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

Star Trek Timelines Star Trek Timelines
"To upgrade characters, you need to collect items to do so; meaning you need to play levels over and over until you get the item you need. Moreso, to get some items, you need to play some levels on a harder degree- from Normal to Elite- which means 100% the Normal level. You can end up playing a level over and over before finally reaching Elite, then grinding even MORE to get the actual item!"

Moe Girl Cafe 2 Moe Girl Cafe 2
"In order to expand your cafe, you need to visit a lot of players to gain hearts."

Survivor!.io Survivor!.io
"Levels are difficult to get through - equipment, in game currency, and powers all need to be gathered and grinder"

Kittens Game Kittens Game
"Yes but that's more bc by nature it's an incremental game"

Bloons TD 6 Bloons TD 6
"To get every medal for a map, you need to play on each difficulty level, as well as all of the alternate modes within each difficulty. This creates some unnecessary grinding: For example, if I could complete a map on Medium difficulty, there is no reason that I shouldn't be able to complete it on Easy difficulty as well."

Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade
"You need to collect materials in order to grow your "kingdom", and level up, by going in expeditions that can last hours. If you don't have enough materials you have to buy them with gems. Gems are mostly purchased with real money."

Knotwords Knotwords
"The puzzle books can be extremely repetitive"

Phase 10: World Tour Phase 10: World Tour
"Levels will be falseley impossible to beat until you've invested the 'energy' into it."

Immortal Diaries Immortal Diaries
"Multiple tasks to get resources that require excessive tapping"

Mini Market Mini Market
"There are only so many tasks to complete to gain money. Gaining in-game currency is pretty much the only goal of the game."