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The QueueMar 5, 2021 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: The future’s so bright

So bright that we will all have to wear our Rhinestone Sunglasses next week when we can finally transmog them.

Note: Rhinestone Sunglasses not pictured here because I don’t have any. But you, dear readers, should wear you sunglasses proudly, even when you’re inside.


Existence of kyrian implies many/most souls dont automatically pass to the sl when thry die

So Spirit Healers are actually Kyrians. When your poor ghost shows up after being squished, the Spirit Healer either says “eh, looks like you have some more life in you, run along now back to your body” or calls another Kyrian to carry you off to the Shadowlands.

Obviously this is lore justifying gameplay, but it’s interesting to think that the Kyrian not only bring souls into the Shadowlands, but actively participate in the selection process. How many times have all of us died in game? A lot, right? And yet it’s only after 16 years in Azeroth that we’re getting to the Shadowlands, because a random Kyrian decided not to phone home to get us carried off to the afterlife.


Since my Torghast question didn’t get picked I will expand on my Will Blizzard succeed in fixing Torghast. Will they manage to tune it so RNG doesn’t dictate your ability to complete a level? Will they fix it so TC has save points so you don’t have to spend hours getting it all done at one shot? Will they fix receiving useless powers right before the last boss?

Torghast has always felt like it wants to be Diablo in Warcraft, but it doesn’t entirely pull it off. Some of that’s just because of the way the game works, and some of it is intentional design decisions on Blizzard’s part. Here’s what I see as some of the big problems in Torghast:

  • It misses the mad joy of just smashing through enemies. Torghast must be played with care to succeed, and while you can sometimes get a perfect combination of anima powers, often you don’t. Being overpowered is really fun, but Torghast rarely seems to hint that mark.
  • The cost of failure is high. The reason you have to play with care is, of course, because death is a big deal. You only have so many tries before all of your work is for naught and the Terragrue eats you. If that happens, you get nothing and must start over.
  • Anima powers aren’t balanced, they aren’t always very much fun, and some are downright useless. While random is the name of the game in a roguelike, and random means you won’t always wind up with a perfect scenario, the selection of powers can sometimes be very lacking.
  • Blizzard has pushed Torghast as content you can solo or tackle with a group of any size, but classes aren’t balanced in a way to make this work perfectly for everyone. Different classes are good at different things, and not every class has the tools to be good at every wing and every boss of Torghast. Saying it’s soloable sets it up for failure. (Even though I enjoy it being soloable, it’s both easier and more fun in a group.)
  • Finally, the rewards don’t match the hassle. I personally haven’t run Torghast for weeks because I have a level 3 legendary and I’m happy with it. I don’t need anything inside Torghast.

Some of these problems are easier to fix than others, but Blizzard is addressing some of them.

The first batch of improvements is happening in 9.0.5, which comes out next week. It’s tweaked a lot of anima powers to hopefully feel better. I think they could go further and explicitly remove some powers, or remove them from the pool of powers you can choose on the boss floor, because at that point there are a number of powers that are irrelevant and it feels like a waste when you get them. But hey, progress!

The patch also reduces the number of enemies on each floor, which will help with complaints that Torghast takes too long… but also eliminates any real possibility for a joy of smashing experience. It sets Torghast up to always be a slow, careful run.

The devs have heavily hinted that more changes are coming in patch 9.1, but we don’t have a lot of details yet. One thing we know for sure: the Terragrue is leaving to become a raid boss. Reducing the cost of failure means it won’t feel so bad (or so stressful) to die in a run. It seems likely that they’ll adjust the reward structure, too, which would help with those of us (me) who feel it isn’t rewarding to run.

But some things about Torghast are really inherent to its design and can’t be fixed. RNG is a mainstay of the roguelike concept, and it’s always going to be an element of Torghast. Making powers more balanced between classes and adding checks to make sure you’re getting fewer useless powers would both help. You could even add something akin to the determination buff you get after wiping in LFR to help groups get through challenging content. But there will always be a random element, and random isn’t always fair. That’s built into what Torghast is.

