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The QueueSep 9, 2019 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: I also think Malfurion Stormrage is pretty dope

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!

Like Rossi, my cohort in lore speculation and sometimes quasi-madness, I too enjoy Malfurion Stormrage. Mind you, when I look at characters I tend to see their potential, and sometimes I feel like that potential is sadly underutilized. But his shift (no pun intended) in Darkshore from obsessed-with-neutrality to terrifying-forest-god was exactly what I was hoping to see one day. You don’t mess with a centuries-old dude who has an almost complete mastery over the powers of nature. It’s just…a terrifically bad idea. Point is, I can enjoy characters even if I don’t necessarily enjoy the way they’re currently being interpreted — which was a lot of my problem with Malfurion. Sometimes his writing just didn’t make logical sense.

Anyway, on to your questions!


Q4tQ: Overwatch is heading to Switch, and with it, the speculation of a Overwatch character in Smash Brothers. Who do you think would fit in a world fighting the likes of Mario, Pickachu, and Zelda?

Honestly? I think Moira would be an interesting addition. Not just because of her abilities, but because those abilities are super flashy, and some of my favorite Smash characters are the ones with the coolest visual effects. I’d say Tracer, but I feel like her ability to blip around the map with wild abandon might make her a little too OP/hard to track when it comes to Smash gameplay.

Reaper comes in at a close second, just because I think his gameplay style fits with Smash, and the smoke trail effects would just look really cool. Keep in mind, though, I’m no expert when it comes to Smash — I don’t really play it, I just like watching the experts play it every now and again. My idea of “playing” comes from the school of “frantically smash random buttons and hope to god it does something amazing.”


The real question is, do you like Knaak’s book “Stormrage”?

What an excellent question! No, not really — but that has very little to do with Knaak, and more to do with the story being told. The whole mystery of Malfurion’s disappearance was something I really wanted to see play out in game, and I was really disappointed when it was just relegated to a novel. The novel also introduced some characters that we never really saw again, which was a little disappointing too. Mind you, Stormrage came out just before Blizzard started that transition from novels about random stuff we never saw in game, to novels that served as bridges between expansions, or extra exposition for events that took place behind the scenes in-game.

I know there are still people out there who are…let’s just say a little overly critical of Knaak’s works in the WoW universe, but I don’t really agree with their assessments. I think what a lot of people fail to realize is how licensed novels are usually handled — it’s not a case of an author just randomly pitching their own stuff at a company. The company comes up with the story idea, the characters, and a direction for that story to go. The author takes all that into account, and fleshes it out into an actual novel. Sometimes they offer their own suggestions, but it’s still up to the company to either approve the suggestion, or turn it down.

With all that said, Stormrage definitely wasn’t my favorite book. Wolfheart, on the other hand, is still (in my opinion) the best book Knaak’s written for Blizzard — it’s an amazing novel, and I highly recommend the read.


Q4tQ: When people ask for WoW 2, do you ever wonder if what they really want is another Blizzard MMO to play? Aside from Final Fantasy, there really isn’t much out there for quality MMO games these days. Blizzard could keep developing expansions for WoW and also give us a new MMO-RPG using Diablo/Starcraft/Overwatch or even a brand new IP. Provided the mechanics were solid yet different enough from WoW, I know I would play both concurrently.

The thought has crossed my mind before, yes. I don’t know if Blizzard would want to do another WoW-scale MMO, however. It’s easy to say that the company could keep developing expansions for WoW and work on another title, but the truth of the matter is that there is an astonishing number of people working on WoW. It isn’t easy to run an MMO. It takes a lot of people to keep it running smoothly, and even more people to keep it moving forward. You can’t just take the WoW team and have them run a second MMO simultaneously — you’d have to hire an entire secondary team, and that’s a ton of people.

Could they do it? Yes — but it’d be a gamble. There’s no guarantee a second MMO would have the same kind of success as WoW has. Would I like to see it? Absolutely, I think Blizzard produces really amazing games, and I have no doubt whatever they came up with would be amazing. But realistically, I don’t know if something that daunting from a financial and manpower standpoint is something Blizzard really wants to take on.


So, is believing a leaderless scourge would overrun Azeroth a gullibility of the faction leaders and our characters, or is it a writing issue? I agree that I don’t believe it either way.

I don’t really think it’s a writing issue — it makes logical sense. The Scourge is basically an army of mindless undead. The Lich King is the mind that directs that army wherever it needs to go, according to the Lich King’s whim and fancy at the time. Without the Lich King, the Scourge would just be…a mindless army, one that would attack without any seeming reason or motivation at random moments to random locations with no way to predict where it would go.

Basically, it’d be a chaotic, unpredictable, and incredibly deadly force. Given all we’ve seen of the Scourge and how it works, that seems like a logical assessment. Is it true? We have no idea — but it makes sense. And considering all this information came from victims of the Scourge and the Lich King, it also seems to be perfectly believable. As outside players, we can look at this and begin to pick apart and examine that logic, looking for potential holes in it — and we’ve done that several times over.

But as characters in the game…it made sense at the time. It was a logical assumption to make. The warnings came from renowned heroes and well-known figures from history. When Uther the Lightbringer tells you something, you listen. When King Terenas Menethil II tells you something, you listen. I mean…they’ve got a bird’s eye view of everything, don’t they?


What will be the storyline impetus that puts the Azerite gameplay mechanic to rest?

There’s a couple of ways this could go, given what we witnessed in Nazjatar. We could do the logical thing, and use the Azerite to try and heal the wound down in Silithus, bringing that particular arc to an end. We could potentially use the Azerite to seal away N’Zoth and try and prevent his return — but he already utilized that Azerite to apparently free himself in the Azshara encounter.

And we don’t really know what that did to our Azerite. We haven’t moved forward in the story yet, so we don’t know if there were consequences to that action. Was it just a temporary sort of borrowing thing? Was it something that will allow N’Zoth to slowly leech our Azerite powers until they just disappear? Is it something that will affect our ability to heal the world in a later patch?

No idea. I’m afraid we’re just going to have to wait and see on that front — but as of Nazjatar, the prognosis isn’t looking especially good for us.


Q4tQ: Is there a reason I would want to keep the Gift of N’zoth buff? Blizz is making it very clear that when I get Pike to cleanse it I can’t get it back.

I mean…it was a present from an Old God. Wouldn’t you like to keep it? Isn’t it tempting to let it stick around, just to see what happens? What if it gives you untold amounts of power down the road? What if N’Zoth’s whispers suddenly start making all kinds of sense to you? Wouldn’t you hate to log in one day and realize oh hey, maybe keeping that thing was a really good idea?

It’s temptation personified.

Let’s be real here: We never really know where our decisions are going to take us, or what the consequences of our actions are going to be. We just make the best decisions we can at the time, with the knowledge we have at hand. You’re being given a choice here — the consequences of that choice are a big question mark at the moment. It doesn’t matter what it does or does not do. What matters is the choice you decide to make.

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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