There's been a lot of commentary, here and around the web, on why dailies become so hated during Mists of Pandaria. One aspect, though, that I feel most people haven't covered is the issue of reputation rewards. All through this expansion, almost every expansion reward has required either honor or valor points. Your reward for finally get Revered with the Klaxxi was having to run a few dungeons so you could actually buy the stuff you unlocked. That put an extra twinge of pressure on the whole thing. Not only were you trying to figure what faction to grind, there was a voice in the back of your head, "I'm nearly valor capped. I'd better do my dailies so I actually unlock something to spend them on." While getting valor from the dailies themselves might have got you part of the way there, you still felt like had one more gate before you could actually get the stuff you wanted.
In Cataclysm, things were different. Once you hit exalted with the Dragonmaw, you didn't need valor points. All you had to do was head to the quartermaster, buy Boots of Sullen Rock, a raid-level piece of gear, and add them to your tanking set.
This accomplished a few things. First, it gave you a very solid, ungated goal. If I do my Dragonmaw dailies, I get an awesome piece of gear I can wear while I kill Nefarian. This is a huge contrast from patch 5.1 dailies, where grinding a faction just meant coming against the valor points gate, or sometimes even having to grind another reputation for what you actually wanted (See: Shado-Pan and August Celestials). Second, if you weren't the raiding type, it gave you an opportunity to get some personal "end game" gear without worrying about the raiding. Third, raiders didn't need to feel as obligated to do dailies. Sure, those boots were nice, but by the time you grinded exalted with Dragonmaw, you probably had a drop from your raids anyway.
I'm not going to begrudge anyone Timeless Isle. I've had my fun there, and sometimes mindlessly grinding Yaungols is a fun way to spend a lazy afternoon. But at the same time, I'm a dailies fan. Mists of Pandaria had a few missteps, but there's no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. My hope for Warlords of Draenor is that we still have a few factions that offer us a nice set of dailies with no gates, lore storylines similar to patch 5.1, and rewards you buy with good old-fashioned gold.
Filed under: Analysis / Opinion