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The QueueJun 26, 2020 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Be kind

Life is hard, and the least we can do is be kind to each other, to the best of our abilities. Do good, be kind.


Anything in the latest round of Shadowlands reveals that you’re finding interesting or considering will be fun to play (or play with?)

I’m mostly interested in class changes right now. Sure, the game’s story is interesting and Torghast is interesting and the new intro experience they just released is interesting, but what I want to know most is what’s happening to my character.

I’ve played a Monk since Mists, and lately exclusively a Mistweaver. But it’s a spec and a class I’ve become disenchanted with, and right now on the alpha the Mistweaver spec is barely changing at all. There are some tweaks which are primarily variations on things we’ve had before, but nothing that addresses the challenges the spec has. My other class, which I’ve been playing more lately, is Holy Paladin. That class has changed quite a bit, to the point where it’s hard to tell what it’s really going to play like. I’m not a great Holy Paladin now, and I’m not sure if these changes are going to make that better or worse.

Since Blizzard hasn’t done much to either class on the alpha yet, I’m really in a holding pattern. I am unenthusiastic about the Monk and uncertain of the Paladin, and there’s just no news, only waiting.

I am enthusiastic about most of these new character customizations, though. Eyes! Ears! Eyebrows (maybe)! Jewelry! Even as I’m worried about fundamentals like will my class be fun, I am excited about every little change I can make to my characters to make them perfect.


Which is your favorite of the new character customization stuff from the Shadowlands alpha? Is there anything you’d still like to see added, either from the races that are still outstanding, or from ones that have already gotten their new options.

I really like the ability to put stuff in our hair, like Night Elves with leaves and Tauren with flowers. I wonder if Gnomes will be able to put tiny gears and cogs in their hair….


Q4Q: Will SL give us Nightborne face customizations that are more in line with the NPC’s?

Q4Q: Do you feel like the random elemental blast of S21 is a step backwards after the game changing cube power setups of S20?

Q4Q: More solo HS stuff like Dungeon Runs, yea or nay?

(1) We have seen a few new customizations for Nightborne in the latest build — some new eyes and earrings — but not much. Allied Races have gotten some love, but the real focus seems to be on improving and adding diversity to the original races, and their allied variations get the same (or similar) additions. However, I would really like withered Nightborne to be an option — or more withered, at least, since I’m certain Blizzard won’t allow for drastic body type changes, but maybe we could get face options that have more of that gaunt look..

But I put my confidence level of this happening at around 20%.

(2) I’m not a big fan of the Diablo Season 21 buff, which just gives random blasts of elemental energy all the time, because it doesn’t change gameplay in the least. You can’t trigger it, it just happens. And none of your gear or skills will improve it, so you can’t play up the powerful elementalist thing. It will be fun to crush enemies around you all the time, but it’s a wholly passive buff and that’s not very engaging.

But on the other side, it’s a buff that’s available from day one, with a power that may help us rush through the levels and kill ever more powerful packs of enemies. The buff to Kanai’s Cube in S20 didn’t come into play until later in the game, and even then it was “set it and forget it.” Being able to use any Kanai’s Cube powers you wanted let you create some entertaining new customizations — by the end, I was running with three weapon powers — but once I figured out the combination I wanted, that was it. No more thinking, no more gameplay. So being able to use the S21 buff from the beginning, and seeing it have a constant and visible impact on the game around me… even though I’m disappointed by the simplicity of the buff, I know it will be fun.

(3) More solo stuff like Dungeon Runs. The Dungeon Run playstyle has been gone for two expansions now, and I really miss it. It was a chaotic, highly random game mode that was highly replayable and tons of fun. By Tombs of Terror, the last Dungeon Run, Blizzard had really perfected a solid Dungeon Run format that offered solid hero powers, treasures, and card buckets to build a deck from, without leaving you feeling weak if the RNG wasn’t entirely in your favor.

I enjoyed the last two solo adventures, but I played them once and there’s not really a need to revisit them.


Did you enjoy the new solo adventure in Hearthstone? Did it bother you that Illidan spoke in rhyme?

Are you kidding? The rhyming was the best part!

It seems to have taken a lot of flak for being silly or simply not being “Illidan,” but I think it was great. And while I’ve heard people say that Illidan wouldn’t bother with rhymes, I think that takes it too literally. It framed the whole adventure as an epic poem, which gave it a certain sense of scale. No one was actually talking in rhyme — it was a narrative device, which became particularly obvious late in the Adventure because it was dropped when Illidan and Adorra had casual conversations during matches.

Also if you enjoy, for example, Liam O’Brien reading Shakespeare, this ticks some of the same checkboxes. My wife, who didn’t even have Hearthstone installed before this Adventure, played it wholly on that merit.


Which race/gender combo do you think has the funniest death animation?


Does the Shadowlands Alpha seem longer than usual? From what I remember, Alpha that’s bigger than friends and family is usually fairly short, then they move onto Beta while expanding access. Right now it feels like Alpha is still smaller than their betas tend to be, but there isn’t a NDA. Or maybe Alpha is bigger than I realize since we don’t have numbers to know for sure.

I feel like it’s been visible longer than usual. Often the alpha is kept under wraps, with NDAs, and we don’t get a good look at it until beta comes and the number of players allowed in really starts opening up.

But this time, the alpha is right out in the open for us all to watch, and it really hasn’t opened up. We have seen a few new invites since the alpha launched, but not the sorts of regular waves of invites we usually see when Blizzard gradually expands its beta pool.

However, I’m not convinced this is particularly different — it’s just all playing out in front of us, so it seems different. But taking broad community feedback early in the process seems like a net positive to me, so I think it’s good thing — even though it makes it feel like the beta is dragging on.

And that’s all I have, my friends. Please do your best to be kind to yourself and everyone around you this weekend because life is tough these days and we could all use a little kindness.

P.s. pet your dogs; that’s a kindness, too.

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