PQ 2.0

Randomessa has a good account of Warhammer Online’s pre-release comments on public quests, which were entirely borne out. The public quests are more or less as advertised. You might dispute design decisions like the quick resets and having influence bars to fill (is that grind or rewarding repeatability?), but most PQ issues came from how other systems interacted with them. The main problem was population-based: you could not get past the first stage once the population lump moved past you, nor in PQs off the beaten path.

But does anyone really think that public quests are not good? When conditions are right for them to work, they work well. When conditions are not right, they limp along better than much non-instanced solo MMO content. They encourage socialization and teamwork. If you did not like particular PQs, fine. If you think the whole game is broken, fine, but this part works.

Steal this feature. Champions Online slots a PQ into the tutorial zone. If Guild Wars 2 and Rift are offering PQ 2.0, that will be an improvement from the current quest hub model (conditional on successful implementation). Are we just trying to rein in expectations about how awesome or revolutionary this is going to be, back to “good”?

Even if it is just putting sprinkles on ice cream, I like both sprinkles and ice cream, and that other place does not have ice cream on its dessert menu.

: Zubon

8 thoughts on “PQ 2.0”

  1. Shortly after WAR launched (and I decided that I didn’t like it), I opined that it’s main purpose would be to serve as a collection of ideas to be stolen for better, more successful games. Public quests were definitely an idea worth stealing.

    But isn’t it a shame how many of WAR’s problems were down to population. It really was terribly fragile, the population had to be right in so many ways. Not just in terms of having to be big enough, but having to well balanced enough and well distributed enough.

  2. It seems to me that the most popular complaint leveled against public quests (“there’s nobody doing them anymore!”) can be used on any content that has passed its prime and is somehow no longer appealing/interesting to run by the majority of the population.

    Perhaps the community has done them way too many times already, there’s only a reason to do it once or twice, or there’s something else out there more rewarding.

    The interest in hunting down Lusca (the big octopus from City of Heroes who spawns as a giant monster event in a zone) these days had no doubt noticeably thinned from the first year or two when everything was new and nobody had Lusca badges. There is considerable inertia to overcome to form a group to start killing it. But if you fly by and you see a team that looks like it’s got a good chance of defeating it, people do stop to help take it down, just for fun. It’s like a proto-PQ.

    I’m sure if one thinks back to one’s favorite fantasy MMOG (being deliberately generic here), there are certain low-level areas or dungeon instances no one visits anymore, and is hard to find a group now. But back in the day, when everyone was around that level range, that was the hot place with swell teaming memories to be.

    That’s just a hazard of a persistent virtual world that changes. Where people congregate will change, and if you weren’t here then, you just get to hear other people tell stories about it.

    There hardly seems to be anything specific about public quests that make people abandon them faster than other team content… except maybe the effort to auto-join a scenario by hitting a button is smaller than hoping for a bunch of correct classes (why is your game on holy trinity design again?) of appropriate level (why do the monsters not scale?) to be in the same geographical area (why is your easy teaming system restricted to local geography?).

    Ironically, City of Heroes moves away from holy trinity, there is a bit of scaling for giant monsters – though lowbies can hit and feel like they’re participating, the amount of damage they can actually output is fairly negligible thanks to lower grade of enhancements and giant bag of hp syndrome – and there is considerable ease of teaming. Yet, once the new and shiny has worn off, people have simply moved away from something that was once fun to do.

  3. Public Quests were a good idea, they just weren’t fully thought out and fail because of the required player numbers needed to complete them. It reminds me of the Elite enemies that would be scattered in WoW regular questing, often at the end of a chain. Once the population moves on, it becomes near impossible to find groups to complete them, unless you have a guildie help. Blizzard’s answer, make them Rare’s, not Elite’s, thus they can be solo’d. But Blizzard has also changed with time, and now they offer NPC’s that can help with those elite enemies needed for quest lines. So perhaps WAR could learn from this, and if there aren’t enough players doing the PQ, it could spawn NPC’s to help you complete them. It’s the best solution I think for a major problem.

  4. A lot of the comments I am reading are definitely from players not in the game anymore. Speaking of WAR and the PQ’s specifically.

    I am currently doing a straight PvE run of WAR, as I am recently new to the game. Here are a couple of facts…

    1. Not all PQ’s that were noted as needing “6+ players”…actually needed that, if you had a good team who was well equipped. I have a team of 3 who play on a regular basis. We use the “Holy Trinity” of Heal, DPS and Tank. We have tackled several Normal and HARD PQ’s and succeeded, all based on skill and approach to the PQ. We even recently completed a PQ that was a higher level than we were, was a NORMAL and needed 6+ players.

    2. Just because a PQ has a level rating (as stated previously) does not mean you MUST do it then and there. We enjoyed one PQ that just was quite difficult on the last step (a HARD rating to boot)…so, we left and came back when we were 2 levels above it’s rating, and beat it.

    3. As to people doing PQ’s…yes, they still do. Believe it or not. We can constantly come in on PQ’s daily and see others trying their hand and we all team up.

    So, yes, WAR had a lot to learn from it’s launch. It has made adjustments…but players also needed to adjust to pops changing. It is possible to do these PQ’s though and succeed.

    I hope GW2’s “Dynamic events” play like this, but scale and allow solo play.

  5. I did like the PQ’s in Warhammer. The only problem was your renown rank tended to fall behind when you did too much PVE. I became stuck at level 28 with renown rank 21 & could not equip the gold gear I got from taking the keeps.

  6. I honestly believe PQ’s are great. The longevity of the Quest itself however needs some work. What I mean by this is that Developers need to take a little more time in the Brain-Storming office to figure out a full-proof way of allowing players of any party size to tackle said quests. In WAR, running ghost-town servers and zones made you avoid the PQ except for possibly the first phase. After that, however, you learned you could not either make the time limit, or solo the NPC’s spawned.

    I am sure there are tons of paths developers could choose, i’ve seen many a simple gamer come up with a few that would at least move us in the right direction. Once those are implemented, and I will not reference GW2 due to its lobby system, then we can see a lot more team-work accomplishment across the board while leveling.

  7. You know it’s rather bothered me when I’ve seen the phrase “It’s just like WAR PQs” or “It’s just PQ 2.0”.

    WAR entirely messed up the implementation, so I don’t think anything is ever going to be “just like” that unless they somehow didn’t notice the glaring mistakes WAR made with PQs. Like not having any decent PvE mechanics at all.

    1. “[N]ot having any decent PvE mechanics at all” is a rather strong statement. If you have the time, I think explaining why you think the mechanics were so horrible would be a great post (trackback so folks know where to find it?). I found the mechanics sufficiently interesting to play into tier 3 and the first tier or two on many classes, and I enjoyed most of the PQs I did.

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