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The QueueJun 18, 2019 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Baby Shark

We’re over a month into summer vacation now. My children are feral, living on scavenged freeze pops and peanut butter toast. The entire house is covered in a thin layer of sand. Baby Shark has been on repeat so long I hear it even when it’s not on. We’re about 2 weeks away from turning into Thunderdome. In the distance, sirens.

This is The Queue and right now, it’s a brief respite. Too, too brief.


Q4tQ: Do we know anything else that’s coming in 8.2.5 besides the Goblin and Worgen rework (presuming it doesn’t get delayed)?

After a bit of research, the fact that the Goblin and Worgen rework is coming in patch 8.2.5 is apparently the only thing we know for sure, which seems weird at this point.

There were a couple things I kinda vaguely remembered were coming Soon™, like mount equipment, but those are all coming in patch 8.2.

I’d give Mechagnomes and Vulpera pretty good odds of arriving either then or in patch 8.3. We’ll almost certainly get another Heritage Armor quest for each faction. I’d also guess a Warfront, maybe another Island Expedition add on. Beyond that, I have absolutely no idea what’s coming up next, and that’s a little bit exciting for me. Or maybe terrifying.


Q4TQ: if you had to choose between getting brand new tier sets OR getting HD updates of popular tier sets from the past, what would you prefer?

I was going to say new tier sets, but now that I’m thinking about it I think I’m going to say revamped old sets.

I love a lot of the old models just in general and I do wish they’d kept something over the years. Maybe a couple of the old critters for nostaglia’s sake — I love the updated frogs, but I honestly miss having the old ones, just somewhere. Update all of them except maybe the Tree Frog, so the memory can live on in polygons.

The thing is, many of those sets don’t need a revamp which is that drastic. Something like Transcendence would look amazing with just crisped up lines, and maybe more of an internally-lit glow, to make it look like stained glass, if you’re getting ambitious. Although some of the models would need help, even those would probably look amazing. Prophecy shoulders, but instead of having a completely rigid structure that clips through freaking everything, you’d get an actual liturgical ribbon. Steel glinting off the Wrath headaxe. Fuzzier looking Stormrage. I’m excited just thinking about it.

I still miss those dumb frogs though.


Q4tQ: Anyone else here at the “Blizzcon 2019 will decide my fate” point with WoW? I try so hard not to be negative, but one thing that this mini lull right now has done is re-introduce me to the idea that “dude, you have options,” and, well… WoW’s current story arc still depresses me. My friends and I are all looking for Blizzcon to basically “tell us we still belong here,” and we’re not even bashful about it any more. How about you?

If I were looking to BlizzCons to vindicate themes I found distasteful in WoW I would’ve quit after 2013’s “boys’ trip.”

I don’t mean to rehash this whole thing — Sorry Liz! — but in terms of feeling excluded, well. By then I’d been creating content while raising my daughter full time for over 2 years and I was feeling a whole lot of ways about the story of WoW as it was unfolding, even before BlizzCon. However, I wasn’t about to let an offhand comment from Chris Metzen stop me, or tell me I wasn’t allowed to come on the ride — even though he literally just told me I wasn’t allowed to come on the ride. It helped that I created very niche content in a tiny corner of the world barely noticed, and that I found doing so both fun and rewarding. But, I feel those elements are key for enjoying a game: Fun. Rewarding. I mean, of course, but occasionally elements like socialization and engaging mechanics mean a clunky story — or a developer’s exclusionary joke — can be overlooked, a bit.

That said, just because a story is depressing doesn’t necessarily mean you should stop reading it. Lots of really excellent media asks and reinforces dark questions to get people to interrogate their preconceived notions or biases. We’re getting to a point where story-driven games are starting to do this too, in increasingly beautiful, awful ways, and they can feel more impactful than other media because we’re frequently the one experiencing it — or playing through the main character’s eyes, at least. Instant empathy.

I’ll just add that, if you feel like you can’t enjoy a game as it’s unfolding, it’s fine to just… opt out. Life is too short to force yourself to consume media just because you opted in before. You can always go back and enjoy it later at your own pace if you choose to do so.

There are a few gloriously depressing indies I can recommend if you do decide you want to play something new. There are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of games to choose from. And hey, there’s always American Truck Simulator!


So far the one game I’m most excited about is Planet Zoo (did not expect that), it just seems like a genuinely nice game with a ton of potential.

Given how Planet Coaster turned out it should be really easy for the developers to create DLCs too – my favorite part of the original Zoo Tycoon game (of which this is a spiritual successor) was the dinosaur expansion and I hope they make something like that for this game too :)

Of course I, the pet battle lady and American Truck Simulator aficionado, would be all over Planet Zoo. There were a whole lot of titles out there to catch my attention early on at E3 — Skatebird!!! — but this was a title I kinda glossed over in the rush. However, their Twitter account completely won me over.

In addition to your regularly scheduled game tweets, they also take the chance to teach things about the real animals they’re representing. They give out a factoid about a new animal every Friday, with a poll on Wednesday to see which they’ll showcase.

I freaking love it when games take the opportunity to go a step beyond entertainment into education, so I’m really hoping this title comes with some of this info baked in for kids who are drawn to this title more by zoology than the game aspect.


2BPE: Anubisath Idol vs. Unborn Val’kyr

If they’re actually facing off, the Valk probably takes it on family interactions alone. In terms of battling prowess, the Anubisath edges it out. The avoidance and per-hit Weather reduction are just too good, and the Valk has seen a series of nerfs to some key abilities which cuts its previously heralded synergy to the bone.

In terms of cuteness quotient, the Val’kyr wins out. A pint-size arbiter of souls? Yes, please.

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