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2 Coppers on Dailies

October 18, 2012

Dear Reader,

So the daily argument is starting up again.  Fantastic; this is yet another “Should Be” situation, but for others this time, not me.  I suppose I’ll wade into this one as someone who used to be married to WoW end-game hard-mode raiding who’s since moved away from it and is considering getting back into it (apparently my “best guild” is already 6/6 normal, for which I applaud them.  I don’t think I would or could go back to that guild, but it’s good to know that people I used to play with are doing well, as it gives me hope that I could find another group like that again).

I’ve written about “Should Be’s” before.  From June, 2011:

 There are now, I think, too many “should be’s” in WoW – for me at least – and I just don’t like that.  I love to read, but hated reading books assigned to me, books I “should have been” reading.  I don’t like being told I “should be” doing something, but if I’m just asked to do it, I haven’t any problem doing so.  It’s some sort of  authority disorder or the like, I’d assume.  But when did WoW, coupled with my own mind, become “authority?”  Become something telling me what I “should be” doing?

And that’s the final fundamental change, dear reader.  WoW itself, or the community, or perhaps just my perception of WoW, has become too authoritative.  It’s not a game anymore, it’s an assigned book, assigned by my own mind, by my habit hobgoblins, prescribed to me for my free time.

At any rate, let me get straight to the point.  Dailies are half the equation of what made me stop playing WoW each time (the other half being guild issues).  When I was raiding, the dailies were a necessary evil.  Note that term, though – evil.  For the most part, few are enjoyable, and none prior to now have been enjoyable the 30th time through.  Once my hard mode raiding puttered out, the dailies were basically the only thing to do when I was playing.  The constant boring repetition made it feel like I was doing nothing but chores.

“Chores” is the word my buddy uses, too.  He refuses to come back to WoW, regardless of new content, because he knows that the end game will just be more chores.  If you want to PvP, you have to bankroll upgrade enhancements (enchantments, gems, etc).  If you want to raid, you need the same plus things that only dailies provide – gear, recipes, etc.  It’s a means to an end for both player and developer.  The player does them because he feels it necessary to do what he really wants.  The developer uses them to keep the player in the game longer.  It’s not a healthy relationship; it implies a hierarchy of developer over player, telling us to do our chores for our allowance.

We may laud the dailies for now.  They may be great and wonderful and creative and engaging.  I wonder, though, about a month from now, or a year.  Will we find these early dailies a worthwhile part of the game?  How many of us go back and do BC or Wrath dailies?  If they were such a good invention, then a majority of players would continue to do them regardless of reward simply because they were entertaining.  I’ve been recently to the Argent Tourney grounds to buy a pet with some old badges I had.  The only sound was crickets.

The fact that people do not do old dailies is damning proof of the reason behind their existence.  We do them for money, for achievements, or for a reputation grind to a particular item.  We do not do them for fun or by choice.  Perhaps Pandaria will be different, but having this argument so early in the expansion makes it impossible to tell.  If Halfhill is still choked with players in a year, then we’ll talk.  I doubt it will be, though, as the shiny polish of a new idea will be long since tarnished with the scuffs of mindless repetition.

Sincerely,

Stubborn (daily hater)

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2012 10:11 am

    I would extend this to be the foundation of the ‘contentivore’ argument. I define contentivores as players who are very interested in, and engaged by, new content. They have low tolerance for repetition unless the game manages to apply entertainment value to the old content. Raiding is the classic example, it’s not new after the fist time but many raiders seem more motivated by the social game and group achievement than they are by beating the encounter or gaining a new item.

    Consider this in a more general form. People do not do old dailies unless they have a function – I want a Netherdrake, or I need the Heirlooms for a new character. However, they also do not run old instances or holidays unless there is some kind of an upgrade or social reason. Within days of the release of any new content you can guarantee that there will be posts on the forums complaining that there is nothing to do. I do not believe that it is possible to generate content fast enough to feed the more dedicated contentivores and even the more moderate will consume faster than a reasonable developer can produce.

