Holding Warhammer Online’s Public Quests to a higher standard.

One of the early issues to arise in Warhammer Online is the games high reliance on population numbers, and the great importance they play in things like PQs. If you don’t have enough players in the area, they don’t function as planned, and in turn are viewed as wasted content. What I find somewhat surprising is that WAR gets a lot of criticism on this subject, when it reality it is nothing new to MMO games.

Public Quests are in a lot of ways basically re-interfaced group quests. PQs offer higher rewards than normal quests, just like group quests do in other MMOs. PQs require a group, again the same as group quests. The major difference is they are more ‘in your face’, as anytime you walk into a PQ area, the interface instantly tells you about it and shows you the current status and progress being made. Group quests just sit in your quest log, and are far easier to ignore and drop.

This is also true when you compare instanced dungeons to PQs. Both again require a group, and give generally higher rewards while having you face generally more interesting monsters. But like group quests, instanced dungeons don’t yell ‘enter me’ when you are within 100 yards of them, nor do they say ‘hey only 4 more kills and it’s phase 2, finish me!’ If you are a solo-only MMO player, you can skip instances and group quests and never really notice the missed content, while that is next to impossible in WAR.

It’s natural to feel that sense of loss when you can’t get a group for a PQ, especially because they offer a great experience when you DO have a group. But it’s somewhat unfair to hold PQs to some ‘higher standard’ then we do group quests or instanced content, especially because WAR offers such easy to use grouping tools.

Another issue, in my opinion of course, is the shunning of group content until the level cap. Blizzard removed almost all group quests in WoW pre-70, and added solo-friendly methods of acquiring dungeon quality loot pre-70 as well. This teaches many MMO players, especially the WoW-only crowd, that you play 1-69 solo, and then get to the ‘good stuff’ once you ‘grind out’ the level game. In WAR, you are doing the fun stuff right away, and you should not feel the need to grind out 39 Ranks to get to the real stuff. Old habits are tough to break however, and I feel too many players are trying to play WAR is if it’s WoW, and it’s just a completely different setup.

Personally I’ve almost never had an issue with PQs and finding a group, but part of that is due to being in a large guild full of people always looking to help out. Just yesterday we got 10 or so players together and completed all three of the PQs for Chapter 7 of the Dark Elf lands. The design of WAR once again comes through, in that all 10 members were able to quickly fly over to the area, and within a few minutes we were good to go. No quest sharing, no ‘I’m not on that part of the chain’, no race/class/group size barriers. Just join up, fly over, and start earning experience, money, influence, and bag item rewards. We had a great time, and people were able to join us midway through, as well as drop out at any time and still get something for their efforts. Simply put, the ‘barrier of entry’ for group content in WAR is as low as possible, it’s up to the players to adjust now and figure it out.

19 Responses to Holding Warhammer Online’s Public Quests to a higher standard.

  1. Relmstein says:

    I’ve noticed on the Order side that some of the public quests have a final stage that requires you to kill a “Lord” which is the step above “Hero” I guess. These seem a bit overpowered as I saw a group of 12 quickly get wiped out. I think they need to tune some of the public quests to lower numbers. My thinking is that most of them should be doable by a single group. If one requires a raid then it should give better loot then the others.

  2. syncaine says:

    Both sides have a few (that I have seen so far) PQs which feature a Lord status mob. Those are marked as ‘difficult’ in the PQ description, and I do believe they generally give better loot.

    And yes, Lord status mobs are indeed super powerful, and you basically need an above level tank to handle one. I’ve seen the troll Lord taken down in Troll Country however, just took some work.

  3. L1H says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that is totally impressed with WAR’s PQ system.

    I would also assert that WAR’s Public Quests are ‘unbreakable’ in that the risk/reward scales perfectly: take a small group into a PQ and you’re almost guaranteed a loot bag and massive Influence – if you can pull it off! Take a larger group and you’re almost guaranteed to complete State III but now you’re sharing Influence per kill and rolling against other contributors.

