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The QueueOct 15, 2015 11:00 am CT

The Queue: Nothing at all happened yesterday

I heard nothing was happening yesterday, so I decided to completely skip reading the news. I’m sure I didn’t miss anything, because why would Blizzard bother dropping any news this close to BlizzCon?

So why dally any longer? Let’s get on to today’s Q&A session.


JMUIJE ASKED:

Q4TQ: Will Item Upgrades be enough to de-stagnate things? I know my raid team will blitz heroic and mythic dungeons for a couple of weeks for upgrades, but I can’t see them being a long term solution.

Valor purchases like normal quality raid items would go a long way. However, with Empowered Gear, even that will lose quite a bit of luster real quick.

Okay, ladies and gentlemen — I have to warn you in advance because we are entering The Cynicism Zone with this question and we may not leave it for the rest of the Queue.

To me, adding Valor and item upgrades feels like yet another grind. Further, adding these features back to the game not so long after they were removed from the game makes the change feel slapdash and unconsidered. In short, this feels a lot like Blizzard suddenly realized we’re still a long way from Legion and they need something, anything, to keep us playing until then. The result is a minor patch full of easy fill-in content that will keep us occupied and paying subscription fees for at least a little while longer.

Of course Blizzard is entitled to change their minds whenever they please. Perhaps they’ve realized that stripping out these features was the wrong thing to do and that, especially at the end of an expansion, you need things for players to do and catch-up mechanisms to let players who have fallen behind enjoy the latest content. Valor Points and gear upgrades provide both of those things, but this unexpected patch drop makes it seem very abrupt. It makes it seem like it’s a stop-gap buy time.

Will this de-stagnate things? I don’t think so. But it will give players who are already playing a reason to keep playing and it will give players who aren’t currently doing top-tier raiding a reason to collect valor to improve their gear and tackle that higher-level content while they still have time — because, obviously, we all want to get our moose, right? The cycle will continue: players will keep playing to eek out these last few upgrades, but players who have already grown tired of Warlords aren’t likely to come back for a few more ilvls and a moose.


MISTAH JAY! ASKED:

Q4tQ: What will happen to our Valor points when Legion comes out?

Though Blizzard hasn’t made any comment on content that far out, I see two possibilities. Either Valor Points will be removed entirely as they were when Warlords launched or they’ll be depreciated and no longer useful for new gear and upgrades. Will Blizzard surprise us with something completely different? They might, but these possibilities seem the most likely considering previous points systems.


CAPTAINCAKEWALK ASKED:

So, Q4tQ: What is the one thing you would like to see make a return like with Valour Points? Maybe some long lost item that you never got to grab back in the day due to that pesky RNG or something like VP and JP which, like myself, you used allot to enjoy the game that little bit more!

If you’d told me a year ago that I would one day type what I’m about to type I would have laughed in your face… but I really wish Blizzard would bring back reforging.

Now, let me set the scene. I hated reforging. It was a complicated system that encouraged a ridiculous level of min/max behavior where every time you got a new piece of gear you had to go and reforge everything to get the perfect stat balance again. Say you were at the hit cap and you’ve picked up a new trinket with hit — now you’ve got to go back and reforge to remove hit off of other gear and add more useful stats, all the while keeping your hit at cap and not going over any other caps. There were spreadsheets, websites, and addons needed to reforge your gear perfectly. The process was tedious at best.

However, even though I hated reforging, now I miss it. Warlords’ gear system has frustrated me to the point where I now want one of my most disliked features of the game added back to it. With reforging, if I got a piece of gear that wasn’t quite right, I could reforge it to be something pretty good. Now I’m simply stuck with sub-par stats… especially as Blizzard insists on putting non-optimal stats on gear.

Mastery, which is great for some classes and exceedingly uninteresting to others, is a great example here. It’s on a lot of gear because it’s supposed to be good, but it’s not good for everyone — as a Windwalker Monk, in previous expansions I’d always reforge it to something else. Now Mastery-heavy gear gets disenchanted or simply vendored unless it’s much higher level than what I already have. The situation is even worse with crafted gear which has random stats. Don’t get the stats I want? I can randomly reroll the item to get an all new set of random stats… which might actually be the same stats. Ugh!

