I love buzzword bingo, especially at this time of year.

One of my favorite buzzwords is paradigm. Not because I like it all that much, but because the people who typically use it around me have no idea what the hell a paradigm is, let alone what a shift of a paradigm would be, or why anyone would care if it happened.

I’m gonna use it out of pure perversity. It’s a new year, and I need to put the hammer down.

I’m arguing that World of Warcraft is a paradigm for an MMO. Ooh, controversial! Okay, no, not at all, pretty damn obvious.

World of Warcraft is wildly successful, and is often immitated by other MMO products in terms of structure, quest theory, group dynamics, etc. World of Warcraft is the example that inspires and teaches us what works and what doesn’t, what customers will respond to.

I’m also saying that the paradigm has shifted out from under our feet.

I listen to a lot of WoW community podcasts, I enjoy reading what WoW folks say on Twitter, I read a bunch of blogs.

One persistant theme is daily quests.

We used to have them, but they were a necessary evil that were thankfully limited. We only had a few at a time, they had specific rewards, and once you had what you wanted the only reason to ever go back and do them again was to chase gold.

Now, daily quests are everywhere, there is no limit to how many you can do, and there is a good reason to want what they can give you, world without end, amen.

In short, daily quests have gone from a sometime thing to being very nearly at the center of the core gameplay, and people resent the hell out of the change.

To go by the podcasts and Twitter comments I see, they’re a drag, a grind, a bummer, a thing stripped of joy and humor in a cold, cruel universe not of our design. Curse them, we curses the dailies my precious!

Well, I’m here to say, I think the core gameplay in World of Warcraft is now being built around daily quests, and if you’re still stuck thinking of dailies as something we will someday get past, good morning Mr Phelps it’s time for your 6:00 AM wakeup call. That smell in the air? That’s change. Oh, and bacon. Bacon and change.

Maybe what is called for are a few well chosen adages.

I can drag out the good old Marine Corps slogan “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome”, effectively saying brush it off and get over it. That’s what I’m thinking, so yeah.

Or perhaps I should simply reference Hank Williams, Junior and suggest you could use an Attitude Adjustment. :)

How is this a paradigm change?

Before patch 5.0, daily quests existed of course, but they were different from the daily quests of today in a couple of very signficant ways that have big implications.

First, we were capped by quantity. There were only so many we could do in a given day. We also usually only had one faction at a time, so if you were going to do dailies, the temptationw as to get out there and burn through them, get them over with, then move on to other stuff. Like queueing for heroics or LFR.

Second, they only gave gold and reputation. Once you had maxed your reputation and got what you wanted from that faction, you were done forever. 

Argent Tournament added tokens, a new throttle to prevent us just buying everything when we hit max rep and were done. Still, even with the Argent Tournament, there was a limit. Once you had the pets and mounts yuo wanted, done. Gold was all that remained.

The Molten Front really shook the daily quest structure up, tossing out tokens but adding phased progression, advancing storylines, great upgrades, profession recipes and vanity items, and branching paths to keep unlocking new stuff. 

As much of a success as the Molten Front was, it was still limited by points one and two. Limited dailes to do, only gold and reputation to gain.

Ah, how things have changed! Who would have ever imagined the difference tying Valor Points and Lesser Tokens to dailies would make?

The paradigm shift came when daily quests became something you could not burn through in a short time, and provided rewards that you would never stop wanting.

Who out there remembers where they were and what they thought when the word came out of 5.0 beta… “The cap on daily quests is being removed. You will be able to do as many daily quests each day as you could want without limit.”

Did you laugh? Did you look to your guildies in disbelief, thinking of the then-current system of gold/reputation dailies, wondering who the hell was out there praying for this change?

“Oh hell yes, sign my ass up, I want to spend my days grinding daily quests for gold, take that cap off because 25 quests a day is NOT ENOUGH to satisfy my hunger for money.”

Ah, but that before we saw the Valor Points being added to each and every quest. That was before we knew they were changing the way you could earn Valor Points from heroics, when you could still go in for just two days a week, run a bunch of heroics each of those two days, and max out your Valor gain from them. That was before tabards for reputation gains were removed…

And it was before they added the Greater Charms of bonus loot rolls, and item upgrades from Valor Points.

Things have shifted, big time.

