It appears that the new solution for end game world content going forward is the Timeless Isle variety of gameplay. I would agree this is preferable to the 5.0 dailies, but that doesn't necessarily mean daily quests need to be phased out completely. I actually enjoy daily quests when they don't feel like a requirement. I thought the Isle of Thunder was a good balance between the two extremes. I could go and hunt for rares if I wanted, or I could get some guaranteed valor and gold with the daily quests.
To understand why daily quests are about to die, we need to look at the history of them throughout Mists of Pandaria:
- Patch 5.0 had a soul crushing amount of daily quests. Weeks of daily Golden Lotus grinding only to unlock more dailies with the August Celestials and Shado-Pan. On top of that you had The Tillers, The Anglers, and the Klaxxi. A lot of daily quests isn't bad by itself, but when they feel required it's a whole different game. Important profession recipes and valor gear was hidden behind multiple weeks and months of daily grinds.
- Patch 5.1 added even more dailies. I'm sure this content was already being worked on well before the player backlash against daily quests began, so it was too late for Blizzard to make major adjustments. I actually enjoyed these dailies with the story progression, but they were somewhat lost in the fallout from 5.0 dailies. Many players didn't want to see another daily quest ever again.
- Patch 5.2 and the Isle of Thunder introduced the concept of the rare spawns which can be tapped by anyone and added more daily quests. The number of dailies wasn't nearly as bad as 5.0, and if you wanted you could ignore the dailies entirely while killing rares for valor points. The reputation for ilvl522 valor items was only earned inside Throne of Thunder.
- Patch 5.3 just had the one weekly quest and the opportunity to farm mobs to buy a few vanity items or gear up your alts. Many players still spent a lot of time on the Isle of Thunder during this time after they were done with their weekly quest.
- Patch 5.4 is all about exploration, killing rares, and farming mobs for coins. A couple of weekly and daily quests is all you will see here in terms of repeatable quests. There's also a whole slew of new toys and pets to farm.
What about all the gold we received from dailies?
We're not all auction house barons. The Timeless Isle has just one daily quest (two if you count that lore one), and most of the mobs drop Timeless Coins instead of gold. Combine this with the number of times you will die on this dangerous island as an under-geared player, and you can actually end up losing gold by participating. Let's not forget that daily quests were originally added as a source of gold for level capped players. For those of us who don't play the auction house, dailies have been a major source of spending money for our regular essentials and we will need some kind of replacement.
Another problem I had with the Timeless Coins as a currency is you eventually ran out of coin sinks. One can only buy so many pug pirate hats. I hope Blizzard keeps this in mind for future currencies.
Garrisons: A potential replacement for dailies?
My problem with having a reliable source of spending gold may be alleviated with the introduction of player garrisons in Warlords. Sending followers on missions or having them gather resources will likely result in a nice chunk of change if Sunsong Ranch is any indicator. I'm not sure how much of the daily experience in your garrison will involve you actually going out and killing things. It seems more like a micro-management activity where you make sure your followers all have set tasks for the day. This activity could very well be the daily quest replacement in that it will be a reason to log in every day.
Finding a compromise
I'm not exactly cheering the demise of the daily quest, but I understand the stigma created in 5.0 is very hard, if not impossible, to recover from. I'm just not convinced one extreme is much better than the other. Maybe that's why out of all the world content in Mists, I probably enjoyed Isle of Thunder the most. I don't see how farming for coins and reputation by killing endless amounts of yaungol is any better than doing endless amounts of dailies. Perhaps Blizzard has some other tricks up their sleeve we haven't seen yet. Do you say "good riddance!" to daily quests, or are you going to miss them?