Public Quests: How Do They Work?

August 20, 2008

One of WAR’s much-touted features is the Public Quest (or “PQ”) system. “Raids without the bullcrap”, as they’ve been described. A PQ is a dynamic, open world quest that begins as soon as you step into a PQ area and decide to participate with other players to accomplish a major task at the end of a series of smaller quests (aka a “quest chain”). If you’re successful, your entire team is rewarded — if not, the PQ resets and players can feel free to begin once more.

PQs can also be used as Realm vs. Realm conflict without requiring the players to engage in PvP — for instance, both sides can play “tug of war” with a PQ objective until one side wins and one loses. Or, by beating a PQ, a giant or beast might be unleashed upon the opposite faction’s players.

Over 300 PQ’s will be in the game at launch, with potential for more to be added in the future.

Why Public Quests? Because they’re far more dynamic than solo quests, they’re more social without the need to form a highly organized group of players, and they offer an experience you can repeat until you get the set loot you want. Plus, they’re ridiculously easy to join, and lots more fun than being an introverted adventurer (not that that’s a bad thing at times).

I’ve played through a good handful of PQs repeatedly, and thought you might appreciate a quick writeup on what they’re like and how to do them. Here’s the general steps of a PQ in more detail:

  1. You head over to a certain PQ, which is in a “Chapter” area of the game. Zones are divided into invisible chapters (Chapter 1, 2 and so on), each with its own “area influence” bar (which shows up to the right of your minimap, and goes from empty to full (solid green), with three sections along the way. As a result of the chaptering system, PQs are level-based and provide appropriate difficulties and challenges.
  2. When you arrive at a PQ area, you are notified right away which PQ is taking place and what stage they’re in, along with the quest requirements. This is in the form of a special notification window (which is transparent) that appears slightly to the lower left of your minimap (it’s separated from your quest log, which is below your minimap). It’ll say something like “Syp’s Revenge Public Quest: Stage I – Find 1/10 Typos”.
  3. The first stage of a PQ is typically a simple, soloable kill/collect quest that has no timer. You and anyone else can wander in and out of the area, help with the stage, and either stick around or leave. As you complete requirements for this stage, you build up an unseen amount of contribution points (for damage, healing, buffing and presumably tanking), as well as visible influence (INF) points that fill your influence meter.
  4. Once stage one is complete, a scripted event tends to happen and you — and anyone in the PQ area — launches into stage two. Again, people can wander in and out of the area; nobody’s locked in to doing this. Stage two tends to be tougher, requiring more than one person to work together to defend, attack or perform another action to contribute to the goal. Stage two is also on a timer — fail to accomplish the goal(s) within the time limit (typically 10 minutes or less), and the PQ fails and resets to stage one. You build up INF and contribution points in this stage as well.
  5. If you die, you go to the nearest rez point, and can run back to the PQ. You don’t get any INF or contribution while you’re outside the PQ range, and I don’t know what happens if you die right as the final stage is completed.
  6. Stage three is the last and toughest phase of a PQ. Teaming up with nearby PQers (open grouping is great for this) helps with communication and keeping track of others’ health bars — plus, as they kill, you get INF and XP too. Usually this phase consists of a boss or bosses, along with various minions. The best scripted events happen here. Again, there’s a timer, and you can gain INF and contribution points.
  7. Beat the boss, and you and anyone in the PQ area have won! A notification screen pops up to inform you of this fact — click on it to see the Vegas Loot roll. Each participant present at the end rolls a number between 1 and 1000, and has their contribution score added to that (i.e. +500). The top three scores (roll + contribution) are awarded treasure bags. Obviously, the higher your contribution, the better chances of getting a loot bag. 4th place and lower get squat.
  8. Treasure bags are tailor-made to your class, and offer you a choice between armor, weapons, crafting materials and cash.
  9. No matter what, you can spend your INF at a nearby vendor who offers set loot in one of three tiers (basic, advanced, elite). If you fill up your influence bar to full, you can choose one piece of loot from each of the three tiers — but choose carefully, because you can’t ever get the other item you didn’t pick.

