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The QueueOct 11, 2018 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Let them fish!

Free idea: WoW fishing for your phones. In a boring meeting? Fish under the table. Watching TV? Fish from your couch. Waiting for an hour for LFR to get its act together? Fish from your chair.


MOVEWOW ASKED:

Q4TQ: What topics do you think they will cover today in the developer’s Q&A?

To be perfectly honest and blunt, I’m not hopeful that we’re going to get anything notable out of the Q&A session today. Most of the time these questions tend to be places where the designers can re-iterate things that they’ve already spoken about, and are able to add some small points of detail here and there. Rarely is there anything major that comes up. We’ve had some that contain no news at all.

But that in itself isn’t bad — these are not really geared towards the people that are following every word about Patch 8.1 and constantly check Blizzard Watch, Wowhead, or MMO Champion. They’re geared towards the people that are logging on to the game and will see it in the launcher. If you notice sometimes these show up in the launcher window of other games too, which isn’t a bad marketing technique at all. In fact, it’s pretty great at spreading the word to people who might have otherwise tuned out WoW already after hitting 120 and running the dungeons/early LFR.

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Now with all that said, it’s perfectly possible that we’ll get an interesting tidbit. I just don’t expect much.


LAR GAND AKA CAPTAIN MEPHISTO ASKED:

Reposted from last Queue since It was only there for a few minutes.

Just back from monthly shopping and going back out again in a few minutes.
This may have been asked and answered already, but is anyone else having
trouble buying the WoW 60 Day Game card? I usually buy three a month
but today both Walmart and Gamestop told me there has been a worldwide
problem. Even though both places had cards, they do not show up at
checkout, instead they register as “not found” even though they are
scanned.

Has anyone heard anything about this?

This kind of thing has come up before, and will probably come up again. But I haven’t heard of it happening recently. The way gift cards work is that they have to communicate with the originating company (or usually a third party provider) when you check them out, and then back to the store. That way some idiot that goes in and grabs a handful of blank $50 Target gift cards isn’t a millionaire overnight. There are other ways for this to happen as well, but from what I understand this is still pretty standard.

So, one kink in that chain and everyone is kind of out of luck in trying to buy one (or have the cashier activate one). Fortunately, the technology that the Blizzard servers use to talk to the gift card provider (or if they’ve done it themselves, I don’t know) is pretty mature and outages don’t happen often.

But you guys would be surprised … I know first-hand of payment systems still using telnet login interfaces on actual mainframes that have been out of warranty and service for 20 years. So much of our everyday infrastructure is insanely brittle. Also on that note, I wish I’d have learned Fortan or Cobol instead of C, C++, PHP, etc…

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FIXXEN ASKED:

Q4tQ: I apologize in advance for the length of this post.

How much change is needed for a new expansion to feel like…an expansion?

I’ll preface this by saying that I’ve really enjoyed leveling my Horde main and digging into the first raid. I’ve almost cleared Heroic Uldir with my guild so on that front I think BFA is great.

However, ALOT of BFA feels like Legion 2.0.

1. World Quest system hasn’t changed. At all. They’re just as boring to grind now for emissaries as they were at the end of Legion because we’ve been doing them for over 2 years now.

2. The mission table changed…by getting LESS interesting.

3. The “new” incursions coming are legion invasions with different NPCs and different voice actors.

4. The entire Azerite Armor debacle has actually made me miss legendary farming. I…I never thought I’d say that.

5. Island expeditions are just MoP scenarios with a timer.

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So, new content consists of:

warfronts?

I’m ok in feeling underwhelmed right? This doesn’t feel like an expansion to me.

Lots to unpack here. But I don’t disagree with your overall sentiment. There are a lot of different things that are just continuation of things that were introduced in Legion. However, these are just systems — and not stories. There’s an important difference here.

Systems are things that are used to tell the story. They’re the way your character feels and respond when you move him or her around the world. They’re the mission tables, the UI, the azerite armor traits, your own talents, etc… Some games will launch an expansion and almost not touch the systems that are already in place. Others, like WoW, take a very iterative approach to them (most of the time). They modify them a fair bit when the expansions come out, and do smaller and more tactical tweaks during major patches. You’re 100% spot on that there are a lot of systems that carried over from Legion, where we got A LOT (caps because it was a ton) of new systems. That makes this part of the “expansion” feel less like an expansion.

Stories are the other part of the picture. When you have a story arc that advances from a beginning to a somewhat closed point (or at least “now wait for the next book” if you’d like to think of it that way), you have an expansion. This is true in almost every game that is narrative based, which at its heart WoW is. Think of the number of DLC addons and expansions in other games that just focus on this element alone. Nearly every AAA title with a narrative has this as the single or largest feature of its DLC/expansion — I’m having trouble thinking of one that doesn’t. In this regard, BfA has a solid expansion.

One thing that I’ve been wondering for a while, and that I tweeted about to Matt Rossi the other day, is that this expansion might feel a bit underwhelming because in Legion we had a dozen characters to level, each with different class story lines but with similar expansion-story elements. In BfA we have two very different expansion stories to level through, but otherwise alts have little difference between their context of what they’re doing. This makes it feel like the story might have shrunk from Legion to BfA, however I would argue (infact, it’d be a hill I’d die on), that the story is much much more in-depth at this point when taken as a whole than Legion was.

So to answer directly, I think it’s mainly the story that makes an expansion, but the best expansions are when there’s a bunch of new systems and stories introduced. Where does that leave BfA? Time will tell.

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