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.
That’s a good question. Even WAR’s implimentation seemed compelling enough, but it does seem that people are naturally drawn to isolate themselves in an MMO.
I think of it as if it were an actual themepark, (like that chinese WoW-Land, or something). Say you’re “progressing” through the park, riding all the rides, and suddenly there’s a spontaneous clown juggling event (like, they’re actually throwing clowns), and so you stop to watch. They even give you some tokens for how loud you clapped. This public event definitely added some coolness to your adventure in the park, and afterwards you keep exploring. 2 hours later, the same event happens, but you don’t participate, because you’ve already seen it.
Public quests add spontaneity and fun, but they are essentially just repeatable quests or quest chains. GW2 at least takes the effort to make them whole chains to give the illusion of dynamic public quests. But ultimately you can only do the same quest so many times before getting bored.
And that’s why people don’t do public quests a year after launch. There’s only so long you can experience a themepark before you decide to go home.
I quite liked the PQs in Rift but they did get rather old after a while. They did it well though. I haven’t experienced them in any other games except GW2 – back when I used to play EQ2 I don’t think there were any!
I think you need to make PQs as accessible as possible in order to encourage participation – if they’re at all out of the way, then players are eventually just not going to bother with doing them. GW2 has this problem to an extent – many events are so out of the way or so difficult to do that people avoid them like the plague.
The two PQs I experienced in EQ2 were certainly accessible – right outside the two main cities. But of course you have to pay money to mentor your level down for them to be meaningful – they don’t have auto-mentoring like you do in GW2 so I guess that made it just that bit too awkward for most players to bother. Also agreed on the GW2 point you make, a lot of the events are just too difficult to do if you’re only a couple of people.