    This leads to the interesting question of what should a company do in response? Neverwinter Nights had an interesting system of player-created content but this would never work in an MMO. Imagine how many guilds would design scenarios that are nothing more than loot pinatas? You may be able to apply some controls but it’s not going to be enough, people are very good at breaking restrictions. LotRO, at least when I played in SoA and MoM, had the entire exploration, legendary grind, and traits grind. I’m not sure that would inspire a contentivore – or worse, it would be something to be burned through for the mechanical advantage and then ignored. Sandboxes are another idea, but that tends to favor PvP, at least with the technology we have at present. It should be possible to generate an engine that will generate instances, even world content, based on an amazingly complex algorithm but I’m not going to hold my breath for that to become reality.

    I honestly don’t know how to keep a contentivore happy, other than to suggest playing a group of games in succession. Finished MoP? Go do Storm Legion. Done with that? Check out Rohan.

    • October 18, 2012 3:23 pm

      Pretty much. I’m one of those contentivores where I’m constantly doing something. That’s why a game like Counterstrike and League of Legends never really gets old for me because each game/match is slightly different then the last.

      I was trying to think of an analogy for doing old school dailies and new one. I’m still working on it, but here’s what I got:

      Doing old school dailies is akin to playing your SNES or N64. You might play it once in a while to finish something you forgot (like the stupid Water Temple), but most of your time is probably spent on newer consoles and games. Final Fantasy 3 is an awesome game, but I’m playing that on my DS then my SNES (plus, it has new dungeons!)

      I don’t know, does that work? I was never good with analogies :(.

    • October 18, 2012 4:30 pm

      I think your analogy is apt; it focuses on “new and shiny” versus “old and familiar.” I think that’s a factor as to why we keep getting “3 monther” MMOs, too; they’re selling too much “new and shiny” and not enough quality game play.

      Here’s an analogy practice question for you:
      WoW is to health as dailies are to
      a) going to the dentist – it’s not really that terrible, but it’s not much fun, and some people really hate it.
      b) finishing your veggies before you get dessert – it’ll do a body good!
      c) eating an apple – a daily a day keeps the poorhouse away!
      d) getting a prostate exam – I don’t feel it necessary to explain this one.

      None of those are particularly positive, I note. Perhaps I’m a bit biased (;

      I’m not sure about your comparison to PvP games, though; there, the “content” is provided by other human beings (and vice versa, as you provide content for them). That kind of possible ingenuity (and also the opposite, like fighting in the roads) makes raid bosses pale in comparison.

      Thanks for the comment!

    • October 18, 2012 8:56 pm

      Hmmm…

      You can also say, Stubborn, that dailies are like exercise. Some people do it because it’s good for you – and are never happier than when they are done for the day. Some people do it because it’s a good way to pass some time in a positive way. And finally, some people do it because they like it and would do it even if there wasn’t a benefit.

      I don’t have much problem with well done dailies, but I’m basically a loner. I personally have much less fun in an instance or raid than I do trying to, say, figure out how many Mogu I can pull at a time without getting into trouble.

      Could I do that without the daily? Sure, my Warlock leveled from the 40’s or so in Vanilla without questing; I’m not adverse to grinding. But the daily gives it some structure and micro-goal.

    • October 18, 2012 4:17 pm

      I’d argue that people do not do ANY dailies after the first time unless they have a function. That alone says a lot about why some people play MMOs – not for fun. I fully understand that, as it used to be a driving force for me, too, to achieve, to down bosses, to upgrade loot. Then it just stopped.

      I don’t mind repetition when it’s enjoyable repetition. Coffee break games are an example of this, or games where the repetition is tempered with slight changes in the playing field or opponent response (like plants versus zombies).

      I agree with your core point, though. I’m not sure how game companies are to deal with this. I’m not too happy with any of the structures we have now – subscriptions for promises of future content, DLCs (on day one, no less), cash shops for more play options (like in DDO, for example). Still, I’m not sure where to go.

