Public Quests will radically enhance mmorpg gameplay

Massively’s Warhammer Online coverage over the past few days has been unparalleled by any website out there. The information they are bringing back from Mythic’s HQ trumps even the past five newsletters combined so big kudos are due to Massively and Michael Zenke. I’ve been picking through the various articles for any information I may have missed in my first read through. I came across the information on Public Quests and wanted to write a few of my thoughts on the topic.

Public Quests have been one of the most appealing attractions in Warhammer Online for me because I’m a player who always needs something to do. I don’t enjoy idling in town waiting for a group or bg queue. I want to be out in the world killing something or doing something to progress my character. PQ’s are going to be the solution because they are always running and resetting like clockwork.

According to Massively, “PQs combine the best parts of raids, reputation grinds, lore quests, scripted encounters, and human behavior into one wholesome experience.” Add RvR to that list, which we can expect because there has been mention of contested PQ’s, and you have the best of all play styles right there. If experiencing all these forms of gameplay in one awesome quest isn’t enough incentive for you then how about this system for rewarding participation:

At the end of every public quest, the participants are ranked by their level of participation. Characters that slew more baddies, did more damage to bosses, or turned in more items will be placed higher on the list. The results of this tabulation are put up on a leaderboard screen that pops up. The higher you are on the list, the better you’ve done. The top participants not only get to feel good about a job well done, they’re likely about to be rewarded. Divvying out loot from a PQ is done by a random roll.

The catch is that the top participants on the leaderboard get significant bonuses to their rolls. The result is that everyone has a chance to earn a prize, but the people who put in the most time will be most likely to get the big rewards. While the roll is random, the loot is anything but. As in almost every case where you’re given a reward in Warhammer, the loot you have access to is tailored to your class and the difficulty of the PQ. Winning rollers receive loot bags, inside of which are several shiny options. Players get to choose one item (be it armor, a weapon, or even just coin) that they want the most.

Fairly rewarding everyone who participates sounds too good to be true, but perhaps Mythic has finally found a way to reward everyone for their efforts. I’ve always hated raiding or running a dungeon and walking away with nothing to show for it because it’s a waste of time. For example, after running Molten Core a few times it eventually became all about the loot because the encounters never changed. I would raid that place half a dozen times before getting a single piece of loot which is incredibly frustrating. Throw out the need for guilds, organization, dkp, and other raider mentalities and you have, as Michael put it, the raid experience without the crap. Each time I participate in a PQ I have an equal opportunity to obtain loot.

Another great side to this reward system is that you’re not limited just by the luck of a roll or your time invested in the PQ. Contributing to PQ’s and other activities in the region will raise you influence which is yet another way that Mythic rewards players for simply playing the game. As you advance your influence in the region raises and eventually you can buy “high-stat items” in addition to any you might win during the PQ.

PQ’s sound like the perfect “filler” activity between RvR and questing. I can go out and quest for a few hours, RvR some, and perhaps find myself with nothing left to do in the area; maybe I ran out of quests. I may be close to a level that I want to achieve before moving on to the next area. Normally I would be forced to grind out that level or attempt the next region prematurely, but in WAR I’ll be able to wander over to a PQ of my choice and begin participating in a much more dynamic activity. Or on the other side of the coin I may decide to participate in various PQ’s through an entire tier and I can! I’m not restricted to just one form of progression like questing or pvp. I have choices – FINALLY! It’s a win-win situation.

Public Quests are absolutely revolutionary. They’re providing players a whole new way of playing, rewarding, and progressing their characters through the game.

  • ” but perhaps Mythic has finally found a way to reward everyone for their efforts.”

    Perhaps this is the case but they did’t directly come out and say it. I am hoping that this is the case but knowing MMOs, it may not be. Having a tiered system that rewards the people who put in the most time = more people put in more time to get the good stuff = more $$$$ because more people are playing for longer. Its an effective business strategy.

    Also, it ensures that everyone works to the best of their ability to complete the quest/instance because everyone is going to want the big prize.

  • I agree. Very cool stuff. And, Massively has been going nuts with WAR stuff. It seems like they have new posts and interviews about WAR on an hourly basis. Hopefully this means that the WAR devs are damn confident that the game will be released in Q4.

  • I dunno about “absolutely revolutionary” but “pretty darn freaking good idea that shoulda been done ages ago” might jive with me. ๐Ÿ˜›

  • What I like about the PQ idea is that I don’t have to commit either a fixed 2 hour chunk to do a raid or deal with the hassle of getting into a raid guild and deal with DKPs and what not.

