WoWology – The Molten Front and Daily Quests

The final article of the week in this new series is WoWology. Here we take a look at what is happening in the world of WoW. Today’s piece is devoted the Molten Front daily quest line which was added in 4.2 as well as a look at the daily quest in general. Let’s kick it off.

The molten front quest line originates in Mount Hyjal. The story (which I barely pay attention to) is something to the effect of Malfurion and druids taking back what’s called the Regrowth before pushing into the molten front itself to battle the druids of the flame along with a load of other baddies…all of whom are on fire. For the player, this involves completing a series of quests to gain Marks of the World Tree. Once enough marks have been gathered, you’ll be summoned through the portal to the firelands and be faced with completing even more daily quests in the molten front. The point here is the completion of two quests: The Shadow Wardens and Druids of the Talon. Each of these requires you to produce 150 marks to complete and will open up even more daily quests. You’ll also be treated with one of the largest and impressive phased areas that Blizzard has made. Each major quest completed opens up more options, vendors, and visual delights. Completing Druids of the Talon, for example, will cause a tree to blossom at one end of the molten front and for grass and foliage to sprout beneath your feet. The appeal of these quests is the enjoyment of seeing your hard work make a visual, tangible impact in the world. But it is just that; hard work. Once the two 150 mark quests have been completed, three more quests will be available to you, each requiring 125 marks a piece. The advantage at this stage though is more daily quests to complete each day, resulting in more marks collected per day. So why do these quests? Well let’s take a look at some rewards for completing this quest line. As you progress through the daily quest chain you’ll be allowed to trade from specific vendors in the molten front. Zen’Vorka is the first of these. Click on the link and you’ll be able to see the different items you can purchase from him. Four pieces of equipabble gear all item level 365. Not too shabby if you’re currently working on the three T11 raids or you’re looking for a little boost before firelands. Nothing there is going to keep it’s place in slot very long though. Commendations are meant for those trying to quickly cap their reputation without running dungeons. The cache you can purchase will contain uncommon quality gear, possibly a lockbox, and occasionally a vanity pet. The pet will be why people will buy this most often. Believe it or not, there are lots of pet collectors out there. Now depending on which quest you complete next you will gain access to another NPC with more equipment. Damek Bloombeard is one of them. He is the recommended choice for blacksmiths out there. He provides plans for epic gear ilvl 365. Again, none of it is that astounding, but look up any of those items on the auction house at the moment and you’ll find them going for several thousand gold. They’re not worth that obviously, but there are players out there with more money than sense and blacksmiths will take advantage of that. The other two are Ayla Shadowstorm and Varlan Highbough. Again, all gear is ilvl 365. Both also offer a vanity pet for a not insignificant amount of gold. In my opinion, these rewards merely fill trouble spots you might have in your gear that you haven’t obtained in either BoT, BWD, or TotFW. If you complete the full quest chain, you’ll complete The Molten Front Offensive achievement and be given a Flameward Hippogryph mount for your trouble. Also, much like the Glory of the blah blah Raider style achievements, there is one which will grant you the title of Flamebreaker. I warn you now though, several of the achievements required to complete the larger overall achievement can be time consuming. One will require you to be in a group and several others are easier if you’re partied.

Those are rewards. 365 gear, pets, a mount, title, and achievements. You might look at that list and think, ‘Not bad for a day’s work.’ The thing is that it’s not a day’s work. It’s many days work. Many days of grinding through the same quests that become more and more tedious each time you do them. And for what? To get the mount to show everyone that you wasted your time doing a bunch of pointless quests? A couple of pets? A title that isn’t as cool sounding as Defender of a Shattered World? It seems like a lot of work. Not like a lot fun. I do enjoy the phasing. I like that there’s a good, solid storyline that permeates the quests. I also enjoy the fact that doing quests unlocks more quests. But at the end of the day it doesn’t seem like enough to me. And that right there brings me to the second part of this article.

The daily quest, in my humble opinion, is broken and cannot be mended. The daily quest worked in earlier incarnations of this game because they were new and exciting. We still liked questing for the most part. They were a different spin on the quest idea. How could you get quests to mean something to max level characters. Money was one and rewards was another. Gaining reputation for completing quests and then allowing that reputation boost to unlock items was a great idea. And in small doses it can still work. Offering dailies for a particular faction to allow players a way of capping out their reputation is just fine. Dungeon tabards can do that as well, but if you’re a questing kind of player then go nuts. But the model of daily quest hub is punishing. It’s boring, tedious, and repugnant. Players do them because they have to. They need to. They want the rewards at the end. They want the reputation. For some players there is no such thing as low hanging fruit. They will do what they have to do to get the reward or just to say that they finished it. But in my mind, it would be better to leave the player wanting more and that is something you’ll never experience when dealing with a daily quest hub. Of course, it’s very easy to criticize and make big statements like ‘DAILY QUESTS ARE BROKEN!!!’ to feel smart or special. It’s much harder to explain reasonably why you feel this way. So what could be done to reinvigorate the daily quest model? They’ve just done it.  The molten front is by far the best daily quest hub I’ve played through. It’s exponentially better than Quel’Danas. Leagues ahead of the dailies in Terokkar. It’s a daily quest hub that’s been taken to eleven. The sad truth is that it’s just not good enough. It’s not going to hold anyone’s attention through to the end. People will finish it to finish it, not because they’re interested in what comes next. Players that play through it a second time on another toon should be hospitalised. The problem is that they are central features in patch content, meaning if you can’t be bothered to do daily quests every day, a huge chunk of the patch is useless. I think everyone would prefer an improved diversion for end game characters. What this would be, I haven’t a clue, but I doubt very much it’s in the form of a daily quest line.

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~ by industrygaming on August 14, 2011.

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