The QueueDec 29, 2016 11:00 am CT

The Queue: Xe’ra’s Illidan fanfic

Please, Xe’ra, I don’t want to beta-read any more of your fanfic. I’m sure it’s perfectly good, but turning one of Azeroth’s greatest villains into a golden-eyed child of prophecy isn’t really my thing. No, no, I don’t want to read chapter 28. You just need to find a new beta reader. Really, I’m fighting the Burning Legion over here and I don’t have time to chat with your astral projection. Get back to me when you have something I can punch in the face, okay?


How would you resolve Illidan story if given complete freedom to do so?

I would have him be obliterated from existence by Wrathion who brings cavalry to save the day.

Liz: I feel like there are a lot of good reasons to potentially help Illidan here. The Demon Hunter starting experience and the Harbingers short made me look on Illidan in a new way — he’s made some bad life decisions, sure, but he’s single-focused in his dedication to destroying the Legion. That makes him the hero we need right now. And, if it were left in my hands, I think I’d play it out that way. Illidan is a deeply flawed character, who’s been twisted by time and his own mistakes, but he’s still trying to do something good by defeating the Burning Legion. His ends-justify-the-means philosophy will continually put him at odds with the heroes of Azeroth — none of us are safe standing beside Illidan, because if the opportunity arose he would sacrifice any of us if it would give an edge against the Legion. That, as opposed to the “Illidan was right all along” angle, has the potential to be a very tense story. Will Illidan kill us all or save us all or do one to do the other?

Mitch: Yeah, I agree with Liz here (what?!). Blizzard could have gone the route they’re going without retconning the entire characterization of Illidan we’ve known. Illidan has always been kind of a jerk, but he’s the Vegeta of Warcraft — people love him because of his jerkitude. We didn’t _need_ more reasons to like him. We know he’s strong, we know he hates the Legion, we know he’d be a good ally.

Mitch: To answer (somewhat) more directly: I don’t want Illidan to sacrifice himself and die a martyr and I don’t want him to live as a totally redeemed hero either. Neither fits his character. I actually think it would be interesting if one of two things happened: 1. The Legion takes a major hit, but still kills Illidan in a way that catches everyone off guard and makes him not die a “hero’s death.” Orrrrrr 2. Xe’ra really was corrupted and this is all another Kil’jaeden con that’ll blow up in our faces (not gonna happen, though). I guess option 3 works too: Illidan is about to die and Malfurion sacrifices himself to save his brother but it doesn’t work and they both die and Tyrande goes back to being a badass who doesn’t need a love interest at all. Yeah, I actually like that last option the best.

Liz: Tyrande, you can do better than these guys.


Is having story elements retconned a reality of the Warcraft saga we should just accept, or is it lazy writing that Blizzard needs to address?

Liz: I think retcons are an unfortunate fact of life for a long-lived franchise like this. When Blizzard released the original Warcraft: Orcs & Humans in 1994, they probably didn’t think they’d still be doing this in 2016. And even if they hoped they’d still be making fantasy games in 2016, there’s just no way they could have thought through exactly how the story would play out over the past 20 years. Some of their original ideas… well, they may just have to go so they can make the story work today. Just look at Overwatch, which recently canceled the First Strike graphic novel because otherwise it would be retconned on release. Stories change as you work on them, and the longer a story lasts, the more likely retcons are. As to what makes a good retcon or a bad retcon or how retconning is too much… all of that seems like a matter of personal interpretation. Admittedly, I am not enthused by the new perspective Legion has on Illidan, but Blizzard clearly has a story goal in mind and it’s hard to judge whether showing Illidan in this new light is good or bad until we get there.

Mitch: Liz’s answer is pretty great, so I don’t have much to add save for this — accept that it’ll likely happen occasionally, but not to the degree where you don’t call Blizzard out on it. In the end, if Legion retcons Illidan’s characterization, the world will still go on. But I’ll be happy to have been one of the ones saying it shouldn’t happen again rather than one of the ones not saying anything at all.

Liz: I think the real twist here is that Xe’ra just wants Illidan’s autograph.

Mitch: …Can Naaru even hold things?

Liz: She can have someone post it on the wall of her favorite temple and enjoy looking at it.


Q4tQ: Are they still working on the looooong loading screen issue? I still have long load times for Dalaran in particular. If I open the task manager during one of these delays, it’s pretty clear that the disc is going hammer and tongs (like 99% all from WoW). Knowing that, it should be pretty easy for them to analyze what’s going on. I figure some developer thought, “Everyone goes to Dal. I’ll just pop in some content updates / file reorg / whatever when they go there so we’re sure everything’s up to date.” Stupid thinking but it happens. (I used to be a software developer and I’ve seen stupider.)

