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Are daily quests leaving casuals behind?

Daily quests have come a long way from when they first appeared. They first seemed to be the perfect solution for those stuck at level 70 with nothing to do, the casuals who really didn't feel like moving on to the 10 and 25-man game, or just didn't have the time to. They were a great way to break up the monotony of making money by grinding mobs with lucrative drops or mining and herbing. They also let you progress slowly and steadily towards that magical 5000 gold mark and your own epic mount. Sure, they're still good for all that, but they've also gotten to be so much more.

So really, what's the deal with dailies now? Let's look at it after the break.

Drysc laid out the the philosophy of the daily quests pretty clearly pretty early on: They were meant primarily so that the casual player, the one who can only play a few hours every day, could log on, take a daily, and make some real progress towards a tangible goal with good loot at the end. But is that really how things have gone down?

Instead of being a few reputation grinds that could be tackled slowly but surely, Dailies have spread to all corners of the game. Sure, you have your Skettis, your Ogri'la, and your Netherwing Ledge now. But you also have cooking dailies. And dungeon dailies. And PvP dailies. Soon, you'll also have Shattered Sun Offensive dailies and even more PvP dailies! It's already been said by many that dailies feel like a job after a while, and if that's true, patch 2.4 looks like it's going to add quite a bit of overtime.

Seriously, look at that last paragraph again. For a casual mechanic, that's actually a pretty huge list, isn't it? What's even better is that with the daily quest limit raised to 25, you'll be able to do almost all of them every day. Imagine that, 25 quests, every single day. You'll have to rush between Shadowmoon Valley (Only if you have your epic flying mount, and there's been enough debate over whether anyone truly casual can raise 5000 gold), Blade's Edge Mountains, Nagrand, and the Netherstorm, and then head to Azeroth to take care of the Sunwell Isle dailies, not to mention to your favorite capital city to take care of whichever battleground is up for conquering today, and then to whichever two dungeons are needed for the dailies. The battlegrounds can take up another half hour or more depending on the battleground, and the dungeons a good couple hours each, even more if you have to search for a PuG, or fail to win or finish them once you've started. Sure, you can cut out the group dailies, but even then, the solo dailies are liable to take quite a few hours once you factor in things like flight time, or how bad the drop rate is on that last Fel Gland or Nether Residue. Taking a few hours every day to do repetitive tasks over and over again for money and loot? Sounds like a grind to me. People who have multiple 70s and want to do daily quests on all of them could easily spend half their day on it if they aren't careful.

And here's another thought: Drysc said that the daily reputations were in part meant to be a replacement to the massive reputation grinds of the past where you had to kill the same mobs or do the same 1 or 2 repeatable quests over and over. However, looking at the Shattered Sun Offensive exalted purchasable items, they now include neck pieces with an equip effect which requires you to be exalted with the Aldor or Scryer. That's right, you're right back to the old grind, farming tons of Marks of Sargeras and Fel Armaments or Sunfury Signets and Arcane Tomes to get to Exalted, just to get the full use out of an item gained from a "casual" grind. While you can argue that the pendants are plenty good for a casual player even without the use of the equip effect, the fact remains that it'll always be clear to them that if they just spent a few more hours a day grinding, it would be that much better. Certainly, one of my own 70s has yet to finish the exalted grind with the Aldor, and I'm already starting to check the going prices for Fel Armaments and Marks of Sargeras on my server so she can be at exalted as soon as possible to reap all the benefits of her necklace.

Thus, you really do have to ask the question. Have daily quests lost their way? Have they turned from the bastion of the casual to one more hardcore grind?

People are certainly starting to notice the sheer volume of dailies. Talking with a friend of mine just last night after we'd finished raiding, he said that he might have to give up 10-man raiding once 2.4 came out just so he could juggle daily farming and 25-mans. Really, that doesn't seem too far fetched now, given the time you have to put into dailies if you want to do them all and get to exalted with their reputations as soon as possible. If you want to keep it down to a couple hours every day or two, It seems like it may get to the point where you have to make some serious decisions as to how to allot your daily time. Will you go for the most lucrative quests? Will you focus on a certain quest hub? Will you focus on a certain faction that has an item you have your eye on? Will you alternate which dailies you do based on the day of the week? If you look at it that way, you can respect that Blizzards given you more and more choices at least, as well as new factions to grind once you're finished with the old ones.

The flipside of that is that limiting yourself will take a lot of willpower. After all, you may have decided to focus on the Skyguard for now, but hey, if you do those Shattered Sun quests, you may get a Badge of Justice from the Shattered Sun Supplies. Plus, you're only 1000 gold away from having your epic mount money, so do you really want to stop questing now when you could have your own Swift Purple Gryphon by the end of the month if you put your nose to the grindstone? And really, it would be so nice to have some Delicious Chocolate Cake to eat while keeping your Companion Cube company, and the recipe just might be in that next Barrel of Fish.

So what do you think? Has Blizzard turned the daily grind into another hardcore, time consuming grindfest? Or is variety the spice of life?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Quests, Making money

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