Frankly, they’re a lot of fun, and a great bang for your time investment. No need to organize a huge party for a dungeon, no worrying about others stealing your quest objectives, just a lot of scripted, madcap fun!



  1. Great write-up. One minor correction. The number of loot bags that are given out at the end of a public quest varies! In my experience, some public quests seem to generate more loot bags than others, and when running the same public quest repeatedly, I’ve even seen different numbers of loot bags generated on subsequent runs of the public quest.

    So you might complete a public quest and see three loot bags (let’s say 1 Blue and 2 Greens) in which case 4th place and lower gets squat, or you may see 7 loot bags (let’s say 1 gold, 2 blue and 4 green) in which case 8th place and lower gets squat.

    I’ve heard it speculated that the number of people participating in a public quest affects the number of loot bags produced, but I’ve seen no evidence to support this. (Number of loot bags generated seems pretty random to me, except for a general trend that higher chapter public quests produce more loot bags).

  2. Another minor correction. PQs are not limited to only three stages. I have seen one with around eight or nine stages. The behavior for every stage is the same until the end though as you mention; complete it in time and you move on, fail and it resets to the beginning.

  3. If you die in a PQ, I hope an archmage there rezzes you so you don’t have to run all that way back. ❤ Be sure to thank them after they’ve done so: count it as a favor and not as a responsibility.

    Archmages, if you see someone go down while you’re healing a PQ (you had better be healing that PQ!) rez em! You can do it in combat @_@ so you MUST do it in combat! And with 4-5 Force points it’s a snap. Srsly. Save them that 2 minute run. They’ll love you for it.

  4. @thade: Completely agree! PQ rezes are a life-saver. If you die and are in the process of running back you’re still eligible for PQ loot (The PQ loot window will pop up regardless of where you are in the world) but in order to actually claim the loot you need to get back to the PQ before the chest de-spawns. Generally, getting back in time isn’t a problem, but there are a small number of public quests where getting a rez can be the difference between being able to claim your loot and having the chest de-spawn. So three cheers for those who rez in public quests, you’re the kind of wonderful people who make the world a better place (in which to slaughter untold numbers of greenskins)!

    Note: The game is still in beta, it is entirely possible that chest de-spawn times for public quests with long run-backs will be increased before the game goes live.

  5. The longest I’ve been in was a 6 stage PQ in greenskin chapter 6. It really felt epic.

  6. I’ve been trying to nail down how the PQ’s work, I’ve yet to have any luck.

    I’ve been three manning PQ’s up to chapter 9 – Sometimes we get three green bags, sometimes a gold, two blues and two greens, it’s random every time (not dependent on amount of players).

    I’ve soloed a few and gotten seven bags before – Sadly, I only get to loot the first 🙂

    Also – I’ve sat AFK at a PQ while in a group and managed to get 1st in contribution.

    I LOVE the system and it’s incredibly fun (I swear by it to friends) however it does still need a bit of work!

    You can level just by doing PQ’s. Max influence for each chapter and move to the next. Leveled my zealot 1-19 in a couple days off nothing but PQ’s and was at 24 gold near the end!

  7. What I was going to say was already mentioned: you roll for loot regardless of where you are. One time I killed maybe 5 guys in stage one before moving on, and a while later I got the “PQ complete! You placed 11th in contribution” window. I of course didn’t win anything, but it proves that if you were to die right at the end, you are ok. Speaking of which, I died twice last night on the first High Elf PQ…being a tank and getting threat sucks when you have no armor to tank with, and the one archmage around thinks healing doesn’t add to contribution.

  8. One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about the PQ’s is the loot distribution when they are completed. Your contribution score + random 1-1000. Yes you can get screwed if you got top contribution + 1.

    That doesn’t bother me though. After doing almost every PQ in all of High Elf Tier 1 and 2, I’ve found that I don’t even care about the loot bags. They are nice and all, but the loot you get from the influence is just awesome.

    I’ve even found myself solo farming mobs for the influence when no one is around. I just see the loot bags as icing on the funcake.

  9. I think the amount you roll somewhat influences the bag colours. I noticed when we got insanely high rolls we got gold bags, when they were more average the bags went to green. I heard someone mention that during a PQ and it then appeared borne out by play.

