Dailies and Long-Term Engagement

In terms of creating an incentive to play, I believe that things like Daily Quests and other log-in rewards are extremely effective. That being said, I also believe it is an open question as to whether such incentives come at the expense of long-term engagement with the game. At least, those are my thoughts after reading the long thorough post by Torvald that is making the rounds.

Players are logging on, feel compelled to go through their Garrison chores, getting those rewards that are placed right in front of them… Even though that very content is not fun and drains their stamina for engaging in other content. It reduces their stamina for engaging in other activities that absolutely require large blocks of time to give a reasonable hope of success. And for activites that don’t absolutely require large blocks of time, so many of those lack structure that the player defaults to assigning them large blocks of time for what it would require to be “worth it” (i.e. very few players want to make a trip for an unstructured rep grind just to grind for 15 minutes).

In this situation, Torvald is talking about WoW players who say “there’s nothing to do” despite there arguably being more things to do than ever before. A player feels like they have to complete the Garrison stuff immediately, lest they forever lose the reward and fall behind. And that is a sentiment that I 100% can relate to in expansions past. Remember the Tournament dailies in Wrath of the Lich King? Or Jewelcrafting dailies? The end goal required X amount of days to reach with few (or no) catch-up mechanisms, so each day you skipped doing them added that much more time to completion.

There is absolutely no question that I logged onto WoW some days solely to do daily quests. Similarly, there is no question that on the days where I logged on just to do dailies that I sometimes ended up hanging out with friends. So, in essence, the daily quests worked in making social situations possible. After all, the death knell of any MMO starts ringing when you no longer feel compelled to log on.

But I can totally feel the other side of this too. When you think about MMO burnout, what is the image in your mind? Did it come from the activities you found fun in the moment? Or did it come from the sense of crushing obligation? If you are having fun every time you play, is burnout even possible?

I hesitate to say that dailies are not fun generally, as I personally find satisfaction in the completion of even mundane tasks. I also enjoy the sense of character progression and the working towards a long-term goal. That said, dailies do in fact take up a non-inconsequential amount of limited play time. If you spend “just” 30 minutes on chores, how much time do you have left for other activities? And how do you avoid the sense of loss (i.e. opportunity cost) that derives from not completing dailies and letting those easy rewards go?

I do not know if there is a solution. The one offered by Torvald is to essentially reduce the number of Garrison chores directly, and then make the remaining ones take longer than a day (e.g. Weekly quests). I did enjoy when WoW experimented with allowing you to complete a full week’s worth of dungeon dailies in a single session, as that allowed you the freedom to either work on other projects guilt-free or only to log on the weekends and still remain somewhat competitive. Then again, I’m not entirely sure how healthy plowing through that many dungeon dailies on Reset Day really was.

It might be cute to suggest “no dailies” but I’m not sure we can really go back. At a minimum, other games will have daily quests and I know people who log onto them to get those easy rewards before logging off and playing the game without dailies. That scenario “drains your stamina” just the same as if the daily-less game had them.

I’m not sure there is a solution here other than the one I’m currently employing: not playing MMOs. Of course, Dragon Age: Inquisition has War Table timer-based quests now too. You just can’t escape.

Posted on February 16, 2015, in Philosophy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Torvalds post is well written but completely missed the boat. The problem is that nothing you do feels worth it. Whatever you do in game it will be replaced with the next raids tier. There is nothing worth working for.

    Why should I do the apexis daily quest if the reward for doing the boring quest for a month can be replaced by a lucky LFR drop? Why not just wait for that LFR drop.

    Why should I feel lucky to win an item in my weekly raid? Sure, it’ll help the raid but it’s going to be replaced withing a month anyway.

    Achievement points? You can’t catch up anyway.

    Battle Pets? There are to many locked behind collectors editions and stuff and leveling hundreds of pets is way beyond what the average player is willing to do. You can’t catch up anymore and every new pet just becomes “yet another pet you never summon”.

    Collecting mounts? I guess there are to many locked behind real world money. So you farm the one you want to ride and be done with it.

