PQs and Open groups, best friends forever.

Day two in our ‘post NDA’ world. Lots of bloggers have posted either complete reviews or shared thoughts on certain topics. Overall the response is positive, with a few SOE cool-aid drinkers in the mix (they must be waiting for that great SOE patcher to finish, 99% right?) making vague references about how WAR is too much like an MMO game or something…I’ve seen people break down both Public Quests (PQ) and the open group system, but never really mentioning why they work so perfectly together. If you dumped the PQ system in WoW, it would fail. Players would bicker about loot, everyone would be running around solo, avoiding death more than helping out, and it would generally be a mess. If you just dumped the open group system in WoW, it would go unused. Questing is faster in WoW solo, and groups are really only needed for instances, where it hurts to bring someone of lower skill due to the time/gold of a wipe.

With both systems in WAR, and other supporting features, PQs and open groups work perfectly. If you are in a PQ area, there is no reason NOT to join a group if available. Even on the beta servers, when everyone knows a wipe is coming and people will scatter to different servers at release, people are still working together. You join one PQ group, and often enough that same group will float to other PQs together, sometimes completing all the PQs in that chapter.

The PQs themselves (I’ve completed perhaps 20 or so) are a good mix and highly entertaining. As with many things in WAR, they don’t reinvent the wheel, but rather put WAR-colored paint over old design and give it a new shine. While not terribly difficult, certain PQs do have some tougher moments, especially if you have a limited number of people in the area. Hero-class NPCs in particular have a ton of hit points, requiring some good focus fire. So far (up to rank 20) I have not seen NPCs in PQs use any abilities, like heals or AoE stuff. Perhaps at the higher tiers they do?

PQs server a few purposes in WAR. They are a quick, random way to possibly get a nice upgrade to your gear if you happen to win a loot bag. If you get lucky and finish first in the roll, you might win something really great. Last night I got 1st in the Bell Tower PQ, and inside the bag found purple quality armor with some very nice stats. Other choices included a blue quality weapon, a decent amount of money, and some crafting ingredients. PQs are also a nice way to kill some time if you are waiting for a friend, or only have 30 minutes to play. Join a group, get into a PQ, and go at it. At worst, you will gain some influence points for the chapter, which work like reputation in WoW, and once you reach a certain level you can pick a reward. In the early game the influence meter is very easy to fill up (perhaps 2-3 PQs), but later on in tier 2 and beyond it takes more time. That said, the top level influence rewards are generally very nice gear, and worth completing some PQs for.

I’ve had nights were all I did was run PQs while waiting for the scenario queue, and the back and forth mix was great. If you ever get tired of questing, that is an excellent way to get a few levels and move on to the next area, while not sacrificing money or item gain too much.

One last point about open groups. I think it will take the majority of players a bit of time to adjust to using them. With so many players coming from solo-mode WoW, they might not instinctively think to look for a group as soon as they enter a new area, and only look for open groups when they need it. Over time however, I think WAR players will learn to search for open groups first, and if nothing of interest comes up, do the solo thing for a bit. I’ve made the adjustment myself, and whenever I log in, or enter a new area, the first thing I do is open the groups window (genius one click icon below your character portrait) and see what’s going on. Big RvR warband? Sign me up. A few groups doing some PQs, I’m in. If nothing comes up, a few quests and we search again.

While WAR has some really game-changing features that will quickly become MMO standards (PQs, ToK, RvR), I think even more than any of those, it’s the fact that everything else fits perfectly together that make it such a great game. You can tell, even very early on, that Mythic as a team crafted the game together, with each feature or system working together. Nothing in the game feels tacked on, like so many of WoW’s features did. Everything has a purpose, and is linked to everything else. Very quickly, you get the feeling you are playing a complete game, not a collection of mini-games, and that more than anything gives WAR it’s amazing feel and setting.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in beta, MMO design, Warhammer Online. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to PQs and Open groups, best friends forever.

  1. spinks says:

    One of the things I really like about PQs is that if you did want to grind mobs/xp solo, doing it as part of phase 1 of a public quest is the most sensible thing because of getting influence as well as all the rest and because they hold the highest density of mobs. So soloers naturally gravitate towards PQ areas, where they are most likely to be invited into an open group (if they didn’t join it when they got there).

    That’s smart game design.

  2. Hudson says:

    Most of the Kool Aid drinkers played the beta for levels 1-8 and wrote it off because they didnt see any of the high end content, city sieges, dungeons or good RVR stuff that is on the elder server. Also they were too concerned with FanFaire

  3. coppertopper says:

    “making vague references like war is an mmo game or something”

    LMAO!

  4. ““making vague references like war is an mmo game or something”

    LMAO!”

    LOL @ coppertopper

  5. zardoz says:

    It does seem to me that if Warhamster has broken the trend to the “MSO” (that is, the Massively Single Player Online game) then it really has done something worthwhile. I can see from the stuff that people are posting that the surface appearance is just “clone wars”. But WoW isn’t compromised by its GUI but by the player dynamics designed into it. If posts like this are even half-right then I won’t be hanging round to see what that Lich King is so wrathful about…

  6. coppertopper says:

    fyi wtb cut-and-paste for the iPhone ::shakes fist::

  7. JoBildo says:

    Very excellent last paragraph, Syncaine.

    I couldn’t put it better myself.

  8. Toxicwaste says:

    Is the loot class specific? Is it BOE or BOP or is it just vendor trash?

    Tox

  9. syncaine says:

    Class Specific BOP, good to great quality. Plus if you can’t use the item, you can always select a crafting item or money. If you get a loot bag, you always get something useful.

  10. coppertopper says:

    Ahhh loot! I have a bonus question along those lines:

    – Does the rest of the game (boss mobs in dungeons, random wandering named mobs) follow this same intelligent loot system? (i.e. cloth pants dropping from a boss to a group that has no spellcasters)

    thanks!

  11. Graktar says:

    Re: NPCs not using abilities in PQs. Are you referring to the boss at the end of each PQ? There are definitely some that use abilities even in T1. The PQ that’s right next to the first high elf outpost in Chrace has a Dark Elf boss that has pbaoes, plus frenzies/berserks at certain points. He’s pretty fricking hard, and is < level 10 I believe.

    I have seen plenty of PQ bosses that were just big sacks of HP though. I’m not sure if they’re just not fully polished, or if that’s just by design. The PQ with the Dark Elf boss is flagged as Difficult, so maybe that’s the difference.

  12. syncaine says:

    Yea you are right Graktar. One of the first PQs has a dragon-type boss with a rather nasty cone AoE breath attack too. So yea, scratch that.

    As for loot Copper, most of the loot is class specific and usable. The most common is a ‘broken’ item, that when fixed at a vendor become a usuable item for whatever class won the drop. If you get a bag in a PQ, the item rewards are always usable, same with vendors, quests, and RvR item rewards.

    The only time I have seen a non-usable item is when a ‘world drop’ (to steal a WoW term) item drops, those seem to be random class items. They are somewhat rare though, and with player trading and the AH, it’s not like they are totally useless.

    So yea, I would say 95% or so of the items you will see are for your class, which is a damn good percentage if you ask me.

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