Like many of us, Tobold's MMORPG day begins with a round through the alts to deal with the daily chores of gaming - tradeskill cooldowns and daily quests.
Blizzard claims that they originally described the daily quest as a way to allow better rewards for solo content without having them immediately snapped up by group players. Whether or not that intent was sincere, daily quest rewards were set to make players want to make sure that they collect them on a daily basis, and players were quick to adjust their behavior accordingly.
Daily Quest Bribes In Action
My current personal dilemma is with LOTRO's overpowered item experience daily bounty quests. I don't especially enjoy doing these quests, which require large amounts of time spent on AFK travel and do not offer any significant challenge (I completed my first bounty quests five levels below its stated level). Unfortunately, Turbine's "legendary" items are designed to be replaced on a regular basis, and doing so becomes very tedious if you do not stockpile several days of experience runes in your bank for speed leveling your next weapon.
I'd be happy to run the thing half a dozen times back to back when I actually have a new weapon to level, but running the quest loop, which takes over 30 minutes and uses all of my hour-long teleport cooldowns, just to stock up feels like it is keeping me from something I would rather be doing. Unfortunately, the only alternative is to wait a few days after obtaining a new weapon before getting enough runes to begin using it.
Disproportion Effects on the Busy Gamer
Describing how all his efforts have slowed up his progress on a new Pally alt, Tobold writes:
"As long as your activities are in line with your personal goals, you are playing it right."
Tobold, hopefully, is happy in the aggregate with the amount of time he spends on his daily chores as a proportion of his total gaming time. Indeed, if you're online for multiple hours each day, half an hour here or there aren't that much of a big deal. For the majority of Tobold's gaming session, he has already done the daily activities that he is interested in, and he is free to do whatever he wants.
If, on the other hand, you are trying to game on an hour a day or less, that half an hour suddenly represents a huge chunk of your time, and you will spend a greater proportion of your time with available daily rewards that you have yet to claim.
Of course, you can choose to ignore the daily chores in favor of activities you actually want to do. The reality, though, is that this means making an intentionally suboptimal choice in ignoring the superior time/rewards offered by the daily quests. The time reward curve says that the dailies are the "right" choice, your long term goals say that the dailies are "right", but the end result leaves you feeling like the game has gotten grindy and trivial. That's not the best long-term plan for developers who are in the business of trying to retain subscriptions.