      Very thought provoking. Thanks for the comment!

    • Roguekish permalink
      October 19, 2012 7:49 am

      I disagree I did the Isle of Quel danas dailies purely for the vista but thats maybe me being odd (ok I did it for the money as well but I could have done anything to earn money and I always found the scenery very beautiful)

    • October 22, 2012 11:10 am

      But do you STILL do IQD dailies, or are you motivated to do other, more repetitive things by the rewards instead of going to a beautiful vista that you know you enjoy? You used past tense in your comment, so I assume you don’t. What’s that say about dailies in general, if not the IQD ones?

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. October 18, 2012 11:40 am

    Yeah it is a faulty design if the only way to get forward in the game is dailies, I for one like them but it should be possible to offer several paths to the same goal, it would also benefit the replayability of the game. Personally I liked dailies in the situatioon that I wanted to play WoW, but did not know what to do so I’d just put on a podcast and do my dailies. I treated dailies as the “insurance for a rainny day” in the game when there was nothing to do. That said, how would I solve the situation, where players just grind through content without resorting to dailies? For raids I have nothing against long account bound attunements and the highest level of crafting recepies requiring long quests. In general slowing the pace of the game down whereever possible. Many players who play less frequently might complain but tbh in the game you would invest just as much time as the guy who plays more to complete the quest, so I have never really understood the complaint of it being unfair if you need to invest more tie to accomplish stuff.

    Just my 2 cents

    • October 18, 2012 4:20 pm

      Yes, I think pacing is a large factor in this equation. People want more and more faster and faster, and a result, we have content that CAN be grinded (ground?) through in a matter of days. I’m not necessarily wanting to turn back the clock to EQ (I kept typing DQ, like Dairy Queen for some reason – took me 4 tries to get EQ out there), but I certainly agree that things need to be slowed down. There’s no reason both of the last two expansions couldn’t have been 10 level expansions with a slower progression; Northrend wasn’t THAT much bigger than Pandaria, after all. I think the faster pace just feeds into the reward-seeking behavior that a lot of MMOs feed off of, which is a sickening, addictive relationship to have when compared to, you know, a straightforward “I want to have fun and will pay you to provide it for me” deal like we should (and some people do) have with MMOs.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Krel permalink
    October 18, 2012 5:49 pm

    According to what I’ve read, there are approximately 300 different dailies in this expansion, of which about 50 are available each day. There’s seven new scenarios, six new 5-mans (and three that have been redone as new heroics). Two (three? not sure?) new raids. I also vaguely recall hearing that there are something like 1500 new quests total.

    Would it have made any difference if for both cata and for pandaria they had split the leveling over ten levels instead of five? In order to slow down the progression, they’d either have had to add a bunch more questlines, or you’d run out of content before you hit cap. Don’t know which would be better – maybe expecting you to complete the “leveling content” by say 88 or so, then get the rest of the way via end game content of your choice – normal instances, scenarios, dailies?

    It’s a themepark game, by default the content is going to be consumed rapidly by some people. Maybe there’s another way to do it other than repeated content? Dunno what that would be though.

  4. October 18, 2012 8:04 pm

    Once my hard mode raiding puttered out, the dailies were basically the only thing to do when I was playing.

    Sounds like you kind of answered your own dilemma there. Without dailies, you would be/have been bored with nothing to do. Presumably you would have felt the same even if Blizzard did not set them up in front of you to do as chores, else you would have done some other thing instead.

    Furthermore, I am not particularly convinced your “damning” evidence is actually all that damning to begin with. As you say, even when something is fun, it is not always fun the 30th time around. Ergo, there could be people who had their fill of the fun of TBC/Wrath/Cata dailies when they were current and rationally moved on to the new ones. Just because I don’t play Chrono Trigger anymore doesn’t mean the game isn’t (or wasn’t) fun. Nevermind how little sense it really makes to suggest someone who had fun doing X daily in TBC would have the same fun as a level 90 character two years later; higher levels and better gear do a good job of fundamentally changing what the daily consists of, at least if it involves killing mobs.

