Bold position: I hate dailies

I’ve heard it said that Blizzard was the MMO studio that came up with the idea for daily quests. I can’t recall any that did so previously, but making absolute statements like that with game development is a good way to set yourself up for looking foolish when someone else comes up with an example from a game you never heard of. Anyway, I certainly never heard of dailies before then.

So let’s cast our minds back to 2007 and the debut of The Burning Legion. As much as some players hold vanilla WoW up as a great era — and there was a special feel to the time, to be sure — it had a lot of unfriendly issues that kept the game from being as enjoyable as it could’ve been. One of those was the lack of quests as you started to move up in levels. Blizzard did a great job front-loading WoW at launch with plenty of quests to get you leveling, and people were falling over themselves at the time in praise for this type of mission delivery system. But the mid- and upper levels were sparse with available quests and the concept of hubs didn’t really come until TBC.

Unless you wanted to grind mobs, you would have to hunt down the rare quests in the world once you were in your 40s and 50s. For me, this initially meant following a very detailed walkthrough (first printed, then incorporated into the game as a mod, and then finally stolen outright by Blizzard for use in its UI). This walkthrough figured out the most optimal path to collecting and completing quests as you zig-zagged around the world. The long and the short of it was that we as players were initially fed well on quests and then subsequently starved. By the time Burning Crusade came out, we were ravenous.

So here comes the first expansion and with it an avalanche of quests. Quests here, quests there, quest hubs, quests from animal poo, etc. I used to be so excited when my character finally got to level 58 because then I could go to Outlands and level through quests without stressing about where to go. It’s funny to me now how Outlands is seen as an outdated, painful place to visit.

But what to do when you got done with the zones? That’s when Blizzard had the bright idea (ahem) of incorporating daily quests. These were a series of quests scattered around the place that you could complete once a day. Over and over and over again. They didn’t change, but they were lucrative for gold generation, and so a lot of folks — myself included — regularly ran them.

The problem was, of course, that no matter how good of a quest any of these might be (and they weren’t that stunning to being with), by the third or fourth time you were sick of doing them, yet without much else to do solo, you kept running them (plus, gold!). The only consolation is that you got really, really good at doing them efficiently and as quickly as possible.

Daily quests might have advanced a little since then, perhaps pulled from a rotating pool of quests to stave off boredom, but for the most part they stagnated almost as quickly as they came on the scene. You’re not getting any new story with them, so all they became are meaningless tasks — chores, really. Have you cleaned your room today? Have you taken out the trash? Have you done your dailies?

MMOs seized upon the idea of dailies as a way for players to gradually earn some really good reward. Bio Break readers recently saw me go through a month of dailies in Star Trek Online to get a “free” T6 escort. And those dailies weren’t done at all because they were fun or compelling, but because the reward was great enough to overcome my reluctance to grind quests. And that’s how most dailies operate.

And because dailies are disposable, forgettable quests, they don’t offer real story worth a darn. So for the narrative-addicted folks like me, they’re not appealing at all. I logged onto WildStar the other day and went to the new zone, scooting around to hoover up quests, and was dismayed how many of them had “daily” attached. Meaningless. And the worst thing is that even if you do them, they come right back. You can’t ever fully check off that quest from the map, because the exclamation point (or whatever symbol a game has for “GET QUEST HERE!”) will return the next day. It’s frustrating to those of us who like to clean up an area before moving on.

So there’s my bold position for the day: I hate dailies. If MMOs can’t truly think of anything better or more interesting to do with them, they need to jettison them entirely.

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5 thoughts on “Bold position: I hate dailies

  1. Jeromai September 2, 2016 / 9:38 am

    Right there with you. It’s not just MMO specific daily quests either, it’s all dailies I’m getting tired of. Play a mobile game, oh, here’s your log-in for the day reward and three things to do to get more stuff! Play an FPS, tada, thanks for logging in today, do three challenges for extra goodies… Worse if you can’t skip a day without breaking the chain.

    Yes, they obviously work to motivate a large enough proportion of players to keep doing stuff that devs probably need for their ‘success’ metrics, me included, but keeping up the habitual chain ends up feeling very chore-like.