    Also I know that over time I will have a chance regardless of my standing in any guild. As long as I put in the time to do the quests.

  • I’m looking at the big picture of PQ’s. Yes, the people who put in more time will have a higher chance at the rewards but that’s also because they theoretically contributed more to the completion of the PQ. Let’s say a PQ is 1 hour long (for the sake of easy numbers to work with).

    Let’s say I put in 1 hour of time and participate form the start of the PQ until the end and earn 100 points. If you were there for only 30 minutes let’s assume you earned 50 points. I obviously have an advantage in points because I was there longer – but – here’s where it starts to reward everyone. Those points are added to the “slot machine” system that Paul Barnett discussed.

    My 100pts are added to a roll of perhaps 1-500. Your 50 points are added to your roll of 1-500. As you can see, it’s not entirely skewed in my favor. I’ve obviously gained more regional influence points but I have not stopped those who have less time to contribute from having a chance at loot. (Obviously this just an example to illustrate a point)

    That’s the PQ system. However, working on PQ’s also gains you influence in the region to buy rewards from the influence vendor. These rewards are “high-stat” items just like PQ rewards. Participate in a PQ for a stage or two and you’re still gaining influence.

    And that’s what makes the system so beautiful for player like Gustavef who don’t have to commit to a fixed amount of time. They can jump in and jump out at their convenience and be rewarded with points to buy items

  • I also agree that public quests are an excellent idea and have the potential to really revolutionize the way we interact in MMO’s, however there is one problem that I see here. What about support classes like healers or buffers? They will probably be able to do a bit of damage or kill a few baddies, but they won’t be as effective as more offensive classes, so will there be a way to determine their usefulness in healing and buffing as well as damage done or monsters killed? Who knows, maybe WAR doesn’t make support classes as weak offensively as WoW and most other MMO’s, which I hope is the case, but if they do, it could cause some problems with PQ’s rewarding players for time spent and effort put forth.

  • Definitely looking forward to public quests, seems like they have the potential to be a LOT of fun.

    However, one issue I expect they’ll run into with Public Quests is how to measure participation. If two Bright Wizards participate in the same public quest for 1 hour and the first wizard kills more bad guys (or does more total damage) than the second, does the first wizard deserve more ‘contribution points’?

    If the answer is ‘no’ then are we going to see lots of people just lounge around a PQ area, hitting a few buttons every so often to get credit for participating?

    If the answer is ‘yes’, then what about classes like tanks who don’t kill many bad guys (or do much damage)? How do you compare a Bright Wizard who does a ton of damage to a tank who keeps two wizards alive and soaks up a ton of damage?

    In any case, I expect that PQs will be awesome, but I’m very curious about how Mythic chooses to measure PQ ‘contribution’.

  • To me Public Quests are hopefully the final realization of what I call “community quests” within my own ideal MMO concept. That being that each individual can contribute in their own way, no matter how low a level, to the greater global goals amongst their community or realm without the need to be in a party, guild or larger corporation. Therefore, they can feel like they’ve actually contributed to the success of their greater community or realm, no matter how small their contribution may have actually been. This to me is what a community-focused game should be all about.

    A good example of this may be the events surrounding World War II. While the soldiers on the front lines are the tip of the iceberg, it required a massive collective effort at home (the rest of the iceberg underwater) to sustain those troops on the front lines. Therefore wives, daughters and sons collecting little rubber bands felt like they were contributing to something greater than themselves and thus felt valued in their own way. Again this is what community efforts should be all about.

  • @Kanthalos

    They have stated that healing will directly generate influence (or whatever it is called) in the same way that damage does. So healers will get rewarded for healing.

    Buffing I don’t think will count since I would suspect most Buffs to be out of combat. Debuffs are “attacks” and should generate points as well.

    In a way, I would expect any combat ability used in combat to generate points. So all those taunts will add up even if they don’t do much damage.

    At least that is what I hope.

  • After giving up WoW for AoC only to slowly begin to realize that it may not be for me either, I decided to begin really trying to devour all the WAR info I can. I was also extremely grateful to get this info from Massively. After reading it, I finally threw in the towel and decided that I’m now convinced that this will be the game for me. I even made a post called “Its official, I might just be a WAR fanboy now”.

    You can count another blogger solidly in the WAR camp now. Anything I play from now till WAR’s launch will probably just be filler.

  • @Kanthalos: As Gustavef said, healers who heal not only get points for healing in PQ’s but they get points for healing in RvR as well on top of their points contributed for damage. Healers are going to be VERY well taken care of and the support role will finally be one worth playing.

