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The QueueApr 4, 2019 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: The Kul Tiran Candidate

Welcome to The Queue, where I — the lady who started off writing about pet battle mechanics — am somehow tasked with discussing narrative direction and literary criticism. This is why we can’t have nice things. Well, that and demonic corruption…


I do hope Derek isn’t a sleeper… can we have at least one moment where things are just… well nice? That and it would be, and I apologise for being a bit rude here, unbelievably predictable and not at all impactful because of that in my humble opinion.

It’s almost funny in a way that, at this point, the biggest twist Blizzard could pull in nearly every one of their current storylines is to just…finish the story to its most straightforward conclusion. Derek was just chilling out in the ocean for a decade and now he’s undead and loves his family again. Azshara is just a power-grubbing lunatic and we kill her because she’s a power-grubbing lunatic, then we kill N’zoth because he’s also a power-grubbing lunatic. Sylvanas is a little out of line but Baine and Saurfang discuss things like diplomatic adults and she sees reason, strengthening the Horde’s alliance.

Part of that is due to the nature of fantasy fiction. Magic means people aren’t absolutely dead just about ever, when they’d otherwise already have their conclusion when they bought it. In other words, a redemption arc is always on the table. Vol’jin’s “death” and return as a Loa comes to mind here, especially since his death as framed against Varian’s disintegration seemed awfully final at the time. Same with Illidan, who I murdered personally once a week for months. Magic tends to subvert expectations, so the unexpected twists aren’t that unexpected — though Jaina’s random flying boat was pretty sick.

The other part is the long tail of Blizzard’s lore as a whole. I’d argue that Arthas “succeeding” his father was deeply shocking when you first played it, for instance. However at this point, both the corrupted heel turn, and frequently the surprise redemption arc that subverts the heel turn, are all but tropes — Sargeras, Kil’Jaeden and Archimonde, Medivh, Illidan, Maiev, Kael’thas, Katrana Prestor, heck, even the entire Orc race after drinking demon blood. That’s before you even get into all the “whoopsie daisy, secretly evil” plotlines in their other franchises. The fan headcanon of Jaina being a Dreadlord is clearly tongue in cheek, but it seems like we’d be surprised if something of that nature actually happened to her only because it’s been a meme for so long. It’s been a part of their story arcs so long we’re just waiting to roll our eyes at the next one.

So yeah, Derek is almost certainly secretly evil in some way.


Q4tQ: Which would be the likely larger “betrayal of player trust” as it relates to people playing and invested in WoW and its story in the present?:

1) The faction divide becoming optional as a barrier between players of opposing factions. (So, say “war mode toggles faction divide” kind of dealio). I don’t think there’s any scenario where the factions cease to exist, their identities are too ingrained, but an option is a feasible potential.

2) BFA’s story ending in some dark Ned Stark’ish twist that perpetuates a non-optional, deep faction divide forever, because that’s what many players signed on for: WAR not peacecraft. Despite what my preferences may be, this line of thought is valid.

I don’t think just about anything they could do short of shuttering the game as a whole would really torpedo player trust as a whole. Yes, certain people would quit over it but somebody is going to quit the game over literally any decision they make.

Talking incredibly long-term, I think they would be shooting themselves in the foot if they did anything to make the faction divide permanent. Sometime down the line, likely ten years or more, the playerbase will have dwindled to the point that having the ability to group cross-faction will be necessary to the game’s continued survival. Given what happened to Heroes of the Storm esports, I think they’ll likely shutter the servers before it’s an absolute necessity but I think they’ll probably allow it, eventually.

I’m not sure there is a story reason they’d have a permanent fixed two-faction divide as the factions stand now. Having specific races like the Undead being permanently hated by the Night Elves after Teldrassil makes sense, sure, but each racial faction identity is fairly different. In particular I have a hard time believing the continued narrative that the Tauren are happy clams amongst the Horde, and I feel like Blizzard kind of missed an opportunity with them. The Horde began by necessity, and now they seem somewhat dominant — at minimum, they certainly aren’t clinging to survival by their fingernails any longer. Exploring the reasons why the Tauren would stay in this faction would be a really interesting character study, especially since Orcish and Undead culture is so bound up in victory at all costs while Tauren culture is all about honor.


Is there going to be a super leveling day for pets this week?

Nope, no Super Squirt Day for North America this pet holiday. There’s actually a fun equation to figure this out!

See? Simple!


Q4tQ: Do you think Azerothians spend all day boiling water to make it safe for drinking, or do they just drink ale all the time? Or third option: is there a water filtration system of some sort at work?

Probably a combination of ale and magic. Likely more ale than magic. Possibly magic ale.

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