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The QueueAug 26, 2019 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Classic equipment

Welcome back to The Queue, our daily Q&A feature for all of Blizzard’s games! Have a question for the Blizzard Watch staff? Leave it in the comments!

Today’s header image is totally relevant, I swear. You’ll find out later, while you’re reading through all those questions of yours that I happily answered. It’s Queue time!


Q4TQ: how would you feel if, by the end of BfA, one of the factions actually defeats the other, and that’s how they resolve the faction conflict?

The winning faction has won the battle for Azeroth, and is now the ruling force. The losing faction is now a faction of actual outcasts and underdogs, who must live in hiding, always persecuted, struggling just to survive in a world that largely wants them dead.

How would you feel about that?

On the one hand, it’s definitely the most logical way to end a faction conflict — one side wins, the other loses.  On the other…what you’re suggesting is pretty dang close to the resolution of the Second War. The Alliance won, the Orcs were placed in internment camps, and those that weren’t caught just kind of hid out in the hills and tried not to make too big of a ruckus, occasionally freeing a few friends or sheltering those that managed to escape. When Thrall made his debut, he was basically the one that said “Hey, enough’s enough, let’s get everyone out of here and just go live free somewhere else, okay?” and everyone agreed with that assessment. But it wasn’t an easy process, and it basically stoked the fire of that faction conflict all over again.

And that’s…pretty much the thing, isn’t it? That’s the other hand for you — it’s an endless cycle. If one side is facing that kind of a bleak outlook, the natural urge is to fight their way out of it. If they can’t fight their way out of it, or are simply unable to due to the story being told, it just gets stagnant and dull after a while. That’s pretty much been the cycle of World of Warcraft for fifteen years — one side fights the other, they unify to defeat a common enemy, it’s peaceful for a little while, then someone points out the lopsidedness or disparity and it all kicks off all over again.

If this faction war ends with one side completely dominating the other, then the faction war hasn’t ended at all. It’s just in another moment of stasis, until the losing faction can build their forces enough to challenge the dominant faction again. The problem here is that while that seems like a natural, expected sort of resolution, what you’re going to end up with is a playerbase that has been split into “winners” and “losers” — and nobody wants to be on the losing side. That’s not fun. Everyone wants a moment of triumph. And it’s super hard to give that moment to everyone, while still making the story and the characters in that story feel important and relevant.


Q4Q: Will the Classic build that launches next week have Darkmoon Faire, or was that added in BC?

Darkmoon Faire will definitely be a thing at some point in the future — but it won’t be at Classic’s launch. The Darkmoon Faire wasn’t introduced until later on in vanilla’s life cycle, back in the day. Classic will be released in phases, and Darkmoon Faire will come into play later on, in phase 3. How long will that take? Good question. When Blizzard revealed how the phases were being split up, they said they still hadn’t quite figured out when those phases were going to come out. To my knowledge, we still haven’t seen an “official” list of dates for individual phase releases, so that’s something to keep an eye on.

If you’re a little disappointed, don’t be — Darkmoon Faire didn’t show up in vanilla until patch 1.6, and it introduced the enticing and brand-new Darkmoon Faire decks and their associated trinkets. This was a really good way for non-raiders to pick up an epic trinket — and a really good way for raiders who hadn’t gotten lucky with the loot drops to pick one up, too. It might take a while for the content to drop, but it’ll be worth the wait.


Not much has come out from 8.2.5 yet. This could mean a number of things:
1) It’s a very minor patch
2) Blizzard have successfully managed to obfuscate content
3) Everyone is too distracted by Classic to notice anything happening in retail

This wasn’t exactly a question, but I felt like addressing it anyway — honestly, you’re probably looking a little of option one, and a little of option three…sort of. It’s not really a matter of anyone not noticing so much as there simply isn’t a lot of news coming out at the moment in regards to 8.2.5, which is probably because Blizzard would like to keep the focus on Classic’s release at the moment. I mean, it’s a pretty big deal to a lot of players, and you don’t really want news from one source or another either overshadowing the launch of Classic, or being overshadowed or overlooked in all the hype surrounding Classic’s launch.

But you’re correct that 8.2.5 isn’t a “major” patch, although I’d hesitate to call it “very minor.” There are a lot of good lore moments to be found, some story progression, a couple of races that are getting long-awaited face-lifts, a whole mess of Anniversary-related stuff, the Recruit-A-Friend revamp with new rewards, Party Synch so you can play with your lower-level friends, a new Timewalking raid…and probably a bunch of stuff that hasn’t been dug up yet. No, there’s no new zone/dungeon/raid in this patch (or at least, not that we know of), but it isn’t lacking in new stuff.