    WoW killed it’s gratification scheme with mudflation. There are that many rewards that rewards don’t feel meaningful anymore.


    • While true, this applies to every game in the last 5 years. Outside of story exploration and PvP, everything else is chasing shinies.

      I think Torvald was pointing out that the rewards are big enough to be worth doing but small in the large scheme. Add to it that you literally log in next to the guy who manages your rewards and let’s you assign more. A wrote a post about making 500+g in less than 5 minutes because of that model.

      So you logon and get showered with mediocre wealth. Like super quick. And the next time you get a shinny is 30-60m later, depending on the queue or if your raiding. That’s a hell of a buzzkill. The pacing is wrong and to your point, even the long game is just a facade.


      • I agree. In general, I hate that MMOs have become so bite-sized throughout the game. It’s nice if you only have a few minutes to play everyday, but I find them almost impossible to play for those of us who like to sink a few hours into them a couple times a week. Instead of lengthy dungeons to work through or working toward rewards that last, I can instead do the same short dungeons over and over a lot and get rewards that will be replaced next week.


    • To be fair, that’s kind of been the case since late WOTLK when they started resetting everything every patch…


      • It really started with Sunwell back in TBC, when they released Magisters’ Terrace. But I agree with the counter-argument that gear obsolescence has been in the game for four expansions now.


      • Yes, but in WotLK the epic shower was new. For many player it was the first time they were able to fully equip a character in epics. It was the first time they were able to complete a tier set.

        The newness is gone but the disadvantages stayed.

        Why do people level to 100 and quit? Why don’t they quit before? Because the 10 level is the only thing they will be able to keep forever. After that everything is to temporary and not worth it.


      • I don’t disagree that it took some time for the negative long-term effects of this system to sink in. I didn’t really start to feel it until mid-Cata myself – which is when I quit. But even that was three years ago…


  2. I think the garrison is easy to fix. Just make the mine and garden produce mats the same way the garrison resource box does. I mean, what are all those miners doing in there anyway? The work orders could be to trade garrison resources for more mats, if so desired.

    Another issue is that while the garrison offers a lot of options via crafting, the savage blood bottleneck means you really can’t do a whole lot with them. I have tons and tons of taladite, true iron bars, engineering gears, etc but no savage blood to actually do anything with them. And then you are limited to only 3 crafted pieces anyway, meaning you have to supplement.

    Then you have apexis crystals, but the grind is so extreme there that you can’t realistically use it for more than maybe two pieces total.

    I kind of got off the point, but to me the problem isn’t really the dailies or whatever, but rather that you still have to do these raids in order to get anywhere. The garrison chores end up being kind of pointless because they don’t actually get you anywhere. At the same time you can’t turn down all those free mats. I don’t care so much that my gear will be outdated; video game progress and accomplishments are inherently ephemeral. But why add alternate methods of progress if they are always going to be hamstrung for the benefit of raiding?


  3. I like SWTOR’s focus on the Weekly. There’s daily quests, but each quest hub has a Weekly quest which basically requires you to do one round of dailies. A significant portion of the reward is attached to the Weekly.

    So that way, you don’t really feel the need to do dailies, so long as you get the Weekly done some time during the week. The Weekly is substantial enough that it counts as the main goal of that play session.


    • I agree with the Weekly pattern. That way you can work on other projects (reputation grind, finding pets, whatever) without feeling “guilty” or worrying about optimization.


  4. They really shook up a few too many things that were not broken this time around. Heroics awarding justice and valor gave good reason to rerun them. The dailies in MOP were actually the most engaging and varied they’ve ever been. The rares were also much more rare and actually had some teeth. They just flat out removed scenerios. They did add a lot of content to the garrison, but it’s very different from the core game we have been playing for years and it very much pushes things towards “instance of warcraft” even more.

    If you like raiding and hate having to do a bunch of chores to keep up to date this expansion is likely the best to date. If your focus is other PvE content this expansion feels thinner than it ever has. The content is great, but once it runs out it’s done and there’s not much left but to do garrison chores.


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