Themeparks have to give you a reason to run the ride again and again. There’s a carrot somewhere that makes that switch in your brain go, “ok, one more time”. Way back in the day, this was more or less organic – run a dungeon. Eventually it turns into formal quests as we know them today – dailies. For a very long time, this was mostly about money. Free cash! Just jump up and down! Then this became a reputation grind to get items. Just 18 more dragon eggs before you get a new shoe. Then we reached a really weird stage where dailies were the precursor to more dailies. Hello Golden Lotus!
Dailies were also typically capped in terms of how many you can complete in a day. Not only are the individual quests on a timer but you could only do X amount per day. The reason for this was three-fold. First, this was a massive money tap that could be exploited easily. Millions of gold entered an economy per day unchecked. Second, they often rewards reputation scores for better gear – which was vertical progression. If you could do them all, then you would be progressing very fast. Third was the natural gating requirement of time. The game should last Y amount of time. People would (and did) burnout.
Using WoW as a solid example, dailies went through many iterations and nearly all based around expansions. From BC to MoP, there have been different flavors. The main driver, or success if you will, for dailies is an alternative progression path. Certainly, given the choice people will naturally take the path of least resistance. Dailies however give you a chance to “quickly” make progress through alternate means. The tabard/daily quest reputation grind made sense. It fit both playstyles. The “only-dailies all the time” approach of MoP put in an artificial gate that could not be bypassed. Don’t get me wrong, I like the cloud serpent faction as the quests were related to the outcome. Pat Nagle progressed through fishing-related activities. Golden Lotus had (before 5.4) no purpose other than to gate access to 2 other (and more rewarding) reputation grinds.
SWTOR takes a slightly different approach in that “zones” have daily quests that share rewards. Tokens/progress is made. This supplements the raiding/dungeon game with modifications. There’s a fair amount of horizontal progress as well (customization). It works for me.
Neverwinter is an odd mix. Daily quests reward Astral Diamonds based on activities – been there since day 1. It works in that the rewards are the same, regardless of the content consumed. Most of that content is social so, more people doing things together = good for the community. The last 2 expansions added “gated dailies” where the rewards are not item based but content based. You complete a few and get access to new dungeons. A few (a lot) more and you get passive stat buffs that are not gear related – you keep it forever even if you get new items. You complete more and get a better chance at loot.I like that this is daily and gated but that brings me to the final daily hiccup.
If you miss a day, you miss a day of progress. Missing a raid means you have, usually, another shot in the week (assuming the timer is a week). Miss a dungeon, then run 2 the next day. Dailies are the only content with a short expiry. I personally think it would be great if you could “store up” daily quests for a period of 3-4 days, or perhaps have the rewards reflect that “store”. Have it run at a reduced ratio too, say 25% per day missed. I know a game wants a hook to have you login often but unless that game is offering off-line progress (and an interface), then after a while you just lose interest.
If I knew that after a long weekend I could come back and make some additional progress, even reduced (which would be double daily rate based on the numbers above) I think that would motivate me to login and spend more time. Especially if it related to gaining access to new content (and not items).
In SWTOR, I like that the better rewards are all tied to “weeklies”, which only require you to do 1-3 days of dailies to complete, which mitigates the “must log in every day” problem somewhat. Basically, that design always makes me feel like the developers don’t really expect me to actually do dailies every day.
With the associated reputations, I like that they are account-wide, so whenever a new one comes out I can effectively ignore the daily limit and accumulate as much rep as I have alts, even if I can’t actually “unlock” it all until the timer allows. This suits me well as I quite enjoy binging myself on new content, but quickly bore of doing the exact same thing over longer periods of time.
Thanks for the additional detail. I have to say that I am more impressed with SWTOR today than a year ago. Seems like there were a lot of lessons learned.