I only had about 20 minutes to play last night, because my sister in law and her husband are visiting from out of town. The one thing I can do in ESO without a lot of thought is dailies. I logged into two of my characters, my current main and my jeweler alt that I am leveling up. I “fed” their horses, which increases their speed or bag space. I also did the crafting daily for jewelry.
It’s easy to see what the game companies get out of creating daily tasks. They help establish a routine with the plays of connecting to the game, keeping interest during lulls between more intensive involvement in the game. Dailies also provide incremental progress in long term goals for the player at a very low cost for developing simple repeatable quest. I rarely delete or re-roll a character, because I have made progress in some skill that would take weeks or months to repeat.
But what do I get out of dailies? Dailies are part of what is usually referred to as “grind” and in excess can lead to boredom and burn out. But dailies are also an example of habit or routine, and routine can be comforting, especially in times of change. They give me a feeling that I still have some measure of control over your life. My habits can be utilitarian or trivial such as small cleaning tasks or game dailies.
Sometimes my routines can really help me to get something done without having to think or stress out about it, but other times they an verge on negative compulsions. “Casual” games on my phone are more likely to have these compulsive characteristics than computer games. When I find myself playing multiple games of solitaire at work, I am either stressed out or bored. At that point, I need to stop and think about why I am doing this behavior and fix the cause, or at least find a more constructive outlet like going for a walk.
Nevertheless, I recognize that daily routines can be a good thing if done in moderation and mindfulness. Mindfulness of routine is something of a paradox, since routines are the epitome of mindless actions. Mindfulness is more the meta state of thinking about the patterns of my actions and whether my current actions are still serving my best interests overall.