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:
- 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.
- 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”.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Treasure bags are tailor-made to your class, and offer you a choice between armor, weapons, crafting materials and cash.
- 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!