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The Queue: What a twist!

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!

R. D. asked:

Which class has changed the most since Vanilla? I know spec-wise Survival is the most changed, but I’m wondering more about the classes. Since Vanilla I have mained a druid (guardian) and to me they seem the least changed (I know Balance has changed the most spec-wise expansion to expansion).

Paladins and Shaman without a doubt. Comparing the classes in Legion to what they were in 2004, they’re only recognizable because the developers kept the names for their spells. Those spells don’t do what they did back then, but at least they have the same name. Those two classes have both received multiple major overhauls that completely change their playstyle and their function within the game. Totems were the core of Shaman gameplay and totems are barely even in the game anymore. Likewise, Paladins and their short-duration Seal/Judgment juggle were core to their gameplay, but that’s mostly gone, too.

Mistah Jay asked:

1. Have there been any significant plot twists in WoW that you’ve liked/disliked? (Theramore getting bombed, illidan dying half way through Burning Crusade, Blasted Lands invasion by Warlords Horde etc)?

2. What would you say is your favourite plot twist in any game you’ve played?

I’m finding this to be a surprisingly difficult question. The big twists that are obvious as plot twists tend to be corny. When the plot twist is obvious, it’s not very good. The obvious ones are the ones that stick in your head as plot twists, though. “Oh no, the good guy… was actually evil all along!” or “Surprise, your favorite character is dead for a cheap emotional pop!” When I think of plot twists in WoW, those are the ones that come to mind. I haven’t liked any of them, because they’re bad. I don’t remember the good ones, because they were an organic part of storytelling and not celebrating their own cleverness. There are probably great moments in the story that were plot twists, but I don’t think of them as such, because they weren’t cheap.

In your examples, I think Sunwell Plateau is the one I’d call a “twist” and it was pretty good. Was the Warlords Horde showing up really a plot twist? We knew there was going to be a new expansion and we knew what it entailed. That’s not so much a plot twist as a straight line. Sunwell Plateau was something we genuinely didn’t know about. For all we knew, Black Temple was end-of-the-line for Burning Crusade until they announced Isle of Quel’danas and revealed what Kael’thas was actually up to. That was solid.

The little twist involving Wrathion in the Legion beta was genuinely exciting, but also didn’t make much sense when you spent a little time thinking about it, so I understand why it was removed.

My favorite plot twist in games overall is probably in Mass Effect 2. Y’know, the part where you play someone other than Shepard for awhile. Spoilers, etc.

Chamual asked:

Going by Anne’s excellent description of a Demon Hunter’s sacrifice, Would you play an OP hero class if it only lasted on expansion, or had to sacrifice an existing character for them? Say turn your paladin into a deathknight, or your rogue into demon hunter. You get to be massively OP for one expansion and wield the most powerful weapons in the game, but the character becomes a feat of strength when the expansion ends.

Yes, probably, because those limitations would be minor annoyances rather than tough decisions. If I had to sacrifice an existing character? That just means leveling an alt. Overpowered, but only for one expansion? Well, that’s two years. This is why Blizzard ended up not going that route with hero classes way back with the Death Knight: They weren’t challenges or limitations, they were just things that would annoy their players.

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