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The QueueMay 19, 2023 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Don’t forget to write the Queue this week

Remember to write the Queue this week! Really this time!


Starcraft has a dedicated fan and player base. Yet, seems like the Gaming Scene has kinda moved on from the RTS Genre? Is the genre due a resurgence, or would the franchise work better these days, if it moved to another genre, like Action/RPG, or something else?

Actually, I don’t think the gaming scene has really moved on from the genre… though they don’t seem to get as much press as they used to. Frost Giant Studios — made up of many former StarCraft devs — has gotten a lot of buzz for leading an “RTS renaissance,” but the truth is the RTS never really went away.

Heck, Wikipedia has a whole page listing RTS games, which includes 11 titles with 2023 release dates — including, of course, Frost Giant’s Stormgate, which pretty much looks like StarCraft except instead of Zerg there are demons. Well, you work with what you know, I suppose.

For some reason RTS games have fallen off the mainstream radar, but they haven’t really slowed down. People still play them, just like people still play StarCraft 2. Matt wrote a really good article about this a couple of years ago: the RTS genre is still going strong, but somehow it’s also been forgotten.


Do you expect a more muted Blizzcon this year, or one where they pull out all the stops?

After so many years away — there hasn’t been an in-person BlizzCon since 2019 — I think Blizzard is going to pull out all the stops.

Last year we didn’t even have a BlizzConline, and Blizzard said they wanted to take some time to “reimagine what a BlizzCon event of the future could look like.” I hope in November we see the fruits of those efforts with some new ideas for a convention that’s followed the same basic format for a decade now.

I don’t know what we’ll see, but whatever it is, it’s going to be big.


You ever make meme/suboptimal builds with your talents?

Heck yeah. Sometimes talents are just fun to take… or not fun to take. So even though they are “bad” maybe you like taking them… or even though they are “good” maybe you don’t like taking them.

I refuse to take Holy Paladin’s range increase talent (a cooldown) out of spite after it was nerfed this expansion. It’s still generally recommended, but it used to boost mastery and thus increase throughput — now it’s just a range increase and Holydin mastery causes us to heal targets closer to us for more, which means targets far away get less. A lot less. It doesn’t feel like a good button to push just so I can reach someone far away from me and hit them with a weak heal. So I haven’t taken it at all this expansion. (And maybe Blizzard got the message, because it’s being removed in patch 10.1.5.)

Sure, if it was something that really helped my group survive, I’d take it even though I’m not a fan. But I can play without it and I don’t enjoy it, so here I am. You’ve gotta do what you enjoy doing, and sometimes that means being off-meta.


Q4TQ: Holy pally PTR thoughts?

There’s a big rework for Holy Paladins in patch 10.1.5, which adds a lot of things we’ve wanted for a while. I think one of the biggest — but rather low-key changes — is the fact that Judgement will now generate Holy Power. It presently generates HP for every spec except Holy, which has limited our ability to generate HP at range which makes it difficult to stay out of melee where you can constantly bring in HP with Crusader Strike. Holy Shock, our ranged generator and primary single-target heal, can be talented into a second charge, further increasing ranged generation.

I don’t think Holy is going to be a ranged spec — Crusader Strike still provides strong HP generation, Consecration provides trickle healing and damage, our mastery favors us sticking close to our targets (and there will always be targets in melee), and our baseline AOE heal only has a 15 yard range. There are lots of reasons for us to be in melee, but it’s going to be less punishing not to be in melee, for those many times when you have to dodge and avoid mechanics. That’s all around great.

Glimmer of Light is also coming back to the forefront of healing. It was extremely strong in Battle for Azeroth but has been a relatively weak heal since — a bit of trickle healing happening passively as you go about your business, but not something to focus on. That’s changing in a big way, with massive buffs to Glimmer, counterbalanced by a baseline limitation of three targets. (Though you can talent up to eight.) New cooldown Daybreak consumes all of our Glimmers for an instant burst of healing. That’s going really flesh out our fairly weak AOE healing toolkit, which currently consists of Light of Dawn (15yd frontal cone, costs Holy Power) and Divine Toll (AOE Holy Shock). And if you spread out Glimmer, then Daybreak, then Divine Toll to toss out a fresh set of eight Glimmers (with proper talents), you’ll have a really sizable AOE option, possibly better than the class has ever had.

Builds that prefer hard casting are getting some buffs, too — though they’ll still benefit from the new bonuses coming to Holy Shock and Glimmer. You can talent into instant-cast Holy Light (with a cooldown) and extra Holy Power generation from Holy Light, giving you a big HP burst from ranged — on top of all the other ranged HP generation improvements. Tyr’s Deliverance, a cooldown that’s been rather clunky and weak, is getting a range increase, duration increase, and healing increase, all of which makes it much more appealing. I don’t think I’m going to go that way — Paladin has a lot of button bloat and I feel like I have too many cooldowns already — but it’s a build that opens up new possibilities.

Possibilities are something the spec has really been lacking. There’s a single core build that you might tweak one way or another depending on what you need for a particular situation, but there’s not a lot of playstyle modification. (Basically, you play Avenging Crusader or you don’t play Avenging Crusader, and that’s the only real choice.) I think this gives us a wider range of viable talent options and better Holy Power generation all around. Great!

Of course every buff comes with nerfs. Avenging Wrath is getting nerfed again. They removed an entire rank of the ability at the end of Shadowlands, but they seem to keep paring it down. Holy Shock’s cooldown has been increased and its crit chance has been reduced, a hard hit to our mainstay spell.

But I think the good outweighs the bad. And even if I didn’t, well, along for the ride, anyway.

And that’s all I have for now, friends. Take care, hug your loved ones, and have a good weekend. I’ll see you next time when I don’t forget to write the Queue.

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