Now, Valor Points are hard to get from heroics without logging in and committing to playing every single day, reputation upgrades cannot be obtained without running dailies at all, and Valor Points will forever play an ongoing role in upgrading all of your gear.

Now, you will never, ever truly run out of things to spend Valor on, you’ll just reach a point where you’ve stopped giving a shit if your items are fully upgraded or not.

For the progression raider, so long as new content is coming as fast as it seems, it will make more sense to relax about Valor. It takes one and a half weeks of Valor to fullu upgrade one epic. If you’re running progression, clearing all content and getting upgrades, it only makes sense to upgrade a few key items.

If you are not raiding or seeing a lot of drops in a short period of time, then using Valor to upgrade items is a nice way to continuously improve.

Bonus loot rolls? You get them from dailies, period. Reputation? Dailies. Even with the 5.2 farm changes coming, and being able to fulfill contracts on your farm to earn faction reputation, planting and farming still takes time each day. It’s just a new way of doing it.

Rumor has it, some players are motivated by new gear, and upgrading the gear they have. Who knew?

Well, Blizzard does, and the humble daily quest now fills an open-ended need.

There are so many quests available, and more coming all the time. And following up on the Molten Front design, we now have multiple daily quest hubs, each with a different theme, each having story advancement, phasing, and something fresh and new as you go.

Rumor has it, players like fresh story advancement and new shit. Again, who knew?

But the biggest wild card is how fast the new stuff is coming.

We just about had time to get our mains maxed in the 5.0 factions before Operation: Shieldwall and the Dominance Offensive dropped.

Now we’re going to have had time to finish and absorb those, and boom here comes the new war between the Kirin Tor and the Sunwalkers.

Things have changed in the game. Daily quests are at the heart of most of what we are doing, with the Black Prince threading through it all, adding a bit more meaning, bringing the threads together.

These days, even if you hate daily quests, it is strongly in your own best interest to pick a faction, grab some quests, and use them to fill the time as you wait for your heroics or LFR queues or BGs to pop.

Don’t expect things to change back the way you’re used to. Don’t expect there to be a day when you’ve got all you need and you’ll never have to do another daily quest again, ever.

And move past the idea that daily quests are something to focus on and burn through to get out of the way before moving on to the other stuff. There are too many of them for a reason, just pick and choose and fill in the gaps.

Above all, if you’re prejudiced against the idea of dailies, if the quests offend you by their very existence… you might need to adjust your attitude.

You can get your Valor from other ways, and you can decide you don’t need bonus loot rolls, and you can commit to getting your faction rep by planting flowers and fulfilling commissions, but the game is being built around dailies to fill in the gaps between doing all those other things you love.

Queue for a heroic, LFR, BG, whatever you want, the dailies are there to give you something to do other than stand around in Orgrimmar spamming Trade Chat while you wait.

Maybe I’ve made my case, maybe I haven’t, but the game feels very different to me now that before 5.0.

Before, there were big things to do, absolutely, but if you weren’t doing them, or if you were in queue waiting, there wasn’t much better to do than sit in a city, tab out with a warning timer, and read a book.

Now, there is a ton to do. Always. And it will reward you with upgrades or the potential for upgrades, either from upgraded epics, purchased gear from vendors, or bonus loot rolls.

And even if, somehow, you are playing World of Warcraft and could care less about gear at all…. Pet Battles. There is STILL something to do!

The world has changed around us, and the familiar needs to be looked at with a fresh eye.

Things will change in the future, maybe they’ll give us tabards, maybe they’ll do something else.

For right now, I know that if I log in, there will be a wide choice of things for me to do, and the hard part is figuring out what I want to do right then the most. 

And I love it. Every single day, I love it.

Every day, for months now, when I log in there is something to do. Always.

And more stuff is coming out!

I think it’s well past time for people to stop talking about daily quests as an annoyance, an unwanted evil, and start looking at them as something fast and rewarding to do in between the big stuff.

They’re not just for gold grinding anymore.

22 Responses to “When The World Changed Around Us”
  1. Ted says:

    Funny you should post this. I actually wrote something similar on my WoW blog today.

    “Usually, by this point in an expansion raid nights were about the only night I would really play my main very much. They were the only place left for me to improve my gear. Log in, raid, log out.

