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The Queue: Betrayal

Welcome back to The Queue, our daily Q&A feature for all of Blizzard’s games! Have a question for the Blizzard Watch staff? Leave it in the comments!

SPencer Morgan asked:

How did we get through heart of the swarm with no mention of Kerrigan being the murderer of Mengsk’s family? It was an important piece of information explain his betrayal of her in classic StarCraft. Leaving that out of game, even at the conclusion of Kerrigan’s revenge arc is just negligent writing.

I honestly don’t think it has any place in the narrative of StarCraft 2 unless you want to overcomplicate the situation. Kerrigan didn’t do those things. The Ghost program did those things. Kerrigan was mentally tortured and traumatized for years, ultimately brainwashed and placed under someone else’s total control, forced to do things she wouldn’t know about or remember.

Okay, so you bring Mengsk holding a grudge about that into StarCraft 2. But then you have to go into the entire background of the Ghost program and explain Kerrigan probably doesn’t even know she ever did that. And we never met Mengsk’s family in-game, it was only a novel/comic detail, we never saw them or saw Kerrigan do any of those things… so the revelation would be meaningless. You’d also need to spend time explaining Mengsk’s entire life story and teach us about his extended family beyond his son, Valerian, who is actually relevant to the story of StarCraft 2. And given Kerrigan was a Ghost who was brainwashed, what does it actually change about the dynamic? Kerrigan didn’t do those things. Someone holding a remote control did, essentially. It doesn’t change what she can or cannot be blamed for.

It doesn’t bring anything to the story. Kerrigan’s position remains the same. Mengsk’s position also remains the same, because he would be abundantly aware of what the Ghost program entails. Mengsk’s Terran Dominion used the same Ghost program the Confederacy did. The Dominion used Nova the same way the Confederacy used Kerrigan.

The story of Sarah Kerrigan are the parts where she did have control over her own actions. Everything else is wasted time.

Further, I’d argue it’s not an important piece of information explaining his betrayal at all. That information didn’t even exist in StarCraft/Brood War. That information wasn’t available when playing that game. The information came much later in written extended universe material. What we knew was Mengsk was leading an opposition faction, brought Kerrigan into the fold, and ultimately discarded her as a disposable tool. StarCraft 2 follows up on that exact thread, not the extended universe back-fill.

Malkil asked:

There’s more than a few plot threads dangling throughout WoW right now. Some may have been abandoned. Some may eventually be revisited. If you could have any of them picked back up and expanded on and/or completed, which ones would they be and what would you like to see happen with them?

I feel like Jaina has a more integral role in Warcraft than the developers do. Jaina gets brought back for a token role once in awhile and then shoved out of the way for someone else. Over and over again. Jaina should have an active role in the shape of the world rather than trying to advise people and getting frustrated when someone screws it up. She’s royalty in her own right. She’s made sacrifices that get glossed over. She isn’t perfect and knows it. Her homeland, Kul Tiras, isn’t even in-game and I’m pretty sure the writers/developers forgot she had a homeland.

If Jaina, as a character, is going to be endlessly abused, that annoys me. She deserves an actual story. If they don’t want her to be a main character, then give her some closure — ideally closure that doesn’t involve her death and/or being a raid boss.

That’s the most frustrating thing about World of Warcraft, really. They put their characters into storage for years at a time. By the time those characters return, any dramatic impact their story might have gets derailed. Either people (reasonably) forget what happened, or the world has changed so much between appearances that their motivations get called into question. Theramore was destroyed up in 2012. Jaina’s grief still hasn’t played out in the narrative. If she ever gets a chance to follow up and work through it, will anybody remember what happened? Probably not. Most people have already forgotten huge chunks of Jaina’s story. That’s awful. This doesn’t only apply to Jaina, either. All of their major characters get rotating appearances, and when we get pieces of their personal story, those pieces come years apart. That sucks.

Lockengwen asked:

How important is it to have finished the Suramar story line before going into Nighthold? I’ve finished Good Suramaritan, but not the stuff after that.

It isn’t essential, but it provides further story related to Suramar and Nighthold in particular. The entire story of Suramar leads into Nighthold. Certainly, it’s not a situation where you’re going to be clueless about Nighthold if you don’t do it, but it’s nice. You don’t really need a story reason to kill baddies. You already know they’re baddies.

Chrth asked:

Do you think Blizzard will ever relax the requirement for obtaining/wearing the Class Hall shoulders? Exalted Nightfallen on every toon you want to wear it is pretty brutal.

Probably not. With how quickly a person can gear up in this expansion, those shoulders were of questionable ilevel relevance right from launch. To me, that was fine — it was essentially like getting a vanity transmog set. Those sorts of rewards often require a grind, and whether or not you get them is dependent on whether or not you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mind grinding. The sets are all different; if you want a different set on a different character, you put in the work.

I, personally, don’t see a problem with that. My Warrior got the Warrior set. My Warlock will inevitably get the Warlock set. On my other characters, I don’t want them so much and won’t bother grinding them out. My Warlock already has higher iLevel shoulders, so I’ll only be putting in that work so I can have pretty clothes.

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