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The QueueFeb 25, 2020 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: I just can’t quit you

I’m not sure what it is about The Long Dark that keeps me coming back. I know I should be collecting more vessels to do more Visions, but I just keep tromping through the snow, getting eaten by wolves. Oddly, I think no small part of it is this art style. There are both sweeping vistas and small groupings of objects in still life that could be paintings in their own right. Unfortunately, the reason this particular shot is blurry around the edges giving a kinda of tilted depth of field effect is because I’m literally freezing to death, but isn’t it pretty?

This is The Queue, where you Q us and we supply the A. We’re talking about Steamy Romance Novels today, so at least something here is keeping warm.


Q4tQ: I have two licenses on my account – WOW1 and WOW2. I have some characters in a private guild on one server on one license, and I’d like to move them to another server where my wife and her friends play. But that server is literally filled with max level characters.

Does a guild transfer allow you to switch server AND license? Or would that be two transfers (the first to WOW2, the second to the proper server)?

If you’re transferring a single character you can swap licenses and servers with just one transaction in a Character Transfer. Transferring a character from one license to another automatically wipes all guild information, and as such Guild Transfer isn’t available from account to account. To be clear, Guild Transfer functions very similarly to Character Transfers, but your Guild Bank just comes along for the ride. You’d have to pay additionally for every alt you’d want to transfer as well.

I’ve typed transfer so many time now it doesn’t seem like a word anymore. Transfer transfer transfer.


Don’t you think it’s time we come up with an abbreviation for Shadowlands? Takes too much time to type it out every time I want to talk about it.

I’m probably the only weirdo in the room on this one, but Shadowlands is the title of a biographical movie about C. S. Lewis starring Anthony Hopkins and I’m lowkey ready to latch on to a standardized abbreviation. Not SL though, that’s Shadow Labs and every time I see it I remember how much I hate Shadow Labs.

I’d ask whether it can be the next expansion yet, but I know we won’t be able to move on until I can spell “covenants” correctly the first try. This is my curse.


Do you think it would be “cheesy” to have Varian as a Soulbind in Shadowlands? On the one hand, I have too much respect for him to be my sidekick. On the other hand, it might (?) be interesting.

I think it’ll be super awkward to have Varian tagging along in the cut scenes where our character and Anduin both appear. Heck, nearly any major lore figure we’ll have tagging around would end up being super weird in some circumstances, in much the same way Warlocks were awkward in Legion. You just know Mouthy McNPC is going to say something about how your Soulbind companion is a paragon of virtue right in front of Kael’thas or something. It’s boilerplate dialogue that shouldn’t be take too seriously, but still, man.

In that vein, I think it’ll be a smarter move to have our Soulbinds be characters who’ve been in the Shadowlands for a while, so now they have the experience to show us the ropes (while conveniently being new characters). That said, if I don’t get to Soulbind with Amber Kearnen I’m gonna start chucking things into the Maw until the Jailer lets me.


Q4TQ: My alma matter UCLA just announced a 3 year partnership with Razer to help support their collegiate esports program. How is college esports looking and how long till the NCAA ruins it?

Oddly enough, stand-alone college programs generally look fairly healthy, even as esports continues to be the wild west. Most of the college clubs I’ve seen have taken an approach which doesn’t just include being good at the esport, but also networking, media training, legal issues, and the other stuff that stand-alone content creators need to dabble in.

Many college-age kids find themselves looped into bad contracts by bad actors. With esports as an appealing career as it is, with as young a target audience as it has, there needs to be somebody out there with the best interest of those kids in mind. The protection the NCAA offers has always been somewhat exploitative, and their policies are completely archaic in light of avenues like Twitch or even influencer marketing. Can you imagine going up to a Heroes of the Dorm player and telling them, nah, you’re not allowed to stream on Twitch or have a monetized YouTube channel if you want to participate in this one-off tournament, even if you lose, because the NCAA says so? Who on earth would compete under those restrictions?

