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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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