Public Quests: Hey, Where is Everybody?
It was only a few months ago that Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning opened its doors to a fan base whose anticipation for this game almost rivaled that of the earlier release of Age of Conan. WAR promised new innovations in the genre, a higher quality of game play, and accessibility to PvP for everyone, both hardcore and casual player alike. One of the more anticipated and talked about additions to the MMOG genre through WAR was the Public Quest. This was a new type of quest for gamers. One that was available to anyone who walked into the area the Public Quest encompassed. One that offered everyone benefits, regardless if you participated from the start or came in at the end. One that promised big rewards from the end of the quest itself as well as your local Rally Master.
With all those perks, you would think that Public Quests would be constantly full of players attempting to get the coveted armor sets that are part of the completion rewards. Yet many of them stand empty, with only a few players running around doing the story quests that are designed to introduce you the Public Quests within a zone. Some work together to try and gather the influence necessary to get the epic rewards from the Rally Masters, and that's all. Why aren't Public Quests as popular as they once were?
I did this quest 7 times and all I got was a lousy feather?!
"Hello? Is anyone there?Anyone who's not trying to kill me that is?" Public Quests are designed to bring people together to accomplish an objective that isn't attainable with only one or two people. However, it becomes difficult to do that when there aren't any people to bring together. Previous to the server transfers, Thorgrim was heavy with Destruction faction, but if you were Order? Not so much. This unbalance led to Order players leaving the server in search of a new home, leaving even less Order folks you could find to help you complete a given Public Quest. Especially if...
"I find your lack of levels disturbing." For those people who waited to avoid the dreaded bugs that plague any game at launch or have a bazillion alts they play regularly, they find now that the lower Tiers tend to be far less populated than Tiers 3 or 4. It's not hard to do actually. In the early levels you can gain nearly a quarter of your level in a single PQ. This is outside regular questing, scenarios, and Open RvR. Add those factors in and you can out level those PQ's without meaning to. With the rewards being the best PvE gear in that Tier, people move on to the next Tier for a better chance at gear they can use.
"What do you MEAN I didn't win anything?!" One of the innovative (and best, in my opinion) things about Public Quests, is that the highest contributor isn't the automatic winner. This keeps people from farming the quest and makes it worthwhile for everyone from x1-x9 in that Tier. So if it's so great, why is this an issue? It becomes an issue based on the amount of time you put in vs. what you take away from that effort. I once ran a PQ in Chap.4 eleven times before I won anything, and I was in the top four in contribution. Even with the enormous bonus to my roll, I still couldn't win anything (my luck in these games is horrible). When I finally did, the loot I received wasn't as good as what I got from the influence reward in the previous Chapter. It made more sense to just stop doing the quest after 6 tries, turn in my influence for the reward, and move on. Many people would rather farm the influence and then turn it in for the guaranteed rewards vs. taking a chance they'll be lucky enough to get something good from doing the PQ over and over, in an effort to save time.
So based on this, the question arises, are Public Quests passe' already?
Absolutely not, and here's why.
"Whoa! Where in the hell did YOU come from?!" Mythic recently allowed for free server transfers in an effort to alleviate the problem of server unbalance. More than a few people, even entire guilds, jumped servers to be with friends, more faction friendly servers, and for the hope that maybe, juuuuuust maybe, they'd no longer be the only Order Tank in scenarios or Open RvR anymore. This should help to increase the amount of people running around in and doing Public Quests, and already I see people in our guild Alliance chat starting more Public Quest groups almost daily.
Imagine all the people...
"All players are equal in the eyes of... well, either that freaky raven guy or the God wanna be." Partially due to the server transfer, all Tiers are going to see an influx of players. Almost every player in this game has an alt, and they moved them over as well. Also, factor in that by now, most people have alts that are Tier 2 and with the end of the Heavy Metal live event, there's going to be a TON of Tier one alts, so everyone should have someone to play with!
"Well... you can't win 'em all" There's no getting around whether Lady Luck likes you or whether she wants to see you fry. The loot system for the PQ's, while annoying at times, is fair. The highest contributors get a big fat bonus to their roll ensuring that they have the better odds of winning the top prize, and the lowest contributors get to roll and hope they were quick enough in selling their soul to whatever infernal power was listening at the time. The bottom line here is that with high contribution and consistency bonuses, there's really nothing to complain about. It's just the luck of the draw.
Public Quests have their flaws, but they have just as much to offer. If you're looking for something fun to do, something that will challenge you, or just some good loot, then put together a group and head to the nearest Public Quest... and I wouldn't be worried about a lack of players for too much longer. It seems we're just around the corner from a slew of new Blackguard and Knight of the Blazing Sun alts to join you!