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The QueueOct 11, 2017 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Liztopia

Kids these days and their games and their topias and their . valleys and whatever else! I don’t understand any of this. What’s going on? Why are you on my lawn?

(In which Liz has yet played Stardew Valley and doesn’t have time to give in to the temptation, so let’s all just stop talking about it, okay?)


QftQ: WoW has been out longer than the typical 12 years of schooling someone receives in their life. Is it insane to think there’s people out there that learned more from playing WoW than they did from going to school?

There are really a lot of practical lessons I think you can learn from World of Warcraft. There’s basic stuff, like reading and following instructions you can learn by doing quests. (Though, admit it, not all of you read the quest text anymore, do you?) Playing the auction house is a full-scale lesson in economics. Dungeons and raids teach coordination and teamwork. Skill rotations and talent choices teach decision-making and how to prioritize. (Or maybe more instruction following, depending on how much your playstyle involves following guides.) Being in a guild teaches social skills. Running a guild teaches management skills — real, tangible management skills that you may even be able to list on your resume.

Unfortunately, there are bad lessons to be learned as well. There’s toxic behavior and bullying, which can either teach that this is acceptable behavior or make one’s life miserable. Games can teach a lot of good social skills… if you’re in the right environment. But if you’re in the wrong environment, games can teach the wrong social skills.

So… is this more important than what we learn in school? Does this leave the people who have spent the last 12 years playing WoW better prepared for the world than everyone else? I think that depends, mostly, on what someone did in the game and what they got out of it. As a player, you can passively log on and slaughter things for hours. Or you can start your own guild, manage hundreds of people, set raid schedules, learn strategies by heart, and lead your guild to success over WoW’s toughest challenges. Heck yeah, you learn from that — and you learn a lot of things school just won’t teach you.


Q4tQ: Star Wars released their trailer last night (I am one with the Force the Force is with me.) and I had a hard choice of keeping as much of it unspoilt as possible or getting new Star Wars right away. I gave in and watched and it was amazing and I can’t wait now.

How much do you try and wait on things like spoilers? Are you one of the people who eagerly follows every single development, and reads/listens to all the Datamined stuff?

I know it’s different for the Bw staff since it’s their job to report on things as they show up, but if you didn’t have to would you wait?

For anything I care about, I actively avoid spoilers, even trailers. (I actually only recently saw the Thor trailer because it ran before a movie, and I haven’t watched the Star Wars trailer.) Trailers can seriously spoil the experience sometimes. (I think the best example is the first Avengers trailer, which included the Hulk fighting with the rest of the team. The fact that you already knew the Hulk would join up really undercut the otherwise dramatic moment when Mark Ruffalo showed up at the last possible moment to join the fight.) The very best result a trailer can have is that it undermines all of the surprising moments in a movie, game, or TV show — by attempting to show you all the exciting stuff in the trailer, the exciting stuff in the actual thing itself is less exciting.

So if I know I’m already going to watch/play/whatever something, I avoid all information about it as best I can. It’s too much work to get off the internet or social media entirely, and I’m not going to lecture someone for spoiling stuff at me, but I do my best to avoid all information. (Though, hilariously, Harry Potter was spoiled for me via WoW general chat less than 24 hours after Half-Blood Prince was released.)

But, obviously, WoW is different for me. I can’t just ignore everything happening in World of Warcraft. But if I could, I would, so I could go in to each experience fresh and let the surprises surprise me.


Q4TQ: Do you think the next Hearthstone xpac should be a direct tie-in the upcoming WoW xpac? Or do you think it’s “too soon” (since the HS xpac would be out months before)?

I think it’s unlikely. Hearthstone, so far, has drawn from older content: it just got Wrath of the Lich King. I suspect this is in part because there is so much older Warcraft content to work with, so of course the Hearthstone team is going to dive in and make best use of what’s already there.

Tying into current content could make for cool cross-promotions, but also seems problematic… actually, for some of the reasons I mentioned above. WoW expansions play out over time, with more story in each patch. But Hearthstone expansions are released all at once. Would we really want the flavor text on a Hearthstone card to spoil an upcoming WoW storyline? And, alternatively, would we really want the Hearthstone team to limit its card options by only releasing cards related to the expansion story we know so far?  Because of the complications this might add, I suspect we’ll continue to see Hearthstone expansions based off older content… or expansions that make up their own content from whole cloth. (Like Journey to Un’Goro, which had a totally unique story despite being based in WoW’s Un’Goro Crater.)

I do think we’ll get a new Hearthstone expansion at BlizzCon, but I don’t think it will be related to the next WoW expansion. However, I’d be very excited for Blizzard to prove me wrong!


So how do we feel about the new Hearthstone gnome hero?


/turns off capslock

Uh. I mean. Of course new heroes are always exciting, but this one’s a Gnome and therefore superior.  Really, my only complaint is that you need to go to a Fireside Gathering to get her, which means she won’t be available to everyone. (From people who simply don’t live close enough to scheduled gatherings to people like me who are just anti-social.) However, Matticus encourages anyone not near a Fireside Gathering to simply start their own — you can DIY these things and it doesn’t take a big group to get Nemsy.

My second complaint, however, is that I just don’t have enough good Warlock cards to make use of such a hero, even if I did brave a Fireside Gathering.

Still, new heroes are fun and I’m for adding new heroes for extra game color… especially heroes that don’t cost $10 each.


Q4tQ: with the Blizzcon in-game items announced do you think there’s going to be anything more added to WoW?

I’m wondering because we didn’t get the usual murloc pet, and I’m thinking that might be because it’s tied to the next expansion and revealing it early might reveal the expansion’s theme too. I know the two don’t have to be connected – I have the paladin murloc from 2013, when they announced WoD, which had nothing to do with paladins. But since I’m hoping for an Old God-themed expansion, I’m also kind of hoping for a murloc pet whose head is one giant C’thun eye.

This is a very interesting thought, but I think it’s unlikely because Blizzard has already announced that there’s an unannounced Hearthstone reward coming with your BlizzCon ticket (or virtual ticket). Because they’ve announced one unannounced item, it seems odd that they wouldn’t announced another unannounced item — especially one as expected as our annual Murloc pet.

Sure, I want a new Murloc pet as much as anyone, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

You’ve reached the end of the Queue! Congratulations!

In a shocking twist of fate, I will be back here tomorrow to answer your questions — but next Wednesday I won’t be here and you’ll have Anne instead. So please, make with the questions (and save your lore questions for tomorrow, because Rossi is back on Friday).

See you tomorrow, Queuvians!

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