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The QueueMar 19, 2021 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Back to the Burning Crusade

I lost interest in WoW Classic pretty early on. I’ve been there and I’ve done that and I decided I didn’t feel I needed to put myself through it again. But Burning Crusade Classic? I had so many good times back then. I loved Karazhan. I thoroughly enjoyed the design of Holy Paladins, who weren’t good at a lot of things, but were excellent single-target healers who never ran out of mana and basically could not be killed. (Today healers are very homogenized and it doesn’t feel like anyone is tremendously good at anything.) My main right now is the same main I had in TBC.

A couple of days ago I went into some TBC raids to grab some screenshots for an article, and I wound up getting the last key pieces of what used to be the gear set I wore in TBC. I sold that gear well before transmog came around, so the appearances had been lost to time. I rushed to the transmog vendor and I put on that appearance and the wave of delight that washed over me is hard to explain.

Now I’m thinking that even though I didn’t have time for Classic, I might have time for TBC Classic. Or I might have to find the time.

Wow, that was a long intro. Let’s Queue, people.


Q4TQ: I have noticed a gap between your articles’ praise for everything blizzard and the negative feedback your audience often raise in the comments. Most of your wow-related articles praise a system, then most comments are from players criticizing the same system. Have you noticed the same or is it just me being new?

You actually chose a really good day to ask this question — and I do think it’s a perfectly valid question — because I’m the one who hands out most of the post assignments on the site. And, while this is to an extent a matter of perspective, I think it’s possible you have a point.

I myself am feel pretty negative about a lot of systems in Shadowlands, which feels grindy and unrewarding. I practically despair of Hearthstone at the moment, which keeps fumbling on building a progression system. And I’m probably not even going to play the next Diablo 3 Season, which won’t have a theme (though it does have some new features). This being my perspective, we’ve written a fair amount of critical content, even recently, like the miserable change to make certain quests individual loot last patch. In the past we’ve written about problems with Torghast, problems with Covenants, problems with loot, problems with Hearthstone rewards, how Hearthstone has become more expensive, how different Diablo Seasons have completely fallen flat.

But I also feel like non-stop criticism isn’t really useful. Continuous ranting is just repetitive, and it gets very tiresome. A while back I decided I was putting too much negative content on our to-do list, because of my own game impressions. And one of the things that got me thinking this was a post Deb had started writing (but never found the time to finish, so you won’t see it on the site) about Torghast. I’d put this post on our to-do list thinking it would be a piece about why Torghast was unfun and unrewarding. And Deb wrote about reasons it wasn’t fun… but then she talked about playing Torghast with friends, and some of the silly things you could do in a group, the ridiculous combinations of powers you would collect with more people, and how fun that was. I’d never really thought about it that way, but she was right: Torghast can be really tedious alone, but I usually have a lot of fun playing with friends. Heck, I’m even starting to warm up to the Kyrians after reading Andrew’s writeup on the Archon. (Some of you have heard my Kyrian rant and I’m not going to go back into it.)

So you may be right in that critical content has been toned down a bit lately. In part that’s because we’ve already written a lot of the critical stuff we have to say, and nothing has really changed to bring us to write new criticisms. But in part it’s me trying to be a little more moderate. There may be a lot of things I don’t like about a lot of Blizzard games, but there are plenty of things I enjoy, too, and I think the site needs to talk about the positive as well as the negative. (And a lot of content falls in a neutral place, like how to do things and how to find things.)

But I don’t feel like we shy away from criticism when we have something to say. Matt wrote a post that’s currently pending publication that starts out like this:

Korthia will be coming in patch 9.1 and I for one am utterly ambivalent about it. Just to be up front, I didn’t like Mechagon. I’m not a huge fan of Daily Quests, especially not the way Mechagon did it where I ended up riding around the zone in a loop desperately trying to find a rare spawn only to arrive just in time to watch it die. Having to download an addon if I want to have any chance at all to find and kill one of these things was maddening, and it transformed Mechagon from a zone I’d be fascinated to explore into one I couldn’t wait to leave and never come back to.

