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The Queue: Dr. Lissanna, WoW, and autism

Adam Holisky

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky (@adamholisky) will be your host today.

Lissanna (aka: Dr. Whyte), who runs the excellent druid blog over at Restokin, is also a researcher at the Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience at Penn State. She's starting up a new project to help adolescents with autism through video games, and she's reaching out for help in crowdfunding the research.

Crowdfunding isn't a really new concept in video games -- lots of folks have been doing it to make their indie games become a reality. But let's be honest here, these are just games. Things like funding autism research? That's really going to help people. It's an exciting prospect that science research could be helped through crowdfunding techniques. And particularly with Lissanna's research, using her knowledge of WoW's success to help build systems to help with autism is quite a wonderful cross over.

Head over to their RocketHub page and Lissanna's blog post for more information.

Daniel asked:

I'm not sure if this has been addressed as of late, but have you heard on whether or not they will ever update the auction house to have better design elements? The Wow Armory app auction house feature is so much better to use that I pretty much have all but abandoned the in-game one.

Updating the AH user interface is always something that's been talked about, but as of late Blizzard has been pretty quiet about it. I'd be surprised if there was any movement on this front soon, but then again stranger things have happened (*cough* pandaren *cough*).

I wouldn't fret too much about the in-game UI either. There's a ton of great addons, like Auctioneer, that really brings the UI up to the next level. Now that doesn't account for the lack of some functionality like buy orders, etc... but WoW isn't EVE, and it probably won't be any time soon. Acquiring wealth unto itself isn't a goal of the game.

Neuromante asked:

What I don't understand about the maintenance shut down is why ALL Blizzard games get that at the same time. Isn't it a bit weird that if you can't play WoW, you can't hit some Diablo or Starcraft for a change while waiting for WoW to be back online? Or are all the games on the same server?

No, all of the games are not on the same server.

The authentication component of WoW, the Authenticator, and your account (which is what you use to log on to all modern Blizzard games) is centralized, however. Any changes to the authentication and security that they're doing necessitates bringing down access to all their games for a short period of time.

It should be noted as well that a "server" in this case is actually a couple hundred computers strung together over geographically diverse locations. There isn't actually one authentication server, so to speak.

Walkerspace asked:

Why does Fatty Goatsteak have to be such a horrible daily? At least on my server, you have to wait in line for mobs to respawn only to have some plate-wearer AOE tag them all.

I mentioned this on Twitter last night, but I think Fatty Goatsteak is the hardest (and worst) boss Blizzard has ever made. I agree how impossible it is. But let's take a look at why it's difficult:

1. Low supply

The mobs are only present in one relatively small location.

2. High demand

Tiller Dailies are quite popular and everyone wants to do them.

3. No consequence of negative behavior

There is no mechanism in place to counteract the 'natural' tendency for players to round up as many as possible and AoE them down, without waiting their turn and 'playing nice.'

So what it comes down to is a simple economics problem -- low supply versus a high demand of naturally greedy players creates a situation where the Fatty Goatsteak is a (too) scarce a resource. This can be fixed in a couple of ways. First, the daily could only show up for a limited number of people; perhaps on-demand limited as to only pop up if there isn't overcrowding in the kill area. Second, the location of the kill area could be expanded to allow for more supply. Finally, this problem could also be fixed by phasing the area itself and having the mobs only show up to you -- you'd get your own set of mobs to kill and other players would not get in the way.

I don't think the quest is fundamentally flawed, however the resulting economic conditions surrounding the objective clearly are. I'm interested to see if, and how, Blizzard addresses this.

Have questions about the World of Warcraft? The WoW Insider crew is here with The Queue, our daily Q&A column. Leave your questions in the comments, and we'll do our best to answer 'em!

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