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The Queue: Taking a holiday from holidays

Hi. Today’s Queue got into the idea of Death Gods in WoW, and coincidentally I feel like death right now. So let’s get right to it, shall we? Let’s do.

Michael

The transmog yak is the best purchase I’ve ever made. Instant transmog on any character level 20 or higher. I honestly couldn’t live without it, especially since they removed the “hide helm” option from the regular interface menu.

True story — I bought that mount back when it was a reforging mount, because the ability to reforge on the fly was just so, so necessary for raiding in Mists of Pandaria. When I heard they were taking reforging out of the game I was incensed, because I’d blown so much gold on the mount and I very much wanted to know what they could possibly add to replace reforging.

“We’re going to make it a transmog mount.”

“Oh.” I sat there reading that for a moment. “Carry on then.”

Brainstrain

The Qiraji event is still going on, fwiw. Not much too it, but fairly fun. I think there should have been some kind of reward – even just a toy or pet or something. But there’s still people doing it, so maybe Blizz has the right idea.

Honestly, I think they really did.

I’m a huge fan of changes and additions to World of Warcraft that I can utterly and safely ignore. Pet Battles, for example — they provide nothing I want or need, and so I can completely disregard them and let them be a fun thing that exists for players who do want to participate. I’m not at all obligated, there is absolutely nothing in Pet Battles I like or want and that’s great. Similarly, the Brawler’s Guild is another terrific addition to the game for a very similar reason. I have never really cared about it, never done it, and in no way has my character felt like I’ve missed out because of this. I have friends who love the Brawler’s Guild, and more power to them. It’s just not for me.

Similarly, the Micro-Holiday came and went and was a highly contested thing from what I’ve been told and i wouldn’t know because I didn’t so much as look at it. I ran my WQs and did my transmog runs and that was all I did.

I love when Blizzard does this. Micro-Holidays are already a huge hit as far as I’m concerned.

Awkward Penguin

My personal opinion is that you can add tanking/healing specs to other classes but it won’t solve the problem of Tank/Dps/Support meta. People who want to play tanks and healers already do it for the most part…
At least queuing for dungeons makes it so you can still get in as a dps warrior, because for a while if your class could tank or heal it was expected of you.

This is rapidly turning into “Grandpa Matt sits at his rocking chair talking about the old days.”

But back in Vanilla, I tanked as a Warrior entirely because that was what we did. I tanked as Fury because you could — strap on a shield, use Sunder Armor and Bloodthirst in D-Stance and switch to Battle to hit Thunder Clap when multiple adds were on the table. Protection had some sweet tricks but they were deep in the tree and almost every warrior was either a 31/5/15 Arms Warrior or a 31/0/20 Arms Warrior — my even raiding as Fury was pretty amazing to people at the time, much less that I raided Fury with a Slam 2h weapon build.

Still, when we needed a tank, I would strap on a shield and do the job. When my friends needed a dungeon, same thing. I almost never got to run a dungeon as actual DPS, and that was in guild groups. Every single dungeon I PuGged, I did so as the tank.

Cut to BC, when great strides were made in Paladin and Druid tanking. Such great strides, in fact, that Paladin and Druid tanks eclipsed Warriors in Dungeons and it wasn’t until guilds were half-way into raiding that they realized Warriors still had the better Boss Tanking toolkits. This ended up making everyone unhappy — Warrior tanks felt like they’d lost their job in dungeons, Paladins and Druids that had stepped up to tank felt like they’d been promised the role and then got to SSC/TK and Warriors were just better at boss fights than they were. And DPS Warriors?

It was pretty much a gigantic ‘nope’ from everyone to bring a melee DPS without any CC to dungeons.

The Dungeon Finder had negative consequences. Groups tend to talk less and less to each other every time I use it, especially now that it just lets you queue for normal/heroic dungeons and everyone considers it the easy mode second rate option. (I don’t consider it that, but I’ve run enough groups to know that’s the prevailing wisdom.) But one of the blessings of LFD when it was introduced is it allowed you to play any class you wanted and still go to a dungeon at all. The long DPS queue times are annoying, but compared to back in BC when people would flat out say no to certain classes because they were seen as less powerful, it’s a vast improvement.

However, I don’t think adding more tank/heal options are going to fix things. We’ve added three tanking classes since Vanilla and a healing class. All that’s happened is that people argue over the current winner of the ‘best tank’ or ‘best healer’ sweepstakes even when the differences are often so bare and incremental that it really doesn’t matter and any tank or any healer could successfully complete the dungeon. I’m sure that some people who play pure DPS classes would love to tank on those characters, but the majority chose pure DPS and don’t want to tank at all, so what would be achieved by a tanking Hunter or Warlock spec?

