I had a really interesting conversation with my buddy Joe via Twitter the other day, and I must say I was really intrigued by the path the conversation followed. Joe responded to my frustration that my realm once again had the Shieldwall dailies that take you into the cave, which I despise. I call those the broken gear caves, because I never fail to come out of dailies in there with a few pieces in red for durability. Once I even came out with all but my boots broken, and it was only through the spells on my Paladin that I was able to kill my last foe. Yes, this was on a plate wearing Paladin.
So after I vented, not for the first time, that the reoccurrence of the cave dailies was delaying my experiencing the story, Joe expressed his own frustration that the stories in 5.1, and even at launch, are so heavily tied to daily quests. Joe, not quite understanding where my aggravation came from, thought I was upset that the story is connected to dailies at all. This led to what I thought was an awesome conversation, and I wanted to spend some time expanding on those thoughts in a format higher than 140 characters at a time.
Stories take time
One argument is that folks just want their story without the need to do dailies to get it, similar to how the story was presented for the Elemental Bonds chain in 4.2. I have heard a lot of people complaining about dailies, but I must say this is the first which was saying they wanted story without dailies. Usually the argument I hear is ‘I want gear/rep/rewards without the need to do dailies to get them’. I will, however, address the “story without dailies” argument my friend made.
Joe argued that they preferred story like the aforementioned Elemental Bonds chain in the Firelands patch which led the player through rescuing Thrall’s fragmented spirit in the different elemental locations connected to the Cataclysm expansion. This chain was completed in one big chunk, and wasn’t a slow progressing release of content like dailies.
The issue I see is two fold. First, I think Blizzard wants to give the story of 5.1 in smaller chunks and over a longer time to avoid folks who do just want the story running into burn out, or running out of stuff to do. I cannot tell you how many folks who aren’t raiders that I heard express frustration once they did the Thrall line in a day and the molten front story in a couple of weeks that they had nothing to do in game. They had ‘finished’ the story of that patch, and now had several months of either twiddling their thumbs or rolling alts to look forward to. On my priest that hit 85 later in the expansion, I couldn’t even do the chain because the mobs are often elites, and a squishy priest had no chance.
Second, I think Blizzard is working hard to bring the story to players without the ties to raids or dungeons because they see that a lot of players got turned off of those in the Cataclysm era. They want an easy to do way of getting the story, but not so easy that you will run into boredom once you finish the story in a day. It is a really tricky line to walk, because you could get flamed either way, but I think Blizzard have a good mix of length and accessibility in this new paradigm of story delivery via daily questing.
I think this type of reaction is why Blizzard has chosen a couple of things for Mists. First, they are releasing more frequent content patches, not just holding all stories until they feel the players are ready for another raid and pvp tier. Second, I think this is also why they are deciding to still tie story to dailies as they did with launch reps like Golden Lotus, but in a less set fashion. The story progresses at varying times, but usually every day or two of doing dailies you will get a story quest.
It’s less about hitting a certain rep level of friendly, revered or honored, and more about progress made through the events surrounding that beach in Krasarang Wilds on the Southern side of Pandaria that oddly both fleets sailing from the North of the planet landed on at nearly the same time. Epic tales are not often told in one short burst, but over a longer period, and I think this thinking is what lead to the change in story for 5.1, and while missing a day hurts my progress through the story, it is nice to see the story being more dynamic than others in Pandaria.
I just want the reward
As someone who has not heavily raided in more than eight years of playing this game, I definitely understand the desire to get an awesome reward in the way you want to, but that is not how the system works. If you could just have everything you want without any effort, then I feel it would make the reward next to worthless. The message from the developers tends to agree with this, saying that they want the reward, be it story, gear, or other items to take a bit of work.
The want to make sure they are giving the proper effort to reward ratio, and that people don’t get bored when the awesome new stuff is just handed to them. Now, could they make it easier, or more rewarding, make it so you have a story based quest every day? Yes. But wouldn’t that make the overall experience less rewarding, and less awesome because those resources would have been taken away from another place? Once that was done, what would you be left with if you don’t raid? Level alts, or other end game activities? Cataclysm answered this clearly for the players.
I hate doing Dailies
I understand those who do not like dailies. I do not like PvP or non LFR raiding. I have had a hard time justifying the time of running dungeons or heroics. I have only received one single piece of upgrade gear from Scenarios, and challenge modes require more time and coordination than I have with anyone in game right now. For me, dailies and their connected reps are how I experience the game. If you care more about gear than story, you can do any of the several things I mentioned above to get geared up.
As a Community Manager recently pointed out in the forums, if you want to gear for LFR, you can, or nearly hit the required Item Level from doing all the non-daily quests in the game up to and including the end of the quests in the Dread Wastes. If you are not to the required level, running a few dungeons should get you the last few points you need to get into the Raid Finder. If you want story, you can go on YouTube and find videos for all of the story quests in the chain for Lion’s Landing, Golden Lotus, Klaxxi and more.
Do what you want
With all of this information, from in game experiences and the words of Blizzard themselves, my only conclusion is that those who rage at Blizzard for forcing them to do stuff they don’t want to do need to rethink their positions. If you do not want to do dailies, you can get what you want without doing a single daily quest. If you do not want to do dungeons, raid finder, scenarios, or challenge modes you are free to avoid them. You may lose out on valor points from the lack of dailies, but you can repeat dungeons and scenarios to get to the valor cap if that is a priority for you.
As Blizzard has shown, you can do what you want, and still have the ability to partake in whatever form of end game you want. It is just a matter of finding the best way for you to get what you need for the content you want. Unfortunately those who want to just put in a day of work to get there are likely out of luck if they want to experience it themselves, instead of by video. Do you think achieving what you want is too hard in Mists? Let us know in the comments!
Since the original conversation, Joe has begun to do the daily quests in 5.1, encouraged by my arguments that they are worth the time.