The QueueNov 3, 2017 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: None of you are paying attention to me right now

ashenvale volcano

Let’s be honest. It’s BlizzCon opening day. You don’t care what I say here.

And I get it. It’s really not important in the grand scheme of things what I natter on about. So instead of pretending a dinosaur is going to eat people or writing “Lei Shen the Thunder King answers your questions” I’m just going to look through for anything interesting from yesterday’s Queue and answer or discuss whatever strikes my fancy.

Usually with the Queue I try and be informative or answer things I think you care about. But today? Gonna just talk about whatever.


When Blizzard announced class halls did anyone else think that we were going to be doing things as a class, like world quests or events, as opposed to just running around together in them?

Nope. This was about exactly what I expected from them.


25 hours boys and girls, what are yall doing to not go crazy? I need tips… seriously.

I wrote six posts yesterday. I also had to go out in -13c weather to sit outside for 20 minutes, then visited the ER. Also had to do some grocery shopping in there. Because today I’ll be writing pretty continuously, I expect, covering the day’s events and breakout news. I’m at least not doing any liveblogs, but I’m covering the StarCraft what’s next panel, the LoreCraft panel, Women of Warcraft, and a few others over the weekend.

Basically, BlizzCon is a really busy time for us. I’ve less been going crazy with anticipation and more preparing to be working pretty much all day for at least three days.


Thinking about a Warcraft remaster makes me pine for the days of good game manuals. They were more than just control mapping layouts and a digest of the game mechanics. They were often full of personality, and unique artwork. Many even had not just a story section, but also tried to integrate the fantasy with the more instrumental portions.

They really were able to make you want to play the game, and were great to peruse between the store and home. Especially if your parents had to make other stops, or there was a traffic jam.

Ah, memories.


I’m 45 years old. When I started gaming, the Gold Box games were the pinnacle of RPG design, unless you were a big Ultima player. Back then, the manuals were the game. You could fit so little on a disc, that often all the game did was tell you what manual entry to read at a given time, like a really fancy Choose Your Own Adventure book. Games were often either little more than elaborate world maps that spawned random encounters or completely text based adventures — the manuals replaced either the story or the art, depending on which. I still remember the manual for Sid Meier’s Pirates! better than the actual game. And that game was state of the art for 1987.

Nowadays all that stuff is in the game itself. The manual isn’t as cool and stylish because it doesn’t have to be — heck, half the time it doesn’t even have to be a tutorial anymore. I get why you miss it, but I’m okay with them working hard on the game instead of the game being the book that comes with the game.


Q4tQ: One of today’s answers transitions nicely into another question I’ve been turning over in my head.

Wouldn’t the idea of implementing new races or subraces kind of necessitate at least a moderate reworking of at least one “intended,” cohesive leveling path, or perjaps some scaling tech to better address the [pirate ghost] show that the leveling game is right now? Furthermore, does an absence of said rework point to an admission that any new races are just selling race changes and/or leveling boosts? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ll buy a stack of changes if certain subraces go live, and happily, but is that working as intended or are WoW really expecting people to re-roll?

If you think about it, Blizzard hasn’t “sold us on level one” since MoP (and monks got XP boosts out the yin-yang), and things have just stagnated further since then: no new races, no non-hero classes, so if one of those were to surface, do they “owe” the game a less outdated leveling path?

Sometimes I wonder why we phrase things the way we do. Why do we take an antagonistic approach? Why do we say something is the way we say it is? I’ve leveled characters from 1 to 110 fairly recently, back when we were doing the leveling stream, and GASP I enjoyed myself. Granted, that was mostly during Warlords, but I doubt it’s gotten so much worse in Legion that it’s undoable, and I did play a Rogue from 1 to 30 and enjoyed it fine before we stopped doing the stream. Is it perfect? Nope. It could use some work. But calling it a disaster is wildly overstating it in my opinion.

The fact is, we leveled 1-60 back in the day because we had to, not because we wanted to or even liked it. I remember being level 47 and just screaming at critters in Tanaris, grinding and hating every single solitary second of it, because I’d done all the quests and needed to hit 48 before I had a prayer of surviving in Un’Goro. Leveling now is much better. Does it have some strange artifacts from so many expansions and so many adjustments to XP and things like heirlooms, level boost, and so on? Yes, it absolutely does. I concede this.

None of this answers your question, of course. And that’s because I expect any new sub-race would get an entirely new leveling experience. Currently there are only four of them in the files, and that hardly means we’re going to get all four of them – just because there are Void Elves and Lightforged Draenei in the data doesn’t mean we’ll actually see them as playable. For that matter, they may be treated as purely cosmetic options, and if you roll a level 1 Nightborne it’s entirely possible that yes, you’re still treated as a Blood Elf no matter how incongruous that is.

Heck, maybe you won’t even roll one to start — maybe they’re a $25 Blizzard Store purchase. I have no idea. All I know is that some dataminers found some things that suggest we might get them. Maybe they’re not going to happen at all and it was just a database change or even an error. And even they are coming with the next expansion (we’ll know soon, I suspect) that doesn’t mean Blizzard doesn’t have a solution to their implementation that neither of us is thinking of. There’s never only one answer to a problem, and Blizzard has a large and diverse team working on World of Warcraft that will probably think of things neither of us would.


Q4tQ: Did Diablo run out of story?

