The Queue: Catching Up
You ever have a friend you haven’t seen in a while, but you’re curious (and a little afraid) where they may have gone? You’ve lost touch a bit so you can’t really contact them, and the radio silence is making you really, really nervous? Picture unrelated.
This is The Queue, where you ask us questions and then we answer them, assuming they don’t save the world from the Burning Legion and then disappear.
Q4tQ: How do you tackle a backlog of games/books/etc? Do you tackle them in order of acquisition, do you start with shorter ones first to get through more of them sooner, do you choose at random, etc.?
This assumes I get around to tackling my backlog.
I don’t generally get systematic about it. I will say that I love to play creepier games around Halloween so sometimes I dive into new titles for that, but I just started a playthrough of The Forest, so that’s not necessarily required. I’ll also generally try to alternate between story-heavy games and more expansive action-style titles, just so I can chew on the stories a little bit while I explore a cave filled with draugr or chop down trees to build a house or whatever. So, as such, I finished up Kentucky Route Zero about a month ago, and I’m listening to the bluegrass-centric music that played Greek Chorus-style during that game a whole lot as I play The Forest.
The themes of loss, and trash, and entropy Kentucky Route Zero explores are really powerful right now, so it really gave me a lot to think about. The closing song Emily sings is one of those songs you just feel deep down in your bones so I’m sitting here thinking back on The Neighbors and what debt means and crying my eyes out while I’m being rent limb from limb by mutant cannibals in the woods. You know, totally normal, healthy behavior.
As for books, the Kindle app on my phone, which is synced to my actual Kindle, is how I plow through books. All hail the glow cloud.
How scary are Corrupted areas in Visions? I’m on to the next phase of Cloak upgrades, but I’ve been putting it off because I’m scared of wasting a Vessel :/
It varies pretty wildly depending on your class, spec, and personal mechanical ability. I’ve heard that Stormwind is absolutely dreaded by a lot of people, but I haven’t found the two to be as disparate in difficulty level. I will say that the Memento upgrade tree makes a massive difference — expect to only be able to clear one Lost area, if any, before you get the upgrade that gives you sanity back when you kill a boss.
That said, though the finite nature of farming out the Vessels is a pain in the pirate ghost, there’s only so much reading and preparing can help as opposed to going and just doing it. That’s part of why those Memento upgrades are so crucial — though you can farm those out in the world, that’s a terrible slog compared to just running Visions.
Personally, I love doing the Visions, but I hate doing dailies, so I completely understand the hesitation in not wanting to waste the Vessels. I usually set aside time to binge them once a week.
How many secondary stories is too many? In BFA you had the primary War Campaign, then zone campaigns, a hundred side quest Hubs, Vol’Jin’s Shadow Hunter campaign, Darkshore, Nazjatar, Mechagon, and the Black Empire Campaign. Not to mention all the associated dailies. If you’re new to the game and join BFA right now, good luck figuring out what you’re supposed to be doing first.
I feel like the number of available plot threads is kind of separate from the number of Things available for a new player and how unguided the experience is once you hit 120. For instance, right now you have to do the opener of Nazjatar in order to open the Essences function of your necklace, which then opens the Wrathion’s Cloak quest line, which unlocks Assaults. I’d definitely be on board with adding additional gating like this to reduce the amount of general overwhelm once you hit cap… but then, if you know what the “best” order of operations is, it would feel bad to be forced into unlocking World Quests, or hitting Mechagon before you can do Assaults.
But I’m all for increasing the breadth of the storylines told via quests, cinematics, everything. In getting rid of everything but the meat & potatoes A-cast, you’d miss out on characters like the quietly subversive Jani or the loudly creepy Abby Lewis. We’re also getting more story because each of those A-cast of characters is someone’s favorite, even if they’re not yours. In getting more story per expansion, we don’t have a situation where characters get a little bit of the limelight and then vanish for a couple expansions without a peep. Take Sylvanas, where after her big important story beats in the revamped Cataclysm leveling area, she skipped out on the endgame, stayed out of the Mists of Pandaria, avoided the Boys’ Trip of Draenor, and then was suddenly Warchief at the beginning of Legion, I guess.
Madeline Roux, the author they tapped for Shadows Rising, seems like a delight and I’m sure her novel will be great, but I’m really not a fan of tertiary content like books when video games are already an amazing vehicle for storytelling. Selfishly, as gaming became my job, books became my escape, so throwing it back into work mode with a gaming book isn’t something I relish. As such, yes I know Sylvanas had a subplot in War Crimes involving Vereesa, but the expansive nature of what WoW can do with quests only makes me hungry to see those interactions in the actual game.
The divide reminds me a lot of the Wheel of Time series, where it started with a relatively small adventuring band and then by book 8 or so one of the three main characters doesn’t even appear in it because there are so many side plots and intrigues. If it were WoW, they could just give me a side quest hub where I can roll dice with Mat Cauthon. In this case I suppose I’d be looking at all the new etchings Khadgar put in Karazhan in the last couple years. Neat, buddy.
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