The Queue: Photobomb edition
Ugh. Druids, am I right? They’re always where you least expect them, ruining those perfect moments. The worst.
But we’re not here to talk about Druids. Probably. So let’s get on to answering your questions.
Q4tQ: Does this patch seem more buggy than usual? I played only for a few hours and saw several bugs, glitches, and one very weird DC. Usually if I DC I get a frozen screen for a while and then it goes back to the login screen and I have to launch the game all over again. This time it kicked me immediately to the character select screen.
Mitch: When a raid tier releases, Blizzard typically puts out major class changes a week beforehand so they can then adjust numbers and make sure classes are where they want them to be when the raid releases. This patch feels sort of like Blizzard had a set date for Nighthold and tried to make the patch work for that date, rather than set a date for Nighthold based on the patch. Mind, it’s not terrible (especially compared to some older patches) but it does feel rushed in a weirder way than usual.
Liz: Honestly, I was starting to think the patch would come well after Nighthold, since they held off on a release date for so long. But it is pretty typical to have daily hotfixes after a patch goes out, no matter the patch.
Mitch: Yeah, when someone pointed out a few weeks back that 7.1.5 felt far from complete, Lore said Blizzard was happier with it than players were. But overall, it seems like players have a different version of “ready.” It doesn’t aid Blizzard that several changes went live that just plain weren’t on the PTR at all.
Liz: Incomplete patch notes with lots of undocumented changes have made this feel like a rough launch, too. Even if the patch was working just as intended, the combination of changes that weren’t on the PTR and changes that weren’t documented has everyone wondering what Blizzard meant to do and what’s a bug.
“With the boost everyone’s alts are getting in Artifact Knowledge, I’m curious, does anyone read the research on their artifact weapons?”
I was unaware of this… where would one go to see it?
Mitch: It’s different for every class, but it’s usually near where you actually collect the Artifact Knowledge. It’s every couple of ranks that you get new stuff, but an NPC will pipe up when you do. Go to that NPC.
Liz: Google them. Way easier. They’re interesting but reading them piecemeal in game is not ideal.
Mitch: That ties into my second point: I didn’t read them because I wanted to wait until I had them all. I wouldn’t have remembered doing them every, like, 10 days or whatever it is.
Liz: Seriously. Every time I look at mine I’ve forgotten the beginning and I just want to get to the ending. Google them!
Mitch: Fine. Do the boring thing like Liz said.
Liz: YES, DO.
QftQ: I know it’s a bit early, but will you participate on your server’s inaugural Call of the Scarab mini-holiday event next weekend? I do want to see my faction’s flag fly for the rest of the year next to that gong… so I probably will…
Mitch: Assuming I don’t forget, yes. Although I’m a little worried it won’t live up to my memories of the event (terrible though they were). But I still do want to attend for completion’s sake, yes.
Liz: Only if it doesn’t require me to collect 100,000 linen bandages.
Mitch: See? My memories include the very task Liz doesn’t want. It’s not the original AQ event without mindless farming and ridiculous amounts of turn-ins.
Liz: Mitch, no.
Mitch: But the Horde needs lean wolf steaks!
Liz: You’re a vegetarian. How can you possibly support this?
Mitch: In-game, my character was a corpse back then, so…
Liz: I guess our in-game alter egos are pretty fond of murder. Even the “good” ones.
Mitch: ^ Basically me
How are you supposed to gear up past 850? I reached 860 only by luck of getting two legendaries and most raid groups want higher than the gear actually offered by the raid (have yet to get into ToV and am concerned I’ll never make Nighthold)?
Mitch: Really, there’s not one answer for this. The game is doing a pretty good job of giving gear no matter what you do. No, you’re going to have an easier time getting past 850 if you run Mythic+ dungeons or have a raid team, but it’s possible to solo beyond it. It’s a bit more RNG-based if you rely on world quests and group-finder PUGs for Titanforged gear, but it’s still possible. Best route, though, is Mythic+ dungeons, if you ask me.
Liz: I think the big answer is RNG. You can get lucky and land almost any gear Titanforged, and World Quest gear gets better the higher your ilevel gets, but it’s all random.
Mitch: Yeah, this is an MMO, so the coordinated group stuff rewards it more easily, but even that comes down to RNG.
Liz: SO MUCH RNG.
Q4tQ: anyone else feel that (at least in the actual games) blizz struggles when writing female characters? Not merely WoW. StarCraft has the same problem, Kerrigan ended brood war as a intelligent, manipulative, power-hungry embodiment of evil. She starts off heart of the swarm getting chummy with Raynor, talking about the good ole days. The ending to that story is her waving goodbye while floating into space. It’s like the writer thought to themself ‘girls have feelings, let’s reopen the romantic sub plot’.
Jaina has been reduced to a cantankerous grandmother who thinks the only good orc is a dead orc. Tyrande just plain hasn’t been doing enough in general?
Mitch: I want to preface this by saying Blizzard’s games may take ideas from each other, but the different game teams work fairly independently. This explains why there is such a big disparity between the examples you give and, say, Overwatch. I think they’ve gotten better over time and are certainly cognizant of and open to feedback, but yeah, they could still do better. Oh, and Tyrande needs to ditch Malfurion. She was a ball-busting badass in Warcrimes. In WoW, she’s a lovey-dovey love interest dragged even further down by the fact that that love interest is one of the worst characters ever.
Liz: “MALFURION, MY LOVE” seems to be all we’ve gotten from Tyrande in Legion… which, it doesn’t matter if it’s a male or female character, a one-note story like that is kind of bland. (And it doesn’t help that I find Malfurion annoying and am mystified by Tyrande’s undying devotion to our local birdman.)
Mitch: Yeah, like I said, neither is written very well and both bring each other down.
Liz: Where’s the Tyrande who made the hard, possibly crazy decision to go free Illidan, slaughtering innocent Wardens in the process? That’s a determined, fierce character. But in-game could be replaced by a wind-up toy which tottered along after Malfurion and the story wouldn’t really change. I agree that Blizzard has been getting better — both Yrel and Draka in Warlords were interesting characters in their own right — but Blizzard’s writing here can be hit and miss. My judgement of Legion’s female characters is really going to come down to what happens with Jaina. They’ve very unceremoniously kicked her out of the story, and with the “Jaina’s so irrational and angry” angle the story seems to be pushing, I’m worried she’s going to be completely out and simply turned into a raid boss. That would lose us one of very few central female characters.
2 Bosses Enter: Nova vs Sombra
Mitch: These two are two sides of the same coin. They both stealth, but one’s is limited in duration while the other’s is infinite. However, one specializes in up-close kills and the other is ineffective unless sniping. This is actually one of my favorite of these TBE questions because it’s entirely dependent on circumstances. Can Sombra sneak up on Nova before Nova sees Sombra out of her cloak? Is the map better fit for snipers, or are there a lot of obstacles that prevent a clean shot? I favor Sombra because I just plain like her more, but I think it’s a toss-up.
Liz: Can Sombra hack Nova’s cloak?
Mitch: Only if she gets close enough to do so.
Liz: So it’s a game of who sees who first.
Mitch: Exactly. Nova is more likely to see Sombra first, but if she misses the shot, she gives away her position.
Liz: But if she can still cloak, she’s out of there… and then the hunt continues.
Mitch: Yeah, like I said, it’s a really tough call.
Liz: Maybe they spend all day playing cat and mouse and finally decide this isn’t worth the trouble and they should just hit the nearest bar.
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