    What the new system has done is given me a reason to continue playing my main, even on nights when I don’t raid. I can still build up Valor and reputation needed to buy gear that will be an upgrade for my character. It gives a purpose and a goal to the grind, and its kept me playing my main longer than any other expansion I can remember.”

    http://honorscode.blogspot.com/2013/01/in-defense-of-reputation-grinds.html

  2. Tesh says:

    My problem with WoW isn’t that there aren’t enough things to do… it’s that I don’t have time enough to do the things I want to do.

    I think the design change you’re talking about here is a good thing for the game. I hope they don’t use it to lean heavily in the direction of demanding more time, as opposed to simply providing options.

    …and I love that they are using dailies to build a storyline. It seems like a smart bit of worldbuilding, and I’m all for that.

    • Ironshield says:

      I had this issue as well, and it had the wierd affect of making me feel overwhelmed and not doing anything at all. I have since started raiding again, and this served to focus my attention and I got a lot more done. As it turns out I geared up pretty darn quickly in dungeons then lfr then raiding anyway but those darn tokens are still a big draw.

  3. Xiryc says:

    And when the things they want you to do aren’t fun, but you still need to do them? I can’t collect my Jewelcrafting recipes without getting the pet recipes from grinding out those intolerable Golden Lotus dailies. And I can’t even think about doing August Celestials and Shado-Pan until I hit revered with them.

    I understand the Black Prince being a grind, considering the rewards, but since when do you have to grind rep just so you can grind more rep?

  4. Theodoxus says:

    My problem has been, and probably always will be, that it IS a grind. Killing 12 dudes? Collecting 10 bits of stuff? Come on! Do these 5 quests, then these 5 quests, then these last 5 quests. All the while, fighting players for mobs, for nodes, for runes and bits of stone. If there was one thing I wish Blizzard would emulate – it’s Guild Wars 2.

    Nodes for everyone! No tagging of mobs! It’s a friendly pve atmosphere because it’s all cooperative. And the more people that show up, the tougher the mob gets, but rarely is it overpowering. Killing 12 Mogu? Cake when you, the ‘enemy faction’ guy next to you and his 3 guildies are all killing the same ones.

    Bah. Makes me nuts. Be nice if the various MMO markets could just collaborate – kinda like what I’m talking about, on a meta level. GW2 has a great pve experience, Blizz copies it into WoW. WoW has killer BG balance, LORTO copies it. Etc. Feed off each others advancements and instead of waiting for the next generation MMO, they all slowly evolve into it. Pick your genre and graphics preferences and go to town.

    I think I’m too much of a peacenik.

    • Velaxis says:

      Totally agree with you Theodoxus. I really wish Blizzard would pinch a few ideas from GW2. The developers have said – somewhere – they don’t want other players to be an inconvenience or harrassment to WoW players, but the way things stand with overcrowded quest hubs, mobs that seemingly have amnesia about what they’re supposed to drop, or too few of everything to kill or collect, well this just breeds anger, frustration and not the tiniest bit of community. The daily quests themselves are fine, if you were in a world of your own. The design of it all just seems skewed to me. If we’re forced to do this stuff, and we are – forget all this ‘it’s optional stuff, because let’s face it, really it isn’t – at least make it less frustrating and rage inducing.

  5. Shaft says:

    I can see your point that you like this style of story progression but there are a lot who don’t. I can see that you relish logging in every day to move things on but there are many who can’t and even for those who can they will have strict limits on their time online. I think this really comes down to how and why you play if you are a dedicated raider then maybe this system doesn’t chafe with you, I’m not a raider so I can’t tell for sure. I am someone with lots of characters and no main, the kind of person who likes to have all the professions available to him so I can work my magic on the AH or just gear up a newly dinged alt without dropping 60k on three pieces of armor or less, this system for me sucks because it is just doing the same thing over and over again and getting useless so called rewards. My first character to 90 was my DK with JC and Mining so I went through and got the Serpent stuff done with the Tillers, I also did the Golden Lotus because it was the gate that had to be crossed. I was still doing GL, Klaxxi and just starting on Shado-Pan when the news came out that the commendations were coming so that meant redoubling my efforts with the DK to grind out reps so that I could then level my alts and grind out the same reps again in half the time TRUE to then FINALLY get something worth calling a reward at the end of all that, can you say BURNOUT.