Liz: Last I heard, they’re still working to track it down. Earlier this month in a Q&A, Ion said it was turning out to be more complicated than they thought to track down and squish this bug, but it’s still high priority. In the meanwhile, advice on “fixing” it is all over the map. In the comments Rik said adding the line SET worldPreloadNonCritical “0” to the end of your file will fix it. Some people have found disabling streaming or hardware acceleration in the launcher settings helps. And… that’s kind of the problem. There’s no one easy answer fix that everyone, which makes it annoying for Blizzard to track down and annoying for us to suffer through.

Mitch: Arrogant solution: Invest in a solid-state drive. Windows + one or two of your favorite games on an SSD will make a world of difference, especially when the game isn’t actually suffering loading-screen issues.

Liz: That’s a great general “speed up your gaming” answer, but it’s a weird problem because it just appeared for a lot of people with patch 7.1. (Though I admittedly have an SSD and have not encountered this problem.)

Mitch: Yeah, totally. But — again, I feel like I sound like a dick here but hey — I did not notice the loading screen issue at all once 7.1 hit and I suspect it’s because I have WoW on a solid state.

Liz: Doing a web search comes up with dozens of different “solutions” so… I honestly think the only thing that’s certain to work is to wait for Blizzard to figure out what went wrong and make it right.


Speaking of Illidan:

Has there been any word on a catchup mechanism on those idiotic soul fragments? I’m sitting on five of the like eighty I need because I don’t have time to be grinding out ten mythics a week (And the Heroic drop rate is laughably low, I yet to actually get one in a Heroic).

I’m not opposed to cosmetic stuff being locked behind group content or even some story content behind easily handled group content (Like the five man dungeon stuff to wrap the zones, which is easymode stuff), but farming these things to progress the base story of the expansion is obnoxious.

Liz: Right now you can get up to ten of these a week (and every Heroic end boss should drop one, since a November 3rd hotfix), making it a fairly tedious two month process — and it’s rumored that Legendary upgrades will require you to finish this quest chain first. I haven’t heard anything about Blizzard increasing or removing that cap, but it’s not uncommon for them to make those caps higher (or remove them entirely) as time passes, so I’m hoping for the best.

Mitch: Yeah, there isn’t anything planned so far but there should be. I really wish it were a dynamic cap or something that worked like Artifact Knowledge. If the maximum someone who’s been doing it every week can have is X, I think you should be able to get to, like, X-10 or something. Instead, you’re locked into 10 per week max no matter what. Which is made all the more frustrating by the fact that the loot window will say “You got 7 soul fragments!” but you actually only got 2 in your loot log because you hit the cap.

Liz: Doesn’t help that early on you DIDN’T get a guaranteed drop per dungeon. The whole thing is a bit frustrating.


Do we yet know the requirements for the class mounts coming later? (Can’t remember which patch they’re supposed to show up in).

Liz: Patch 7.2, which is somewhere off in the future still. At BlizzCon, Ion just said they would be rewarded at the end of your class hall campaign…. which is, admittedly, not much detail.

Mitch: I’m sure Blizzard is still fine-tuning these, to be honest. Ion talked about spec variants for things like Shadow Priest s, but we haven’t actually seen that variant. I’m hoping the requirements will be less “okay, now go do 3 dungeons and 5 missions” and more along the lines of getting your spec’s Artifact weapon (solo scenario, built entirely around your spec).


2 Bosses Enter: Alarak vs Benedictus

Liz: I would like to see the two of them sit down for tea and talk about their favorite dark gods. But seriously, you do not mess with Alarak unless you have a death wish.

Mitch: I read “dank gods” there for a second and…yeah… down the rabbit hole.

Liz: That is a totally different kind of god.

Mitch: Anyhoo, Alarak for sure. If that dude decides you’re going to have a bad day, you’re going to really have a bad day. And Benedictus had his story spoiled in an abandoned beta intro, so he’s totally not even good at hiding his plans.

Liz: Okay, I think we’re done.

Mitch: Yay!

Liz: We have succeeded in writing one of those super long Queues people will hate.

Mitch: Yes, great job.

Liz: So that’s all for today, fellow gamers! Leave your questions here and Matthew Rossi will be back tomorrow with more answers!

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