    @br3ntbr0: Great to see another blogger in the WAR camp. ๐Ÿ™‚ I check out your blog this afternoon and have another great blog for my blogroll and daily perusing!

  • In addition to healers getting contribution for healing and dpsers getting contribution for dpsing, tanks get contribution for absorbing damage, so nobody is left out in the cold for that.

    My concern is what happens to the people who are in a PQ from the start, but then it takes too long and 90% through it they have to leave. Will they still be counted when rewards are divvied out, or will their time have just been wasted?

  • @ br3ntbr0

    Couldn’t agree with you more. Been playing WoW a while but finally canceled my account to focus on my work. I was almost tempted to give AoC a try but some of the last write ups on it before it went live didn’t sound too promising. Glad I passed on it, especially with regards to the reports I’m hearing on it now.

    Pretty much everything I read on WAR however seems unbelievable because a lot of their concepts mirror quite closely to my own dream MMO idea. Sounds almost too good to be true. Plus it’s nice to see a developer finally taking some risks and experimenting outside the norm.

    All said and done, I finally thought what the hell and pre-purchased the Collectors Edition (something I’ve never ever done in the past before with a game).

  • ” As you advance your influence in the region raises and eventually you can buy โ€œhigh-stat itemsโ€ in addition to any you might win during the PQ ” sounds like WoW rep grind to me.

  • @Creep: Except it’s not a grind. Imagine all the neat things you get from having reputation (and more), except not having to the boring grind.

  • Same Nollind – I’ve never bought a CE before, but WAR looks so promising, and the bonuses for buying it are phenomenal, for an extra ยฃ30, it looks way worth it. It has so many neat features and I think the direction it’s going in will cause it to succeed. And the fact they’ve delayed it shows they’re not willing to sacrifice quality for money, which is another good thing ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Sometimes it takes a slap in the face to realize how important it is to delay a game. I was really bummed when they decided to delay the game for the … gosh I lost track of how many times. But seeing as how some other games have released recently when they could have really used another 2-5 months in beta really reinforces the fact that WAR is going to be that much better than it could have been.

  • Yeah. I mean, it’s really showing in AoC that they should have delayed it. Levels 50+ are about 1/5 questing, 4/5 grinding. Funcom thought they could rush it out, and release the quests later, but, when a game is released, there’ll always be people who powerlevel, and then the games flaws will be shown. Even me, a fairly slow leveller, needs to grind now to progress. A 2 or 3 month delay would have done it the world of good, as well as extra polish. But they decided to cash in ๐Ÿ™

  • As much as AoC could have benefited as a game from a delay, would it have benefited as a consumer product? The timing of the release was perfect from a marketing standpoint, the last patch of WoW is long past, the next ‘big thing’ is still a long way off. If they’d delayed AoC for 6 months they’d have had a better game, but likely gotten nowhere near the sales they have due to competition from WAR and WotLK. They also might have been at risk of running out of money needed to fund the improvements to make the delay worthwhile in the first place.

    From a business standpoint it seems likely they made the right choice, at least for the short term. Whether the PR damage caused by releasing an unfinished game will come back to bite them in the long run . . . we’ll see.

    I think Funcom knew if they were releasing alongside WotLK they’d be ruined, no matter how polished AoC had become. Releasing early was by far the better gamble, as releasing late was almost a surefire loss.

  • Yep, that’s what I mean. It was a tradeoff – money, or quality. And they decided to lose quality, to gain money.

  • The lotto system should be interesting, because while it rewards players for more contribution, by being a lotto system, the amount of increase will decrease exponentially on it. So if you only have time to put in the 30 minutes in keen’s example and the other guy puts in the full hour and he is hardcore wtf grinding it and had an extra 50 tickets, he only has a slightly smaller advantage(Because while each “ticket” he earns increases his odds, it adds to the total ticket pool). This can give the illusion of a much greater chance to omgwtf grinders(I have 200 tickets woot)while giving casual players only a slightly smaller chance of winning.(I’m callin that it’ll work out to about 5-15% difference)

  • Sounds somehow like the Dumb Gather-Quests in the AQ-Prequest (We collect materials for the War, quick bring uns 20 Daisie-Flowers).

  • The difference being that the AQ gather quests are dumb grinds and PQ’s are fun events taking place all around the world that each offer unique rewards, experiences, and influence. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • My prediction of what will happen on release:

    1| Public Quests are not in the game, expect them in 1-2 months.

    OR

    2| Public Quests as glorified grindable daily quests. Hardly anything new. 2 different public quests, will become boring in a sec..

    3|

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