(Note: don't worry, I'm not literally insulting you, the reader, I just thought 2nd person was snappy for the title)
Every so often I hear the criticism leveled at RPGs that you need to level grind in order to progress, when I've never found that to be the case myself. I understand where this persistent myth comes from though. There were, are, and will be games where grinding is required. 8 bit and even some 16 bit games were guilty of this. The original Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest were two ancient offenders, but even today games like the Disgaea series embrace grinding as a selling point.
However, most games (especially modern ones) don't require any grinding at all. If we look at reviews of Dragon Quest XI S, a game that was just released last year, many people thought that it required a lot of grinding. Dunkey (3:03) even said that to beat a certain boss, he HAD to grind, as though there was no other option. But there ARE other options! Don't mistake me, Tentacular is a hard boss. However, he's weak to statuses like sleep, which lets you take a few turns to put up buffs if you like, or hit him with one of Erik's knife skills which does 8x damage to sleeping enemies. There's also a secret cannon you can get by talking to the old woman at the top of the hill in Lonalulu, which stuns it at the beginning of the fight, but you honestly don't need it Every boss in the game is like this! As long as you're using all the tools given to you, the game is perfectly easy.
That's just one example though. Every so often I even see advice being given out on reddit, discord or forums to simply grind when a boss is too hard. I think this does a disservice to both the game and the player, as instead of doing the boss as intended, with strategy and careful use of resources, you've elected to do mindless battles against trash mobs.
So here's a game agnostic guide to avoiding grinding in RPGs, when bosses give you too much trouble.
Don't immediately attempt the same thing after losing. Have you ever heard the definition of insanity? Think about why you lost, and learn from it. If the boss kept giving you statuses, buy more recovery items from the shop. If the boss keeps hitting you with fire attacks, the game probably gave you some way to deal with fire attacks, whether it's a lot of water type Pokémon near by, fire proof armor in a near by chest or shop, or a way to exploit the weakness it probably has to ice. If it keeps hitting you with a super strong attack, switch to tankier party members, or debuff its attack. Which brings me to…
Use buffs, debuffs, and statuses. Think about it, if you take one turn to buff your attack to 1.5x, you break even on damage on turn three, then deal above average damage after that. Debuffs work on the same principle. As far as status moves go, just think about how annoying they are against you! Sure, it might be immune to poison or sleep or whatever, but worst case scenario is that you lose out on one attack. Devs put statuses in the game for a reason, they want you to USE them!
Pay attention to the flavor text. Talk to townsfolk, they probably say SOMETHING related to what you need to do. Analyze the enemy. What's that? The boss is charging his super-ultra-mega move? Hit the guard button, or dps it until it drops dead. The game tells you things for a reason.
Finally, I'd like to say that I'm not better than anyone else at RPGs. I think the very idea is absurd, actually, that anyone can be better than anyone at a single player game. As long as you're having as much fun as you can, congrats, you're the best in the world. However, wouldn't it be more fun to think about what you have to do to beat a tough opponent than kill 10,000 slimes until your numbers are bigger?
Up to you.
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