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The QueueFeb 8, 2018 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Same

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!

While questing through Silverpine I discovered an Orc who was content to relentlessly walk into a wall, head down and heedless of my successful endeavor to help out the encampment. I don’t know if he was working off a hangover, or if there was simply some comfort to be found in the sensation of solid, cool stone applied to one’s forehead, but I feel you, mister Orc.


Q4tQ: Why is my Nightborn Hunter exalted with their faction, but my Highmountain shaman only friendly with theirs?

That is an excellent question. In the interests of research, I went ahead and also looked up the starting reputation for the other Allied Races. Void Elves start out as Friendly with Argussian Reach, and Lightforged start out as Friendly with Army of the Light. In other words, Nightborne are the only Allied Race that start out with Exalted reputation with their own faction.

I’m going to assume that this has something to do with the method in which you earn reputation for each faction. Highmountain is pretty naturally gained just via leveling through the zone. Argussian Reach and Army of the Light are the two newest reputations for current end-game content, so maybe they didn’t want to give Allied Races that much of a boost. Suramar and its quests, however, are end-game story content — you can’t do it while leveling. But Suramar is also old end-game story content, so I’m guessing Blizzard didn’t want to force players to grind something out that isn’t either a: current, or b: a natural part of leveling from 100-110.

But it still doesn’t make a lot of sense. I mean, if you’ve already gone to the trouble of unlocking those reputations just to roll the Allied Race, you’d think the Allied Races themselves would already be Exalted. On the other hand, brand-new races don’t start out as Exalted with their own factions, either. If you roll a Worgen, you aren’t just given Exalted status with Gilneas.

This might make it seem more like an anomaly than anything — but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with Suramar being both excluded from that 100-110 leveling experience, and current endgame content as well.


Q4tQ: How much do the average citizens of the Horde and Alliance know about the larger conflicts? Do they tell stories about things that are going on? Are there legends about the player characters heroes taking on Ragnaros or Kil’Jaeden?Propaganda?

If by “average citizens” you mean “NPCs that hang out in towns, not adventurers,” I think the answer is probably that they have a broad idea, but they aren’t necessarily aware of the finer details. Player reputation is generally acknowledged — NPCs mostly seem to know that your character has done some pretty amazing things. But you don’t really find NPCs talking about how you killed Ragnaros or Kil’jaeden.

Everyone on Azeroth was aware that something weird was going on in the sky — I mean, Argus was right there. But the average apple-peddler just trying to earn a living in Stormwind probably doesn’t know about Velen and Illidan’s weird quasi-friendship up on the Vindicaar. They may not even be aware of the Vindicaar itself. Everything they learn is generally by word-of-mouth, or inspiring speeches delivered by faction leaders, like the one Anduin gave after Argus was taken care of.


Q4tQ: My guild discord has been all about Allied races they would like to see in the future with the front runner by a long streak being the Vulpera (Alliance side, naturally). Do you see the potential of Blizzard using the Allied races model for genuinely new races rather than just a long lost tribe of existing races?

Absolutely. I think this is a trial run of something that might actually expand the list of playable races by a substantial margin. Consider this: Right now, when you want to play a new race, you just hop on to character creation and make something. But if you want to play an Allied Race, you have to actually engage in the game and do something to unlock it. It turns character creation into something engaging, as opposed to just pushing a few buttons.

More importantly, Allied Races don’t have a starting “zone.” They start out at level 20, and skip the introductory areas entirely. We’re at a point where there’s not much left of Azeroth that we haven’t explored or already seen. By doing this switch for Allied Races, Blizzard has done a couple of pretty important things. They’ve removed the need to develop a full-fledged low-level starting zone, which frees them up to devote more time to end-game content — which is where most players are found. But rather than removing that gameplay in the process, they’ve simply folded it into the character unlock experience. Instead of playing levels 1-20 and getting to know a new race that way, you’re learning about that race on your main character.

This kind of opens the door for Blizzard to slip in and add any new race they want — and to do so without having to roll it into a new expansion. And starting those Allied Races at level 20, which includes the ability to use a mount, means that the level grind doesn’t feel quite as onerous as it used to. It’s actually really clever, and I hope this is the beginning of what will eventually be the way new races are added to the game in the future.

I think, however, that they might want to consider upping the 50 characters per license limit. There are people that have been playing the game and rolling alts for so long that they’ve hit the limit, which means they need to either purchase a new license, or delete some characters if they want to make room for new races. Bumping it up to 60 or 75 would help alleviate that issue.


Q4tQ: With no restrictions based on things we’ve previously seen or encountered, what would you want as new playable race? I’d totally love to see something like the Skaven from Warhammer. Something beastly that’s maybe medium sized and always a beast.

I’d like to see a new race with wings. Something that can take flight immediately — like Harpies, or Arakkoa. Start them out at level 20 with a limited flight ability, then give them automatic full (but slow) flying at level 60, with a racial discount for other flight costs. Harpies would actually be pretty interesting, because they’re descendants of Aviana. They’re kind of the opposite of Ogres in game right now — there are no female Ogre models in game, and there aren’t any male Harpy models in game. But it doesn’t necessarily need to mean that none exist. Yes, there are stories that say harpies are only female, but most of that is contained in the RPG modules, which are no longer canon. Blizzard could make and justify a male Harpy just as easily as they could make and justify a female Ogre.


Question: Since the game was released, only 1 hero ana was part of recall. Why is recall such an unimportant event to the lore since? Do you think blizzard will have anything in uprising’s follow up related to the recall?

I think you’re referring to Tracer, not Ana — Tracer was the one who immediately responded to Winston’s agent recall. It isn’t that the recall is an unimportant event, I don’t think — it’s that Blizzard has been filling out the backstory surrounding these characters before moving that story forward. We’ve learned a little bit about each hero as they’ve arrived, and we’ve learned about the fall of Overwatch as an organization. I think so far it’s just been a matter of establishing and rounding out what came before, to kind of prep for jumping into what’s to come. I don’t know if we’ll see anything recall-related with the Uprising event follow up, but I hope so! I’ve been dying to see what comes next for the overall story behind the game.


Q4tQ: I’m sure this has been asked and answered before but..
Who are the Draenei in the Army of the Light?
Were they left on Argus when Velen left with his people? On Draenor?
Where did they come from?

The Draenei in the Army of the Light were initially with Velen and the group that took off from Argus in the Genedar. While they were out and about in space, the Naaru taught the Draenei more about the Light, and said that one day, the Draenei would be part of a grand force that would fight back against the Burning Legion. Eventually, the finest of the Draenei warriors split from the main force and hopped on the Xenedar to follow Xe’ra into that gigantic cosmic war. So they weren’t left anywhere, really — they were part of that initial group that fled Argus, and split off from the main pack some time after the initial flight from Argus.

That’s it for today’s Queue — if you have any questions you’d like to see answered, be sure to leave them in the comments below!

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