I think (and this is just my opinion, not trying to state universal fact) that players want to feel a sense of accomplishment and reward for overcoming a serious challenge. I mean an INTENSE feeling of accomplishment. If a game can continue to offer that sense to players on a regular basis, it has a good chance of being successful. If anybody wants to know what I consider an "intense" feeling of gratification, play through Dark Souls.....if you can :P.
Get rewards to easily theirs no more content and everyone bails.
Ok, first of all, it should be "TOO easily" and "THERE'S or THERE IS" not "THEIRS"
Part of the problem here (and like so many issues) is that we are not talking about 2 distinct groups ... the grinders, vs the non-grinders. We are talking about a much larger range of people (I guess it is in line with the post about the subjective matter of the topic).
There is no middle ground as there is no ground in the middle.
For those who want challenge over tedium ... at what point does someone consider something that is too challenging as tedious? Make a mob or dungeon that you need to be "skilled" to do/complete and the group of people who cannot complete it will call it tedious or a grind (I had to fight the guy 20 times to finally beat him, how tedious ...).
You cannot have progression without progression, you cannot have time pass without time passing. Grinds/tedium are inevitable to a certain extent. I guess the key is making it as fun as it can be (and maybe TERA is on track with the combat system).
The problem with TERA is that it is too easy and so for many of us it is tedious (though in no way is it grindy ... leveling is way toooo fast to be considered grindy). Too much of the game is on easy mode (most of the game is killing non-bams and not doing dungeons, at least time-wise) so that even though the combat is "fun" it doesn't take long before the content seems tedious ... grindy no, tedious yes.
Add more "challenge" in all aspects of the game (make normal mobs more like mini-bams is a good suggestion) and you'd be surprised how many more people are actually grinding more yet finding it less tedious :). And as a side benefit the leveling would be more natural (and slower).
As a side note, I am actually finding TERA currently less challenging and so too tedious that I'm running around in EQ2 (progression guild) and finding it more fun (even though arguably I'm grinding more ... it's just more challenging and so less tedious at the moment ...).
Personally I think FFXI had one of the best loot and upgrade systems possible. Most of the armor that you got (your AF1 and AF2) could be upgraded by doing certain triggered monster fights or by doing certain dungeon events (Limbus and Temenos, or Dynamis). Sure, there is always that RNG for drops, but the fact that your equipment can still be used levels after you have outgrown it is a BIG plus to me. It kept upgrades fresh and you could always find ways to make your current gear better.
It's a lot better than say, WoW, where every expansion, your current gear became worthless.
lol, kudos to the OP for posting this. Its an ongoing /facepalm how many times ive seen someone complain about leveling being "so easy" because they got to end game in under a month. That goes double for Asian games. Because standing around in a group killing elites for months per level, a'la FFXI, is really hard.
Yeah cuz, I died so many times from doing that! /sarcasm
Part of the reason MMOs are even remotely recognized now-a-days is because WoW got rid of that crap. There is something wrong in a game when the only "challenge" is staying interested in mindlessly (and easily) killing the same mobs for weeks. Of course grinding games feel more rewarding ... who wouldnt be jumping for joy to finally be able to something different after weeks of doing the same damned thing over and over again. Even if I had to eat the same steak every day for weeks on end ... id be ecstatic even if I got to eat fermented soybeans afterward!
You want it to take months to reach end game? Ask for more content! More importantly (since developers can only make so much in a standard development schedule) dont rush, get immersed in the world, explore, craft, maybe even *gasp* read the quest text! Get over that "OMG end game" tunnel vision most get only to complain that there is nothing to do afterwards. But most importantly, stop complaining that the game was too easy! Yeah, MMOs are usually easy but difficulty has nothing to do with the time it takes to 'finish'. If you want a challenge, ask for tough as nails unforgiving mobs that can severely punish you for every mistake you make, one that requires lightning reflexes to beat ... THAT is a challenge, THAT is HARD. Though im sure most of you would just foam at the mouth and ragequit if every mob you faced actually challenged you like those in a game like Dragon Souls.