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Thursday, November 14, 2013

[WoW] Blizz Drops Dailies, or, "What to do at 100?"

So few to no Daily Quests at level 90, that's quite the change and upsets a paradigm that's been around since ye olde days of Burning Crusade. Originally they were an answer to limiting the acquisition of reputation-based rewards without having to hide them behind massive grinds. I was skeptical at the time but I learned to love it to a degree that now I find large rep grinds distasteful. (I'm looking at you Emperor Shaohao...) They also conveniently gave max level players something to do aside from sit in Shattrath and try to kill Aldor/Scryers before getting teleported.

Now we have the Timewaste Timeless Isle, where its main feature was the "Go here, do stuff, get rewards" element. You can get Timeless Coins (aka, progress) by killing mobs, gathering, picking up apples of the ground, sneezing, doing homework, or knitting mismatched socks. Additionally, the isle is scattered with dozens of semi-random events in the form of mini-boss fights and in which everyone who sternly glares in the boss's general direction gets to share in the rewards.

Blizzard said that they liked how the Timeless Isle has worked and directly compared it to upcoming content. Expanding on this they have described situations in WoD where you might stumble upon an enemy caravan which you can rob for various spoils. They seem to want to create a world where you step out your Garrison door, wave goodbye to your hapless minions, venture off into Draenor, and progress your character regardless of what you do. A notion as lofty and fantastic as Dalaran's spires, but I am not sure how plausible it is.

To me, this begins to look a lot like Guild Wars 2's dynamic events; semi-random things to do pop up as you explore. The problem with this, as GW2 and the Timeless Isle are facing, is that unless you make it extremely random, people will often figure out the most rewarding/predictable events and farm the crap out of them. People farm the rares on the Timeless Isle to extinction because in terms of coins/hour it is much faster than running around killing random mobs, gathering, picking up apples, and wiping your ass. While the later make it more fun, the gulf that separates their rewards/time ratios tends to leave even players (myself included) who WANT the latter feeling forced to do the former if they want to progress at a reasonable rate.

I am not sure how I feel about this. Dailies are nice in that they provide you clear guidance and varied tasks, they allow you to predictably gauge your progress, and they give you something to do. On the other hand, they can become a giant daily "to-do" list for a newer character that's trying to catch up and they become more or less a waste of time if you have maxed out all your reputations. They also function as an artificial content gate which only perfectly caters to people that have exactly enough time to do them, while leaving players with more time and drive stuck and giving players with less time a permanent feeling of not doing "enough" per day.

I'm curious to see how it plays out, a part of me is ecstatic about the idea of returning to a feeling of adventuring in an MMO that has become too much about lobbies and instances. However, I am concerned that the lack of dailies will make it hard to find direction, and that it will be too easy for Icy Veins or WoWhead to come up with a "best" way to adventure.


  1. You're certainly right about the reward balance point regarding coins in particular, it never made much sense to me that killing Ship/Maw every day will get you more coins than not killing them and farming non-rare mobs for 6 hours. There really isn't much/any incentive to just farming mobs, especially the ones that pretty much anyone can farm, that don't get Emperor rep. It's not a bad general design but the implementation could have been a lot better, and fairer...

    1. That was my general thinking; the ship, maw and many others are too predictable and profitable compared to "exploring" and otherwise adventuring around the island. Perhaps adding other reps or rewards for killing them might have helped. Thank you for your comment!