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The QueueNov 27, 2019 12:39 pm CT

The Queue: Is it happy Wednesday or sad Wednesday?

The two are right next to each other on the keyboard, really.


RED ASKED:

Q4Liz: are you taller than Anna Bell?

My driver’s license reads 5’1″, so I think that’s a no.


CAPTAIN CAKEWALK THE TUSKMEOW ASKED:

Q4tQ: Are there any locations in WoW that you really love? Like for me there are allot of zones I really like for many different reasons such as Storm Peaks for it’s ambience, design and music. Gilneas is another one and for much the same reasons as Storm Peaks and even Eversong due to it’s autumnal design and vibrancy. Then you have zones like Elwynn Forest that I must admit for the music alone I absolutely adore! :D

Since Wrath, my answer to this has been Dragonblight in Northrend, and it hasn’t changed. It’s not that there haven’t been beautiful zones with beautiful music since then (or be fore then), but there was something about the moment I first stepped into the zone and the music faded in. It’s a somber piece of music, with piano notes like shards of ice. Dragons battle far overhead, and ice and snow stretch in every direction. As you ride down the road (depending on your graphics settings), Wyrmrest Temple starts to rise out of the shadows of the sky, impossibly tall from your tiny spot on the ground.

Everything felt so big just then. So high and so out of reach. The world was monumental and unknowable. We were in the middle of a war amongst Dragonflights, we were chasing after Arthas, and we were in well over our heads.

The music and the landscape combined in a way that made me really feel that at the time, in a way I haven’t since.


KALCHEUS ASKED:

Q4tQ: So how did the Keepers of Time gets waiters for this celebration anyway? Are there a lot of out-of-work/seasonal waiters available to go all the way to Tanaris?

They can travel in time, which means they have access to a virtually unlimited amount of gold. Anything they need, they can just zip forward or backwards until they find it. So instead of imagining that they’re kidnapping people out of the timeline to staff up, let’s just say they grabbed enough gold to convince people to come to this frankly miserable, bug-filled desert.


RJAGODA ASKED:

Have you done any anniversary stuff yet? What’s your favorite activity?

I wrapped up the raid last night, so now I can enjoy never having to do that again. (My annoyance at wiping on Ragnaros and then starting the wing from the beginning is high, very high.)

But Red did a poll about the anniversary, and I think it really captures my feelings, because 65% of the people who have responded think the best thing about the event is the fact that they only have to click the anniversary item once. That’s pretty great.

The rest of it was fun the first time, but now I am just feeling done.


SPOONYBARDOL ASKED:

Do you think it’s about time WoW got a good villain song sequence?

This is something that just came to mind for me right now as I remembered that one of the dungeons coming in Shadowlands is ‘The Other Side’, which is supposedly Bwonsamdi’s domain. Wouldn’t it be awesome if leading up to the dungeon we got an in-game cutscene (bonus points if it’s the type that uses our in-game characters) where Bwonsamdi breaks into a Disney-esque villain song to introduce The Other Side?

Sadly I dunno how likely it is but now that I thought of it I honestly want nothing more for Shadowlands.

Hearthstone gets all the villain songs, so there aren’t any left for WoW.



And now this…

So this isn’t exactly a question or an answer… so it’s a little out of place. But I read Anna’s comment about the Herald of the Titans and I had to say something. Per Anna, “it’s just one fight, and other than rounding up a bare handful of other people at level 80 it’s not nearly the accomplishment it once was to do it.”

As someone who has tried to do this during this expansion, I have to say that this isn’t the case. If anything, the encounter is now harder than it has been in the past.

The problem is that we’ve had stat squishes and we’ve had ability pruning and everything in our skillsets is balanced around being level 120 and playing BFA content. When you level lock at 80 to fight Algalon for the achievement, you are cutting yourself out of two tiers of talents, and that’s pretty painful. (And as a Mistweaver, those two top tiers are where my big healing stuff is.)

Blizzard’s philosophy on how to design raid encounters has changed a lot over the years. Algalon is a pitifully simplistic fight compared to, say, Azshara. But it’s a different kind of fight, too. The tank takes heavy damage, including some that’s not survivable without a cooldown, while the rest of the raid can dodge the worst of it unless they’re not doing the mechanics. It’s a fight that needs a lot of tank healing, which isn’t an issue in modern fights. Sure, when the tank dies the rest of the raid is likely to follow, but fight mechanics tend to damage the raid rather than hitting the tank really hard  (again, as long as you’re doing required mechanics). The challenge for today’s healers is keeping everyone alive — but the focus used to be much more on the tank, and you can feel that if you go back to any old raid instances at the appropriate level.

It’s an interesting thought exercise, really. Mistweavers are, possibly, the best single-target healers in the game right now — but it’s a strength that’s really not important, because the game is all about strong AOE healing and (increasingly) appropriately timed dispels and CC. So Jumping back into older content requires a shift to your healing rotation and the way you think about healing in general. It took me a few fights to realize that my BFA healing strategy just didn’t work for running legacy content,

Then it’s an exercise in tackling difficult problems without a complete toolkit. For example, a major feature in Mistweaver single-target healing is Jade Serpent Statue, which is a level 90 talent. That’s off the table for a Herald run, so all I’m doing is slinging heals as quickly as I can and hoping for the best. I cast a lot of Enveloping Mist when running content at 80, which is a HoT that also increases my healing done to the target. It’s a big mana drain, and because I don’t almost never need that much single-target healing, I almost never cast it at 120. It’s an “in case of emergencies” button that I bust out occasionally. But when I’ve run Ulduar or Icecrown Citadel at 80 this expansion, I try to maximize EM uptime for the healing buff (and general damage-smoothing a HoT offers). Unfortunately, it’s  a playstyle that gives me a very short lifespan because I run out of mana fast.

These old fights haven’t become easy. The stat squish has left bosses hitting harder, and the fact that players are balanced for 120 simply means we can’t properly perform at level 80.

Honestly, it’s frustrating that the achievement exists when it’s so clear that Blizzard isn’t interested in having a balanced encounter you can complete, or well-balanced players to complete it. And that’s pretty much why I think Blizzard should get rid of Herald — not because it’s too easy, but because it’s too hard. It makes a lot of sense to just remove it… but also it’s lasted this long, so we may yet see another expansion of this old achievement collecting dust.

Well, that rant over, I suppose we can move along in our Wednesday. For those of you celebrating tomorrow, happy Thanksgiving! And for everyone else, happy future Thursday.

Mitch intends to swing by and write a Queue for you, so please leave him plenty of shadowy questions to answer.

I’ll see you back here next week, everyone!

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