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Columns: The Daily Grouse

By Jason Winter on January 12, 2015

The Daily Grouse

I'm still not totally on board with the new dailies. Judging by this massive thread on the official forums, it seems I'm not alone. I still stand by my original article last month that it's not a big enough change to make me rip my hair out and quit the game or anything quite so drastic, but I'm also not sure the revamp is having the desired effect.

And what was the desired effect? The third post on that forum probably sums up ArenaNet's intent:


“It rewards people who enjoy all areas of content, incentivizes players to try other forms of content, and is possible for people who refuse to expand their horizons.”

The ts;sdr (too short; still didn't read) of this seems to be that it makes people branch out and try new things. Well, I'm one of those people. I play plenty of PvE and WvW, with occasional bouts of sPvP. In short, I've done most everything the game has to offer, and I'm not the type of person who grind out the same dungeon or champ train for hours on end. I like variety and doing different things. And I still don't like the dailies.

I know, this is starting to sound like a, “well, it doesn't fit my needs, so clearly it's broken” argument. Let's look at it from the perspective of a player who's completely unlike me, a player who does only one type of content, maybe even one specific piece of content, like a particular dungeon path. How does having these new dailies change his or her experience? This player still gets the daily loot for logging in. If he/she wants to do the four tasks needed for the daily achievement, that player just warps around the map, gets it all done in 15 minutes, and heads back to the content that he/she really wants to do, probably ignoring anything else that's going on in the vicinity. This type of player is very goal-oriented and very keen to the rate of loot gain, which is maximized in the preferred activity. If this player bothers with dailies at all, it's just a momentary distraction.

For the other type of player, who is more like me and who likes to explore and do different things each day, it's even more inconvenient. “It only takes 15 minutes? And you're complaining about that?” Yes. Yes, I am.

The best thing about Guild Wars 2 dailies, in my opinion, was that they weren't like dailies in other MMOs, where you have to go to a particular quest giver, or cluster of quest givers, do exactly what they tell you, and then return to them for your rewards. GW2 dailies were more fluid than this, and I could accomplish them doing (mostly) whatever I wanted. Now, though, they feel like dailies in other MMOs, minus the requirement to visit quest givers: Do this specific thing in a specific place that we tell you to do. It's out of the way and not what you'd normally do, but you'll do it because there's a reward, not because you'll particularly enjoy it. Play how we want, not how you want.

Now if I want to do the dailies, I have to look as soon as I log in and make sure I'm doing the right activities in the right places, or playing the right class in PvP, or whatever. Again, if you were the task-oriented type who always looked at dailies right off the bat and accomplished them before moving on to other things, little has changed. For the other type of player, though, it's a pain.

And yes, the dailies aren't as lucrative as they used to be, with relatively minor loot boxes and 10 Achievement Points being the only rewards for doing them and the bigger rewards coming from the automatically granted chests. This is why I'm only grousing semi-quietly about the matter and not in full-out revolt mode. It's a small thing, the new rewards for doing the dailies, but it's a thing nonetheless.

But speaking of incentives – another reason the commenter above suggested for the change – does this mean the other methods didn't work? Right now, there are bonuses in effect that grant extra XP, World XP, and Magic Find from WvW. A couple of months ago, there was a period of time where you got double PvP rank. These bonuses do more to steer me toward those types of gameplay rather than the new dailies. I'd say ArenaNet found them ineffective, and thought the new dailies would accomplish their goals better, but since they're still using them, it's hard to tell.

I'm just not sure who or what purpose the new dailies serve. The compulsive “get the dailies done as quickly as possible and then move on” crowd is still going to do that. The people who like to meander around without being concerned about their daily progress doesn't like the inconvenience. And if you're concerned about the AP grinders who felt compelled to do every one of them, then you could have just modified the old version to give AP upon completion of the overall daily goal instead of 1 AP for each individual daily.

In the end, though, the idea behind just about any part of an MMO is to get you to play more. In my case, that's not what's happening. I find myself playing Guild Wars 2 less now than I did before the changes. Beforehand, I would log in and not even look at dailies immediately. I'd play what I wanted and after I went for an hour or so, I might look and see how I was doing. Oh, I've got 4/5 and just need to grab two more skill points? Fine, I'll grab some Scrolls of Knowledge from my vault to finish things off.

Now, I'm more likely to log in, get my daily reward, look at what's required to do dailies, and think, “ehhh, I don't want to do that stuff” and log right off. Yes, I could still do whatever I want and get rewarded for that, but there's something about that semi-regular ding whenever I finished one of my daily achievements – especially when I wasn't even trying! – that was nicely satisfying. It's hard to wean oneself off the Skinner box when you're so used to it.

If the intent of the daily revamp was to get people to try new things, I could see them getting some adjustment from their old form, so people who ran a single dungeon path couldn't just achieve them while doing the same, repetitive content over and over. I'm not sure what the adjustment should have been, but the current system seems too heavy-handed and forced. I think an equilibrium between the old and new methods could be struck, and that's something ArenaNet should try to... well, achieve.

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