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The QueueJun 17, 2020 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: What time is it? Showtime!

Do you like surprises? I hope you like surprises, because surprise, I’m filling in today!


Let’s just say yay.


QtfQ: What do we think the success chances of Blizzard actually making Shadowlands ‘alt-friendly’ (like they are promising) are?

The problem — I feel — with alts lately is that every expansion has had a significant timesink that was wholly necessary for character progression. And if you enjoyed playing alts, you could seriously stall out at that point.

Legion had Artifacts and the AP grind, plus the Balance of Power questline which required non-LFR raiding. BFA had Azerite (neck and armor) and its own AP grind, with Essences added later. If you wanted to play an alt beyond leveling, you had to put time into these systems, and it could take a lot of time.

In Shadowlands, Covenant advancement looks to be the timesink, and I’m optimistic about the system for alts. Blizzard has already said that alts will be able to pick a Covenant immediately, which will let them start whatever grind is needed early on — rather than mains who will pick a Covenant at max level. I’m hopeful that this will make alts feel a little less grindy, since you are doing the grind as you level rather than just starting it at max.

Tldr: I think there are positive signs for alts in Shadowlands, but the proof is in the playing.


Dear Anna, you can grow plants in real life. It is not that tough.

Tell that to all of my dead houseplants. :(


Rossi, I’ve played 28 hours in AC: Odyssey and so far I like being the “silent assassin.” I’m assuming you liked to be the warrior more often and had a “bring it on” attitude?
Also hope your eyes are okay.

I am not Rossi, but I have sunk a lot of hours into AC:O… uh, I just checked and the game informs me that I’ve spent 159 hours in AC:O… so I feel at least partially qualified to address this question.

I play as a full-on ranged stealth assassin. I can shoot flaming arrows through walls and they will literally never see what hit them. But even so, I have points in Warrior. Hybridization feels crucial to gameplay — particularly as an Assassin, due to the high reliance on abilities you can only use from stealth. Sometimes you’re just going to get stuck in a big melee and you’ll need some of the Warrior abilities to bash heads in a straight-on fight — plus the Warrior tree has extra CC that can come in handy any time. (Also it’s just fun to Sparta Kick people off cliffs.)

On one hand, there is some interesting interplay between the trees… but on the other hand, it’s a bit simplistic. My stealth ranged assassin can one-shot almost anything, but only has three active skills from the Hunter tree because there’s no reason to waste points on anything else.

It’s interesting to play these single player games and compare them to MMOs — the talent tree structure (you have Hunter, Warrior, and Assassin trees, and can divide points amongst them) is exactly like WoW’s earlier talent structure. But unlike WoW, the trees don’t evolve over time. Where MMOs are in a constant search for balance, this single-player game doesn’t care about balance. So what if half of the Hunter skills aren’t worth taking? Who cares? You’re still an awesome Spartan warrior. Embrace it.

The in-your-face Warrior playstyle has its place, even for a stealthy Assassin.

Also — probably obviously at this point — Rossi is out today but intends to be back on Friday. You may want to try this question again in tomorrow’s Queue to get his take on it.


Why are we in such a hurry to level and gear our alts? This isn’t me bashing. I have an alt army which were all leveled with full heirlooms and I felt cheated when 8.3 came out and essences weren’t account wide. But all the complaining I’ve been reading lately about catch up mechanics for the cloak, essences and corruption had me questioning tonight. Why the hurry? There is no end to WoW. You’ll never get credits rolling and a “You’ve completed this character” pat on the back of any kind. There is no destination, it’s 100% about the journey. So why always the hurry?

I don’t feel like we’re necessarily in a hurry to gear up, but end-game gearing — particularly Essences — can be a tough (and tedious) grind.

If you want to do more than just level — like raid or run Mythic+ dungeonsn with a new class — you need to level up your cloak and earn those Essences. These aren’t optional parts of gameplay: you need to do some work to get them so you can survive.

Even with catch-up mechanisms, getting an alt ready to run endgame content is a significant effort — and it’s an effort you’ve made before. The cloak can be difficult for an undergeared 120, and Horrific Visions that are required to level them up are are definitely difficult for an undergeared 120. Many Essences are a long grind, even though Blizzard has reduced some of the requirements — and even the ability to purchase Essences is a grind, requiring you to log on daily to do the same old things to earn Echoes of Ny’alotha to buy Essences with. Even if you do everything available every day, there are only so many you can earn in a week.

If your goal is to work on M+ with a shiny new class, you have weeks of grinding through levels and then several more weeks of grinding for cloak levels (you can only get so many per week) and grinding for Essences (even with the catch-up mechanism, you’re only going to get one, sometimes two a week).

Let’s turn your premise around a bit: for some people, the journey is progressing through a raid or Mythic+ levels. All of the hurdles and timesinks required to gear up — something they’ve presumably already done on other characters — just makes it take a lot longer to start working on your journey of choice. We all have different goals, and I think the people who are rushing through the gearing process probably have some goals revolving around endgame content.

Also re-grinding for Essences is really dull. No one really wants to repeat all of the Mechagon or Nazjatar quests and dailies again… do they?

That’s all for now, everyone. I hope you’re all having a perfectly lovely Wednesday, and as always, remember hug your loved ones (even if it’s a virtual hug) and give your pets a pat on the head. Life is too short to miss an opportunity to do both.

So /hugs from me, Queue. I’ll be back to chat with you again next week.

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