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The Queue: Challenge Accepted

Anne Stickney

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) put way too much thought into today's Queue.

Look, I really like cartoons. I've always really liked cartoons. And there's a million cartoons with a better opening theme than Arthur, I mean come on. I thought this over very hard -- I almost went with Ducktales, or Talespin, or Darkwing Duck, because they're classic Disney afternoon shows. Freakazoid, Animaniacs and Tiny Toons were also pretty high up on the list, because it's hard to beat a Warner Brothers song. And then I thought about the obscure classics, like Punky Brewster or the Monchichis.

But when it came down to the channel on which Arthur aired, I found the familiar strains signaling the beginning of another batty adventure with the craziest animated teacher in the world taking a clear lead over Arthur's anteater antics. Anyone remember the episode where they shrank really small and went through a student's digestive system? Poor Arnold.

JohnO asked:

Is Blizzard keeping the VP/JP-upgrade NPC for 5.4, or are they turning it off for patch 5.4? If Blizz is keeping the NPC will 5.4 JP epics cost JP or VP to upgrade?

I believe the last news on that front is that they were tentatively keeping them in -- but it hasn't been confirmed as a definite one way or another just yet.

ErikSetzer asked:

I'll avoid the whole video posting craze and go with a question... Do you think the quicker pace of patches and the expansion in general hurt the ability to tell a story?

Not at all! In fact, I think the faster introduction of patches has helped with it -- there has never been quite as much story in an expansion as there has with Mists. Since patches are being released faster, the story has a much more fluid flow, particularly with the inclusion of reputation grinds that include story elements -- patch 5.1 still stands, at the moment, as the best patch in my eyes in terms of progressive storytelling. I think that for a first attempt, Mists has worked great -- but I think it could be smoothed out a little for future expansions, particularly in regards to the way lore is being presented for both factions. Lopsided isn't good -- balanced is better.

Necromann1 asked:

I just got the Son of Animus pet from LFR. I know the Primordius pets are different between LFR and Normal/Heroic, but do the Ji-Kun and Horridon pets also drop in LFR?

Yep, they sure do! You can't get them off of bonus rolls, however -- although that will be added into patch 5.4. Keep in mind that they are a pretty low drop rate, so you're not apt to see them too often.

TommySluder asked:

Q for the Queue: Has there been any word on Epic gems being introduced in 5.4?

Nope! No word at all. Heck, we may go through an expansion without epic gems at all -- that would be an interesting development, although as a jewelcrafter I kind of enjoy learning new cuts.

@Mementh asked via Twitter:

why do you think blizzard likes things available for a short time. Like the barrens stuff?

Because it's fun to be a part of something that isn't going to be there forever. A lot of these old world events like the opening of AQ or the launch of Naxxramas or even the launch events for Burning Crusade and Wrath were really well received. They had neat rewards that were only available for that brief window, and it was cool to get to participate in that -- people still tell stories of the zombie invasion. The Barrens stuff is, to my knowledge, the first time we've seen a patch used as a world event like that -- where it's there one minute, gone the next -- but I kind of like that aspect of it. It breathes life into what would otherwise be a pretty static world.

@TrollingAzeroth asked via Twitter:

If you had the retcon pen for any warcraft NPC, race, nation, etc., who/what would it be and why?

I'd take out anything that happened to Fandral Staghelm in Stormrage or Cataclysm, and instead leave him as a sane leader and amp up the dynamic and conflict between Fandral and Tyrande -- particularly with the return of Malfurion. I think it would have opened up an opportunity for something we haven't seen Alliance-side: full-out in game civil war. Fandral was notoriously ... not necessarily racist, but entrenched firmly in the belief that the kaldorei were a superior race. He wasn't a fan of the new ways and new alliances that Tyrande and Malfurion put into place -- that's part of the reason why he was so cranky in vanilla.

This kind of extreme xenophobia would have been really interesting to see play out -- particularly with the return of Maiev, who has exhibited a lot of those extremist qualities herself. Add to that the still very much raw grief that Fandral held about the death of his son -- years and years after it happened -- and you've got a character that's a potential ... not necessarily villain, but foil for Malfurion and Tyrande. Someone who could beef up the tension, politically speaking, on the Alliance side.

Say what you will about the Horde this expansion, but the political movements and shifts of the Horde from Cataclysm to now have made for some really riveting story. Seeing that kind of tension build on the Alliance side would have been interesting, especially with a society as old as the kaldorei -- Varian would not have been able to just waltz on in there and try and set things right. There was a lot of lost potential in there that could have led to some sort of Battle for the Undercity-esque scenario where Darnassus was completely taken over by zealots who believed what Fandral did -- that the old ways were better and that Tyrande, Malfurion, and the new order of thinking, the new alliances they brought in have done nothing but cause trouble.

Yes, it's conflict, but sometimes the best stories and character development are born out of that kind of conflict -- and it would have given the night elves a little more highlight. Heck, it would have been interesting to see how the rest of the Alliance dealt with it, and even how Varian dealt with it. When do you step in, in a situation like that, with a society that old? How do you handle that situation -- what's the correct way to intercede? It would have been interesting to see Varian put in a situation like that. I expect his first reaction would have been to charge on in and try to fix everything, and that realization that maybe there are just some things a hero, a king, cannot go in and simply put right would have been a sobering one that pushed his character forward a little more.

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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