I wonder whether Public Quests, of the various kinds thusfar implemented in MMOs, are always destined to be under-utilised by developers and abandoned by the games’ population?
I read recently this thread on the EQ2 forums. It’s mostly aimed at the high level PQs from the Velious expansion, but at the same time that these were added so were low levels ones outside the two main cities (Freeport and Qeynos). I played the Freeport one some time ago and really enjoyed it, but recently I tried running both the Qeynos and Freeport PQs and of course no one is touching them anymore.
When I tried Warhammer Online’s free trial back in 2010 the majority of the remaining players zoomed straight past the Public Quests, I did manage to do most of them in the Human Tier 1 zone, but only in pairs, trios or small groups fighting against the odds.
I had a similar experience a few weeks ago in Eden Eternal, I’d jumped back in the game on a whim and the pirate invasion of Aven began but, unlike my previous experience of this content everyone ignored it totally this time around.
Rift is a game with a lot of open world content, yet before the expansion launched I was having problems finding any invasion groups or even Instant Adventure groups. I’ve swapped to a busier server since Storm Legion came out, and the onslaught quests seem to be popping up a lot more often now but there aren’t many invasions anymore. Is that indicative of the majority of the population having moved on to the end zones or into instanced content (heroics & raids)?
Guild Wars 2 is the other game I play with PQ equivalents, the events system. Hopefully since the game is designed with events as one of the core activities from the start, so at least in this game players will continue to engage with this content.
In all cases I guess having an active guild would make PQs a valid activity regardless of what the majority of the playerbase is up to. But having to rely on guild members for this sort of defeats the purpose of the content in the first place. Perhaps it’s just too difficult to tack PQs onto an existing game, and in Rift’s case it comes down to whichever activity has the bigger carrot as bait – raiding offers better loot and thus is more attractive than invasions.