You guys seemed to appreciate the music in yesterday's Queue, so have an amazingly well done, remastered version. I promise I will not suplex this Queue when I am done answering questions.*
Q4tQ: With the Dark Portal being redirected to Draenor, what happens to all the Alliance and Horde forces left in Outland? Are they forever stranded with no way of returning home? Or is there some way to rewire the Dark Portal to reconnect it with Outland and rescue them?
Both the portal in Stormwind's mage tower and the portal in the Cleft of Shadow originally teleported players to just outside the Dark Portal in the Blasted Lands. In beta, they now teleport players directly to Hellfire Peninsula. In Hellfire, there are portals that go directly back to Stormwind and Orgrimmar. So there really isn't a problem there at all -- nobody is stranded in Outland, it's business as usual.
Q Query: I'm close to finishing Lore Master on the Horde side. Which zones are the best to replay as Alliance, to see their unique storyline?
I would recommend doing Westfall, just because seeing the continuation of the storyline from the Deadmines is pretty cool. Definitely recommend Darkshore, Ashenvale and Stonetalon Peak, as well as South Barrens -- Stonetalon and South Barrens in particular if you'd like to see the contrast between Horde and Alliance stories. And the Swamp of Sorrows also has some pretty interesting Alliance lore as well.
Rhetorical Q4tQ: is there, in beta, a toggle switch in Game Settings that will disable open world phased Scenarios, so that I can focus on whatever I left town to actually do?
See the thing is, those scenarios are likely a part of whatever it is you left town to go get done. They're part of the quest experience, sort of seamlessly rolled up into it. In addition to the quest-integrated scenarios, there are little scenes called vignettes that are scattered here and there -- they'll pop up on your quest tracker as you're doing your usual run of quests. You can stop and complete what the vignette would like you to do for gold, experience, and other rewards, or you can ignore it and go on your merry way -- once you leave the area, the objective leaves your quest tracker. If you do part of the vignette and leave, it'll still leave your quest tracker, but it'll remember where you were so if you decide to return later and finish it off, you can pick right back up where you left off at.
There's a lot of things that have been done to make questing more interesting this expansion -- it's hard to explain, but it feels like a much smoother experience, without that feeling of being on rails that plagued a lot of Cataclysm content. You're encouraged to explore, but you aren't punished if you don't feel any particular urge to do so.
Emerald Dream has always seemed an odd expansion to me. It's supposed to be a place that takes a lot of Druid training to get to, but let's just send EVERYONE WHEE. It's a garden to take care of, not a world to invade. It's just never made sense to me. The Emerald Dream novel (Stormrage) was wonky too, IMO.
See, the fact of the matter is that we don't actually know a whole heck of a lot about the Emerald Dream, fact-wise. We don't know what it was created for. We don't know what its purpose is. But the potential is there for something really interesting, if you consider everything that has come before. And it absolutely doesn't need to be green everywhere to accomplish what could potentially be introduced. But it's all kind of a futile discussion really, as they've already said they aren't going to do it.
Q4TQ: How should the WoW team balance development time versus long-term usage? Right now, it seems like a LOT of resources have gone into making Garrisons what they are - what that is, I'm still a bit unsure of, but that's for another time... Anyways, let's say Blizzard actually manages to push out content faster and we have an expansion a year or a year and a half from the Warlords release. Like the farm, our garrisons become obsolete.
Was it worth it? Should Blizzard have spent so much time designing so many aspects of Warlords around garrisons? Or at some point, should they have kept it more simple and thrown in more content elsewhere?
The thing is, with content like this, either that content will be re-used or re-imagined to work with future expansions, or the technology created to run that content will be used to create something else. Nothing is really wasted, resource-wise -- just look at phasing. It was introduced full scale in Wrath of the Lich King, and they are continuing to make advances with that technology and utilize it in new and different ways. Garrisons are ridiculously fun, and offer a multitude of different ways to experience a variety of content. You might not see something called a garrison in the next expansion, but I guarantee you you'll see at least some of the technology used to create garrisons go towards something else. Nothing's obsolete -- it's just re-worked to create new and better things.
Q4tq: theres been a few strange additions added outside of CoT in Tanaris, a few new infinite models and a small portal in the sky, do you have any theories as to what could be planned there?
You know, I went to check it out myself on the beta and all I found was one lone mob and no portal. The mob was level 90, however, which makes me think if they're planning anything, it'll have something to do with the launch event. If it were for anything else, that mob would be a much higher level. Exactly what they're planning is anyone's guess -- it could just be something added for a little additional flavor. Who knows? We'll find out eventually.
*No really, I wasn't kidding. I don't even know how I'd suplex the Queue to begin with.
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