I should probably point out, before I launch into this rant, that I have no inherently bad feelings about dailies. At MoP’s launch, I actually had a lot of fun with some of the daily quests, especially the ones for the Anglers and the Tillers. I enjoyed the majority of the Isle of Thunder dailies as well, even if they did get a bit lengthy once your server unlocked all the areas. In general, I don’t mind doing dailies, but I also don’t often find them especially compelling or fun. I think it’s probably not such a bad thing that Blizzard wants to give its players an incentive to log in and do something every day, but I’m not the sort of person who needs that incentive. I can almost always find something I want to do in-game, and my tastes tend toward raiding, dungeons, working on alts, and so forth. Repetitive quests aren’t high on the list for me.
Fortunately, we’re in the middle of an expansion in which Blizzard has done just about everything they can to ensure that we have multiple paths to achieve pretty much anything we want. I’ve never bought into the idea that we are “required” to do anything at all in-game, and if I don’t enjoy one particular progression path, I just find another that suits me.
All that said … if someone asked me to design the most obnoxious daily quests I could think of, my answer probably wouldn’t look much different than the Battlefield: Barrens quests.
The 5.3 Barrens “weekly” is grindy to an absolute extreme. While the Valor Points reward is fantastic, and probably even proportionate to the amount of work that you do, it’s certainly not an enjoyable process. We’re talking about getting 600 items over the course of a week, and – depending upon your skill and your character’s gear – you may be grinding those 600 items one mob at a time. I made the mistake of doing this weekly quest on my mage, who had been level 90 for about 2 days at the time and was sporting a 455 iLevel. It took a very long time.
I found that the mobs hit a fresh 90 pretty darn hard, but I stuck with it because the initial questline eventually rewards a pair of 502 boots. In an irony that is not uncommon for WoW in this expansion, the only characters who need the loot provided by this quest (or by the random enchant Kor’kron items) are those who are relatively undergeared; and relatively undergeared characters are the only ones who are going to have difficulty getting through this questline.
Worse still, many of the zone objective actively discourage cooperation. I really like the idea of the commanders and caravans, which remind me somewhat of the rifts and zone invasions in Rift that add a random and exciting element to what might be a slow-moving leveling experience. In that sense, I hope Blizzard will continue to experiment with these zone events in the future – but with a different implementation.
Commanders work pretty well as-is, since their health scales based upon the number of people who are in combat with them, and everyone who participates in the fight is rewarded for their efforts. Caravans are a different story. When you defend a caravan, the loot that drops from the attacking mobs goes only to the first person who tags each mob. While they usually only drop one item, if you escort a caravan from start to finish then you will probably fight between 10 and 15 mobs.
Having people spam instant-casts just to be able to hit a mob first seems to go against the general idea of caravans being a faction-specific group objective. Realistically, these mobs probably shouldn’t drop loot at all – when I soloed caravans, I usually didn’t have time to loot along the way, so I’d end up flying back along the entire path of dead orcs to pick up my 15 lumber after the fact. The items these mobs drop should be incorporated into the reward you get for successfully escorting a caravan to its destination. (Of course, the items you get for commanders and caravans are more or less randomly determined, so it’s entirely possible that you may end up with 300 oil and 20 lumber if you’re only participating in the zone events and not also grinding specific mobs.)
As for the over-turned shipments, I imagine that these are a lot of fun on PvP realms where opposing factions can battle it out as everyone swarms to the area. Even so, there must be a decent number of people who wait for another player to engage the opposing faction in a fight, and then try to loot as much of the cargo as they can without being noticed. (Maybe that’s part of the fun? Perhaps someone who plays on a PvP realm can weigh in, here.) On PvE realms, this event is substantially less interesting, as it is basically a simple test of who can stand in the best strategic area to loot as many items as quickly as possible.
Despite a lot of potential for future experimentation with zone events, I’ve found Patch 5.3 to be the weakest overall in this expansion. While the new scenarios have given us some idea of how “the Story” is progressing, there simply isn’t enough going on in the Barrens quests to keep them interesting. We’ve also gone through yet another patch in which there has been no solution to address the difficulty of gearing a new 90 so that they can participate in current content … but that discussion, and more about the difficulty of alting in Pandaria, is another post for another day.
How are you enjoying Patch 5.3? Have you regularly participated in the Battleground: Barrens quests and events? Do you enjoy the new “zone event” style of questing/dailies?