Two WAR beta Public Quest stories

I’m writing this before the WAR NDA drops, on the last day of July. Twice in the past week, I’ve had outstanding moments in the WAR closed beta, participating in Public Quests.

For those of you who haven’t played WAR yet, I wouldn’t expect experiences like this in your very first public quests. There’s a typical MMO combination of the right place, the right time, and the right people for MMO magic to happen. Not every PQ is like this, just like every WoW instance wasn’t fabulous, and every DAoC RvR group didn’t have epic moments.

When those moments happen, though, it reminds me why I enjoy MMO’s so much, and why I miss them when I’m off playing single-player games, or playing other MMO’s as a single-player game.

The first Public Quest story (hereby known as PQ’s) is what I’ve come to call my “Diablo moment”. If you played multiplayer Diablo at all, you might know what I’m talking about. I’m not trying to say that WAR plays like Diablo MP, far from it. This particular PQ, though, turned into a frenzy of slaughter, one of those gaming moments where you lose yourself in what you’re doing, and you realize 10, 15, 20 minutes later that the game has completely occupied your attention.

I call it the Diablo moment because the killing seemed as fast and furious as Diablo multiplay. Much button-mashing and clicking, mobs dying all around the PQ area, teammates being saved (or not!) from the brink of death, loot windows popping up all over the place to roll or pass on drops…it was life on the edge for a long time, like surfing a big PvE wave that never fully broke, always finding a little more wave to ride, to keep your momentum going. I’ve been in RvR battles like that in DAoC, where you realize in the middle of a huge battle, “Holy SHIT, this has been going on for a long time! And I’m STILL ALIVE!!”, and then it keeps going even longer. It was my first WAR PvE moment like that, and the PQ idea really promotes longer and more interesting PvE fights than my past MMO experiences.

Not everyone PQ goes like that. It was a combination of a good group of people (it was a pickup group, too, from the Open Group feature) and riding that wave-edge for quite a long time. Some PQ’s have too many people, and the fighting seems to easy. Sometimes you don’t have enough people, or the right mix of classes or personalities, and it’s too difficult. There’s so magic potential in PQ’s, though, and this one delivered.

The second PQ experience was far different from the Diablo moment. The Diablo moment happened in a pretty well-trafficked area. The second story, the 3-man PQ (as I’ve been calling it in my head) happened further off the beaten path in Ekrund, the dwarf area. I was in a duo working on quests, and we came upon the PQ as it was already in progress. We joined a big open PQ group, maybe 10 people, (god, I love the Open Group concept), and helped them finish it up. When it was over, all but three players in the Open Group had maxed out faction. Most people left for the warcamp, or for other quests, so three of us started on the next round of the PQ.

Since it’s located in a corner of the zone, no one else joined us. We had 100 non-Hero class NPC’s to kill to finish the first round, which was easy. We had 8 Champion-level NPC’s to slay in the second round, plus setting fire to tents, and there was a time limit. Three people can be tough to finish off a second or third level PQ stage, especially since it was our first time there and we were figuring it out as we went along. The elite-level mobs made the time limit a factor, as we had to work fast and efficiently to complete the requirements before time ran out. We finished with, literally, just seconds left, which was exciting in its own right.

I didn’t think we had a chance at the third stage. There’s usually a Hero-level NPC at the last stage, and they hit really, really hard. In addition, there was a Champion-level NPC as well (elite, but not as powerful as the Hero). We had two healers and a tank, though, and we managed to survive the entire fight and complete the PQ. By the time we were halfway through the fight, and I saw that we had a chance of winning, I started hoping that other people wouldn’t wander into the PQ. I wanted to finish it on our own, and we did. It definitely had a boss-fight feeling to it, along with the boss-fight victory afterglow.

When you finish a PQ, you get to roll for loot. Each PQ has a chest, and everyone who’s contributed to the PQ has a chance to roll on loot. Those with the biggest contributions get a bonus to your roll, and the items are usually pretty nice. Finishing the PQ with just three of us, who did every bit of damage and healing in the encounter, ensured that we were all going to get a drop from the loot chest. It was very satisfying.

I came in third after the rolls, but I didn’t care. It was an awesome PQ experience, and I hope I get more encounters like that when the game goes live. We also maxed our faction for that area, so we got to go pick out our faction rewards from the war camp, in addition to the loot drops from the chest. Sweet 🙂

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