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The QueueSep 24, 2021 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Every day is a good day to rid the world of evil

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, everybody! That’s right: it’s Diablo time.

Diablo 2: Resurrected came out yesterday, and slaughtering the minions of hell is my current aesthetic.


Q4TQ: What is one QoL change that hasn’t shown up in 9.1.5 so far, that you would LOVE to see?

Red already said this in the comments, but I have to agree: the Flight Whistle.

This is admittedly less of an issue now that I have flying and, frankly, do many fewer World Quests, but it was such a simple quality of life improvement that made it easier to get around the world. Blizzard explained that the thinking behind this was that it wasn’t necessary because the zones are smaller with more flight paths so it doesn’t feel necessary. But the zones are also full of mountains and cliffs and crevices that make it hard to get from where you are to the nearest flight path. Running circles around a cliff looking for the elevator up — I’m talking to you Revendreth — isn’t fun, and removing that small nuisance seems simple. So why not?

But I think that’s an example of something that really could happen. It’s not too pie in the sky. For the thing I’d most like to see but doubt we will see, I’d like to see transmog prices reduced or removed. Come on, Blizzard, I just want to look my best in every situation. That can’t be too much to ask, can it?


Do the rest of the Hearthstone goodies and mount come out today because of DiabloII?

I’m afraid not. Everything else is waiting until Hearthstone Mercenaries mode comes out on October 12. When it does, everyone with a 6-month WoW subscription will get 15 Mercenaries packs in Hearthstone — you should have already gotten 15 United in Stormwind packs — and regardless of subscription status you’ll be able to unlock Sarge, a new (and very cute) mouse mount in WoW. Both of these hinge on Mercenaries mode being available: you won’t be able to open packs until it’s out and you have to complete the Mercenaries intro to get Sarge.

So everything is coming relatively soon, but you still have a few weeks to wait.


What is one thing that surprised you in Shadowlands, that you absolutely love?


Maybe “absolutely love” isn’t exactly right, but when it was announced — and particularly when it was compared to Mechagon — my enthusiasm level dropped to zero. Mechagon was just not my cup of tea. The island had everything. Rare hunting! Crafting! Collecting! Events! A complete AU timeline! It sounded cool, but it felt like a mountain of chores. The island was densely packed, crowded hazards. It was was covered in rares, which inevitably died just as you rode up. It was full of collectibles, events, crafting. It had quests that made you compete with other players for spawns. And even though you could fly in Mechagon, which seems like a convenient way to get around this action-packed locale, you could be shot down if you weren’t wary. I dreaded going to the place — and Korthia sounded like it was going to be exactly the same thing.

But I rather like Korthia, and I can’t quite explain why. It’s still full of rare mobs, random events, collectables, and secrets, but it doesn’t feel as packed. I can ride around in relative safety, dodging around clusters of mobs or rares so it doesn’t feel quite as frustrating to explore the place. For whatever reason, I rarely arrive at a rare just to find it dying, which seemed to happen all the time in Mechagon when you were just trying to find one more rare for the daily. And I’ve always — always! — hated quests that require jumping puzzles or climbing things in particular ways to reach them, but in Korthia I frequently find myself climbing trees or winding around hills to pick up mushrooms. (I suspect it’s because most of these aren’t quite challenging enough to really frustrate me.) There are lots of great characters there sending you off on quests (hi, Rendle!), and the way the factions rotate through makes the place feel lively, ever-changing. And while there are some quests — Rendle! — that do require you to grab shared spawns faster than other players, the spawn rate is such that it won’t give you a headache trying to click faster than everybody else. (Admittedly, Blizzard has adjusted some of that since launch.) It feels like Korthia has just enough to do where I can show up and spend a half hour questing or I can spend all afternoon ambling around killing rares and collecting items.

Of course, I also don’t go to Korthia every day like I was for Mechagon, which was a must-do zone because it was required to get BFA flying. That could be part of it… but even when I was doing Korthia every day, I was just enjoying the place.



Q4Liz: what do you think about Mercenaries? Excited to give it a try? Anything could have been done (or explained) better?

I am definitely excited to give Mercenaries a try. I dig little RPGs like this where you collect and customize characters to go into battle, and it looks like it could be really fun.

However, the announcement and general roll-out of information has been less than impressive. We’ve gotten news piecemeal, out of order, with no clarity. When Blizzard first announced the new game mode, everybody said “oh, a Hearthstone game like Slay the Spire!” And Blizzard immediately said, “no, not like that” and then proceeded to provide no further information. And when we did get an infodump on the new mode, it was an event that piled on facts but offered little clarity. Without a gameplay demo, it still wasn’t clear how it would actually play.

And worse, Blizzard promoted three pricey pre-release bundles without ever making it clear what was in the bundles and whether the game mode was free to play or pay to play. I assumed it was going to be free to play in the way Hearthstone was free to play — you could play for free, but it would probably help if you spent some cash on packs. But Blizzard never explained it, and there was a lot of backlash that could have been avoided — or at least lessened — if Blizzard had just given us a clear explanation in the first place.

So the roll out has already been a little messy. I hope the game launch itself goes well, but we’ll find out for sure in just a few weeks.


Q4tQ: Did you get Diablo 2 Resurrected? If so, what class did you pick for your first character? Any mechanics you’d like to bring into WoW? I sometimes wonder if Poison Nova could be reworked for either Rogues or maybe Shaman.

Yep. Of all of the Blizzard franchises, Diablo was by far my favorite, and I’m glad to have a chance to return to it. I’m already enjoying my Amazon, which has a playstyle I don’t think any other class quite matches. With javelins you’re a ranged/melee hybrid, that can get into the thick of things stabbing away (with a shield for protection) or you can stay back and hurl javelins from afar… or run and snipe, if you need to. You can turn your javelins into lightning or coat them with poison. It’s a fun hybrid that Diablo has left in the past, and I’m glad to return to it.


Q4TLiz: How do you cope with the despair of not being able to full engage in an end-game system because RNG has decided you can’t? Asking for a friend and not me because my domination socket shoulder won’t drop.

Just hang in there. The whole system relies way too much on RNG, which makes it really frustrating if you’re unlucky… particularly if you continue to be unlucky. But the nature of RNG is to equalize over time, so eventually loot will be distributed more or less evenly.

Personally, I got all of my Domination Shards in the first couple of weeks, and I had enough pieces to complete a set bonus — not the one I wanted, but a set bonus nevertheless —in the same time frame. So looking from my perspective it works perfectly!

But that, too, is the nature of RNG. It relies on luck, and luck is a fickle thing. Some days, weeks, even months everything seems to go your way. But then you’ll have just as many days/weeks/month where nothing seems to go your way. Maybe it balances out in the end, but it’s frustrating when you’re in the middle of it. And the amount of raid power that was invested in Domination Shards makes this extra frustrating. Some kind of bad luck protection system would really help here — maybe increasing your chance to get a shard or armor drop every time you don’t get one, or maybe making shards or gear available for a raid currency you collect as you go so you can pick up missing pieces of gear after X weeks in the raid even if you are horribly unlucky.

But until luck turns your way or Blizzard overhauls the loot drops, you just have to hang in there and wait. Luck will turn your way eventually, sometimes it just takes its sweet time getting around to it.

That’s all for today, folks. Remember to pet your dogs, cats, and other household pets — kids count! — and tell your loved ones you love them. Have a great Friday and a great weekend, and I’ll see you back here next week.

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