I almost misspelled your name as Gladwynn there. I thought you’d like to know because the Queue always seems to point it out when we misspell someone’s name. I made an effort to get your name right!

Anyway, I’ll just say it — if they gave me the Diablo franchise, I could do amazing things with it. There’s tons of story left in the series, in the various loose ends from Diablo 3, and in the characters — heck, even Diablo itself has huge storytelling potential. Did Leah have a soul? Where did it go, if she did? Is it trapped inside Diablo or did it go to the Hells when Diablo stole her body? Are the two of them fighting for control now or is Leah utterly swamped beneath the evil of her ‘father’? Is the same true for Aiden and Albrecht and all of Diablo’s other victims? We know that poor mad Leoric’s soul seems unable to rest, as the Skeleton King keeps returning from death, and his wife Queen Asylla was only able to rest after the Nephalem freed her servants from the catacombs beneath Leoric’s villa.

None of this even touches upon the end of Reaper of Souls. What, exactly, happened when Malthael shattered the Black Soulstone? Was Diablo freed by itself, or did all the Prime and Lesser Evils escape separately once again? Is there a war in Hell right now between all the various Evils, enraged at Diablo’s plan to join them all under its command? I can’t see Baal or Mephisto taking it lightly, if they were freed. But I also have a hard time imagining them working smoothly together, and for that matter, the Lesser Evils might not side with them… while Diablo’s plan would have meant subordination to its will forever, it did almost work. Hell marched into Heaven and nearly destroyed it.

Plus there’s always the terrifying power of the Nephalem themselves. The hero of Diablo 3 is not the only one, and alone they singlehandedly stopped Diablo (wielding the power of all the Evils at once) and then Malthael (the Angel of Death, who also wielded said power). At this point, who is left who could seriously balk just that one Nephalem? It might take the combined hosts of Heaven and Hell to do it. Now imagine if said Nephalem united the others into an army?

There is so much more story to be told in Diablo. The franchise is only over if Blizzard decides to let it be over.


Q4TQ: Even if it doesn’t end up being the final box art, typically the nexpac reveal has box art as part of the announcement. Who do you expect to see on the box?

Considering they just made a big bloody statue of her? And she’s pretty prominent in the Before the Storm sample chapter?

Moira Bronzebeard.

What? Oh, fine, I meant Sylvanas, I’m just messing with you.


Q4tQ: Now I know that the next queue will be an hour before opening ceremonies, but:

Getting back to the datamined subraces… anyone else notice that if you count the void elves as an extension of Alleria and the army of the light storyline, that all four of said subrace factions owe their “gratitude” equally to both factions as former PVE entities? Being horde (presumably) means hating the alliance, and vice versa, so if you count Turalyon and Alleria not as alliance heroes but as faction agnostic leaders of the AOTL, why are any of these new subrace recruits adopting this (outdated, ridiculous, racist, counterproductive, shoehorned) hatred of the opposing faction?

You know, assuming the faction divide is not getting nuked.

Usually I don’t like to do two from one person in one Queue, but today no one really cares what I do, and I’m interested in this idea.

I really hate the idea of the Horde getting Nightborne. My Night Elf worked my butt off for those guys and to have them pick the Horde because Liadrin swans in at the end with her whole “Oooh, we were addicted to magic, we totally get you guys” shtick irritates me to no end. All that time I spent in Suramar, dealing with that insipid ‘An illusion! What are you hiding?’ jazz, and you go to the Horde?

And I find the idea of Void Elves distasteful at best. Even if we go with the idea that the Void isn’t inherently evil, people go crazy dabbling with this stuff. It’s great that after a thousand years Alleria is capable of handling it, but does that mean every Elf we run into can? And where did all of these Void Elves come from? High Elves from Outland? Converted Blood Elves? There’s been zero build up for these guys all expansion.

But if we need two Elf subraces? Make them playable by both factions. I don’t really care how you justify this at this point. I’ve been playing WoW for thirteen years now and not being able to be a Tauren whenever I wanted has been one of my biggest complaints. The faction divide in the metafiction of the setting is fine, but by now World of Warcraft isn’t what it was. When it came out, it really was the game where you got to submerge yourself in the world of the Warcraft RTS series. Now, WoW is the Warccraft setting.

Shelby Foote used to say that before the Civil War, people said “The United States are…” and after it, they said “The United States is.” The War made the US an is. Well, World of Warcraft made Warcraft itself. WoW is Warcraft. The metafiction created for the RTS games is now the backdrop for a massively multiplayer game and it’s time to let people play together no matter what their factions are.

Imagine Overwatch if you couldn’t play Tracer if Reaper was on your team. That’s what we’re talking about. And it’s not like this isn’t an easy fix. Let people be guilded with, friends with and run content with players of the opposite faction. If you’re afraid for the metafictional conceit, don’t let Horde players into Alliance cities and vice versa. They’ll have to meet up in neutral areas. PVP servers don’t have to change at all — you can just accept that sometimes your guildies will be killing you in PVP and then later you’ll run some dungeons together. That’s how it works.

I’ve hated the faction divide in WoW for years. I know it’ll still be here come the next expansion, and I’ll hate it then, too.


My word count for today is shot. I need another thousand words, but ze focus! She iz gone!

I’m going to be writing nothing for the next three days. Nothing I can do but try and make up the ground later — I have work from now until Sunday, I expect.

Okay, that’s the Queue for today. Have fun with BlizzCon, y’all.

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