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The QueueOct 22, 2021 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Ready for the weekend

It’s almost the weekend, and I am ready for a nap or ten. But while I wait for my weekend nap time, let’s Queue.


Now that you’ve had more time to play Hearthstone: Mercenaries and have talked about it here on the site/podcast, how do you think the game could be made better? (For however you want to define “better”)

I do think the core gameplay is decent, but basically everything else needs some more polish. (I think the core gameplay could use some work too, but that’s not the game’s biggest problem right now.)

Problem #1: The UI. It’s simply a mess. Half of the game is navigating around and clicking on things over and over and over again. Just tonight I was playing through the last few normal missions in Mercenaries, but I didn’t leave combat menu to go back to the quest menu to click to complete the main story quest and thus spawn the next quest, so even though I’ve finished the whole thing I haven’t finished the quest and need to go back and do it again. Ugh! And don’t get me started (again) on the amount of time it takes to claim your level 30 gear and equip it (over a minute of real time). This is needless.

But this isn’t just about me forgetting to go click things. The game has a mountain of interface oddities and inconveniences, and the UI needs to be seriously rethought.

Problem #2: Can we get some clarity here? Hearthstone tends to use very precise language. The language isn’t always very clear, particularly if you aren’t already familiar with the game, but it is very precise in explaining what is going on and how cards work, and it has specific terminology it uses to describe specific things, which it’s consistent about.

Mercenaries isn’t like that. Some passive abilities are led with the usual “Passive” text. Some passive abilities aren’t, but you have to assume they’re passive because they don’t have a speed listed, suggesting they don’t need to be cast. Many abilities are phrased unclearly, and it can be surprisingly difficult to understand just what an ability does.

Let’s take Millhouse Manastorm, a familiar character that you pick up while playing through the Mercenaries tutorial. He has an ability called Arcane Bolt, which has the following description:

Deal 4 damage. Gain +1 Arcane Damage

You might take that to mean that Millhouse deals 4 damage to his target, and then gains +1 Arcane Damage — but that’s not quite how it works. Instead Millhouse does his damage and then gives your entire party +1 Arcane Damage. It’s so powerful that I honestly wonder if it’s a bug, because the description does not even suggest that’s how it works, and it’s not how other cards with +Spell Damage effects work. There are all sorts of phrasing oddities that just don’t make sense. (And this is on top of the regular stuff in any new release —typos.)

Problem #3: What just happened? The problem above is further complicated by the fact that there’s no way to tell what’s happening on the battlefield. There’s no combat log or other text to show you what’s going on in fights. Oh, sure, the graphic and text for the ability they’re using shows up, but it vanishes quickly and there’s no way to get it back. (Also on some mobile devices, it crops the edge off the ability graphic, which cuts off the start of the text. Definitely makes fights harder to follow.) And sometimes damage hits my characters and I have no idea why with no way to tell — there was just a negative number that showed up above my characters for no clear reason at all.

Well, okay, game, I guess you know what you’re doing, but sometimes I just have no idea.

Mercenaries has a lot of confusing rough edges that actively get in the way of you playing the game. There are far too many game elements in need of cleaning up and clarifying.


Q4TLiz: What kind of monster starts Popo and doesn’t defend her?

How could anyone possibly leave sweet, innocent Popo to fend for herself after saying you would help him, I do not know. It would take someone with a dark heart indeed to abandon her. Surely even the Jailer wouldn’t be that cruel, would he?


Really late to the party but Q4tQ: Do you think Blizzard will ever give us a button or maybe jus a blanket ground only mounts from favorites in grounded areas?
Honestly I love my favorite mounts but I hate getting large flying mounts in Korthia or the Maw where it should favor ground mounts.
I think they should implement something like that and given what we’re getting in 9.1.5 no reason they couldn’t just add it in at some point.*

*there might be add-ons that do this but I think it should be standard since Blizzard insists on no flying zones (no I don’t mind that)

This is a tiny convenience that I desperately want. It seems like such a no-brainer to have a few checkboxes to click to filter or sort your mounts so it’s easier to find what you’re looking for. Just borrow it from the Pet Battle UI and change/remove some text! Simple!

Yet here we are, in 2021, and the only way to find out if one of your mounts can fly is by summoning it and trying to fly. It’s quite silly.


What’s the best news from 9.1.5, and why is it no more timewalking Pit of Saron?

While that’s a perfectly fine change, it’s not the best change in patch 9.1.5. This modification to one of the Terragrue’s anima powers is the best change in patch 9.1.5:

Negation Well: Greatly increase the power of your jumps. While jumping in the air, area of effect attacks are beneath you and you take 99% less damage from them. Your movement speed is also increased by 20%.

I’ve italicized the addition to this ability, which will soon add another way to avoid the Terragrue’s nasty AOE effects. In this case with a wildly powerful super jump. It’s going to be hysterical to watch the AOE phase of Terragrue (mostly) negated by the raid hopping around wildly. I love it.


Q4Liz: what did you think of the first episode of Critical Role season 3?

I enjoyed it! I won’t spoil it, though, except to say that Travis is my favorite.

And that’s all for now friends. I hope you all have a most excellent Friday afternoon that leads into a most excellent weekend. Take care of yourself, hug your loved ones, and pet your dogs (or other household companions). I’ll see you back here next week.

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