  10. @arbitrary: You could be right, but I’m skeptical that rolls affect bag color because the game displays the bag colors before the rolls occur. That is, when you open the window right at the end of a PQ and it shows you the contribution rankings, it also displays the bags that you’re rolling for. (Now obviously, it’s possible that the game secretly rolls ahead of time and that winners have been decided before the bag colors are displayed, but this seems unlikely).

    @Lucivar: I’ve also heard the complaint that PQ loot is too random, but I actually think this is a good design decision. What this means is that someone who shows up in the middle of a public quest and starts helping out has a reasonable chance to win loot … not as much chance as the people who have been there the whole time, but a reasonable chance. If people who showed up late had virtually zero chance of getting loot, then there’s little incentive for them to help out if they missed the first stage.

    Consider this example: 2 tanks, and 3 dps classes are doing a Tier 2 (let’s say rank 15) public quest that is known to always give 3 loot bags (yeah, I’m making this up, but bear with me). They blow through stage 1 killing, and working on stage 2 where they have to kill some champion mobs. With 2 tanks and a bunch of dps they’re able to make progress through stage 2 (they just need to pull carefully to avoid pulling too many champions at once. However, this public quest has a difficult boss in stage 3, and so the group won’t be able to complete the public quest.

    However, while they are doing stage 2, a healer walks by and sees them. With the current system, the healer knows that if he helps them finish stage 2 and 3 that he has a reasonable chance of getting a loot bag. Not as good a chance as the other 5 who have more contribution, but maybe about 25% of the time he’ll get a bag. This means that if the healer helps out he gets a 25% chance at a bag and the other five get a 55% chance at a bag, where as if the healer doesn’t help out, the group wipes on stage 3 and no one gets a bag. So even though there’s a one in four shot that someone will be disappointed by losing to healer with less contribution, it’s still ultimately a win-win situation because completing PQs is better for everyone than not completing PQs (especially since PQ completion gives your realm victory points that take you one step closer to sieging the other sides capital!)

    In any case, sorry that got a bit long, but I’m happy to loss out on loot sometimes (even when I have low contribution) because the alternative is being in a situation where the extra player we need to complete a PQ passes by and doesn’t stop because there’s no chance to get loot with low contribution.

  11. So each PQ has an influence “vendor” that gives you a choice of 3 items at the elite level but you only get to pick one of the three?

  12. seriouslycasual:

    Each chapter can have one or more PQs. The influence vendor is per chapter. So it is not a one to one relationship between PQ and vendor, but it is a one to one relationship between chapter and vendor.

  13. […] on the surly earth of ignorance, but because my knowledge is pretty patchy in spots. For example, the article I posted on Public Quests? Read the comments. People out there are SO much more knowledgeable on the whole deal that […]

  14. this is utter bullcrap. I’ve done many of these with a friend and he ALWAYS placed higher than me eventhough he was basicly standing around doing nothing while i was healing/damaging like crazy. It seems completely random to me,contribution obviously has nothing to do with it.

  15. Yes, last night I did a damn hard PQ, of the three healers I was the highest level, did most damage, buffed/debuffed the most, and healed the most. (On the party window, my action bar was almost always less than 20 percent, whereas the other two guys was at 90%). Guess what, jaw dropping I placed 4th… The highest level warrior priest got 1st which was deserved; she played well. The lower level runepriests got 2nd and 3rd, and get this, the TANK, who worked his ASS off placed DEAD LAST and got no loot! I felt so bad that this could occur. Perhaps the other guys new how the loot ranking system worked and used that to their advantage. The results was clearly unfair to those who contributed most to making the PQ run a success.

  16. One thing I didn’t see noted here was the “Persistence” bonus that you get as well. If you came in and did happen to roll that 11th place, don’t worry and keep at it. Each time you don’t get loot, a stacking bonus is added to your roll on top of your contribution bonus that makes it more likely for you to get that 4th or even 1st ranking.

    The contribution scores do certainly help in the rolls, but don’t worry too much on that, as you can hit a low contribution numerous times and gotten 2nd or even 1st just because you had a good roll.

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