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The QueueApr 9, 2020 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: It feels like I’m caught in a loop

It seems like every week I start writing the Queue thinking “it’s Friday already??” Except time has ceased to have all meaning. I’m writing the Queue, but it isn’t Friday. And when I wrote the Queue last week, it wasn’t Friday either.

I am at a loss.

Let’s just hope today’s the day I’m supposed to write the Queue.


Real Q4tQ: Which, if any, of the potential changes came as the biggest surprise to you (for good or ill)?

The return of Holy Power for all Paladins surprises me. It was a mechanic that felt clunky to me when it was first implemented in Cataclysm — but it was also implemented with a lot of other changes, and they compounded on each other to make the design seem complicated and difficult. Since giving up on my Holydin (I’ve very recently come back to it), I’ve spent a lot of time playing a Monk, so I don’t think the system would feel as strange now as it did back then.

However, it’s still decidedly odd. Holy Paladins will be the only healers with a secondary resource like that — at least according to current info, Mistweaver Monks won’t be returning to Chi — which implies a unique style of gameplay. Lately classes have grown a bit homogenized, so I’m very curious to see how this plays out.

Everything announced so far has only given me more questions. If you ask me this next week I may have a completely different answer.


Do you know if Blizzard’s development team has had to adjust in any way to current life circumstances – having to work from home more, having to push deadlines, testing new content differently, or are things going more or less normally? (Other than having to shelve their initial plans for their Shadowlands previews this month)

I don’t know anything at all, but I can speculate quite a bit — in fact, Ted already put out an article speculating on it. But all we really know is that Blizzard employees are working from home (just like most of the rest of us).

From our own experiences stuck at home, I think we can make some reasonable guesses on the kind of impact it’s had. I’ve worked from home for years and I’m used to it, but as I’ve watched friends transition to work from home… well, I start to recognize the unique challenges that I’ve just gotten used to.

I think the biggest difficulty for teams working remotely is communication. When you’re in the office, you’re all there — if something comes up, you can walk down the hall and talk to someone about it. Or pull together an impromptu face-to-face meeting. It’s effortless because everyone you want to talk to is right there.

That’s not to say you can’t do the same with everyone working at home, but communication is something you have to actively think about doing. No more impromptu conversations when you run into someone in the hallway: you have to actively reach out and make those conversations happen.

There are technical challenges to turning your home into an office, too, though we have no idea if Blizzard has had any. Some workplaces don’t have laptops for employees. Some workplaces have security that makes it difficult or impossible to work off-site. There are a lot of technical hurdles to suddenly pushing everyone out of the office.

And then there’s the plain simple fact that you’re at home. So is your spouse, your kids, your roommate, your pets, and anyone else who usually sleeps together under the same roof but doesn’t usually have to spend 24/7 together. That’s distracting at the very, very least.

None of these things are impassible hurdles, but they all make everything that bit more difficult. As cheerful as we’ve seen the Blizzard crew be on Twitter, I’m sure they’re having as tough a time as any of the rest of us.

So hang in there, friends at Blizzard. And hang in there everyone else. It’s not easy for anyone right now, so be kind.


Q4TQ: What has you most excited about Shadowlands?

Honestly, I’m just excited about the chance of something new.

I’m feeling kind of done with BFA right now. Sure, I could keep doing Visions and leveling my cloak. I could keep collecting Essences. I could finish leveling alts, finish leveling professions. I could max out fishing. There are a lot of things I could be doing, but none of them sound particularly exciting right now.

But Shadowlands does sound exciting, in part because it’s new and unknown. We know everything there is to know about Battle for Azeroth. We’ve uncovered its mysteries, killed all of its bosses.

I’m interested in new challenges and new ways to play, and that means the next expansion. It’s a mystery off on the horizon, and that’s pretty thrilling.


Which is cuter, baby fox vs. baby unicorn?

I had every intention of typing “baby unicorn, no question.” But then I really looked at the unicorn. And looked. And looked.

Its eyes are kind of… weird, right? They’re huge and silvery and they sort of make me think of multifaceted insect eyes. Except on a unicorn.

And that’s as far as I got in that thought process before deciding I never wanted to see this eldritch horror unicorn/spider creature ever again.

So the fox now wins by default.


do you think blizzard is going to do some kind of event to ease the transition to shadow?, right now looks like a pandaria kind of waiting.

Recent expansions have all had some sort of transition event, and I expect the same of Shadowlands. Something that breaks up the norm of gameplay for a bit and gives us a story to chase right into the new expansion.


With ZG coming to Classic it made me wonder will Blizzard redo the AQ event?
Would you redo the AQ gathering event in Classic?

Oh, we’re absolutely getting the return of the Ahn’qiraj event, and I think it’s going to be fantastic.

Well, let me start this off by saying I played during the original and I hated it. I was raiding at the time and every member of the guild was required to spend every moment of their playtime grinding up turnins, and in spite of the novelty of the whole thing, it was miserable. But I admit have have a certain amount of nostalgia for the madness of the event. It was a massive, server-wide effort and while it turned into a grind it was something Warcraft has never done before or since.

I don’t think I’ll participate, but I’ll definitely be watching the chaos. I’m not sure how a modern audience will react to this old school event, but I’m looking forward to finding out.


That’s all for today, my friends. Look to see Mitch here tomorrow for all of your especially shadowy questions I didn’t answer today.

Until next week, stay safe out there, Queuvians.

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