    I don’t know if more randomization or even procedural generation involved in what the dailies ask a player to do gameplay-wise would help this or no. It could very well be that offering extrinsic rewards eventually kill internal motivation regardless.

  2. Isey September 2, 2016 / 10:59 am

    I agree and this is why I quit Mists of Pandaria (and subsequently skipped WOD). Still, I am not fully innocent, as I love repeating 5 man dungeons. So I appreciate the need for repeatable content but have a very specific taste for what I am willing to do.

  3. Forrestra September 2, 2016 / 11:08 am

    What do you think of the ways Blizzard has come up with that pushes against daily quests? Mixing repetitive content with achievements and rep/mob grinds?
    – Isle of Giants – 1 world boss, solo and group mobs and a bone collector basically spelling out your “goals” with pets and mounts. More like a camp than dailies.
    – Timeless isle – 1 daily quest, 2 weekly quests, 4 world bosses, scattered treasures and an old fashion rep grind, with a bevy of rare spawns to mix it up. There were goals, but you chose the camp based on your tastes (froogggsss).
    – Tanaan jungle. More of a move back to daily quests, but with MoP’s mob grind. But still a world boss, a rep grind and light on daily/weekly quests. Although repetitive, HOW you completed each Objective was up to you. You in a group? Take down the objective’s elites. Solo? Normal mobs and clicky objects please. Main area camped? Check out the caves. And as always keep an eye open for the rares and treasures. And skip the objectives you didn’t like without gimping your progress very much.
    – Legion World Quests – The whole expansion is now Tanaan jungle. 1000+ “objectives” spread around the map in rotation. Which ones you choose is up to your goals. Professions? Rep? Gear? Order Resources? Solo? Group? Dungeon? Plus there are end-game progression quests mixed in. Its not all daily. Unlocking Suramar, your class campaign, end-game crafting, your class gear “set”, progressing your artifact weapon.

  4. bhagpuss September 2, 2016 / 3:23 pm

    It depends entirely on what you mean by “dailies”. I’m not keen on actual quests with an NPC, conversations and a hand-in. Those do get old quickly.

    Daily tasks, though, I absolutely love. Those are the ones where you get rewarded for simply doing things you;d be doing anyway. Okay, you might go to one particular zone instead of another or do one thing rather than something else, but essentially you are being given daily rewards for aspects of your regular gameplay.

    I do my GW2 dailies every single day without fail on three separate accounts. I love it. I really look forward to doing them, either before I go to work (when I have a late start) or after work (if I went to work early). I also like to try and do any Holiday or event dailies on top of that. I would do them even if there was no reward attached at all because I fond them relaxing and enjoyable. EQ2 has even easier dailies, along the same lines. I don’t log in every day to do those but every day I do log in I do them.

    The thing I really despise, mentioned in your post as a positive innovation, are quest hubs. I find those constraining, claustrophobic and plain irritating. I would like all quests to be available to everyone at all times, with no “lead ins”, “intros” or “pre-requisites”. Just get out there, talk to everyone, do stuff. Having to move in some pre-determined pattern to get quests is generally sufficient to make me give up on an MMO, or at least to find a non-quest-based means of leveling my characters.

  5. Rowan September 2, 2016 / 4:30 pm

    @Bhagpuss I guess it depends on how the quest hubs are defined and/or implemented. It makes sense that, you come upon a little town or encampment, you would find several people interested in having you do stuff. If none of them will talk to you unless you had done something for someone’s cousin the next town over, then that would be a problem. By the same token, I have no problems with quest chains and breadcrumbs that might lead to the camp.

    I do agree, though, that dailies can be relaxing, and they can also be integrated into story that lends itself to repetition. The Quel’Danas/Sunwell Plateau dailies that were about prepping for the attack on the Sunwell come to mind. And we (who play WoW) just finished what essentially was a series of dailies in the form of Legion Invasions. Many players were able to level characters from 1 to 100 just doing those. But boy! were they repetitive.

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