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The QueueFeb 6, 2019 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: I’m overpowered, you’re overpowered

It’s that time of week again: time for you to ask questions and me to provide, hopefully, answers that are at least somewhat accurate in response. so let’s do this, shall we?


SPOONYBARDOL ASKED:

Seeing the talk about Method and high-end play and Racials in the comments of the previous Queue got me thinking about this question: Do you think Racials should be disabled in instances, but reimagined to be much more, well, fun and engaging to compensate?

If they no longer need to be balanced, particularly against the World First races, what sort of fun Racials could be added?

The thing is, they aren’t very balanced now, despite the fact that they’re included in — and sometimes give big advantages for — end game content. And they’ve never been balanced.

I will say they’ve gotten better since Ye Olden Days of vanilla, when Dwarf Priests had Fear Ward which could temporarily prevent tanks from being feared, thus trivializing some fight mechanics. Some skills, like Fear Ward, have come and gone. Others have stuck around, like Berserking which is still tremendously powerful and Arcane Torrent, which has been changed to be less powerful, but is still pretty heckin’ good. There’s a strange mixed message with racials, with cries for balance ensuring many racials stay mediocre while others are left as is. Does balance mean all racials should be powerful, or that all racials shouldn’t be powerful? And does Blizzard actually care?

Maybe just having racials that were more for fun and less for combat benefits — or, as you say, simply disabled in competitive situations — would be just the answer. What about a racial that let you understand extra languages, so you could talk to the other faction beyond “kek?” What about the ability to lure wild battle pets in to fight so you never had to run around to hunt them down? What about faster (or instant) gathering speeds?

Even silly ideas are kind of tough to balance. Faster gathering speed would be handy out of combat, but it would also let you gather and get away more quickly in PVP situations, which is a combat advantage, in a way. I’m not really sure where the balance is, unless you ditch all racial abilities.


LOTHARFOX ASKED:

I honestly wish someone else would win first, just once. It’s boring if it’s always the same. Why should anyone else compete?

I spent a lot of the past week watching Method livestream their world first attempts, but I didn’t particularly care if they won or lost. It was just really fun to watch them in action. They spent a week trying things, failing at things, and constantly refining their game. I’ve raided in WoW for a long time, but what these world first guilds do is something else entirely, and it was just great to watch.

And while Method has gotten all the press, there have been tons of guilds streaming — practically everyone working on the Jaina fight has done some streaming — and it’s been interesting to watch them all. Sure, I’ve watched more of Method than anyone else, but I think that’s more because Method was playing a lot and streaming a lot. I certainly cheered when they took down Jaina, but it would have been just as fun to watch if they hadn’t won.

So why should anyone compete… Hm. That’s a hard one since a world first is more about bragging rights than anything else. And it takes a lot of commitment to do it. Both Method and Limit spent a veritable mountain of gold buying gear and respeccing armor.  And that’s on top of the 16-hour streaming days. I saw some off-the-wall strategies that I would never have thought of if I hadn’t seen others do it first. (Off-the-wall strategies like trying to two-heal Blockade, or managing adds on Opulence with a lot of Ring of Peace. I’m not sure IO’ve ever seen that many Rings of Peace in one place at one time. It’s hard work. I’d love competition because that would mean more to watch. But from a practical standpoint, this just isn’t an amount of time that most players can commit to, so it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see tons of guilds in the running.

And… I don’t think a competitor like that is just going to spring from whole cloth one of these days. The time, effort, and tangible rewards are all lacking, and even can make it a tough one even for the most dedicated guilds.


RED ASKED:

I agree that the biggest flaw of the Allied Race system is how long it takes for you to get their heritage armor. Leveling a new character from scratch is a daunting task. I’ve rolled a bunch of them, but only took one Void Elf to 110 so far.

With that in mind…

Q4TQ: do you think Blizzard should revamp leveling somehow? If so, how?
– should they drastically reduce how much XP you need to level?
– should they do a level squish (make the max level 60 again, for instance)?
– should they make all the old content scale from 20-110 (or whatever the cap for the previous expansion is), so that you could, say, take your level 20 Mag’har orc straight to Draenor?
– any other ideas?

I’m bad at handling tedium, and leveling is one big patch of tedium. It’s repetitive , but you have to go through it if you want to play a new class — unless you decide to shell out $60 to skip leveling entirely. If you don’t have real-world cash, you can also use heirlooms to speed up the process, but it’s still a process. A long, boring process.

But I really think Blizzard has already done a lot. In the past they’ve reduced XP requirements, made zones scale so we can play wherever we want to play.They let some races start at level 20 to leapfrog some of the leveling grind, but not all of it. That helps, but nothing addresses the base problem that leveling is tedious and repetitive — and I don’t think that’s something Blizzard can actually fix, at least without some particularly drastic measures.

But none of this really addresses the fact that leveling is a lengthy series of “kill 10 rats” quests. Even if you earn more XP per quest or start at s slightly higher level, none of this would make leveling more exciting. It would be the same team, but a tiny bit faster.


SPENCER MORGAN ASKED:

Would you play a more down to earth version of WoW? Something where the biggest thing you kill in a raid is a dragon. Dungeon bosses are simpler threats, like Gnoll chieftains.

Your class skills as an adventurer are your means of surviving in a dangerous world, as opposed to what defines you. I’d like to be a Dwarf who just mines. Digs tunnels, erects support beams, crafts cool shit from the useful ores, sell or barter what I don’t want. He learns to wear armor, heft a shield, and swing an axe, because kobolds, goblins, and angry earth elementals are a threat that exists. Yet, he isn’t some fighter who just meanders about the world until someone tells them “hey! fetch me some oreos, and kill 10 local monsters while you’re at it”.

One of the things that makes WoW, and other fantasy games, so much fun is that they’re in a fantasy universe. You aren’t just another dwarf — you’re a grand hero who is always at the front of the truth. But if that’s not the case and you are, as you suggest, a miner and trader… that could be different, leaving you mining ore while the game’s heroes march off to battle.

Sometimes it would be nice to take a breath. To just work on transmog or pet battles or crafting and just ignores the grind. But would playing a different character really change that much? I suspect that, mostly, what would change would be your own definition of tedium. That’s just the nature of MMORPGs.

However, oreos sound like a really good idea right now… and here I am without anyone to get them for me.


MISTAH JAY ASKED:

What musical number would you give each racial leader (Anduin having Prince Ali from Aladdin, etc)?

No one’s slick as Varian

No one’s quick as Varian

No one’s chin’s as incredibly thick as Varian’s

For there’s no man in town half as manly

Perfect, a pure paragon!

I know it isn’t a faction leader, but I can’t shake the idea of the mobs in Karazhan — particularly around Moroes singing “Be Our Guest.”

Sorry, but I keep thinking about this and instead of providing specific faction leader answers, I keep going back to a dancing room of ghosts in Karazhan.

And that is all today, my friends. Until next week!

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