Normally the words "Best" and "Grind" are not found this close together and there are plenty of grinds to hate. However, I'm interested in the flip side:
Was there something that required sustained and prolonged effort that you found interesting or rewarding? Was there something that was not just a chore to work on?
I'm assuming most grinds are for Reputation, but maybe you have a novel definition?
I'll be quite frank here and fully admit that I do love me a good grind. No, not that sort of grind you pervs...well, maybe that too but that's not the subject at hand!
For me there's two sorts of grinds in WoW: the "OMG I need a spork RIGHT FRIGGEN NOW so that I may gouge my eyes out." and the "Dude, I've had a hella rough day and I just want to mindlessly run in circles while killing some ogres. If you need me, leave a message with my secretary, Fabio. He'll relay them to me once I'm done here." Let me lay out some examples for you.
The type of grind that I absolutely cannot stand is the sort where you have no control over how fast or slow the pace is. The prime example for this would be the Argent Tournament. I could probably run off on a ranty tangent right about now and give you thirty different reasons as to why I hate the Argent Tournament, but the number one reason would be that...well, it just sucked, okay? You had to do this quest grind to open up that quest grind, which in turn eventually opened up this quest grind that granted you the seals. Once you were able to obtain seals you were essentially a slave to those *insert a line of explicit words here* quest givers until you were able to purchase every last good that you came to collect. For me it was all of the mounts, a tabard, and the pony bridle. Granted I took many breaks since the tourni came to town, but it was essentially over two bloody years before I managed to collect everything that I came for. It's a good thing I found good deals on the auction house for all those darn pets...
*Big deep breath in, slowly exhales.*
Now, the type of grind I love is one where I'm allowed to set the pace. Generally these grinds tend to be out-of-date reputation grinds but I suppose even fishing on occasion could fit into this category. A prime example of this would be the Kurenai reputation grind in Nagrand. I loved that grind so much that I did it not once, but twice. Why did I love it though, you wonder. For one it was quiet. It was fairly rare that I'd run into another reputation seeker or quester out on the western side of Nagrand, so I was left to kill ogres as I pleased with little to no interruption. For two, people rarely mess with you when you're on a mission. My guildies always new enough at the time that if I wasn't sitting in some city I was out working on getting new mounts; they usually didn't get between me and my mounts. Sure I'd get the occasional person asking me to invite their new alt in or whatever, but there wasn't any "Saz, let's run this!" "Saz, lead this raid." "MOOOOOM TIMMY ATE MY CANDY BAR." stuff to deal with. It was my quiet time to do as I pleased, and no one messed with it. Ultimately though the rhythm and pacing of gaining the Kurenai rep was such that it relaxed me, smacking multitudes of ogres upside the head with my axes was just an added stress reliever. It was redundant, predictable, and very much allowed me to clear my mind.
Now that you get the general idea on what I think is a good or bad grind, let's get to the actual question. Typically what I look for when I'm searching for the next ideal grind is one of or a combination of the following:
1. The pace must be able to be set by the participator, at least in part.
2. In the event that the participator cannot choose the pace in which the grind takes place, the quests locking said participator into a time frame must have some sort of comic relief to help enhance enjoyment of said grind.
3. The grind must have some sort of grand award at the end making the grind worth the effort. (Current viable gear is excluded from this category.)
4. While mental challenges are welcome on occasion, if the participator fails after multiple attempts even after consulting the Holy Reference Book of Azeroth (aka Wowhead), the grind has ceased being enjoyable. The participant must enjoy said challenge or must simply be able to finish their task in an efficient manner. To help alleviate this situation, please refer back to the second part of statement number 2.
Saz's Grind Worthy Recommendations
- Oh My, Kurenai! Mounts, Achievement, Tabard
- Netherwing Mounts and DA BOOTERANG!! Okay, you can't keep the booterang, but maaaan is it fun to use. Prime example of comedic relief helping to break up the monotony of having to quest day after day.
- Wintersaber Trainers (new version) I'm not to familiar with the Horde's version of this line They Grow Up So Fast, but the quests for the Alliance to get exalted with the Wintersaber Trainers are completely adorable. Definitely worth the 20 days it takes to complete vs the 20 days of actual grinding you had to do, even post nerf of difficulty.
- Loremaster This is one of those grinds best done in pieces. Thanks to the new Cataclysm revamps you can do just that. Even if you're not one who typically likes questing, like myself, you may still find many of the new zones well worth your time.
The "Dude, don't grind that..." List
- Anything that has less than a 1% drop rate. Save your sanity and stop now.
- The Argent Tournament. Really...just...no.
- Bloody Rare/Frostbitten Sure, these are a bit easier to obtain than what they were a year or two ago, but still. Save your mind. Stay away from da voodoo.
- Don't sit around for 12+ hours waiting for a rare spawn. If you do, side effects include: sleepiness, nervous twitching, irritability, explosive nerd rage, A.D.D., involuntary noises, numb butt syndrome, starvation, and an excessive need to pee.
- The Insane It has this title for a reason people, beware.
Do I take my advice ever? Nay, which is all the more reason to balance out the bad grinds with the good. The bad grinds are necessary, even though they're painful. In a way they highlight just how good you had it when you were grinding x faction rep while you're pummeling your forehead with a crayon with faction rep y. Sometimes those crappy grinds yield great things though, giving us a sense of completion and elation that gives us a very positive release.
What was my point again with this closing? I haven't the slightest, my brain went straight into the gutter. Since I am now thoroughly brainless, I shall leave you with one final thought:
Any guild master, raid leader, parent, and/or average Joe knows that clearing one's mind is an absolute must from time to time. Some people like to do that with a glass of wine, a hot bubble bath, maybe a bit of quiet music. Me? I like a nice, steady grind that will last me through the night...just so long as it doesn't go on too long. If it does, things start to hurt.