    Still I agree that this Blizzard is not for turning at that this system is here to stay and will likely become even more of a barrier to my enjoyment of the game. Thankfully I got myself an XBox 360 and a PSP for Christmas so maybe it is time to shift my own paradigm and finally get to play FF13.

  6. scrooge says:

    I’m glad you enjoy the new dailies. Honestly I am.

    But as someone who considers questing in general an unpleasant but (formerly) brief means to an end, I hate them. Dailies are an outrageously grindy and now an endless time sink that is “almost required” for the primary wow activity that I enjoy – progression raiding.

    In expansions/patches past, I would be happy to finish my leveling, gearing, and preliminary raid prep and then settle into a schedule here I was raiding about 97% of the time that I was online until he raid content was finished.

    Where I do agree with you is the increasing prevalence of dailies… Bad news for me. I’m not sure how much longer I can tolerate this.

    • Ted says:

      If the goal of the dailies is to get people out of the cities then I wonder why it only affects PVE. You don’t need any reputation to spend Conquest/Honor points, and none of the dailies we are talking about award Conquest/Honor.

      Can you imagine the outcry if you had to Shado-Pan Revered to purchase PVP gear?

    • bigbearbutt says:

      You said “But as someone who considers questing in general an unpleasant but (formerly) brief means to an end, I hate them. Dailies are an outrageously grindy and now an endless time sink that is “almost required” for the primary wow activity that I enjoy – progression raiding.”

      I see your point, and I think this is a big part of the problem for a lot of people.

      You hate questing.

      But the core gameplay was designed around questing. Questing to advance, questing to further your character power.

      Raiding is not what the focus of the game was, except as a way to give you something to do once you reached level cap to feel there was a method to progress the power of your character further, through gear upgrades.

      Yes, there are a lot of raids, and raid content as a way to give players a reason to keep leveling in past level cap. But there are a lot of people who don’t like raiding, people who still want methods of improving their character power. Item Upgrades, and chasing the Valor Points to do them, is a brand new way to do that.

      It is purely my own opinion, but I don’t feel any sypmathy for anyone that objects to changes because you hate a core aspect of the gameplay. I hate PVP, and I don’t expect them to remove PVP just to please me. I just don’t do the PVP stuff, even though I know that I could really get powerful gear useful in PVE from Honor and Conquest points, and cool looking transmog stuff. I accept that PVP is a core aspect of gameplay from the beginning, and I find enough in the game to enjoy without it.

      Questing is, in my mind, arguably what the game IS. The raiding was tacked on at the end for vanilla, and yes it has since exploded into being more and more accessible for all, but hating changes that bring more quests into the gameplay…

      I can’t help but think that if you hate questing that much, enough that you are steaming over this, then it’s time to look for games that get you into the raids without any quests, like Planetside 2, and accept that a game built around questing is going to have quests.

      I have bitched in the past when I felt in order to get what I want in PVE, they have “made us” PVP. Like achievements for “What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been”, during orphan week.

      I have bitched, and I have chosen not to do them. I still don’t have that achievement because of it. And because I’m a stubborn, grumpy old bear and if I don’t want to do PVP, I’m not gonna do it, damnit.

      Would I be really pissed if PVP became a far more pronounced, in your face almost mandatory part of playing, eclipsing PVE?

      Absolutely. And if I couldn’t DO PVE without doing some form of PVP, I’m positive I would quit. But it hasn’t been like that yet, they still add the option for PVP and make it easily accessible without imposing it as a “must do”. So I am perfectly fine.

      See, I understand, and I agree with you that when what you hate is put front and center and shoved in your face, it sucks. My difference is… I’d definitely move to another game, because how can I argue when what they’re doing is increasingly the promenance that was a core part of the game from the very beginning?

  7. Don Ferren says:

    For me personally, this isn’t nearly so much of a sea-change. This is pretty much how I was playing during Cata, especially at the beginning when I avoided heroic dungeons like the plague they were. For example, I had gotten to exalted with Ramkahen through the 2 dailies available. It took me 52 days, but none of that rep was from dungeons. Even later on, I would continue to do the Tol Barad dailies because most of them were fun and I wanted the mounts/toys. Even with so many available now in Mists, I end up only doing 10 to 15 dailies each day, just like I did in Cata.