Which I don’t think pulls any punches about the problems with Daily Quests.

There are a couple of other less than positive posts on our writing to-do list as well: one about whether it’s even possible for Blizzard to fix Torghast and one that I titled “something something hearthstone reward track updates” because I am too frustrated by the system to even think up a headline. (Though it’s entirely possible, even probable, that whoever writes that article will create something clear and factual about how the Rewards Track works.)

I don’t want Blizzard Watch to fall on the side of loving Blizzard or hating Blizzard… and, honestly, if sometimes people think we’re being too positive and sometimes people think we’re too negative, we’re probably hitting an okay balance.


Q4tQ: the main character of the last game you played that isn’t WoW gets dropped into Azeroth. How do they fare?

Eivor’s going to be very confused, but she’s already used to the ideas of strange magic and strange monsters, and her skills as a warrior and assassin won’t change. She’ll be fine.

Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn would solo Denathrius because, what, like it’s hard? This is a lady who takes down robots the size of buildings with a bow and arrow and regularly destroys men who disrespect her. Denathrius would be no problem.


Q4tQ: Given the restrictions on the Doctors Without Borders campaign for the charity pets, do you think we’ll raise enough money to get either/both pets?

Absolutely. As I write this, they’ve raised nearly $188,000 in less than 24 hours. When Overwatch sold a pink Mercy skin and t-shirt to support breast cancer research, they raised $12.7 million. World of Warcraft can absolutely raise $1 million for a good cause and a pet sloth. We got this.


If you played during TBC what were your favourite/least favourite encounters and why? I loathed The Mechanaar, but mostly because the fire resist potion recipe just refused to drop. Karazhan was so different to everything they’d done before and was magical.

I don’t think I liked it at the time, but in hindsight, Black Morass was definitely a favorite. It was a unique dungeon design where the entire thing took place in a single space, with fights moving from island to island in the area. There were no corridors to zig zag down, no special rooms where bosses were hiding away — just this expanse of swamp.

You’d go in, clear out a few pretty unthreatening spiders and crocolisks so they wouldn’t bother you later, and then you ran up to Medivh and got started. Portals would open up on one of the islands and Infinite dragonkin would stream out to attack Medivh and stop the opening of the Dark Portal. (Would that have been so bad? I guess it would have been since I’ve personally stopped it approximately nine million times.)

At the time, this was pretty hard. There were 18 portals to clear, each spawning on a random island in the area on a timer. If you weren’t fast enough at clearing them, more than one could be up at once. The tank and DPS both had to work to intercept dragonkin and keep them from killing Medivh. It was very easy to be overrun: if you weren’t quick about killing dragons and closing the first portal, the second would open, causing a new flood of dragons with no one in range to even try to intercept them. If anyone died, you wouldn’t have the manpower to finish the encounter and you would be overrun. It was a tough encounter where you never had time to stop. You were almost always flagged in combat, and as a healer, I would stop and drink for a few seconds absolutely any time I could. You would never have time to finish eating or drinking — you could maybe get a few seconds between islands while the DPS and tank ran ahead — but hopefully you could restore a bit of mana before the next combat started.

It was a madcap adventure that barely gave you time to breathe. It could be extremely hard depending on the skill and coordination of your group. But it was a fun challenge and a different kind of encounter than WoW had done before or, really, has done since.


You just said on Twitter that you think that Maraad’s Hammer is “So dumb” why do you have terrible taste?

It’s a glowing rock on a stick. Someone superglued a rock to a stick and decided to call it a weapon. It’s ridiculous. It looks like it’s going to fall apart at any moment. The only weapon in the game that’s less threatening is a fish.

And for those of you in the audience who are thinking about the flower bouquets you can wield, roses have thorns, which I think are slightly more dangerous than glowing rocks that have been precariously attached to sticks.

And because I can’t find any more answerable questions beyond Cory’s stream of consciousness, I’m going to go ahead and call the Queue done. Have a good weekend everyone: be sure to pet your pets and tell your loved ones you love them.

The Queue will return on Monday with more of Cory’s stream of consciousness, and I’ll see you right back here next week.

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