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Wotcha everyone,

Public Quests. Warhammer Online’s big new toy.

When I first heard about them, I wasn’t that impressed. Despite Paul Barnett’s enthusiastic podcast about them, they just seemed to be a messy combination of outdoor instance and raid-size grouping. Even worse, it sounded like you wouldn’t even be able to solo them. You’d most likely be pugging it.

I hate pugs.

I first got involved in a Public Quest in Nordland, with a couple of guildmates. We were exploring the area, found the location, and in the grandest traditions of Beta Testing, got involved in one to see if it needed fixing, rather than thinking it would be fun.

Three complete circuits later, we decided to see if we could find another. I was hooked…

It’s not even innovative, when you think about it. Kill an absurdly high number of regular mobs, interact with certain items, and tank-and-spank bosses. How can can something so simple be so fun?

Well, they’re relaxing, for a start. Because you don’t need a fully balanced group of 6 people to start one, you don’t start with the hassle of finding a group. And people who log on later can just join in – they don’t have to sit outside and wait for their mates to come out of the instance. You can just bob in and out, as you feel like.

Even if you’re playing solo, it’s easy enough to get involved. Open groups make life so much easier. If there are people already at a Public Quest, just check if there’s an open group. If there is, just join it, say; “Hello” (or “Wotcha”, if you’re me), and get stuck in. No worries, no messing. And most often, at the end someone will ask if everyone fancies repeating the quest, or finding another. More often than not, the ad-hoc group will stay together and do more Public Quests. That’s almost obscene. I’ve never been in a pug in other games that has continued past the original stated objective…

They’re also a fun way of achieving a number of things at once. Your Influence rises as you do them. So does your XP. And if you do the right Public Quests, so does your Renown. So instead of having to grind them in three separate places, you can grind them all at the same time. It doesn’t remove the grind element, but it masks it surprisingly well. Quite often, the local Kill Collector will reward you for kills you make as well. Bonus!

There’s also the Trez element. Each of the mobs drops cash, and items. Including chances of rarer items. And when your Influence reaches one of three thresholds, you get to go and choose an item from the appropriate NPC. And at the successful resolution of the Public Quest, you get to find out how much you contributed, which can give you a bonus to a 1-1000 roll, to see if you get one of a random selection of Trez bags. Trez! Fantastic!

I really like the contribution list. The server takes the amount of damage you’ve done, the amount of healing you’ve done, and then awards extra points for doing specific things the Public Quest wants you to do. It puts that information through a formula, to get a points total. That then gets you your position in the chart. Get high enough, and you get a bonus to your roll. It can seem a bit random at times, with the odd bug, but it’s great fun for me seeing where I came. And unlike damage meters and suchlike, it doesn’t rely on being close enough to the person with the meter. And maybe it’s because at the moment we’re all part of Beta Gang, but I’ve not seen anyone complained at for being low down the listing. It’s not a punitive thing. There has been humour involved, but it’s been good natured, and normally people deciding the server is broken, no way could they have been so low… But they make me want to see if next time, I can get closer to the top. They make me want to play better, smarter, and get the most out of my class. In a good way.

The trez at the end is a lovely bonus. You’re guaranteed the Influence items as long as you get enough influence, and they’re good items. So anything else is gravy, really. There’s some lovely gravy, though. From the first Public Quest you do, there’s the chance of purple items. Willing yourself a good roll can be almost as addictive as wanting to get higher in the chart, especially when you can see a purple bag in the trez options.

Will I continue to be an active participant in Public Quests at launch? Yes, yes I will. Maybe in 6 months I shall scream at the thought of having to do “the same” Public Quests, but that’s just the same sort of fatigue that makes me think certain instances in World of Warcraft were designed by the devil. Everything can lose it’s charm, if done enough times.

But until then, Public Quests are my group PvE activity of choice in Warhammer Online.

Cheers,
Hawley.

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6 Responses

  1. I love PQ’s. They are a quick and dirty way for everyone to get some decent loot and earn influence towards rewards anyone can get.

    The real nice thing about this, is that there are so many, each presenting their own mini-story to deal with, a snapshot of the overall story. They mask what is basically not that innovative, as you’ve said, and create some really neat experiences you can repeat over and over.

  2. The problem I have with pq’s is that the low level ones will be dead in a couple of months. It’s a good idea but not done right in game at this moment. I think they should scale depending on the amount of people doing them. That way, very small groups could get the quest done.

  3. Wotcha everyone,

    But at this moment in time, very small groups *can* do some of the Public Quests. I’ve completed them in both Tier 1 and Tier 4 in a group of three people. It helps, but is not vital, if you have a tank and a healer (in one Tier 1 Public quest, I was both. This was with two Witch Hunters and my Warrior Priest).

    You can’t do all of them with such a small group. But the variety of difficulties is another of the things that I like about them.

    Scaling an individul Public Quest for the number of players involved would be a lot more difficult than it sounds, though. Should mobs have more hits? Do more damage? Should they respawn faster? Should there be more? And what if you have 20 people at the beginning, but only 3 at the end? Or vice versa?

    Yes, the lower level ones might be ignored in a few months. But such is the nature of low level zones in online games. Take a look in World of Warcraft. They have entire continents that look empty…

    Cheers,
    Hawley.

  4. Love PQs, even though I now have to think of a PQ as a public quest and not as a parliamentary question (ah, those were the days!).

    Have done quite a few in smallish groups, and it’s quite challenging. In bigger groups it’s just a laugh but some of them are really great. Nothing beats running around madly looking for the named thingy, turning a corner and seeing a bloody big dragon!

  5. The only downside, as has been mentioned, is that the early ones could end up going overlooked just a few months down the road. But I suspect alts will be aplenty for a while since the classes are so varied and the areas so interesting.

    What I think will be helpful though, is that this is no throw away feature for Mythic. I’m willing to bet content updates and expansions will have many more PQs for us to indulge in long after 9/18 has come and gone. 🙂

  6. You do realize there’s 300 of these puppies scattered throughout WAR. Plenty to do even if after 6 months. Just don’t do em all at once. The T2 PQs seem to need 3-4 people. But many of the T1 PQs can be done with a tank and a healer…or a healer and anything else.

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