It’s undeniable that there is some degree of additional oversight with larger governing bodies and schools working together — UCLA can’t just up and ghost on their debts like, say, Naventic did to their Heroes of the Storm team. But it’s been rare that the NCAA has had the best interests of the kids at the heart of their organization, and that’s really what we’re lacking here. There are more esports-centric lawyers and talent agencies, but they tend to serve those players who are already turning a hefty profit, not the mid-tier Hearthstone player who took third in a local and is wondering what their next step might be.

I do think there needs to be a stable central governing structure for esports, providing standards for schools and going beyond individual games or publishers. A better tournament system that promotes events across games would be a great start. At the same time, the teams are still somewhat at the mercy of individual publishers no matter what. There isn’t a patch change and subsequent meta shift in hockey, and even if the rules are changed you can still play it the same way you did 2 weeks ago. But if the NCAA gets their fingers into the pie, I think it might kill everything but the concept of college esports.


Q4tQ: Do you think Blizzard would be able to effectively craft a romance storyline with major characters in the game, or do you think any hints of such will always happen offscreen in novels?

I don’t think they’re gonna let Anduin do the do Steamy Romance style, no. We may get a chaste smooch in a cinematic or a state wedding, but I’d wager the majority of any courtship would be done via quest text with nary so much as a fade to black on a bear skin rug. Heck, Alexstrazsa has had more physical contact with Aggra in-game than Thrall has, so Anduin cold cocking Wrathion is probably the next best thing either of them will get to making out.

When you think about it a little… how freaking weird is that? Here kids, it’s a talking knife that wants you to stab stuff and suck the still-warm blood from the flesh of your enemies in service of an eldritch entity! But definitely don’t think of Kinelory and Quae as anything other than platonic gal pals!!!

I do think the characters they’ve established would be amazing in a smoochier RPG like Dragon Age. I definitely think their current stable of writers has the skill to pull it off, even though romance as a genre is deceptively tricky to make work regardless of how closely you want to toe the line of Rated-T-For-Teen. But unless there’s a tertiary Dream Daddy-style dating sim I don’t think any romance they try to pull out is going to end up all that satisfying in quest text.


Q4tQ: Tomorrow, we will be back in Orgrimmar for Visions and I will likely need to do one of the final areas. Can you tell me which is easier and what to expect from each?

We have a whole rundown of both the Stormwind and Orgrimmar Horrific Visions, so you’ll know exactly what to expect. Which one is tougher depends quite a bit on you — your mechanical weak points, the class you’re playing, etc. — but both require you to look sharp and avoid a whole lot of Stuff. Both require spacial awareness and being able to DPS and move at the same time is a huge help.

If you want to shoot directly for the Lost areas, the Valley of Wisdom may be your best bet for completion solely because you can run straight for it. After the initial unlock scene with Zappy Boi for the Valley of Spirits, you can run past him to the Valley of Wisdom, while the Valley of Honor requires you to pretty much complete the Drag section to access it. I find the Valley of Wisdom slightly easier, but not by much, and it’s definitely a safer target if your goal is Lost completion for Wrathion’s doodads.


What’s Khadgar been doing while we were facing the strongest sorceress on Azeroth and a literal live Old Gold?

I know for reasons external to the game proper Blizzard can’t make stories for all the NPCs all the time but I wish they would at least make them present in a way.

I think that’s just an issue with in MMOs in general. Their stable of characters is so huge that there’s always somebody with significant world-ending power just chilling on the sidelines, let alone a whole slew of other worthy champions we’ve thrown our lot in with, then never saw again. Why didn’t we call Yrel from 30-years-ago-alt-Draenor to deal with N’Zoth? Why didn’t we recruit the focused, hardened Joanna Blueheart to lead her company from the Swamp of Sorrows to the swamps of Nazmir? What about Gorgonna, who led a group of adventurers in a rebellion against her tyrant sister while Sergeant Nazgrim cooled his heels a dozen paces away? Oh and by the by, where the heck is Medivh, anyway?

My guess is that we’ll see Khadgar in only limited capacity again next expansion. Maybe a “oh that’s the veil between worlds” exposition quest or two before he shoves us into a swirling portal. He may be staying behind to do research, but something tells me he’s really just eager to get some quiet time alone. After all, wizardry doesn’t exactly pay the bills, and self-publishing is super hot right now. Who did you think is writing all those Steamy Romance Novels, Nathanos?

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