    How is this different than other ‘group’ quests in other MMO’s?
    A: You don’t have to be grouped!! You’re never ‘too late’ to join and the group is never full. You can join an open group on the fly! You already have the quest – the objectives are globally visible! Fail or succeed: the quest will reset in a few minutes! Somebody stop me!

    It also doesn’t hurt that the loot you earn in PQ’s are usually long in the tooth: I still am using some T1 gear at level 19.

    /fanboypowersdeactivate

  4. Hudson says:

    Exactly what I blogged about today. The game is what YOU make it. I have gotten entire PQ warbands together in under 10 minutes, and that is doing it with complete strangers

  5. Scott says:

    You guys must be having great luck then. I’ve only managed to max out influence in… 2? PQ’s so far because there’s very rarely a P around to Q with. And that includes the guild, who is mostly T2 now while I’m back in T1 with a grand total of 5 other players. (Exaggerating, but not by much.) I played the crap out of Scenarios the first two days I played, since then not a single one has popped. I’m finding it excruciatingly difficult to have anything close to “fun” in WAR when it’s all about grouping and there’s no one to group with. No one to PQ with, no one to PvE with, no one to RvR with… I’m paying $15/month for this why exactly?

    /rant off

  6. Mikejl says:

    Another thing I noticed (at least in Marsh of Madness (T2 Greenskin) is there are multiple PQs for one chapter in the zone. I did some Marshes of Madness ch6 PQ solo in some cave until the “lord” mob took me out in last phase.
    Joined one next to a camp with just one other (DoK and me Black Orc) and we were able to take the boss. Later I joined a warband in the same area, and we also went little south to another PQ.
    All three gave be influence points for Chapter 6. So seems like multiple PQ for each chapter.

  7. syncaine says:

    You play Destro or Order Scott? Odd hours?

    Because CoW Destro was very active in T1 before we left it this weekend. Not sure about Order, as my Warrior Priest has been out of T1 for a while.

    That said, if you are worried about maxing influence, it’s easy enough to do solo or with 2-3 people, even if you don’t finish a PQ due to the Hero at the end. You can generally still get the phase 1 and 2 influence bonus, not to mention the 100 inf per kill. RvR is a bit slow in T1, but once you hit T2 Keep raids are fairly common.

  8. Scott says:

    I’m a Destro CoW. And yeah, the time I mostly have available are weekday (sometimes weekend) mornings. Evenings too, but not always. Grouping has been a problem in every MMO because of those hours but at least I’m able to tough it out and progress. That hasn’t been the case in WAR, I’m stuck at level/rank (whatever) 8 and there’s never anyone around. I’ve always shook my head in annoyance at the noobs who spam chat with “where do I go now? what do I do now?” but that’s exactly how I’m feeling. I feel stuck (and bored out of my skull) because I don’t know where to go to actually find people to group with.

    And yeah, since I’m not finding any RvR the only way to get decent gear has been to grind out PQ’s to maximum influence then move on to the next one.

  9. syncaine says:

    Ok that makes a bit more sense. The problem with CoW/Destro is we are on a low pop server, which even at peak times only goes up to medium. It’s a non-issue for me most of the time because I play during peak hours, with my gf, and we are at basically the rank sweet spot (early tier 2).

    CoW/Order is on a much more popular server, and even during off hours you should find others around, be it guild members or randoms. If you are set on Destro, you might have to just find a high pop server to get people online at your hours. Even during peak hours, the destro scenario queue can get as high as 30 minutes. No wonder it’s brutal on off hours.

    In the long run, the server will fill up, and everything will ‘work itself out’, but short term, you are in a tough spot.

  10. syncaine says:

    As for the pure progress thing, you can easily continue to quest and level that way up to tier 2, and some random RvR should get you enough renown to purchase some of that gear, which will catch you up instantly. The population thing will still be an issue though, no easy fix for that.

  11. Scott says:

    I wish it were that “easy” but I’m finding the solo questing to be so incredibly boring I end up just giving up and logging out of the game. I’m certain it’s possible, and from the looks of it necessary, but it isn’t enjoyable.

