If you're playing Mortal Kombat 11, you'll know about the grind.
Mortal Kombat 11's soul-crushing grind lets down what is otherwise a superb fighting game (for more on how it all works, check out our recently published review).
So, it comes as no surprise to see players discover various ways to beat the grind, using a combination of exploits, the AI and even makeshift controller button pressing contraptions.
First up, we have a popular exploit that players are using to farm hearts. Hearts is one of three virtual currencies in the game, and are used to open the Krypt's best chests. Unfortunately, Mortal Kombat 11 is miserly when it comes to dishing them out to players. You get five for doing a Fatality or a Brutality at the end of a victorious game. If you don't win, you don't get the opportunity to earn hearts.
THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD.
Players have turned to the Krypt to farm hearts. In the Krypt, people hanging from ceilings and other grubby gubbins can be pulled to your position using Scorpion's spear. Once pulled, your character will tear the unlucky soul apart, and you'll receive one, two or three hearts.
Now, players have found an exploit that makes farming hearts a doddle - a monotonous doddle, but a doddle nonetheless. Here's how it works:
Get to the lift that takes you down to Goro's Lair, specifically the part next to The Kollector's room.
Enter The Kollector's room and pull the guy hanging on the left. Nab a heart or two.
Go back to the lift, head up, then head back down. The guy will have respawned a little bit closer to the lift. Spear him, nab the hearts. Head back to the lift, go up and back down again, rinse and repeat. Eventually you'll spawn the guy right next to the lift door, so you don't even have to run to him in The Kollector's room.
Testing this exploit, I was able to farm around 15 hearts in five minutes, which is more than I'd get from playing games in The Tower of Time or in online ranked battles. It's very, very boring though, and I expect NetherRealm will patch this exploit out sooner rather than later. Until then, players are having a field day.
Moving on, we have the use of AI-controlled characters to farm currency for you.
As with Injustice 2, Mortal Kombat 11 lets you have the computer control your character for you for certain game modes. You can also put points into various behaviour parameters. Since Mortal Kombat 11 came out, players have found a few overpowered builds of shadowy ninja Noob Saibot, and are using him to clean up in the towers. Other characters are also useful in the Towers, but AI Noob is certainly an early favourite.
The easiest AI farming method seems to be to set Noob Saibot to work on the Endless tower and see how far he can get. I've seen players report he's managed to get in the 50s for them, which is good going. Noob will even perform Brutalities and Fatalities, securing those precious hearts. Take that, grind!
The only issue, of course, if you have to press a button on the controller after each fight to continue. So, players are fashioning button-pressing devices to fully automate the process.
Now, this is hardly a fun thing for the player to do. Watching the AI play Mortal Kombat 11 isn't what I'm interested in doing. But players are letting the AI get on with farming currency while they do other things, such as work or study.
As long as Mortal Kombat 11's grind remains so... grindy, players will continue to play the game in these kinds of ways. Is it an issue? Looking at Mortal Kombat 11's early days community, players are enjoying coming together to work out the best ways to beat the grind, sharing character variations, AI builds and Towers of Time strategies, and I think that's pretty cool.
AI Noob, meanwhile, has become something of a meme. Thanks for all your hard work, buddy!