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The QueueJul 24, 2017 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Eye of Azshara on the main map, diplomacy, and the day the music (didn’t) die

We’re going to jump into the Queue today. I’ve gotten to wax philosophical about music, in light of recent events, and it was fun.


Is it time to revisit the human racial abilities in light of the fact that Reputation has become such a core gating mechanic of… like everything?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that my humans have that leg up… but ok, let’s be real for a moment and perhaps acknowledge that 10% reputation feels kind of mandatory if one has any sense of time efficiency. Any new patch or expansion hits, and I’m narrowed down to “which human will lead the way to unlock the account wide thing that my elf mains will then enjoy once the human unlocks it.”

“Crafting bonus” racials? Only take effect if you care about crafting.
Active ability racials, with the exception of shadowmeld (break combat/AFK button FTW) are, by design, underwhelming because they can’t be allowed to affect “super serious raid composition.”
Rep bonus? If you don’t have it… you’re just behind. In the expansion, in power, in everything.

Again, I love my humans, but every time I pray for a scenario enabling “the elf paladin that can play with my alliance friends,” I get closer to having no humans, and… then I’ll always feel behind.

Is diplomacy OP?

Yes. Is there a more emphatic word than yes?


The answer is yes.

The human racial as it stands is too overpowered for the game. That 10% faction gain bump leads to faster progression through key content; and while yes, it might mean just 10% faster, it still adds up. Those 250 Legionfall tokens become 275 … and let me tell you, they stack fast.

Overall I’d like to see us return to a system where the races all had some overpowered ability. There was a time where it added a unique bit of flair to the game; and without that now it seems a tad… well, not as important or cool. I almost always go Human for the faction gain now, and that seems like a false choice.


Why is there an un-instanced version of Eye of Azshara with a single flight path on it, and random mobs?

Various people replied! Thanks all!


And I agree. That is kind of cool.


As per Lotharfox’s request from yesterday, armored squirrel on a crow. Just pencils in my sketchbook, hopefully that’s okay. To make it WoW-related, maybe imagine the squirrel fiercely screaming “For Azeroth!” or something?

Hey, that’s a great sketch!

And I’m highlighting it here because now I definitely want to see an armored squirrel yelling “For Azeroth!” in the next expansion.


Question: What do you think Brower leaving Blizzard says for the future of Music in WoW? I’ve felt this way for a long time, but I do think the quality of the music has faltered a bit over the years. I mean, Wrath and Cata had real orchestras and choirs performing their tracks. Legion is recycling music from BC and Wrath in it’s good points and blatantly using cruddy MIDI sounds at dramatic moments which robs them of their poignancy (ending class mount cinematic music). Music from vanilla through mists was complex, culturally informed, and beautifully orchestrated. Wod and Legion take simple riffs, both melodic and timbral, and beat them to death with a stick. Even their electronic instruments are less convincing.
So will it get better, or will it get worse?

If you still need convincing, just take the piece that plays at Varian’s Shrine in Stormwind (arguably the most emotionally charged piece of the expac), and listen to it after listening to Invincible from Wrath. The difference in textural complexity and emotional subtlety is obvious.

Hello fellow music nerd!

Once upon a time I worked for a symphony orchestra and rather major opera company, went for a performance degree (and stopped)… this kind of music is something I love. Mahler’s Second? My god, that is the best piece of music ever composed and has made me question the very foundation of my existential existence.

The music of Blizzard games? It’s not Mahler, but it sure as hell is steps above the rest of the wider entertainment industry.

Your opinions of the recent direction of the music are valid opinions. I don’t necessarily agree with them (I don’t think electronic instrumentation and composition are less convincing, just look at Weather Report (Spotify, YouTube) — now granted WoW hasn’t gone that far, but still, if done correctly it’s up there.

In some ways it disappoints me that a major game studio is letting lose one of the top talents in the industry, and honestly one of my favorite living composers. It strikes me the same way I fell about the TV networks ending their house orchestras; the end of an era. It’s too soon to say that; but it’s worth watching and seeing the direction.

That said — I want to say that I don’t think this is going to have a huge impact. Why? Two reasons.

First, most composers out there work on a contractor basis, and they still do amazing work. I’ve worked with several developing new classical and operatic works; none are full time employees, but they all get compensated in the six figures; they’re not rich, but they’re not eating Raman Noodles every night either (well, some are, but that’s a different matter). I fully expect Blizzard to engage Brower to compose additional music for them as a contractor, if not do entire games. This means he’ll probably be able to make more money, as these things often go, and that’s good for him.

Second, it means that we’re going to hear more from Brower. In a post about this he mentioned he’s working on a CD (which we will review + announce when it’s out!) and I can only imagine that he’s got plenty of other offers and gigs knocking, and will for however long he wants to pursue them. He is well known in the industry, and his compositions are out there.

And finally, I think it’ll mean we’ll hear from some new composers too. I’m a big fan of young artists and giving them a big stage to feature their work (young artists == people in their 20s or 30s that are out of / finishing college or their studies). New folks coming in will bring a different tone, and there’s enough leadership and existing material out there that it will be consistent across the game.

All in all, it’s sad, but I don’t think it’s the end of the world (for either Blizzard or Brower)

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