Similarly I feel like healing mages or rogues (don’t ask me, maybe they stab you with healing poisons) would be something a few players enjoyed, but the ultimate result would be balanced by all the players of those classes who don’t want to tank or heal who wouldn’t use those specs, and a certain pressure on those classes to step into the role. I mean, as a Warrior in raiding I ended up tanking in every single expansion despite wanting to be a DPS Warrior, because we’d lose our tanks to burnout and I was always there and frankly, always a good tank. Why wouldn’t you want me to do it?

There’s pros and cons to this sort of thing is what I’m saying. Adding more tanks and healers doesn’t really change the balance of players who actually want to perform those roles that dramatically. Sure, you’ll get a few Mages willing to switch over for a fast queue, and a few Warlocks who’ve always wanted to tank, but that would be balanced out by other pressures.

Also clearly Blizzard took the whole Warlock tanking kit and gave it to Demon Hunters.

Gossamer

Q4tQ: A friend asked me to reconcile the Val’kyr from WotLK and Legion and I realized that I couldn’t. In WotLK the Val’kyr were the Lich Kings minions and he could create them. But in Legion they were created by Odin and don’t seem to have anything to do with the Lich King. Sylvanas also “inherited” the Lich King’s Val’kyr in Cataclysm and was using them to create new undead. What’s happened since then that she’s running around in Stormheim trying to find Val’kyr?

Okay.

When the Lich King (Arthas at the time) discovered the sleeping Vrykul beneath the earth in Northrend he presented himself to them as a Death God. Since these Vrykul were the ones who’d been ruled by King Ymiron, who’d blamed the Titans and their Titan-Forged Watchers and Keepers for the Curse of Flesh and turned his back on the worship of them, it wasn’t hard to portray himself as a god to replace the ones they felt abandoned by.

The Vrykul had the tradition of Val’kyr serving as choosers of the slain from the time of Odyn and Helya. Helya was ruling over the Kvaldir and stealing Vrykul souls for that purpose while reigning in Helheim, but Arthas was there, physically present in Northrend, and he had the enormous necromantic power of ther Legion created Helm of Domination and Frostmourne. Using that power, he essentially created his own Val’kyr.

There’s some argument that he did this through his connection to Yogg-Saron (the Lich King didn’t like to admit it, but he’d been using that Saronite pretty heavily in the construction of Icecrown Citadel and other Scourge structues like Acherus). Remember, Yogg-Saron corrupted Loken and through him turned the Val’kyr Helya against Odyn, and when encountered in Ulduar Yogg uses the Sara form which transforms into a Val’kyr, implying that the Old God understood the process of creating choosers of the slain. Why would he impart it to Arthas? Well, it’s pretty clear that Yogg felt that Arthas’ presence was useful while also feeling that Arthas was a mortal overstepping his station and he ‘d fall in time, and this suited the Death God (remember, Yogg called itself that too) just fine.

But either way, Arthas’ Val’kyr are perversions of the Vrykul in Northrend, drawing upon the power of the Lich King. The question is, how much of this did Helya know about? Was she incensed or did she, too, see Arthas as a useful puppet for a time? Was the darkness that Arthas saw when he died the way to Helheim? We killed King Ymiron who was working for Arthas at the time and he ended up in Helheim. Considering that Helheim is its own plane created by Helya using the same magic she used to help create the elemental planes and seal away the Halls of Valor, it’s possible she was behind Arthas’ ability to create Val’kyr as well. To what end? Well, the Scourge would be an excellent weapon to use against Odyn and the other Keepers if it ever came to that. For that matter, it was Yogg (through Loken) who broke Odyn’s bindings on Helya, and the lady does have some pretty huge tentacles, so it’s possible she’s allied with/under the thrall of the Old Gods as well.

Either way, Sylvanas is running out of Val’kyr. She lost three when Lord Godfrey shot and killed her in Silverpine, and another in Andorhal. If she loses all of them, the Forsaken lose the ability to raise more dead to become Forsaken, and thus become extremely vulnerable to losses through attrition. Any group or organization that can’t or doesn’t replace losses will eventually fade out of existence, and so Sylvanas (not being an idiot) knows she needs more Val’kyr. Hence her pact with Helya. Odyn wasn’t likely to let Sylvanas have any of his Valkyr willingly, but Helya was the first Val’kyr and she knows the means by which Odyn bound her to service. Again, it’s a move that ticks off Odyn and costs her almost nothing so why not do it?


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Okay, that’s the Queue for today. I’m going to spend the rest of today trying not to collapse. Take care of each other.

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