A look at the new shape of Firelands dailies
Once again I’ve been struggling to find much time to play WOW over the past few weeks, when I’ve managed to get on, even if it’s just been for 10 minutes my first priority has been to carry on with my auction house experiment; my second task, time allowing, has been to work through the new Firelands dailies. I wrote a brief post just before the Firelands patch asking what the casual could expect from the new content, in particular looking at the more ‘personalised’ dailies.
Firstly, the way the new dailies works is a little different to that of other ‘rep’ type dailies, you don’t directly gain rep by doing x, y and z, instead you collect tokens. Mark of the World Tree to be precise; in order to get anything from these dailies you need to collect 150 of the little buggers, at which point an NPC will become available from whom you can buy goodies from. Further NPCs turn up varying number more, according to Wowhead a total of 695 will currently unlock all of the available NPCs. Now I like this idea, in some respects, and hate it in others, as a casual you are at no more of a disadvantage than raiders (other than perhaps they have more time to play), as you can only get the marks from dailies, you can get a maximum of around 12 per day (it varies according to how many NPCs you’ve unlocked) after the initial introductory quests which give a few extra, so you’re going to be grinding for 33 days completing each quest to unlock everything (again according to Wowhead). There is no tabard so it’s not like you can hit a few instances over the course of a weekend to max your rep out like the others.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, it’s not all about the gear; gear is a means to and ends, my primary goal is enjoyment, so what about the quests? I’m not a big quester if I’m honest, they’ve been a means to getting to the top level over the years, and nothing more, yes there's been the occasional chain to get an item, or that really are fun, like the crucible type chains, and then the horrible Onyxia and molten core type key chains which are occasionally fun at first but a complete pain in the proverbial when you come to run alts. On the main part, I’m not one of the people who’ll just churn through them for the fun of it. I’m not interested in the lore, or the ‘story’ (I know it floats some peoples boats, just not mine.) in fact the second I discovered the macro to speed up quest text in Vanilla it was a permanent resident in my macro book; click the NPC, hammer accept, and jog on, that’s me. I’m not a fan of the cut scene for the same reason, but that’s a different story (pun intended).
On the face of it the Firelands quests are a bit different from the norm; rather than, say, the Jewel crafting dailies, where if you need to inflict stardust on ten different people, every other jewel crafter on the server will be doing the same, the Firelands quests are randomised for you, there are a pool of quests from which you get a random selection to do each day (the numbers vary again depending on how many NPCs you’ve unlocked). One of the reasons I’ve never been so interested in the MMO story element is that they never felt that, well, epic. “you young Troll! Go kill MEGADRAGON the undefeatable beast that’s been stealing our carrots and has slayed every Troll before” only if you don’t mind waiting in line for the seventeen other peeps who got there first to finish killing him it’d be appreciated, ok, thanks, bye…. Not for me thanks. With the randomised aspect, you AND ONLY YOU, are on that particular quest chain. RIGHT! Wrong. Whilst the quests are essentially randomised from a pool of possible quests, there's so many people wading into the new content at the same time, that you’re still competing for the same mobs as everyone else. Yes there’s improvements, all of the big mobs are killable by the same people concurrently; they can’t be tapped, so you only have to hit it once before it dies to get credit, so there’s not as much of the listless hammering of the /target megadragon /cast <instant spell> macro to tap monster before that nasty Paladin gets there first. When it comes to punting bears onto trampolines, or reviving exhausted allies (who look shocked for a few seconds, before stumbling round a bit and then falling over again) you’re still essentially grinding stuff and competing with everyone else on the server.
It’s a step in the right direction, don’t get me wrong, but so much more could be done. I’d like to see more in the ways of phasing being used so that when you kill MEGADRAGON, you and you alone are fighting it, you’re already zoning into Firelands for half the quests, which would suggest it could be on a different instance server, so why not ensure there’s only one character in each ‘instance’ on each particular quest, or at least only a few. I like the combination quests, the ones that aren’t party quests, but several people can kill the same hard mob. I like the ‘different’ quests of punting things into the water, although the stupid bear-up-a-tree quest is already doing my nut. Actually it would probably require far more quests to choose from in the random pool to make it viable, that and enough server power to accommodate the extra phases and instances. All of which means cost, and cost means less profit, so I doubt we’ll see anything like. For the moment I’ll continue grinding coins, at least until I get to 250, just so I can say I gave it a fair crack, doubt I’ll go much further though as chances are I’ll be ready to strangle the developers by then.