  12. Yeebo says:

    I would never play WAR on a low pop server. It depends too muhc on warm bodies. I started on a low pop server, but have pretty much abandoned those guys. Even when the server peaks out at medium, it can take a very long time for scenarios to pop on the dest side. I’d rather deal with an occaisional cue and be able to get things done at all hours than never have a que and have to play a mediocre PvE solo game unless I log during prime time (which I rarely can).

  13. Yeebo says:

    So many typos in such a small space . . . . hitting submit too soon ftl.

  14. Rog says:

    PQ attendance seems highly based on which realm and which race area you’re in.

    For instance, I have no troubles wandering into active PQs in the Chaos zones, they’re often overcrowded even, but the PQs in Greenskin territory after tier 1 are practically abandoned, which is very disappointing because Greenskin is far and above my favourite areas for questing.

    I love the PQs, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something is this formula that’s flawed.

    And of course those in a larger guild always have more convenient shots at content, speaking from that perspective misses most of the complaints people have about PQs so far: That it was supposed to be inclusive to everyone just questing by, whether in a large or small guild or even no guild at all.

    The core mechanics are great, it just needs some good tweaking.

    This also doesn’t address that some PQs are just lackluster events overall. The formula of kill 100, kill 5, kill 1 is a little too prevalent. I like to think of these as similar to Raid Boss events in other games, just inclusive for everyone without all of the ordeal of organizing.

    That’s the revolution of PQs and open grouping to me, hopefully at some point large guilds won’t be needed at all.

  15. coppertopper says:

    Playing solo in this game is truely boring. That’s one thing that WoW has nailed. But when you do get even 1 other CoW to group with it makes things go pretty quick. Also do the RvR scouting quests in all 3 pairings for some easy and quick exp. The start of them is a the war camp (the village with the Flightmaster). And trust me – it will all be worth it at end game RvR.

  16. Xtian says:

    The PQs definitely need to be reviewed by Devs at some point to get them better in tune. PQs that are far off the beaten track are always empty, whereas the stuff right next to the quest hubs are overpopulated. It seems, however, that the remote PQs offer more loot, and huge warbands of 15+ people are left grinding out a PQ that only ever drops 4 loot bags.

    Also, I think the “Open Group” system needs to be explained on the interface better. Too many people don’t seem to know about it. Wow has left some very bad habbits in the playerbase, and its frustrating to /Say that your group is OpenGroup only to then have people asking for invites.

  17. AW says:

    I think that PQs are suffering from a couple of things, and I’d also argue that the same case can be made for scenarios or open world RvR.

    On one hand, there is too much of everything. 3 PQs p/chapter p/realm for 9 total PQs across realms for your current “chapter.” So, people of the same level can be in any of the 9 PQs, and that doesn’t include quests within the chapter. Not to mention that those same people of your level could be in any one of 3 scenarios or even taking some open field RvR objectives. Players get spread pretty thin.

    But, on the other hand, should we expect to be able to do everything in the game at the exact instant we want to do it? It seems that this expectation is out there but I don’t agree with it. I’m not saying that PQs or other areas don’t need tweaking, but this game offers a lot of content. I think in some ways we’ve been trained that if it exists I should be able to do it when I want. It would be great if this were the case, but it’s just not that simple, especially in an RvR focused game where we rely on the other side to some degree for our “fun.”

  18. BryanCampbell says:

    I do feel like in WAR u have to grind to level cap. I’m in a hurry to get to the good stuff, which is at the top. To me in WAR the good stuff revolves around PvP, taking others keeps, RvR, PvP, Guild Ranking, Stealing another Guild’s Standard. I noticed that at level 20 I can’t do much of this, im fighting level 35s and higher and getting my butt whooped. So right now im doing PvP and PQs/Chapters to level, get gold, get gear, skipping the normal quests. Trying to collect tomes along the way for tactics and such, and focusing on the goal of getting to level cap, then renown level cap. My strategy is the same in WoW except for killing npcs to get to the top im killing players to get to the top which is much more awesome.

  19. great post on WAR and PQs. I’m impressed by the concept of PQs and i think it has the potential (with a few tweaks) to be a great tool for a MMORPG.

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