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The Queue: The end of Liztopia

Alas, but my two-day reign of the Queue is over, so we must watch Liztopia crumble and fall until it returns in a couple of weeks. (I’ll be out next week, but Anne will fill in.) But in the meantime, here’s another Queue.

Lord Omedon asked:

Q4tQ: Related to the question of WoW being around long enough to “school” an entire “generation” of young players… am I the only one that has to actively reinforce to myself the idea that *kids* actually might be playing WoW with me?

It’s mostly a funny, ironic question, but I tend to “hear” the voices of players around me as coming from college-or-older people, or even people close to my own age. Every now and then I find myself wondering what the average age is for current WoW players. I wonder what age groups these days would be drawn to WoW. I find myself wondering sometimes if in fact everyone who will play WoW has already and has formed their opinion for good or ill, potentially making most of the population my age (early 40’s) or somewhere close to that as their continued prsence has to do with longer term loyalty and investment. Does WoW even connect with what the kids want these days, or is this question answered by how much Overwatch has seemingly become the primary “breadwinner” of Blizzard?

The “EverQuest model” MMO almost feels like it might be antiquated next to what kids these days want out of their entertainment. Am I off the mark here? How likely am I to be finding that in fact the voices in the text around me are higher pitched than what I imagine?

It’s really hard to gauge without data, but I’m constantly surprised by the ages of the people around me (at least when I find out). A virtual environment like this can make the young seem old and the old seem young. We all look the same, we all type the same, so all you have to judge your fellow players by is their actions. Immature attitudes scream “young,” but could easily come from players in their 30s. You just don’t know.

I do feel that the Warcraft population has aged. People who started when WoW launched (or even earlier with the RTS games) are more than a decade older now… and some introducing their own kids to the game, creating a whole new generation of gamers. Parents don’t always talk about their kids online, but I see the occasional story about introducing kids to guilds, groups, and more to think it’s probably not uncommon. With a good guild (and maybe chat channels turned off), WoW can be a pretty friendly place, and the game mechanics are simple enough for even younger kids to grasp even if they’re not going to be doing end game raiding. (And, no, that’s not a criticism saying WoW is too easy: but the maximum “easy to learn, difficult to master” holds true.)

I suspect if we did have numbers, we’d be surprised by the age range of WoW players. It’s a very accessible game,  which means you may be playing with anyone — from kids to seniors.

Tauren It Up asked:

Q4tQ: Have you noticed any improvements in the playerbase in Overwatch recently? I’ve taken a maybe 6 or 7 month break from the game specifically because it was routinely unfun to play with anyone, but I’ve come back to try for a few Halloween costumes. I’ve noticed a distinct lack of abusive language in the handful of games I’ve played since Tuesday. In deathmatch, people are having fun and complimenting strong streaks or funny suicides. In quickplay people are maybe not coordinating a whole lot but no one has critiqued me for choosing a “wrong” character.

I hope I’m not just lucky and people are actually listening to all of the dev team’s open letters to the community to maintain a little perspective while playing a video game.

The Overwatch team has definitely been making efforts to improve the community atmosphere by banning toxic players and encouraging everyone to play nice. But the problem is a long way from being solved.

In part it depends on when and what you play —  in Overwatch and most other online games. Playing  during the day tends to put you in the midst of a calmer group, while evening play can devolve into typical shouting and blame games. Less competitive content and PVE encounters, like Overwatch’s Halloween brawl, tend to be more chill. Competitive modes, however, are less chill. Sometimes way less chill.

Because I don’t play Overwatch much, I asked Anna what she thought about the tone of the community lately:

Anecdotes are anecdotes, but I haven’t noticed any difference personally, however I do notice a difference between playing at night and when I sneak a few rounds in the middle of the day. During the day it’s either extremely chill Americans/Europeans or else people screaming in Cyrillic. Garden variety screaming at night. People do tend to be nicer in brawls… unless you start to fail, in which case people get SALTY.

Honestly, it sounds a lot like WoW to me. LFR and LFG experiences are vastly different at different times of the day or week. If you run LFR on Tuesday, you probably get a pain-free run.  But run LFR over the weekend, when people are grumpily running their tenth alt through?  The attitude can be very different.

There’s no perfect solution yet for getting rid of jerks. Unfortunately.

Become a Watcher

 

Derrek said:

Nemsy can’t be worse than Gul’dan. I’m so sick of orcs.
Half the reason I don’t play HS anymore is because half the classes are orcs and I can’t stand orcs. The other reason I don’t play is because I can never keep up with all the new cards and metas and micros and whatnots. That’s not worth paying real money to get rid of the orcs.

Orctopia.

Actually, Hearthstone has gotten better about that. There are alternate heroes for every Orc: Alleria for Hunter, Magni for Warrior, Morgl for Shaman, and now Nemsy for Warlock. The downside, though, is that far too many of these are pay for heroes, and I find it awfully hard to justify $10 for a simple cosmetic change… no matter how much I want to escape Orctopia.

Hasteur asked:

What is your favorite place to eat at in Anaheim?

Great pre-BlizzCon question!  The Viking food truck is usually at BlizzCon (though expect long lines for its deliciousness). Bruxie isn’t technically in Anaheim but it’s only about a 15 minute drive and it has delicious waffle sandwiches. Then there’s Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles, which is kind of a California classic.

Totorodoo asked:

Considering every expac has a look and theme. What was your favorite expac color?

I’m a fan of the color blue and also the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, so that seems very appropriate.

Zylo asked:

We have a few 2 person mounts now. Who else wants to see a 3 person mount as the next special mount? (Yes, I am hoping that if we go one tiny step at a time that the “guild blimp” will actually become a thing!)

I agree with this 100%.

Rossi asked:

What could Blizzard do in terms of the Diablo franchise that would make you the happiest? What’s the most plausible good option?

While I enjoy the mindless hack-n-slash for which Diablo is known, the game also has a great store, packed with tons of lore. Sanctuary is a fascinating place, and we see far too little of it as Diablo focuses on all the hacking and slashing. I have so many story questions,  and none of them are getting answered with hacking and/or slashing.

In short, I want another story-focused expansion or sequel.  Sure, keep the hacking and the slashing, but give us more of Sanctuary to explore and learn about. Tell us what’s been going on in Heaven and Hell. Tell us what the various Evils are doing.

The last serious Diablo story we had was Reaper of Souls, released in 2014. Come on, Diablo, give us something.

And that’s it for today, dear readers. Come back tomorrow to find your questions answered by Matthew Rossi and I’ll see you next time!

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