Reading over some forum posts about WAR and in particular reactions to Public Quests, it’s (not?) surprising how many people are just not picking up on how they work. As with any new feature in an MMO, there is bound to be some confusion, so I’ll try to clear some of it up. Ask away if I don’t cover some aspect that puzzles you.
The first, and seemingly most common complaint is about the reward system. At first it is only natural to be disappointed when you finish first in a PQ, the game tells you that you got a gold medal, and then finish out of the ‘loot bag’ spots and get nothing. If that happens on your first PQ, it’s going to look a little strange and you might feel cheated. This is because the ‘loot bag’ is the instant gratification of a PQ, if you win you get your item right away.
Here is why, after a few PQs, the randomness is not only ok, but actually really important. Over time, you will win your fare share of loot, both because you helped out the most and got the top spot, and also those times when you jump in at stage 3, contribute only a small amount, but get lucky and roll high. If we remove the luck factor, or even limited it too greatly, it would discourage players from jumping into a PQ already in progress, because they would know their chances for loot are so diminished. Part of what makes PQs so special is their inclusive nature. You can show up at almost any time, with any class, at a range of levels, and still help out and get rewarded. Anything that would limit that inclusion would ruin the very nature of the PQ system.
Speaking of rewards, the loot bags are not the only thing you gain while doing a PQ. You are also accumulating influence points, which have three levels per chapter, with each level having a choice of rewards, rewards that are quiet useful compared to quest rewards. Unless you are maxed out on influence for that chapter, you are always getting credit while contributing to a PQ. Third, you are still gaining xp towards leveling, along with the random money/items that mobs may drop, and I have seen PQ mobs drop some very nice ‘world drop’ blues.
The next complaint I’ve seen is that PQs are too easy/hard. They are indeed easy if the PQ is swarming with players, and basically impossible if you only have 2-3 players. The reason this is such an issue right now (during the preview weekend) is that everyone is a noob, playing low level characters that they don’t fully understand. Once the game goes live, and the masses spread out, PQs should be more balanced. One possible issue is how will the lower level PQs be completed once the players outlevel them, but lucky the lower level PQs are overall fairly easy, and will require only a few players to complete. They also scale depending on how many players are in the area. How much they scale is still unknown, but I would think 4-6 players will be able to complete all the early PQs just fine, a number that won’t be too hard to gather regardless of zone population.
Finally I have seen some people complain about confusion during a PQ, particularly during the Empire PQ where you must burn some boats. The PQ does not come right out and smack you over the head with ‘get a torch’, but it’s not like it leaves you out in the cold either. People stating it took them 2-3 attempts before they figured the PQ out are either lying or incredibly slow. If you just put your mouse over the PQ objective on your screen, the little help text tells you exactly what to do, just like for any normal quest. Why so many people are having such issues with this I don’t understand. In addition, that also works for almost anything else in the interface. Scroll over the influence bar and it’s explained, same with the zone control bar at the top right. How is it that people don’t think to scroll over for help with something in 2008? How long has the tooltip been around for now?
One valid complaint, and I believe this is a bug, is the low spawn rate during some PQs. During one of the Greenskin PQs, in which we had to kill 80 sprites, the whole group had to wait around far longer than was necessery due to the fact that the sprites would spawn 2-3 at a time, with a lengthy wait between spawns. I could see people getting upset about that, but again, I think this is more a bug than intentional design, and will hopefully be fixed before launch.