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The QueueNov 10, 2023 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Did anything happen this week?

I thought it felt pretty quiet. I didn’t miss anything, did I?


Q4tQ How is your Warcraft Rumble experience?

I think the game can be very fun, but the experience isn’t always smooth. Encounters go from very easy to very hard both quickly and intermittently — one encounter may be very difficult, then the next one is a cakewalk, and one encounter you may one-shot and the next takes twenty tries with a lot of leveling in between. I think features are frequently poorly explained, and there’s no way to learn about them after the tutorial is over. It’s an uneven experience.

The game has a super cool art design and fast, fun gameplay that makes you want to keep playing, but I wish the experience were smoother. I haven’t gotten very far yet though: only level 28, so there are still features I haven’t unlocked or tried yet.

So far so good, though it could be better.


Q4thQ: I personally am not a fan of the profession changes in Dragonflight, but setting that aside, does anyone else think they’ll add another profession during the Worldsoul saga.

I feel like the last one was Archaeology in Cataclysm, right? And I barely count that one, to be honest, so it’s really more like Inscription in Wrath. I’ll admit I don’t know what you’d add, though. The only idea I’ve had would be similar to the Carpenter from FFXIV, which would cover the bows, but beyond that it’s not very useful in a game without player housing.

I think the problem with adding new professions is twofold. First, what do you add? What isn’t already covered in some way by another profession? And second, why add more professions at all?

Professions are a bit of an odd duck in the modern game (though less cute than ducks). You can only have two primary professions, so any brand new profession is immediately only available to a small group of players who are willing to drop what they’re doing, abandon rare recipes they’ve spent the past 19 years — yes, we’ve been playing this game for 19 years — collecting, and pick up a new profession. Or roll and play a new alt for. Either way, it’s a commitment to start over with a new profession, even though it’s a lot less of a commitment than it used to be, and not everyone’s going to bite. A new profession is content that will only ever be of interest to a specific subset of players.

I think Jewelcrafting was a profession that was added very well. It was added alongside new races, so you might be rolling a new character anyway. And it was also the start of a whole new type of item, with gems you could cut and socket into gear. Gems seem normal these days, but back in vanilla WoW they didn’t exist. Adding Jewelcrafting was part of adding an entirely new gearing system which continues to this day (though Jewelcrafting’s utility has been up and down over the years).

Jewelcrafting was added in The Burning Crusade, Blizzard immediately tried to replicate this success with Inscription in Wrath of the Lich King. But Inscription has never had a clear-cut identity. When it was introduced, it felt tied to the new Glyphs system, much like Jewlcrafting was tied to gems. Back then Glyphs were power increases, and you could equip three minor and three major glyphs, which modified various class abilities. It was an interesting alternate form of class advancement, but the system didn’t stick: now Glyphs are cosmetic changes and, though they’re still made by Scribes, they’re no longer gameplay essential. Sure, Scribes can make other things — Missives are particularly good in retail right now — but the profession’s original “killer feature” is long gone and what it’s good at seems to change every expansion.

So if Blizzard is going to add another profession, I think it needs to be paired with some kind of gameplay mechanic that makes it useful, and that Blizzard will stick with so the profession has identity and purpose. On top of figuring out what isn’t covered by current professions, they would have to design a new gameplay system to go with it.

But I think if Blizzard is designing a new gameplay system, they’ll want it to be accessible to everyone —  not just a new type of gear only players with a certain profession can make. I think they’d rather focus their development times on features that all players can participate in without restriction, like Delves.

Which brings me to Archeology, a secondary profession that anyone can take if they want to. This was an interesting way to add in more exploration and story tidbits to the game, and honestly it surprises me a bit that the profession wasn’t revived for Dragonflight, which seems very well suited to that style of play. I could see it being revived for The War Within, too, in part because of Delves: it’s a profession well-suited to exploration-themed settings, and it could pair up well with content like this.

With the current philosophy the developers seem to be espousing, I don’t think they would add another primary profession. They want to focus on content that’s available to everyone, and not make anyone feel like they’ve wasted time working on a profession they’ve had for years. That leaves the possibility of a secondary profession, open to everyone, with everyone started on the same place. And as I’ve said before, I think a successful profession needs to have some ties to ongoing gameplay to keep it relevant and interesting.

Considering all of that, reviving Archeology makes a lot more sense to me than creating another new profession. Perhaps the gameplay could get a glow-up to be more engaging in the new expansion, and give us new types exploration opportunities as we investigate the secrets of Azeroth. Come on, Blizzard, let’s see Archeology 2.0!

… though, if they’re adding player (or guild) housing, Carpentry would be a perfect fit. I don’t think they’re doing that. But it would be perfect.



How do we feel about W4 for World of Warcraft the War Within?

It almost feels like Blizzard is trying to make its names acronym proof. The last two expansions have only had single-word names. How are you supposed to acronymize that?!

But I wonder if we, as a community, simply prefer these simple, single-word names. The Burning Crusade will always be TBC, and Battle for Azeroth will always be BFA (or “beefa”), but Wrath of the Lich King is Wrath, Warlords of Draenor is Warlords (or Wardads), Mists of Pandaria is Mists (or just Pandaria). Over nine expansions, only two have widely-used acronyms.

And yet here we are with The War Within, an expansion that doesn’t have an easy one-word reference. You can’t just call it “war” or “within,” “TWW” feels awkward, “WW” is kind of owned by Wonder Woman (or by Weight Watchers, and isn’t that a screwy dichotomy), which leaves the expansion somewhat stuck. W4 is one way to tackle it, though what if you meant Warcraft 4? (It could happen, right?) What if you were talking about IRS tax form W-4? The confusion possibilities are endless.

Still, this is an expansion that begs for some kind of shorthand, and Blizzard really should consider that in the brainstorming phase.

And that’s all my friends. Take care of yourselves and have a good weekend!

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