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The QueueMar 20, 2017 11:00 am CT

The Queue: Into space

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!


What if Blizzard didn’t write Gnomes as comic relief? What if the Alliance got serious about either taking back Gnomeregan or building New Gnomeregan? What if there was a patch dedicated to advancing the Gnome’s story? Would you be interested in that? Would you look forward to that?

I know Gnomes aren’t a lot of people’s favorites, but those of us who do like Gnomes really like them. How do we get Blizzard, and others, on the Gnome train?

I’ve had some of these conversations many moons ago about where I’d like to see the gnomes go. Personally, I hate gnomes as they are — but I think there are cool, more serious stories you could tell with gnomes. Gnomes are supposed to be brilliant but their warlocks and mages, for example, are depicted as slapstick failures. A gnome warlock who took his job seriously could be a terrifyingly awesome character; small in stature with incredible power at their fingertips.

When I had these discussions back then, though, a lot of gnome players spoke up saying the slapstick was why they played gnomes. Obvious these are generalities and everyone will have their own opinion, but I saw many gnome players holding conflicting opinions: they wanted serious gnome stories but didn’t want to lose the goofiness.

Obviously, you can use levity to make dark moments more poignant and vice versa, but I don’t think that’s what people wanted. It seemed to me like they wanted a deadly serious episode of The Three Stooges and that concept is fundamentally… bizarre.

What would I like, though? I want to see the serious side of gnomes. I want to see the characters who actually established the belief in gnome ingenuity, because we haven’t seen any of that. You can’t tell use gnomes are brilliant, then only show them screwing up. Yes, there can be screwups, because science and discovery usually involves a few along the way, but have they actually accomplished anything as long as they’ve been in the game? Not really.

If we get a patch of gnome content and it’s just more slapstick and silliness like every Gnome questing hub we’ve had so far, no, I’m not really interested in that. I don’t play gnomes and that’s why.

I don’t think we’re actually going to reclaim Gnomeregan at any point, though. It wouldn’t serve a game purpose and that’s the basis of all of Blizzard’s WoW decisions. What would reclaiming Gnomeregan actually do? Do we have a reason for a second capital city in Dun Morogh? Nah.


What’s with that new quest all max level characters suddenly got? A bleeding minion shows up in your class hall and you have to do a mission on the mission board and then…that’s it. Did I miss something?

It’s just a little teaser for patch 7.2. The NPC tells you there’s something up on the Broken Shore and that’s that.


Man, I was sooooo excited for “Andromeda Day” in a few days. But now I’m reading that the game is plagued with animation bugs that affect character movement and facial expressions during conversations. I’ve seen the GIFS, and it’s looks REALLY bad when it happens. When the devs were confronted with the problem and whether it would be fixed, the response was, “Day one? Nope. That ship has sailed. We’ll see if it gets fixed with a later patch.”

We’ll see?!

The response to such a serious problem in 2017 was so cavalier that it really put a bad taste in my mouth. :(

This isn’t a question, but hey, I’ll address it. I’m pretty stoked about Andromeda, so why not?

I played the 10 hour trial through Origin Access and the gifs that are making the rounds are the worst examples of the animation weirdness. Are they excusable? Maybe not, but seriously, people are hyperfocusing on the worst of the worst examples. And in some cases, the weird animations are manufactured by the player. There’s a gif going around of Ryder bobbing back and forth all bow-legged and that happens if you’re moving forward and spam both left and right one after the other, trapping Ryder in the “turn around” animation. It looks goofy… but do you plan on doing that in normal gameplay? Nah.

As a whole, the animations aren’t that bad. I, personally, don’t feel like they’re any worse than any previous Mass Effect or other open world RPGs. If you’re someone who is easily torn out of a game by an animation glitch, maybe the game isn’t for you, no. But I always expect some wonkiness in these enormous games and can ignore all but the most egregious examples.

I enjoyed the gameplay. In general, I enjoyed the writing. The only time I felt the writing was “bad” was, hilariously, the one character catching the most flak from the gameplay so far — and that character deserves it. I don’t know what her deal is, but she has clown makeup, her face barely moves, and her dialogue is pretty atrocious. I feel like if she wasn’t one of the first characters you meet, the criticism Andromeda has been receiving would be significantly lessened. In my 10 hours of gameplay, I didn’t encounter a single other NPC anything like that.

Even the criticism about Lady Ryder’s face is unfounded, I think, but maybe that’s a personal preference thing. She doesn’t look very good in still images but, while actually playing, I thought her face was great in motion. In fact, I think she’s adorable.

As for the flippant response to fixing animations in a day one patch… I mean, what do people expect? Obviously what they expect is “non-buggy animations” but given they’re there and the game was less than a week away by the time those tweets were exchanged, what can they do? There are hundreds of NPCs with many thousands of lines of dialogue and who knows how many cutscenes. Do people expect them to go through all of that in a week? Surely, people would prefer they did that to begin with, but that’s not the question or the conversation. Players want them to do it by tonight. That’s not realistic.

I’m not trying to sell the game to anybody. I’m not trying to say it’s perfect. It certainly does have issues, but whether or not those issues will actually bother you depends on personal preferences. They didn’t bother me much. Overall, though, regardless of its issues, I think people are going a bit overboard about it. Buy it or don’t. Harassing the devs ain’t gonna help.


are there any small details in the game that creep you out?

If the rampant evil corruption a small detail? I still find it disturbing that anybody can be made super evil on a whim. Is the dragon mass sterility a small detail? Every dragon on the planet suddenly becoming infertile and marching toward inevitable extinction is pretty horrifying. It’s the ultimate existential terror because their existence is over. It’s pretty messed up.

If there’s are too big, does the Pillage ability from Warlords of Draenor count? I did not enjoy orcs ripping my character’s armor/clothes off all the time. That was downright uncomfortable.


If Blizzard says they’ll revamp a classic zone to make its graphics look up to date with Draenor and Legion in a future patch, and we can choose which five zones to put up for a vote, which five zones would you put on the list? And which one would you vote for?

Any of the zones where the Cataclysm still has an ongoing, visible presence. For example, the cyclones in Westfall or the fire in Ashenvale. Or zones where the Cataclysm fundamentally changed the zone’s identity, such as Thousand Needles. Thousand Needles had a unique topography that doesn’t exist in any other zone. But they flooded it, so now it’s just another water zone. I don’t have five off the top of my head, but those would be my picks: Zones where the Cataclysm is an ongoing occurence rather than a past event.

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