    All that aside, I actually agree that most people do dailies for the reward. Where we disagree is with the chore aspect. I am a goal-oriented person; I enjoy a sense of progression, a sense that time “invested” today leads to dividends tomorrow. Thus, while near 100% of daily quests are trivial, rote exercises, I would never actually call them chores as such. Maybe it is a semantic thing, but chores have a negative connotation, as if you would prefer to not do them if able. Dailies, to me, give me an excuse to continue playing a game otherwise conquered. The only excuse, really, because while I still find/found WoW combat fun, I need a “point” to the killing of mobs to actualize said fun. Daily quests provide that excuse, and are thus fun by proxy.

    If we judge fun by the length of time engaged, removing dailies would make the game less fun for everyone.

    • October 18, 2012 8:54 pm

      If there weren’t dailies available, I’d probably have just moved to another game, which is the solution I devised quite frequently since then. That’s a more logical move than the pointless repetition of dailies.

      I don’t like the Chrono Trigger example. I would go back and play Chrono Trigger again, or see a good movie I’d enjoyed, or read a book I liked. I would do it again and again, even up towards the 30th time around. Sure, I’d be doing other things, too, in between, but it’s a choice I would make, and have made. I wouldn’t go back to do dailies out of sentimental desire to see them again. To me, then, your comparison is wrong. Chrono Trigger, or Amelie, or Lord of the Rings – they’re about having enjoyed something and wanting to enjoy it again after having been away from it. I’ve never had that kind of experience with a daily.

      The “excuse to play” is what’s changed for me. I used to feel precisely the same way, as you noted in your first paragraph. Now, I’d rather do other things, so I do. If dailies were that engaging, I’d want to do them. The fact that I don’t, that we only do them for the rewards, that we pay Blizzard to give us repetitive, trivial – your word – tasks just doesn’t seem right to me any more. But it did once, so I do understand your point. Just not any more.

      Thanks for the comment!

  5. October 18, 2012 10:57 pm

    I had a long rant about dailies on my own blog yesterday.

    Most of the time, I find WoW interesting enough to play just for the sake of playing. I like that recently they’ve made an effort to ensure that the quest interface shows you at a glance where to go and what to kill/collect so if you just want to play you can do that. Reading the quests and following the story is one way to play WoW, but not often the way I feel like playing.

    Two of the more enjoyable solo activities I’ve engaged with in WoW in the last year were “grinding” Stonecore and Vortex Pinnacle to get each of the mounts from those instances. The definition of repetition, but I found I actually enjoyed it; because soloing a 5-man dungeon is challenging enough to keep my brain occupied, and because I had decided to focus completely on that one task until it was done. That meant I could switch my brain off and the game became just me and the mobs in front of me. I guess that’s what they call Flow gameplay, and the interesting thing is repetition doesn’t even come into it. When I finally got the mount the flow stopped, and the sensation was something like I’d having a blanket ripped off me. It was odd.

    WoW is a pretty fun game if you can ignore all the “content”.

    • October 22, 2012 11:13 am

      Lol. I love that line: “WoW is a pretty fun game if you can ignore all the “content.” How true. We make our own fun best.

      That said, I think you’re far more “goal” oriented than “experience” oriented. I want to experience new things; I don’t want a lot of repetition. I’ve done the repetitive thing. I’ve ground mounts and whatnot before. I’ve done hard mode raiding. I’ve been the “goal” guy. It’s just not for me right now. It may come back; it may not. Only time will tell. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t want new, non-repetitive content to play through, either. Or, since we’re talking about “making our own fun,” why not give me the tools to design my own quests/scenarios/dungeons? Then I could really be making my own fun and sharing it with others.

      Thanks for the comment!

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