Dailies. They're not just in MMOs. Oh, you may have bumped into these in World of Warcraft or Rift, but I remember dealing with similar features back in Pokemon Silver and the original Animal Crossing, once games could hold internal clocks that were supposed to synch up with real world time. Console games usually use it to give you some sort of bonus: better xp, new items, special items, etc. Sometimes, it may be to prevent something from happening (like in Animal Crossing, your house may have roaches or weeds piling up if you don't come on often). Usually, though, it's just that: a bonus. Missing a day isn't horrible, and sometimes the "dailies" will pile up so you can do them at your leisure.
In MMOs, dailies are your chore list. They won't pile up. Missing a day may set you back and prevent you from playing with friends, and even if you do perform them, you have to wait several days or weeks (maybe even months) before you get anything of value from them.
As the GM of our WoW branch said (sarcastically), "Oh no, they're trying to make you play! How terrible!" And he makes a valid point. After all, MMOs biggest drawing point for casual gamers is that it can be a way of stretching their dollar. Replace spending $50-$60 on a regular basis for new gaming in exchange for expansions about every other year and a $15 (or less) fee per month where you get new content maybe 4 times a year.
The problem is that dailies are rarely fun. Some people are under a lot of pressure to get them done or else they feel like they fall behind (and truth be told, they do, until the currency/items gained no longer matter). So how can this system be changed?
Here's a few suggestions:
1. Stacking dailies. Most of the time, it's collect 10 flowers, kill 10 rats, etc. Why not simply extend the limit to 7 per week so people have more time to do them. Then you can kill 70 rats in a day, or spread it out. Whatever fits your schedule. I'm sure charges could be added for tradeskills that use similar mechanics as well.
2. Use dailies to introduce fluff. Perhaps as gifts that give you consumable food that turns you into things, dyes for armor, cosmetic mounts, etc.
3. Move "progression" gating away from dailies for individuals, and more towards the greater community. If the SERVER earns 3k of [insert new currency here], everyone gets new dailies/zones/raids/etc. Nothing's massive about getting a quest from an NPC your friend can't see just b/c he took a 2 day vacation to Vegas and spent 4 days recovering. Just because he was an idiot doesn't mean you should punish me by making me lose out on my pocket healer!
4. Tone down the hamster wheel for solo players trying to get "wellfare epics." Dailies aren't the way to do it. Crafting is ;P If you wanna attach daily timers to that, fine, but please see suggestion 1. When I log in to do something only available for a 24 hour period, do you really want me to be moaning "ugh, 4 more days till my Blood Axe of Bleeding," or do you want me to actually have some fun?
5. NO MORE KILL/COLLECT/DELIVER DAILIES. Honestly, that tends to be most regular quests. Use dailies as a way to get away from the hustle and bustle of progression. These tend to be aimed at solo players anyway (9/10, aside from some fluff, most group oriented players can get better gear, and faster, by raiding than from dailies, or gear from dailies simply fills in some holes). If you want to hold onto solo players who play MMOs (still an odd concept to me, but whatever), it might help if you gave them something fun to do. I know I did some old school WoW quests long after I needed to just b/c they were fun.