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The QueueOct 9, 2020 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Another week ends, another Queue ends

Somehow it is Friday all over again. I’m not sure how that happened, but Friday is Queueday so let’s chat.


Q4tQ: Why do you think that Blizzard is to stubborn when it comes to creating boring content that no one asked for, like Conduits and Soul Bind systems, that are only there to have players grind out more time in game, instead of giving players something like player housing which they’d love to spend time grinding out? Or is there some other fun type of content that you would like to see added that isn’t another gearing system?

I think that Blizzard wants to give us interesting new means of progression. Sure, every expansion we get new levels, but somehow levels themselves have practically stopped being progression. We don’t usually get new talent tiers or skills as we level through an expansion, so leveling really feels like no progression at all. Sure, there’s gear, but gear is equally a no-brainer: you pick up whatever you find and, if it’s higher ilevel, you put it on.

There’s just not much progression to progressing through game levels, and that means Blizzard needs to create alternate means of progression. Something that makes us feel more powerful as we keep playing. This isn’t a bad goal. Power progression is an important part of an RPG, and without systems like Conduits and Soulbinds, I suspect WoW would feel very lax in this department.

But it really does feel like Blizzard is throwing the kitchen sink at us this time around. To give us gameplay customization options and powers, we’ll have unique Covenant abilities, we’ll have a trio of Covenant-specific Soulbinds each with their own talent tree type system, plus gem-like Conduits to add to them. You’ll need to collect Anima and earn Renown. You’ll want to visit Torghast so you can gather materials to make Legendaries. There are a lot of complicated systems in play, and each one will take effort to learn and some amount of grinding to use effectively.

It’s a lot. And maybe having a lot is necessary, to give us a feeling that we’re doing something, that we’re getting more powerful. I dislike endless grinding, but I like having things to do, and it’s possible that this combination of systems will keep me invested and interested — I can’t say for certain until it’s finalized and I’m playing through it with my actual character.

But whether the systems in Shadowlands work or not, the game needed something like them to feel good to play. Maybe no one asked for these systems, but some kind of progression system was needed.

Now. Player housing. I would love to have player housing. I can dump hours into hunting down transmog and creating the look I want. If I had my own in-game home? I would spend entire days arranging the furniture just right, taking screenshots of it, tweaking it to perfection… and then I’d go back and start over when my mood changed and I wanted a different look. I think that would be hugely fun.

But it wouldn’t be player progression, not like levels or Soulbinds. I think there’s plenty of room for fun cosmetic gameplay — we’ve already proven that with transmog — and traditional RPG power progression. Blizzard’s current focus happens to be on the latter, and while I wish they did both, I think the game needs these systems (or at least something like them).

Whether this mix of things turns out to be fun or winds up being grindy… we’ll see.


Shadowlands (SL) was supposed to drop on October 27. Approximately 4 weeks before this date, Blizzard announces SL is delayed, future release date to be determined. In recent posts we’ve been hearing that there’s a lot of things not working as expected or not well at all. I give Blizzard credit for delaying the release but have to wonder why they didn’t see all the problems sooner?

Q4tQ: How concerned are you that Blizzard got so close to the release date before they realized there were still major problems/bugs that needed to be addressed?

I’m not at all concerned by how close they got to the release date. Pushing back a release is a tough decision. There has to be a lot of corporate pressure and a lot of fan pressure to get the game done and released. So it’s not a decision to be taken lightly, and the put it off as long as they could and tried to get the game ready for its original launch day.

With a month out, the decided they needed more than a month. That seems like a responsible amount of time to leave — that’s a good amount of warning for players, and gives devs however many weeks they need to finish tuning and polishing. It’s a win/win, really. We get a better game, and they don’t have to work 20-hour days trying to finish it on a tight deadline.

But I also don’t feel that Shadowlands has “major problems.” Zones are beautiful and quests are engaging. End game systems — as I mentioned earlier — are complicated, but that could be a fun puzzle that will keep us entertained. Even though I’m worried that some of Shadowlands systems will be frustrating rather than fun, extra time to tweak and balance could make all the difference. The expansion could use some polish, some fine-tuning, and fine-tuning takes time.

I’m glad they’re making that time, and the delay (and when the delay was announced) doesn’t worry me.


Would you be upset if Shadowlands did not seem to have enough representatives of all the races?

For instance, if only one gnome spirit was shown and bemoaning the painful tortures of the Sixth Hell of Puntia?

All Gnomes go to heaven.


Q4tQ: So there is clearly an abandoned ski lodge between Tiragarde and Stormsong Valley. So skiing is canon in WoW.

Should we have ski mounts? Because I absolutely say yes. You could even use them on water.

Snow skis are good. Water skis are good. Even dunes of desert sand would be good. But what about when you’re trekking up a rocky mountainside? Trotting across uneven pavement? Cutting through the local flora? Dodging around the wildlife?

There are many places in Azeroth where skis would not be practical, which creates a snag with this otherwise flawless plan. We would have to come up with brand new sorts of no mount zones that are no ski zones. And that’s just going to get complicated.


seems character services are on sale. Do I wish to take advantage of this or not… hmmmm….

Do it.

I am contemplating transferring some characters to consolidate. But then again…


Q4tLiz: when dogs wake up to the smell of treats placed by their nose, are they aware it’s us humans doing it; or have they rationalized the existence of a treats fairy?

Judging by the way Abby stares at me when she wants dinner, she knows exactly where treats come from.

And that’s all for this Friday afternoon, my friends. I hope you are all well and I ask that you go and give your pets a scritch behind the ears from me. They’ll appreciate it and I’ll appreciate it, so it’s really a win/win. Stay safe out there, Queue.

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