it turns out to be) to unlock the Falconer class if the only gameplay available is more of the same? There’s a futility to what we do in MMOs regardless of how clever the developers have been at disguising it, but if what I experienced last night is what I can continue to expect then IMCgames isn’t even trying to hide the pointlessness.

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I’m trying to be serious here, why do you all have plushies on your heads?!?

 

If the level grind in the 40s was a splash of cold reality on my face, then the realization that there was no class reset available the way there is for resetting skill points was a great big fecal pile of disappointment. I’m learning to love the Quarrel Shooter—the class I chose at my first rank of advancement—but if I had the option I would probably chose differently now that I’ve taken the class for a test drive. Unfortunately the only way to try this or any advanced class in Tree of Savior is to make a permanent investment in it that can never be undone and while changing your mind at level 15 or 20 after your first class choice was made isn’t terrible, rerolling later after rank 6 or 7 is unthinkable. It is incomprehensibly stupid that the developers paired together a mind numbing grind with an unforgiving class customization system. What has the potential to be an unrivaled playground for class development and experimentation is instead a system that encourages trepidation in decision making, the proliferation of cookie cutter builds, and a strong likelihood that I and many other players will walk away completely if something goes awry fifty, sixty, or a hundred levels in.

I’m not giving up on the game just yet— I still enjoy the combat, the art style, and the soundtrack quite a lot—but if I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel or some feature in the game that’s worth striving through the grind in order to reach and soon, it’s going to be a whole lot of “not today!” as I bounce out and go find something more compelling to beat my head against. Before I get to that point however I am going to do a little more research outside the game as well to make sure I’m not missing anything. It’s possible this is simply a case of misunderstanding and I’m grumpy today over nothing. I’ve got 44 levels already invested in the game and a desire to keep playing this beautiful MMO so I’m hoping that in the end Tree of Savior does not disappoint.

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Please tell me this elevator has a compelling destination.

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7 thoughts on “Tree of Savior, Thy Name is Grind

  1. Thanks for updating us on your experience with this game. Please let us know if things get better for you after this. So far, that doesn’t sound like the kind of experience I’d have fun with. I’ve played plenty of these kinds of games in the past, and really need options and flexibility in my games now days. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I most definitely will. I’ve actually had time to start looking into leveling and other features in the game and I think there’s more to it than what the game itself tells you (much like Black Desert). I’m going to start a new character and use some of the leveling tips and tricks I’ve already learned and any new ones I find and will report back on my findings! One thing I have learned already is there is a bit of a strategy to leveling efficiently and it helps if you start with that in mind from the get go. But if you do, from what I’ve seen it makes it far more manageable.

      I’m still not happy about the absence of any class reset but if leveling is a little quicker than I realized, especially the more you do it, than maybe it won’t be so bad to have multiple archers or clerics or what have you. By the way, I had previously heard the level cap was 200, but now I’ve read that that was just beta and the cap on live is 600… wow.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What grind? I’m lvl 104 and haven’t grinded once. Are you doing the other towns maps as well? Doing all the side quests? Using your exp cards? Getting 100% on all maps so you get more exp cards? 😄 if you want I can link you leveling guide.

    Liked by 1 person

    • After writing this, I did go and do some research and learned more about how leveling works in this game (the XP curve) and how to maximize XP gain and leveling and wrote a few of those things down in my most recent post (which I should link here now that I think about it). However if you have a level guide to link, I would greatly appreciate it!

      I wasn’t the only one “stuck” in a dungeon in the Kora Jungle region, grinding out levels to try and reach 45 in order to start the next phase of the main story, so while there are ways to level without grinding, I think it’s easy— especially starting out in Orsha— to get stuck and not know what else to do but grind without looking into outside resources.

      Which is what I did as a result of that experience, but from a “meta” perspective, MMOs are notorious for not explaining their systems well in game and I always wonder for every person who does look up a guide, how many say “this isn’t fun” and just move on? I think core functionality should be explained in game— the XP curve, using scrolls to visit both cities, saving the XP cards to push through lengthier levels.

      I had a discussion about this though with some friends and some of them argued against MMOs telling you everything, that having to “figure it out” together can lay the groundwork for a good community. I agree to an extent, but I’d still like a little more direction at the start. 😉

      Thanks for the reply, and again, if you have a good leveling guide, let me know! I really like Tree of Savior and I want to be accurate in what I write about it so any additional resources are more than welcome!

      Like

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