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The QueueApr 7, 2021 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Fly the friendly skies

And by “friendly skies” I mean avoid Kyrians at all costs. Their taxi service takes no consideration for the physical comfort of passengers. Absolutely none.


Q4tQ: How do you feel about games with multiple endings, where it is impossible to unlock the best / true ending until you play through the bad or neutral endings first?

I think different endings is very interesting, but also you should play through games because you want to make different choices and see different endings, not because you’re required to play through multiple times. Sometimes I’ll play through a game with multiple endings just once and decide that, you know, I’m pretty happy with this and I’m done. Other times I’m really curious what would happen if I did something different. But it’s because I want to play, not because I have to.


WoW expansions seem to have the new release (.0) and then there’s a .1, .2, .3 but sometimes we have a long wait in between them.

Q4TQ: How would you feel if WoW rolled out more, but smaller, expansions? So we get consistent new content spread out over a longer period of time (a .4, .5. .6 release).

I think patches desperately need better spacing. While the devs have continually said they want to put content out more quickly, we inevitably wind up with long gaps between patches and expansions. These dead zones are the opposite of fun. We run out of things to do and are left with tedious chores.

Take what’s happening right now. Shadowlands was released in November. The 9.1 PTR is going live in a week or so (probably) and will likely be in testing for at least two months. That means we’ve been playing the same content — patch 9.0.5 didn’t add anything, content-wise — for seven months. I am already so terribly bored. I’ve done everything to the point of complete tedium, and we have two more months of it at an absolute minimum. My time online is raiding and farming for the illusive Rhinestone Sunglasses recipe, because I find current content to be very tiresome. It’s not fun doing the same anima grind every day for eight months, and every recent expansion has had some equivalent to that.

And some expansions have done the opposite, pushing out content so quickly that it was hard to keep up — but then winding up with a long content drought at the end.

There’s a balance to be struck between these extremes, but I don’t necessarily think it means more, smaller expansions. Something like patch 9.1 could have been split up into a number of different pieces that could be doled out over time. Korthia could be one patch, Torghast changes in another patch, Tazavesh in another patch, the Sanctum of Domination in another patch, new Covenant campaigns in another patch. Instead we’re getting that massive content drop all at once, with many months of nothing leading up to it.

I suspect Blizzard wants every patch to feel like a big event. They want to cram a lot of exciting new things into each patch. They want us to have tons of fun with each patch.

But I don’t think that’s working very well, in large part because these long gaps aren’t fun. The frustration and tedium I am experiencing playing WoW right now cannot be fixed by patch 9.1 being super awesome. But it could be fixed by splitting patches up into smaller chunks and doling them out at a measured pace.

I’m not for more, smaller expansions — but I’m definitely for pacing out the expansions more evenly. No one enjoys a content drought. (Or an anima drought.)


Question for Blizzard Watch – Why does Hearthstone have better WoW Lore and story ideas than WOW does? (tongue only half-firmly in cheek)

I still want Hearthstone’s version of Gadgetzan.

I think Hearthstone has fewer constraints. The game is not locked into Warcraft universe lore, and is willing to play with it — in fact the current expansion, Forged in the Barrens, is explicitly labeled an AU — something I find a bit odd, since Hearthstone has really always been an AU, though I suspect they’re attempting to make a coherent narrative arc this year which may benefit from having that detail spelled out.

One thing that I think really works for the expansion’s new mercenaries is the focus on smaller stories. The heroes aren’t always grand adventurers who are fighting gods or venturing into the afterlife. These mercenaries are all pretty ordinary citizens of Azeroth, all making their way through life. I particularly like Rakara, whose story played out in a new single-player adventure that was released just yesterday. We get to follow her journey as she joins the Horde and sets off the the Barrens to prove herself — encountering allies and having unexpected adventures along the way. It’s a story that captures the essence of what the Horde could be, or might have been — a group of outcasts and misfits, banding together without judgment. A Horde that fights for honor, which also requires mercy and compassion.

That’s what we see in Rakara. The character is a love letter to the Horde. It’s a love letter to those early adventures you had in the Barrens. Her adventure is fun and surprisingly touching. It has a sense of wonder and joy that Warcraft is kind of lacking right now.

Instead, WoW tells these big, epic stories, focused on big, epic heroes. They’re more serious by their nature, and sometimes that means they just aren’t as much fun. And, notably, Hearthstone has proven exceptionally bad at telling stories like that. The Book of Heroes adventures, which focus on exploring the origins of major Warcraft heroes, have been bland at best and cringe-worthy at worst. (See the Jaina adventure, which is domestic violence: Hearthstone edition, as an example.) The Rakara adventure, where the Hearthstone team was allowed to tell their own story in their own way instead of being shoehorned into existing lore, has more heart than all of the Book of Heroes stories put together.

I’m not sure either type of storytelling is right or wrong, but I do think Warcraft could stand to find some of that lightheartedness again.

And Hearthstone Gadgatzen should hands-down be canon, but I really feel like that’s a given.


QFTQ: what is the best polymorph spell?

I’m a traditionalist. I say classic sheep.


Q4tQ: What was the last thing that made you think: “Wow, this should totally be into World of Warcraft and it’d be awesome!!”?

Besides the aforementioned Gadgetzan, it’s player housing. It’s a life-consuming kind of game feature; I can spend hours moving furniture, slightly shifting walls, and picking colors.

It’s pretty soothing, really.

Well, mostly soothing. In Fallout 4 — which is really not designed for housing customization despite the many building options — I would spend hours at a time trying to get fences to line up. Fences in the game are finicky and any elevation change in the ground you were building on would prevent them from fitting together. I’ve wasted so much of my life on those dumb fences, in a testament to the all-consuming power of customization options in games.

But usually the ability to create things, create things that are just yours, that you can make just the way you want, that you can make completely perfect… it’s very satisfying. We live in a big, chaotic world where so little is under our control. And even games are often ruled over by RNG. Customizable spaces like player housing give us the chance to make one tiny part of the world, one tiny part of our lives, just the way we like it.

That’s satisfying on a very base level. And we’ve put so much time and energy into our characters in World of Warcraft — it’s nice to think of them having a home and space of their own. Somewhere to go when they aren’t adventuring. Somewhere that’s just the way they like it.

Tldr: I’m waiting for a “building” expansion, that focuses on restoring all of the wrecked places we’ve left behind in our adventures… and lets us make a space for us, too. I’m not sure if we’ll ever get one, but I’m waiting for it all the same.


Q4TLiz: Which parts of the Mass Effect remake look best so far?

It’s an even tie between improved Mako controls in ME1 and more ammo drops in ME2.


Q4tQ: What should the next musical instrument weapon be?

Bagpipes. They would be a ranged weapon firing projectiles. Though if you listened our D&D Spectacular where Mitch played a Kenku bard, you would know that bagpipes don’t need projectiles to be weapons.

And that’s all for now, friends. I’ll see you back here next time — which is to say Friday — for even more zaniness. Until then, have a nice day and remember to pet your dog for me.

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