QftQ: in your opinion, is it worth farming island expeditions beyond the weekly soft cap, or should I find something else to do after I’ve finished my 4-5 runs for the week? I’m at max lvl, ~400 ilvl so the gear rewards are not a factor (unless I’m missing something!)

Not so much! I mean, if you’re after a particular pet, mount, or transmog option, or even just extra doubloons, then sure, go nuts with the farming and cross your fingers that you’ll find what you’re looking for. Technically you could farm the heck out of azerite, but there are better options out there with larger rewards once you’ve hit that soft cap. Of course, if you just really like the whole atmosphere of Island Expeditions, then go ahead and take as long as you’d like just playing the content. But I don’t think there’s much of a “point” to doing them once you’ve hit the soft cap, unless it’s just something you find fun to do. Fun doesn’t need a point — it’s just fun!


OK. Time to finish up the Draenei stuff in the Swamp of Sorrows. Question when they say the Lost Ones came through years ago, do they mean BC or do they mean during one of the RTS games?

This was way before Burning Crusade. When the Horde pretty much fell to the Legion’s corruption back on Draenor, they went on a killing spree, murdering any Draenei they came across. This culminated in a massive attack on Shattrath, one that far too many Draenei were unable to escape. Those that did found themselves changing due to fel energies. They essentially devolved, becoming the Broken — Nobundo was one of these Broken, and he’s also the one that brought Shamanism to the Draenei as a result. The Light no longer spoke to him, but the elements did.

But there were those that were affected beyond Broken status. They shifted even further into a primitive stage now known as Lost Ones — and some of these Lost Ones managed to find their way through the Dark Portal and into Azeroth before Draenor was destroyed. They made their way to the Swamp of Sorrows and settled there, which is where we first encountered them.

And the sad part is that, back in vanilla, that’s what we thought the Draenei were. We knew they’d been stricken with some sort of madness due to crossing the Dark Portal, but we had no idea these guys were once the tall, proud, and exceptionally charming Draenei that we encountered in Burning Crusade. We just thought they were these crazy little potato-looking hostile dudes out in the Swamp of Sorrows — and if there were any non-maddened ones, we figured they looked pretty much the same. Boy, were we ever wrong about that.


Q4tQ: classic weighs less than 3GB and the transfer rate is ridiculously low. Do you think Blizzard should create a web browser version, or even a mobile one?

Congrats, Vulkan, you spawned a header image! This is where I point out that the first computer I played WoW and raided on was in fact a tablet. It was an HP/Compaq tc1100 — the one pictured in the header up there. It did not have a mouse. There was not a port for the mouse. I moved using the little nub in the middle of the keyboard, and those two blue buttons at the bottom of it, which were the built in mouse keys. It actually performed quite nicely for leveling, and did well enough with early raids — but Blackwing Lair was another issue entirely. The suppression room lagged me so badly that I was forced to face the wall and blindly work my way around the room with the rest of the group, healing all the way. Despite this, I was still one of the top healers in the guild, usually assigned to main tank duty.

So…technically, vanilla was a mobile game — probably not the kind anyone envisioned or hoped for, though.

Could Blizzard make Classic a mobile title? Yes, probably. I can’t see a web browser version working very well, but I could see it performing on today’s tablets or mobile devices with little difficulty. But there are a couple of problems with it that would take some extensive work. First off, mobility — they’d have to come up with some kind of touch-based interface so that people on phones and tablets could effectively run around. Second, and this is the big one…there are a lot of buttons in Classic. Almost every spell in your toolkit is going to have multiple ranks you can use. Beyond standard attacks, you also need to be able to quickly access what I like to call the “Whoops” buttons — Fade, Ice Block, Vanish, etc — the ones you hit when you need a super quick get out of danger ASAP spell.

Basically…it could run, but it would need a substantial UI overhaul to make it work. Could Blizzard make that happen? Probably. Is it something worth investing the time into? I…don’t really think so. I think Blizzard would rather be working on new titles, not revamping old titles to work with different consoles or styles of play. And frankly, while I’m delighted that Classic has become an actual thing, I think I’d still rather see new titles when it comes to mobile, too.

That’s it for today’s Queue — if you have any questions you’d like to see answered, be sure to leave them in the comments below!

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