So, thank you Blizzard. You have made a gear system that I dislike so much that I want you to bring back reforging. Please, Blizzard. Please. While you’re revisiting old systems, revisit reforging, too.


ARKENSIS ASKED:

My guild was having a discussion this morning regarding the patch notes and the addition of the Grove Warden mount to Heroic and Mythic Archimonde fight rather than as a real-money purchase. Some of us are bothered by the limited-time offer of this really cool mount, others are happy they’re putting better mounts into the game without forcing us to open up our wallets.

Q4tQ: What is the optimal level of difficulty to put a mount like this in, and is it too late in the raid-game for some people to attain it without a major change to their play habits? As a casual-progression raider, our guild who raids about 6 hours a week has only managed a few Normal Gorefiend kills, and I’m wondering if other people are feeling like a Heroic Archimonde kill might be well out of their range. I know that the Garrosh heirlooms were added from Day 1 of the patch, and were easier to attain at higher difficulties, but more casual players still managed to earn one or two in a lot of cases.

This seems to be an issue that has hugely polarized the World of Warcraft community. We were promised a moose, but now the moose is out of reach to many more casual players. I myself am in a casual raiding guild that does not typically do current-tier Heroic content — though it is possible we may wind up doing just that after all of us have geared up and learned the encounters, since we’re likely to have plenty of time before the expansion is over. However, I’m just as likely to never see a moose mount.

While that’s a shame, it’s also the sort of thing I’ve come to accept. Not necessarily having everything I want is a side-effect of how I play the game. Sure, I could get a moose if I wanted to spend more time raiding and find a guild that would take me for Heroic runs (possibly leaving the guild I’m in now, which I love dearly, behind). But that’s too high a price to pay for a moose, in my opinion, and so I’m happy to go without one.

However, I do think it was a little disingenuous of Blizzard to tease the moose without context, getting everyone hyped about it and later revealing that it would only be available to higher end raiders. Certainly there’s nothing wrong with players who do more getting better rewards, but by not specifying, Blizzard set the wrong expectation — and I think we’re seeing the results of that now in the outcry over the moose mount.

Still, offering Valor Points and ilvl upgrades may help lower level raiders jump up to the next tier without doing something drastic like guild hopping or significantly increasing their time commitment to the game (which, for players with jobs, families, and other commitments just isn’t always possible). We’ll just have to see how the patch shakes out.


CHRTH ASKED:

Q4TQ: I haven’t done much timewalking, are the special drops (like mounts) available in them? Could I finally get the chocobo from Kael’thas?

Yep! In addition to the expected Timewalking rewards, you can also pick up special loot like mounts, complete quests, do classic achievements, and just about anything else you might want to do in a dungeon. Anything except pick up original ilvl gear, really.


ARMENIUS ASKED:

Do we think that the valor upgrades will be applicable to all items or just dungeon/raid drops? For example, can we upgrade crafted items?

Unfortunately, Blizzard’s phrasing is unclear. They specifically state:

Originally Posted by Rygarius (Official Post)

Players will be able to earn and spend Valor to upgrade items from Hellfire Citadel, items created from Baleful tokens in Tanaan Jungle, and all Draenor dungeon drops. All the items you’ve already earned are eligible for upgrades retroactively.

Do they mean that the only items you can upgrade are from HFC, Baleful tokens, and Draenor dungeons and that any of these items you have can be upgraded when the patch hits? Or is the phrase “all the items you’ve already earned are eligible” literal, saying that all the Warlords gear you’ve collected so far is eligible to be upgraded, and the list is simply an example of upgradable items.

We just don’t know yet.

That’s all for today’s cynicism parade Queue. As always, feel free to discuss our answers and ask questions for tomorrow in the comments. Well see you on Friday!

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