One of the primary reasons for the frustration over Patch 6.1 has been the disappointment felt by many about Warlords of Draenor’s endgame. In typical Blizzard over-reactionary fashion, the complaints of “Too many dailies” reported for Mists of Pandaria engendered the near extinction of dailies. The problem is that this response ignores what players found most irritating about dailies in Mists, while also dispatching with everything that players enjoyed. It’s a classic case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and one can only hope that Blizzard is paying attention to the current outcry so someday we will just end up with a glistening clean baby instead of a player base that cries like one.
At launch, Mists of Pandaria featured several different factions for players to interact with; each with their own daily quest hub. Each hub told a story of sorts, though some, like the Klaxxi or the Golden Lotus, were more involved than others. Players enjoyed having so many engaging activities to seek out, but the complaints started to arise as players felt forced to do this content. The problem was that profession recipes and epic gear were available only from reputation vendors – in order to efficiently progress, one needed to be working towards exalted with multiple factions as quickly as possible to unlock your gear. Players disliked feeling forced to do so many daily quests, and thus the result was an outcry against daily quests.
Yet now that Blizzard has removed these dailies, players are finding Warlords of Draenor’s endgame content lacking, and the point is being made that the additional content dailies provided would be welcome. Blizzard failed to comprehend that it was gating gear behind the daily quests that irked players, not the quests themselves, and without that distinction Blizzard arrived at a solution in the form of the Timeless Isle-style of questing, with its reliance on rare spawns and timed events. This worked as a methodology for providing a single zone of content, but has struggled when scaled up to a whole continent.
Even then, players bemoaned the length Shaohao reputation grind, but as it was one grind and players had over a year to kill mobs, it was not a major point of contention. Instead, players now have two reputations that can only be completed by grinding out mobs, and another reputation that requires collecting items from specific mobs (which is to say another grind). The end result is that Warlords of Draenor has either felt underwhelming or daunting, depending on whether you ignore or engage the grind.
Hopefully, Blizzard has been paying attention and realized that players appreciated the way Mists’ max-level content was presented. The system was flawed, but only needed minor tweaking instead of a complete overhaul. Blizzard has claimed that they heard us and that they removed dailies because we asked for it, but any good development company should know to look beyond what their player base is crying about and determine the true cause for their pain. The clamor over dailies was not a call to remove them. Previously, players had been enjoying daily quests enough that Blizzard felt compelled to remove the 25 daily quest limit in Mists. Ultimately, this decision overwhelmed players by presenting too many reputations to grind, hastening player burnout. Yet Blizzard, as they are known to do when faced with a struggling feature, removed it entirely instead of attempting to address the fundamental problem.
If Blizzard has been paying attention, then they must know that players have been disappointed with the current state of end game content. Yet the question arises in what form their response will take. The ultimate question is what is the best way to provide gear upgrades to players without invoking reputation grinds? It would seem that Apexis Crystals have been well received as a replacement for valor and justice points, even if valor and justice did not need to be removed.
Fundamentally, the solution seems to be to replace the assault quests with real quest hubs – while some may appreciate the deconstruction of the questing experience, overall, players seem to prefer a more guided approach. The only issue is that constructing a quest hub, with advancing story elements like the revered patch 5.1, requires more development resources than assembling a collection of mobs to go kill. Hopefully, with the manpower that was added during Warlords’ development, that sort of effort should not be unattainable.
Perhaps the next expansion will see a return to daily quests as they were appreciated previously. Perhaps Blizzard will overreact in some unpredictable way, and introduce a new system with perks and flaws for us to love and dissect. Either way, one of the great and worst things about a game like World of Warcraft is that it is always in flux. Whenever a system like daily quests is introduced, it will be iterated upon and evolve continually. We can only look forward to what the next iteration will bring.
In the battle between white & gold and black & blue, I’m with HOT & FIXES. http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/18061645/61-hotfixes-february-26-2-26-2015
Method got the World First Mythic kill of Blackhand. DAMMIT. THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ORGRIM’S. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nINIbyNVR2c
Lore and Watcher are streaming a Raid and Dungeon Q&A on Twitch this afternoon. Even though its not a raid question, I’d like to ask, “Twitter Integration: great feature or the greatest feature?” http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/16410221905#1