Having To vs. Wanting To Do something.

Daily Quests

My post on Garrisons brought up an interesting topic: Having to vs. Wanting to do something. There’s a bit of psycholgy involved with this discussion, as well as complications from game design details, and I don’t want to dive too deeply into it that we lose the point, but here’s how I see the debate of having to vs wanting to do something as it pertains to things like dailies, garrisons, etc.

I don’t like dailies that force me to do them. I don’t like the quest hubs with 10-30 quests that I have to do every day in order to accrue reputation or points or tokens or whatever it may be in order to gain access to something else down the road. Notice my caveat: They gate the content or path to something else. Any day that I skip is a delay in my ability to access the content or the reward or whatever it may be.  I would say that in this case, these are something I have to do.

I don’t mind dailies that exist to simply provide me with gold or rewards as I do them. If I do 10 dailies today I get 100 told. If I do 5 I get 50. They exist solely to benefit me as I do them. Whether I skip a day of dailies or not isn’t going to push out my access to something, it will simply provide me with less gain. Also, I can get gold doing any number of activities from crafting to running current dungeons, or even really old dungeons. Some of these other options might even generate me income faster.  In this case, these dailies are something I want to do.

The psychology comes into play when we think, “I have to do this because if I don’t, and other people do, then I won’t be as good as them.” People will think that they have to run the dungeons, and the raids, and do all of the daily quests, and craft, etc., because if not they they aren’t taking advantage of everything. I’ll raise my hand and volunteer that I am completely guilty of this trap. I fall into it all the time. While there may (reality: is) truth to this concept of falling behind, what does that ultimately matter as long as what you’re doing still feels like a game and provides fun? This will be completely different for each of us as to what we think is fun, and for some being the best is the fun part. Ultimately though, if you’re not having fun, and this feels like a job, then YOU are doing it wrong and not the game — that is, unless the game has gated the content behind these daily quests, in which case the game is inherently flawed.

Bringing this back to WoW for a second, and to a topic that isn’t as cut and dry as gold, the ideal way to give me options would be to say that I can generate (for easy math) 1000 apexis crystals a day. I can do daily quests in Tanaan, or I can do activities in my Garrison, or I can run dungeons, etc., to earn these apexis crystals. The choice of how to earn them is mine. That, to me, is fair, as long as all of these options allow you to earn up to the cap for the day. As soon as I’m forced to do the daily quests in Tanaan, AND the dungeons, AND the garrison stuff… that’s the part that feels like a job because I may not feel like doing dungeons today.

Personally? I like options in my themeparks. And ultimately that’s what I feel a themepark MMO should be all about.

  • WoD was doing well with this in that all you got from reps was recolored mounts or toys and I didn’t bother. Then they went and made the flying achievement require revered in all the Tanaan reps. It doesn’t take *that* long to do but it requires doing the dialies for a bunch of days.

  • Its interesting you bring up dungeons. Dungeons provide the fastest but worst gear. At launch you could deck yourself out in all 630 dungeon gear in no time flat to get your started in raids, but crafted gear, world bosses and Apexis dailies provided you with better upgrades, at a cost of gold or time. Most of the tavern/inn quests are for a few good perks (Aviana’s Feather anyone?) a few pets and a bunch of less useful (but sometimes fun) “toys”. I use quotes because they aren’t toys they are the NEW clutter to replace things made into toys.

    Now, the gear from the latest LFR and mythic is worse (except LFR can give you LFR specific set bonuses) than the Empowered Tanaan gear you can get, but again you can probably get it faster. (although that’s debatable as LFR and mythic dungeons have weekly lockouts).

    I’m guessing they are making dungeons harder to get into (premades or proving grounds) and give slightly worse gear than the long daily grind, so the the filthy casuals stay in their daily grind and the dungeoneers and raiders can have their preferred space a little more n00b free. Since most of them will graduate to harder raids, the fact their gear is slightly worse may be annoying, but from a performance standpoint hardly matters after your 1st or second raid upgrade.

  • Very fair overview of the motivations involved I’d say. It really doesn’t matter what the “content” is if you feel you’re doing it because you enjoy it not because you’re anxious about what might happen if you didn’t do it.

    I do my dailies in GW2 every day (on three accounts at that) because I find them relaxing and amusing. They do give rewards but I have pretty much everything I ever got from them in almost three years stashed in the bank because I don’t need those rewards to do anything i can’t already do without them. That’s one reason I find GW2 and EQ2 such a pleasurable games to play. I like having a lot of things I can do and very few things I have to do.

  • With regards to Apexis crystals: Although there is a cap on how many you can get via dailies (both garrison missions, Garrison daily Objective/Missives and Tanaan) just because those are all limited, is the fact that you CAN grind them by killing a bad thing?

