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The QueueMay 3, 2019 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Just Take The Leap

Okay, sometimes you look at the previous day’s Queue and you realize you gotta just jump in.

This is that time. This is that Queue.


Q4tQ: So, I see you like Assassin’s creed, a lot. Can I ask if the combat still a lot of “HITTHISBUTTONNOWohyoumissedsoyoudie” or has the deeper RPG element moved the series toward more… evened out combat? Is there a difficulty slider? These games are getting too good to ignore but man did I suck at early AC twitch-based combat!

You absolutely can set your difficulty level in ACO. I’ll be up front — I’m a blind dude. I don’t play on anything like Hardcore.

The way combat works in the game, you don’t want to take a lot of hits but you have a lot of tools to avoid taking them — you can dodge, parry, or use special moves that knock away some or all of your opponents if things are getting crowded, and there are Overpower attacks that either hit multiple targets or focus on one target and unleash a lot of destruction on them.

You can focus on Hunter, Assassin or Warrior playstyles, and be a ranged combatant similar to a WoW Hunter (you can even tame pets), go full on sneaky stabby Assassin, or focus on getting right in people’s faces. Or you can mix up the three however you’d like — I tend to go for a hybrid Assassin/Warrior build that focuses on Hero Strike and Fury of the Bloodline damage, lots of Overpower Attacks and when I get crowded in on I use Ring of Chaos to knock everyone away and potentially set them on fire.

Oh, yeah, I use Fire a lot on my Warrior attacks. Fire is fun because it doesn’t cost Adrenaline, which is kind of like a mix of Rage and Combo Points if you’re using WoW to get your head around it. I think it’s a very strong, very fun RPG gameplay system and I recommend it.


Q4tQ: Dovetailing off today’s discussion about a post-faction WoW, let me ask this: Who does it serve to keep the game straight hardline non-optionally in-game-racist and hateful between player characters, and does WoW really still want to serve that instinct “today?” Could a change in public conscience motivate a change in the game and the narrative driving it in regards to the faction divide?

I’m not talking about everyone holding hands in every mode and carebear-staring every boss to death with the power of inclusive friendship, but there’s certainly a line of thought where “you chose X race, so my character has to hate yours” is… problematic, and more pointedly so now than ever. Could that be what’s happening here if we’re headed toward “warmode toggles faction divide” or something like it?

In terms of who it serves, that’s a very broad question. When World of Warcraft came out, Warcraft 3 was a mere four years in the past. There’s a reason that the opening words in the original game cinematic are “Four years have passed since the mortal races banded together and stood united against the might of the Burning Legion” and there’s a reason that WoW didn’t just have everyone united and happy with each other when it started. The original Warcraft was very much a game about two opposite factions trying to kill one another, and Warcraft 2 didn’t do much to dispel that — the fact that Warcraft 3 made such a point of saying the only way you’ll all survive is if you band together is because it was such a departure for the series and what it had been up to that point.

Likewise, it’s fair to say that Warcraft 3 could get away with that by constantly shifting perspectives — it went from campaign to campaign telling a continuous story from a host of different perspectives, so you could have the story of the Humans dovetail into the Scourge campaign, the events of which led into the Night Elf campaign. It’s a very different story mechanism than the MMO had the latitude to do, so it’s not surprising that Blizzard went with Horde vs. Alliance and strong factional rivalries. Showing that the mortal races didn’t stay banded together in the absence of the Legion worked well as a storytelling hook, and it meant that when future threats rose in WoW and its expansions there was always that expectation of that pattern repeating itself to either use or discard as they saw fit.

In the case of a game as large as World of Warcraft it becomes impossible to know what parts of the game are essential brand identity. Blizzard might well be loathe to abandon something that they believe the majority of their player see as a crucial piece of what makes Warcraft — the established conservative tendency towards making sweeping changes would require them to very carefully consider if they’ll lose the heart of the franchise by doing so. I think it’s definitely something they need to consider, although I also absolutely believe it’s time for them to do it.


Man we got weird today. Sorry Rossi.

Shall we be nice and ask some Q’s?

QftQ: How’re you doing these days, Matt? You still writing?

QftQ: What’s the best boss you’ve been turned into by a transmorpher so far? (assuming you’ve used one)

QftQ: Are we kinda done with the dinosaur part of this expansion if we’re going to Naz’jatar? Is that a bit disappointing to anyone else? I want a Devilsaur mount, darnit.

Before I answer, I don’t care if y’all get weird.

I care if you don’t ask questions.

I can’t do an entire Queue of “Well, nobody asked me anything, but here’s what I think anyway”. So I appreciate the questions. I don’t really care what the questions are — you don’t have to lob me dinosaur or Warrior questions, although I’ll certainly take those when you do. But really, just ask some questions. So now to answer yours.

1 — My eyes are worse. I am still trying to write but I have no idea how well it’s going and frankly with money the way it is and my wife going in for her second heart surgery I have a lot on my mind lately.

2 — I have not! It costs money and/or gold to get that thing, and I have neither at the moment.

3 — I hope not, but even if we are, I don’t feel like I can complain about an expansion that more than quadrupled the amount of dinosaurs the game had. I mean, I’m still sad about Rezan, but overall I feel like the expansion definitely gave us some dinosaur love.


Q4TQ: if it were up to you, how would you “solve” the faction conflict? (In terms of lore, i.e., what would happen in the story to bring it to a resolution.)

Sylvanas wins.

At the end of this expansion, Sylvanas does something so shocking and horrible that not only the Alliance but all of her detractors Horde side can’t counter it. The destruction is vast, and the lines are well and truly drawn — it’s Sylvanas and her forces against all that live, whether they be Horde, Alliance or other. The Forsaken and those Horde loyal to Sylvanas have to make a choice — do they follow her into whatever she’s got planned, or do they stand against her?

You could handle it a lot of different ways. You could have Saurfang or Baine as Horde leader making common cause with Anduin or Genn or Jaina, whoever’s left Alliance side after Sylvanas’ strike. Neither the living remnants of the Horde nor Alliance are strong enough to fight Sylvanas so they have to work together.

What about players who want to be loyal to Sylvanas? Think the current ‘Marked by N’Zoth’ mechanic from the Crucible of Storms questline, but instead of being marked by a giant eyeball octopus you’d a secret hand of the Dark Lady spying on her enemies. And every step along the way, as her plan unfolds you’d have to decide “Is this where she’s gone too far?” for yourself. Some players would side with her hoping to see the Alliance destroyed, others simply out of loyalty or to see where the story took them.

And the end of that expansion deals with the repercussions. Maybe the next expansion is about trying to navigate a world where there are Orcs living alongside Humans in Stormwind and Night Elves helping purge the plague from Undercity.

Imagine how strange it would be to see Gnomes finally joining the Cenarion Circle and being trained by Zandalari, or to watch the Draenei and Tauren help make Darkshore and Ashenvale fit for people to live in again. A World of Warcraft about the aftermath of war, and the fight for some form of peace.

Okay, that’s this Friday’s Queue. See y’all next week.

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