Tuesday, February 28, 2012

One-a-Day Plus Something or Other

After spending much of the Cataclysm expansion playing BGs, I've recently returned to my questing roots.

Sure, I've squeaked in BGs, but I've been recently cruising through Azeroth, working on that Alliance Loremaster for Tomakan.  I figure he'll have it by the end of the NCAA Tournament, when most of the people at work seemingly disappear into the ether and I can take a few days of vacation.  (Okay, I'm not going to take vacation days just to play WoW, but it is something to chill out with.)

Horde Loremaster Quintalan has been operating in semi-retirement, occasionally dropping in to Silvermoon or Eversong Woods to stroll the area.  There's always some smart-ass lowbie toon who thinks it's funny to challenge Q to a duel if he's on Sunstrider Isle, but I always refuse those requests.  I've been tempted to send him into AV, but right now he's content to relax and fish for a while.

In Q's absence, Neve has taken over the Horde toon mantle for the time being and has been running both Firelands and Quel'Danas dailies to keep herself busy.  I'm not exactly sure why I decided to start both at the same time, but a mage's teleport ability is invaluable for handling this task.

Comparing the two sets of dailies has been very educational, even though Neve can sleepwalk through the Q'D dailies given the level imbalance.  In fact, the two sets of dailies have demonstrated the evolution in daily design over the lifetime of WoW.

The Quel'Danas dailies came at the end of BC and featured one big element found in some of the more vexing pre-Cata Vanilla questlines: trooping all over the Continent just to kill or collect something.  Does anyone remember the questline that the ghost in front of Stratholme sent you on?  First you had to collect stuff to assemble the ghost detector in order to contact him, then he sent you on quests all over Azeroth (and several times into BRD) to assemble what you needed to defeat the monster in question.  Finally, after crisscrossing Azeroth numerous times you were able to complete the quest chain and return to the capital city for your reward.  While about half of the Quel'Danas dailies were in Q'D proper, the rest sent you all over Outland to collect and/or fight things.

Most people who come to Quel'Danas these days see the sunny location and the numerous dailies to choose from, but it wasn't always the case.  Q'D as released was a rainy beachhead that only changed as enough dailies on a server were completed.  The Shattered Sun gradually retook the island, more dailies opened up, and skies cleared.  It was a great idea in theory, but in practice what happened was that on some servers people were in such a rush to unlock more content that they blew through the daily requirements and unlocked everything in record time.

The next major set of dailies, for the Call of the Crusade patch in Wrath, improved on things a bit by removing the world trigger for a change in the dailies.  Instead, the player progression unlocked the next level of dailies, and the player could move at their own pace.  The variety of locations you could be sent to was reduced to a more manageable level, with the implication that you could do the dailies and then go about your raiding (or whatever).  The trouble was that the same 5-8 quests got monotonous after a short while, and each time you tried to become a champion for another race in your faction you had to go do this all over again.

Blizzard apparently learned from these issues when they designed the dailies for the Firelands, because they brought back the world effect changes, but tried to keep the character oriented approach.  Firelands utilizes phasing to separate out the world event changes, from the growth of the tree at Malfurion's Breach to the addition of different quest types in an effort to prevent stagnation.  This allows the dailies to take place in a more limited locale, reducing the monotony of travel time and increasing the amount of in-game activity.

Variety?  Check.
World altering events?  Check.
Small locale?  Check.
Time length?  Um.....

I've discovered that the Firelands dailies take a lot of time --and I do mean a lot-- when compared to their predecessors.  Even though you can one-shot mobs in Quel'Danas, you still take about 10-20 seconds fighting monsters in Firelands on average.  You'd also have to consider that Firelands is still active as a quest hub, so there are enough other players there that your way from one location to another isn't hindered by having to mow down excessive mobs.  Quel'Danas probably would take about 10 minutes longer if I were at-level, but that still doesn't take as long as the 45 minutes for me to clear all of the Firelands dailies, and I haven't even unlocked everything yet.  Blizzard didn't eliminate the time factor, they just tweaked it so that you had to do more dailies at once for fewer days overall.

The current state of dailies rewards persistence, not skill or gear level.  While persistence in and of itself isn't a bad thing, too many people who don't value persistence at the level required of the Firelands felt obligated to run those dailies to get the rewards at the end, and people don't like being forced into anything.


  1. I have to disagree that the Argent Tournament was better than Quel'Danas in terms of how much it made you run around. It's true that the QD dailies sent you all over Outland, but they were spaced out in such a way that you could basically do them all going along one big loop of the continent. The AT on the other hand was mostly clumped up in Icecrown and then sent you off to fetch a sword from Howling Fjord. I actually found that a lot more annoying because it meant a lot of time doing nothing but AFK flying, while the QD dailies sort of made me move along in little "hops" that served as a natural break to my questing rhythm.

    I think the main thing that bugged me about the Firelands dailies is that there is no "real" progression, you have to go through the whole thing to unlock the druids or the wardens every single day. It's just crazy.

  2. @Shintar-- I think it depends on what Blizz was trying to accomplish with the dailies.

    If the goal was to have a world influencing event such as an opening of Ahn'Qiraj, Q'D was a nice attempt. If the goal was to simulate the training and monotony of a Knight, Argent Tournament was the result.

    Personally, I like Quel'Danas better than Argent Tournament, because you could (eventually) do enough dailies in the immediate vicinity of the island itself to make up for skipping the ones that took you on the Outland Grand Tour. (And there was the rep from Magister's Terrace, which compensated for skipping those dailies too.)

    With the Argent Tourney, however, you simply prolonged the agony if you skipped one or two of the five dailies you got. By the time I got to the third or fourth race in Q's quest for the Crusader title, I nearly gave up due to the insanity.

    With Firelands, while I'm doing it I keep thinking that there'd better be some good lore at the end because otherwise this is going to be just as bad as Argent Tourney.

  3. 6...no 8 Crusader's so far, and 2 "Of the Shattered Sun." It wasn't until recently when I was running through Outland heroics with my main that I noticed Magister's Terrace gave SO rep. Doh!!

    One HUGE help while doing Argent Tournament dailies was being an engineer. The Wormhole Generator can warp you to Utgarde Pinnacle, with only a short flight north to either un-iceblock the girl, or a bit further to /kiss frogs. Of course, you'd have to get the ember first by Dalaran, but that's where the Dalaran teleport ring comes in handy. Have your hearth set to Dalaran, or directly at the Tournament grounds, and it will save a ton of time.

  4. @Bloodshrike-- I'll have to remember that about Engineering, since Tom is currently leveling that. Well, I got sidetracked working on Loremaster, but I'm going to keep moving on it when I get back to Northrend.