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Public Quests (PQs) are a type of quest found in certain MMORPGs. Whereas a typical MMO quest involves the player talking to a quest giver, completing objectives, then turning it in for a reward, in a public quest the player will enter a certain area, automatically take on the public quest, and work with other players in the area to complete the PQ. Public Quests allow for players to join in group PvE without traditional grouping mechanics - all players are working together regardless of whether they are in the same group or not. A typical PQ in Warhammer Online would involve defeating a large number of normal mobs, then a small number of harder heroic mobs, then finally defeating a boss which would require multiple groups of players to work together, though there are many variations.
Public Quests usually reward players based on their level of contribution. They are usually located in fixed areas, though this is not always the case. Some games allow public quests to scale difficulty based on the number of players, though reserving the best rewards for large groups. There may also be competitive PQs, where players from opposing factions (such as WAR's Order and Destruction) compete to complete the same PQ.
Public Quests were popularized by Warhammer Online, which made them a central part of the game's PvE and RvR experiences. Public Quests have also appeared in later MMOs, such as Champions Online, EverQuest II's Destiny of Velious expansion, and Rift.