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The QueueSep 15, 2023 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Get in losers, we’re going to Azmerloth

It’s a whole new World of Warcraft Murlocs. Why not plan our next vacation on Azmerloth? It’s just like our Azeroth, just slightly more aquatic. A nice change of place. Let’s go to Azmerloth!


Is Finduin a legit thing, or did this clip Hubby played fool us both?

Finduin Wryngrrlgulgll, High Tide-King of Azmerloth, is indeed a real thing. He’s a nice guy and will cast Power Power Word: Mrglflurg on you! Not just anybody will do that for a random adventurer.

Could this be… a clue to the next expansion? Are we really going to Azmerloth? Are we going to have an expansion that doesn’t end with “Old Gods did it” and instead sends us to an entire world of Murlocs?! Where there are no Old Gods??

… well, that last one feels somewhat like wishful thinking.


Q4tQ: My earlier joke about including a mandatory pet battle sequence in a raid fight got me thinking. If we were to have an evil brainstorming session, what would be the worst raid mechanic you could think of to drive players crazy?

The worst raid mechanics are usually the ones that require a level of personal skill from every single raider, whether they are mundane (like don’t stand in fire) or extravagant (like succeed in a pet battle). I don’t say this to criticize players’ skill levels, but it’s absolutely true that all of us are good at different things, and when the game requires all of us be good at something, the players who are actually good at it are going to be frustrated and the players who are bad at it are going to wind up in tears because they just can’t do this one mechanic. I’ve been on both sides of that equation, and both of them are lousy places to be.

I play with some people who are fantastic at Dragonriding, and have mastered every single race. I play with some people who just can’t do Dragonracing at all. And I myself am very mediocre at Dragonracing — I can do it to get the gold reward for the world quest, but it’s going to take me a couple of tries — and I might be really frustrated and hate everything by the time I’m done.

So what if we had a raid that required you to complete a race on gold in order to progress to the next phase? Required every raider to complete a race on gold to progress to the next phase? Or even just complete a race, and the time lost was a countdown towards an enrage timer? The people who were amazing at races would finish first, and just be stuck waiting for the rest of us. And even the nicest of them would be annoyed at the slowpokes in the group, because it’s frustrating when you’re trying to progress and you’re being held back because someone else can’t do something. And the people who are bad at racing would completely hate it: they like raiding (or they wouldn’t be here), but they don’t like Dragonriding and now they’re forced to do it (and do it well) or else the entire raid suffers. That’s pure misery for everyone.

Of course you could have Dragonracing in a raid without it being nightmare for everyone: make it so that not everyone has to complete the race. Let a few players do it while the rest of the raid does something else. Or let a few players do the flying while others ride along. Not everyone is good at everything, so the game is at its best when it offers opportunities to do things that are different and more complicated, but doesn’t require everything to be good at them. Let people focus on what they’re good at rather than punishing them for being bad at something.

Even a mandatory pet battle wouldn’t be bad if you only required one player (or a couple of players) to do it. The players who are bad at Dragonriding might be amazing at pet battling. But if everyone had to complete a pet battle? Yikes. What a mess.

… actually, considering how many pet battles can be reduced to a specific combination of pets using specific skills in a specific order, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. Just help the raid collect the right pets (and most pets can be caged and traded), level them up, and then have a list of instructions of which buttons to push. That would require a unique sort of out-of-raid prep, but it might not be bad. And I suspect it would be substantially less bad than requiring a whole raid to complete a dragon race.


Leaving aside raid addons like damage meters or DMB etc, if you could pick three addons to make their functionality baseline in the game, what would you pick?

Myself, I’d pick TSM for the ability to see how many of each item your alts have plus the automated mailing of specific reagents to specific characters, Can I Mog It for obvious reasons, and CollectMe’s ability to assign each character a favourite mount or pet list to randomly summon.

WeakAuras is the most essential gameplay addition that I use, and using it has helped my gameplay tremendously. It allows me to customize my display in unique ways, to present information that is important to me in ways I can easily parse it. It can remind me of things I’m likely to forget. It can alert me to things I wouldn’t otherwise see. It allows a ton of personalization to my interface, and all of it is tailored to what I want to see.

Blizzard has made some inroads in UI customization lately, with more customization than ever simply built in to the game. But WeakAuras is something well beyond that, and I’ve found it endlessly useful. I can play without WeakAuras, but I certainly prefer not to.

Other than that, I’m with you 100% on CanIMogIt. I play WoW like a massive game of dress, so this information is vital. Can I transmog this item yet? Just tell me so that I can ninja loot it and run off into the night. (I’m a healer; I’d probably get away with it.)

I don’t really have any others I’d consider essential. I use more than that, absolutely, but a lot of them Blizzard has already started trying to build into the UI. I have Bartender and Shadowed Unit Frames and SexyMap, but Blizzard has already built in features that will do some of what each of them do by allowing you to rearrange the base UI. However, they still don’t have as many options as their addon counterparts, and so after trying the revamped UI early in the expansion, I’ve gone back to using these addons. Hopefully Blizzard’s toolset will continue to get better so one day I won’t have to!


Wise woman, give me your best estimate of the launch of 11.0?

November 2024.

I’m basing this on two things. First, I still think there’s going to be a 10.3, and a November expansion would keep the pacing of what Blizzard has done throughout 2023, with a new patch every two months: a major patch followed by two minor patches that are finally followed, I am assuming, by an expansion. Blizzard is being cagey about the possibility of a 10.3, and I know a lot of folks believe that means there won’t be one. But I think there will be a 10.3, and with the associated patches that would leave the perfect spot for an expansion in November.

Next, ever since Burning Crusade Blizzard has put out expansions approximately every two years. The shortest was Warlords to Legion, which was 22 months, but Blizzard seems to like to hang around with that two year schedule, and November 2024 fits the bill.



Now that folks have had time to get sorted out, is anyone from BW going to Blizzcon?

Good news, everyone! Cory will be at BlizzCon, and you can ask him all about it for Monday’s Queue. Rob (who y’all might not know, because he doesn’t write a ton and is mostly active in Discord) will also be there, and Mitch might be there.

This is less based on planning on my part for Blizzard Watch and more based on who has the vacation time and cash to attend. We don’t have the budget to send big teams and frankly I get more done sitting at home than I ever do when I’m actually at the convention — because I can sit still and be glued to my computer all day, no travel time or lines required, which lets me keep an eye on everything and manage assignments. Since that’s really what I’m good at, it’s very hard to make the commitment to actually go to BlizzCon.

Which is kind of a shame, but that’s what it is.


Which upcoming non-Blizzard game are you most looking forward to?

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty.

I have not championed this game as much as Matt, and frankly I haven’t even managed to play all the way through it yet. But it’s a fantastic story-based RPG in a wildly immersive world, and this DLC is changing up core game systems in a big way plus adding Idris Elba.

Is Idris Elba in Starfield? I think not. We know what the superior game is.

And that’s all I have for today my friends. I hope you are doing well, or as well as can be, and that you have a restful weekend. Until next week, take care of yourself, pet your dogs and tell your cats pspsps for me.

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