    I swear at times that Blizzard is watching me play and making changes to the game based on how I play. Far more likely though I’m just a typical, extremely average player.

  8. Navimie says:

    It’s daily burnout that causes the whining. Dailies give me something to do and having to stop “doing everything” and doing everything at my own pace gives me plenty to do in the game that I love. Glad I’m not the only one to see that.

  9. Siobhann says:

    I’m so glad I quit WoW. I have avoided dailies like the plague, only doing rep grinds that were absolutely necessary for things like shoulder enchants. Having dailies for valor points… *shudder*

  10. E says:

    Slight correction – it’s not Sunwalkers but Sunreavers. The Sunwalkers are the Tauren Paladin, while the Sunreavers are the BE Group in Dalaran (led by Archmage Aethas Sunreaver).

    I thoroughly dislike being forced to do dailies, of not having the option of deciding how I want to earn reputation with a particular faction. Both of my two level capped characters are currently valor and jp capped at the moment, and I’m not sure either has gear that is particularly worthy of upgrading so that problem may continue to exist for me.

  11. Kaliy says:

    Actually Blizzard is already backing out of the daily-centric view. In 5.2 we’ll be able to get lesser tokens from pet battles and, as you already mentioned, reputation from farming.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      I was writing about all of that in a follow up post, but I decided to delete it. The point my post was going to make as a follow up though, was that while the dailies are going to continue to be at the center, it’s going to be just like when the game first came out for leveling XP. When first introduced, you could only get the XP from questing. But as time has gone on, we have had more choices, more options added like XP from PvP, chain running LFR, etc. Even with more choices, though, quests are still the most efficient way to level fast, and I expect that in the future of character advancement past max level, daily quests will not be the only method but will be the most efficient method to get your Lesser Charms and Reputation fast.

      Great point, Kally!

  12. erroll says:

    I for one do enjoy quests. I feel they fill in a story of this big world i love playing in.
    That said. i Still hate the dailies. After iv read a book. I dont pick it up and read it again.
    I miss grp qsts. those were always fun.
    And i have adapted in my own way. I do the dailies ocasionaly when im in the mood.
    I do plan too retain my right too complain. Who knows with enuff complaining. Maybe just maybe. Wow will give the daily grinds back too the gold farmers and pet collectors.
    That said. WOW if you reading this. i do believe i would love daily grp qsts. bring back ampitheater of anguish as a daily. that id love.
    i adapted. but do too time constraints im a bit over a patch behind the curve. With a new patch comeing fast :)

  13. WoWMidas says:

    Like you say, it’s all good.

    And I say that as someone who is not a quest fan. I’ve played hours every day and I’ve only gotten exalted with the Tillers – on three toons.

    They have added tons of activities to the sandbox, so that there’s always TOO MUCH that can be done so you have to pick and choose. It’s like shifting from a fixed menu to a smorgasboard. How can having more choices be bad? To me that’s just daft. It’s like life – you can’t do everything, so pick what you like.

    Except for the world elite folks who resent the fact that they have to put in more hours to min-max, what’s the issue? You’re giving us too much to do? Really, that’s your argument? It’s a game, not a job. And Blizz isn’t and shouldn’t focus design on the 1%.

    If you’re so leet that WoW is your job, either suck it up or get a real job.

  14. jessica says:

    Brilliant read, and as I read, I also find out that I do agree that somewhat some things are way to easy… what I would like to is that MoP gear is not aloud in normal Cata dungeons… i find it so irritating when a dps do 35k dps damage in a 85 dungeon… boring!!
    Also what I would love is that ALL dungeons opens up for all lvls.. I am missing the random of the hard ones for 80s, lol… =) Oh well hope it happens one day. / jeji

  15. anon says:

    I remember doing the IoQ dailies in BC. The thing I liked most about them was that the world changed as a result of both me and everyone else doing the dailies. It was basically a prototype of phasing but it was for everyone.

    The molten front dailies were nice because the world (as you sawa it) changed as you progressed through them.

    I wish more of the dailies in MoP followed those patterns. Seeing major changes in the world as a result of doing the dailies makes them feel less grindy. Sure you do the same ones a lot but you also see changes because of it.

    The grindy part of dailies is that if you don’t do them, well so what, there will be x mobs of the same type to kill tomorrow to avert the same “immediate threat”.

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