The class design of WoW also doesn’t entirely work with roguelike gameplay, because classes aren’t meant to be perfectly balanced. Some classes have more CC than others. Some classes have stuns and interrupts. Some classes have more defense and more immunities. This works well for a game focused on group content, because between a party of players you’re likely to have all the tools you need. But if you’re soling Torghast or going in a small group, or a group with a limited composition, there are things you’ll probably struggle with, bosses you can’t beat.

That’s a tough problem to fix. Maybe Blizzard could add anima powers or phantasma purchases that give players more help beating bosses — like an item that lets you interrupt spellcasting or stun a target — to help even out the power gap between players. Perhaps everyone in Torghast could get some kind of pet or companion gave some tanking to squishier classes and damage to tankier classes. There are things Blizzard could do, though I think all of them run the risk of trivializing the experience.

The easiest solution here would be the one Blizzard is least likely to do: just admit Torghast isn’t solo content. Say it requires a tank, three DPS, and a healer, like any dungeon. Some people will still be able to solo it. Some weird group compositions will still be able to manage it. Some players need more power than a single character can offer to defeat things — and when you combine that with RNG, it’s an exercise in frustration.

TLDR: I think Torghast can definitely be improved. But I also think that some of the things that frustrate us about Torghast are just thoroughly part of the DNA of Torghast.


While leveling a new alt in Duskwood I completed the Stitches quest line. In the old Stitches fight, Stitches was a bad mother (Shut your mouth! I’m talkin’ bout Stitches! Well, we can dig it!). If you saw Stitches coming down the road you ran off into the woods cuz you’d rather fight the worgen, wolves and spiders. In the new Stitches fight, he’s in the town of Darkshire but the sky is burning red, the whole town is on fire and Stitches still isn’t a pushover.

Which do you prefer, the old fight or the new fight?

In Vanilla, Duskwood had an air of genuine menace, which was in no small part due to Stitches stomping down the road to town whenever someone started that part of the quest. Stitches was a very serious threat who would destroy the unwary. While leveling in Duskwood, you learned to be careful of the main road. Off the road you had to worry about wolves, spiders, feral worgen, and the undead, but all of them were safer travel companions than Stitches.

Today, Duskwood has lost that menace. The roads are completely safe. The dark of the forest holds no fear, no mystery, no menace.

Frankly, I think the current design is better. It doesn’t have a gotcha mechanic that catches idle passersby unaware. Phasing Stitches means no one who isn’t on the quest has to play with him and it means the Darkshire that Stitches attacks can change to represent what’s happening. It’s a more immersive event.

But it’s also a non-threatening event. Stitches just doesn’t have the menace he used to have, and that’s taken away some of the magic of the zone.


Q4Liz: You were Alliance, now you’re Horde. Is the grass greener? Do you notice a difference in finding groups? Is the chat better/worse/same?

I switched over because I had a conflict with my Alliance guild’s raid time and I happened to have some friends on Horde who fit into my schedule nicely. So it’s not exactly me rejecting the Alliance or embracing the Horde — I’m just here to play with my friends, and this is where they’re playing.

That said, I’ve only noticed one major difference: it seems a lot harder to do World Quests that involve tagging mobs. If the opposite faction tags them first, they don’t count as quest credit for you, which can turn into a real headache. I rarely noticed this being a problem when I played Alliance, but now that I’m playing Horde it comes up every time I’m doing a quest that requires me to tag things. I had no particular feelings on tagging rules before, but now I feel pretty strongly that cross-faction tagging rules should be ditched. If you hit something, you tagged it, quest closed.

And that’s all for today’s Queue, my friends. Remember to take care of yourselves and others this weekend, as much as you can. It’s been a long, tiring year already, so enjoy the weekend, take some naps, and play some games.

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