    I do my garrison missions and Tanaan, but don’t bother joining custom groups to grind 10k (claimed) crystals an hour. Although I still have Apexis goals (gear and not gear), and I want to finish them, just not enough to join grind groups. I have better things to do with my time, like doing dailies on my alts 🙂


  • Immediate problem – you never have to do anything. Were keyed to do things depending on the reward we would get from doing such an action. The very low effort investment required for garrison rewards does not inherently make it more “fun” than anything else nor does it implicitely make any other activity “mandatory”. Many people grind reps, dailies, etc because they see a specific goal they are after for doing it and to them they can justify that time/effort investment. It’s also why people generally gravitate to the “easiest” method of doing a thing even if it’s the least fun method, because it takes less of a time investment. Now it doesn’t apply to everyone, everyone has their own value system but the very premise of “having to do vs wanting to do” is wrong from the get go. Choice does not make an activity inherently more fun, it does mean you can minimize time investment or effort investment by completing multiple goals at once depending on how you value these other things.

    Mandatory is you need to grind rep to buy an item in order to get access to a raid or dungeon or main story content. I don’t know any that exist off the top of my head in current wow, but I don’t play it so.

  • I think Mists of Pandaria helped foster this mentality by mistake. The 25 daily quest limit was removed in combination with reputation rewards being almost equivalent to raid gear. The goal was that reputation rewards would fill the gaps for anyone getting unlucky with drops, but instead people thought it was necessary to have all these things BEFORE they began to raid to start off in a better spot. It also didn’t help that since you don’t know what kind of drop you may be unlucky with, it’s hard to go “Oh, I haven’t seen a weapon drop, good thing I preemptively got exalted with the Klaxxi!” which made poeple want to raise ALL reputations. If you waited to go “I haven’t seen a weapon, better grind Klaxxi rep!” it would take a month. On top of that, there were reputations gated behind having to be exalted with other reputations!

    The dailies in MoP where the best there had ever been, fun, varied, story driven. But the reward structure outside the Order of the Cloud Serpent was horrendous. It’s not surprising so many players in a community obsessed with efficiency and DPS meters felt compelled to do all of it.

  • I think “I have to do this because if I don’t, and other people do, then I won’t be as good as them.” should be the MMO player’s mantra. It’s part of the created culture and I feel just as brainwashed as everyone else. I keep trying to think of an MMORPG I have played recently where those words would not apply. And I cannot find one. Damn that’s depressing.

  • I totally agree about the dailies…is the worst thing ever implemented in MMOs. As for the other part of the post, about multiply paths to go to a destination, is only viable if all the paths are “balanced”…not perfectly balanced of course, but shouldn’t be a huge difference in between.

    And now to the point of garrisons from your previous post…the things you achieve with garrisons, the “garrison path” are tons more fast and efficient than the other paths. If I gave you the choice to go from London to Paris with a train or with a bicycle, would you feel you have a choice?

  • Most people would go with the train but that is because they are playing to reach the destination. Do you play for the journey or for the destination? What if I told you that biking to Paris would be much better for sightseeing than sitting in a train. Would you care? I don’t think most players do but it’s all subjective.

    From reading Keen’s posts and playing with him in the few games we meet in I can tell he plays for the journey. It’s a dying breed to be sure but has the potential to be much more enjoyable than racing to reach a destination. It doesn’t help that more and more games have empty journeys but that is a different topic.

  • @gringar it depends…in a single player game i would go with my bike..in a mmo i would go with the train even if i would prefer going with the bike…your argument reminds me the flying/no flying arguments…people who want flying they say, that we the rest can go everywhere we want with ground mount if we chose so..but it is not the same.

    In an MMO, how other gamers experience the game does matter, because is an mmo..or else we would all playing skyrim. I dodnt doubt that many players experience mmos as solo as single player games..and they play the game without caring what others do as i dont care how others play skyrim…

    But in an online persistent world, i care, even if the MMO solo players cannot understand why.

  • @Kerazi: I haven’t reached the part of the WoW meta game where I have to grind lots of crystals, so I don’t know how inhibitive it will be for me to just do my Garrison or just do some of Tanaan. I’m not against people being able to do more to earn more, as long as I do not have restrictions placed too heavily on the methods I prefer to use.

    @John: I think for me the question isn’t train or bike, but what I want out of the journey or what my purpose is for travel. If my goal is to get to Paris because I need to hop a flight… then of course I’m going with Train. If my goal is to get to Paris but I’m on vacation and I want to see the countryside and enjoy the trip then I’ll opt for bike. My goal in an MMO is never to get to the end as fast as possible. To me that’s like saying, “I can’t wait for this experience to be over!”