Who really likes grinding? What if you didn’t have to? Suppose you could just push a button and get all the levels you wanted? That’s the question Tim asks over at a blog called tremblinghand.com.

Naturally, this is aimed more at the MMOG crowd than solo gamers. After all, there are any number of cheat methods for offline games that can increase the power of your character.

My own feeling is that quite a few people would push that “free levels” button, especially if they’ve been playing for awhile. After all, a number of WOW players hire others to grind out levels for their characters. They could save plenty with this feature.

The downside, of course, is that levels don’t equal loot. Bopping up from, say, one to fifty wouldn’t endow you with the gear you’d have gotten by doing it the hard way. Or, for that matter, by paying someone to do it for you.

Another problem is, now that you’ve maxed out, what do you do? In a game like WOW, you’re stuck with raiding parties once the thrill of running that high-level character wears off. And we know how boring that is, what with the Bejweled and Peggle add-ons to keep players busy while they wait.

This is different from the way things are done with single-players games. Most SP gamers aren’t so much interested in gaining levels as they are in gaining power. They’d rather increase their stats, fighting/magic abilities, and hitpoints.

The main reason for the difference is that SP games reach a definite conclusion, while the MMOGs go on forever. Maxing out early in solo play doesn’t leave much reason to go on playing.

I mentioned in a post here some time back about a friend of mine who had that happen to her. She found an “undocumented feature” in a Might & Magic game that gave experience every time she hit the spacebar.

She figured she’d use it to go up a few levels. Unfortunately, she got into a rhythm, “spaced out” (no pun intended), and woke up to realize her party had reached the level cap. That was not even at the half-way mark of the game. There was no point to continuing, and she quit.

In a MMOG, players could use a “free levels” button now and then to reduce some of the grind. But does the grind ever end? Aren’t raiding parties a form of grind?

Personally, I think adding such a feature to a MMOG would be a terrible idea. Too many would be hitting that button, rising through the ranks, and wondering why they continue to shell out a subscription fee every month. Eventually, “free levels” would become just as boring, if not more so, as the regular grind.

Free XP at tremblinghand