And it doesn't really matter how you wrap up that package, it's still going to be annoying content that players feel they must complete in order to be competitive. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to matter what is tied to the system, or if it offers rewards of value, like Lesser Charms or valor points. Adding the value to the daily quest system doesn't make completing the quests any more compelling, it just makes them another chore that must be completed.
Which is why daily quests need to go away.
Daily quests in Burning Crusade
Players had a major problem in Burning Crusade, and it had nothing to do with the overly convoluted attunement system. What do you do when you're level 70? The answer was the same as vanilla -- you raided, you participated in PvP, or you farmed dungeons. And if you didn't raid or PvP, you faced up to the fact that no matter how hard you worked, you'd never see the kind of gear you would if you were raiding or participating in PvP. In addition, max level players had very limited options for making any kind of gold to pay for repairs. Your only choice, really, was to farm materials and hope that they sold on the Auction House.
Daily quests were created, in a way, to address all of those concerns simultaneously. For players that didn't raid, it gave them another type of content to do, and a way to get some really cool gear. For players that did raid, it gave them an endless supply of gold with which to pay for repairs. For players that engaged in PvP, it gave them another option to bringing gold in, one that didn't involve wearing PvP gear for PvE content. For all, it offered a different kind of way to earn reputation.
And everyone was pretty happy with this concept. When Isle of Quel'Danas came out, plenty of people hailed it as a really unique, innovative, and fun hub for quests. The concept of an evolving base was appealing, and the connection to both the new dungeon and the new raid was crystal-clear.
Wrath continued the trend of daily quests for reputation, tying in rewards to factions and offering that additional source of gold for max players. But players were also given the option to gain reputation with tabards -- something new and interesting that had an unintended side effect. Somewhere between Wrath and Cataclysm, daily quests almost went extinct.
While there were daily hubs in Tol Barad and the Twilight Highlands, other zones were completely devoid of any daily quests. While reputation in some areas could be obtained via quests, players were also given the option to gain reputation simply by wearing a tabard and completing dungeons. And something else happened, something that changed the face of endgame for good -- LFR mode was introduced.
With LFR, suddenly players that had never experienced raid content could do so. Casual players that didn't have the time to devote to a raid guild could experience that content. More importantly, they could get gear from the Dragon Soul raid that was far better than anything that could be obtained through daily questing.
Beyond that, the acquisition of gold was easier. Heroics offered plenty of gold for players, as well as LFR. Compared to the days of vanilla, it was far easier to create a small stockpile of gold for your character, enough that you could purchase what you needed without having to worry about going broke.
Mists of Pandaria
And then we get to Mists of Pandaria, and the re-introduction of that daily quest system. The problem isn't the daily quests, it isn't the content they provide, it isn't the story. It's the fact that in Wrath and Cataclysm, players had an easy out to gaining reputation, and they got very, very used to that easy way out. People automatically take the path of least resistance to a goal -- and if that path of least resistance is suddenly yanked away, you bet people are going to get irritated about it.
You can add as many compelling rewards to that daily quest system as you want, but people aren't going to look at it as a reason to participate in the content -- they're going to look at it as a reason they have to do that content whether they like to or not. And in the end, what are daily quests doing? Irritating people. Not everyone -- certainly not me -- but enough people that the negative voices out there are growing far, far louder than the positive.
But we're forgetting something. We're forgetting why dailies were put in in the first place. So let's look at that list.
- Endgame content for casual players Well ... honestly, casual players have never had more to do now. LFR changed everything. The addition of scenarios offered more to do. There's farming, there's Pet Battles, there's heroics -- there is a ton of potential content for people to do at this point, even if daily quests were gone.
- A source of additional gold This could still be argued as being useful. But let's face it -- when you complete a daily quest hub and hit exalted, how many times do you go back and actually do those dailies again? They served their purpose. Why repeat them?
- A source of additional gear Players can now obtain some pretty amazing gear in LFR, and hardly need any of the gear on the valor vendors currently locked behind reputation. It's a boost to what is already there.
The evolution of dailies
In fact, the one and only best way that dailies have evolved is as a method of presenting story. If you have not played through the 5.1 daily quest hubs, I suggest you do so. But the funny part is that it isn't the daily quests that offer the most engaging content -- it's the story quests locked behind that reputation gain that are causing all the chatter. If this is the case ... why are we even doing the daily quests to begin with?
What do dailies offer us now?
- Valor points Valor points could potentially be bumped up in LFR, in heroic dungeons, even in scenarios, so that players could happily hit the cap.
- Gear Let's be perfectly frank, here. Professions aren't exactly the highlight of a player's life right now. Once you've maxed out your profession and made the first few pieces of gear, there's little reason to make more. Why not give those professions the gear that dailies offer, as crafted pieces? It would encourage crafters to actually craft.
- Lesser Charms of Good Fortune There is no reason that these could not be made available as boss drops in heroic dungeons. At the moment, players don't really have a compelling reason to go back and do heroics, beyond getting valor. Adding charms into the mix would give players another good reason to do so.
- Gold If players are running more heroics and scenarios for valor and charms, it stands to reason boosting the gold rewarded for doing these things would also help that situation out.
- Story Nothing offers story like a good quest hub. 5.1 proved that story-based quests can be doled out in increments and still keep players happy.
So do what was done with patch 5.1. Give us the story in increments, 5-6 quests a day. Don't make them repeatable, just unlock the next section of story as we complete it. Give us gold for the quests, give us mounts, give us pets, give us transmog items, give us those crazy vanity items we know and love -- but you don't really need to give us raid-quality gear. We can get that elsewhere. Make reputation something that offers us something fun, not something that offers us an improvement to our character's skill.
And for those of us that really love story, maybe give us an option to go back through it again when we've completed the whole thing. Because we're nuts about lore like that.
I'm curious, though. I'm only one player out of millions, and I'm wondering what others think about this. Would you be okay with seeing the blue exclamation point make a swift exit? Would you prefer a system that cuts the repetitive nature and just offers the story? Would you guys be cool with kissing daily quests goodbye?
Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.