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The Queue: Why no new class/race, new content now, why stances?

Matthew Rossi
Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi will be your host today.

Talking about WoW, as we do here.

What is this strange sensation? Is it... can it be... joy?

Gendou Knepper asks:
Q4Q: Do you think Warlords is setting up for disappointment as the first expansion with no new class or race? I understand that the new character models are taking a lot of resources and that a new class might not be needed. But there's still seems to be a subjective feeling that this expansion is *lacking* something, and I'm not sure why.

New classes/races are easy to put on a box and point to as something new. It's hard to convey "Instead of new leveling content for a new race, we're putting that development time into new content for people to go through on their way to level 100." Same thing with a new class (especially one like a death knight, which got its own leveling zone - monks kind of got a hub and some specific monkish quests). I don't think Warlords is setting us up for anything, I think it's more human nature to ignore nuance in favor of broad strokes. New race or class = new content, whereas just going straight to new content isn't as easily grasped, because expansions offer that anyway.

On the other hand, new classes and races offer that 'new play experience smell' - they do new things, look new, it's easy to feel like you're getting something with them. In the end, I think Warlords is offering a lot more than just new character models - there's tons of quests, whole new kinds of encounters, the garrison, and huge, sweeping class revamps to go along with stat squishing, dungeons, a new raid structure, etc etc.

Ultimately, the lack of a new race or class is pretty meaningless, and if people are disappointed for that alone, I'd argue it was more on them than on Blizzard.
Grizzlebees asks:
We've been told Garrosh won't be a boss for WoD, but how likely do you think his time travel companions chances are?

Considering he's voiced by Michael Bell? Extremely good. If you don't know who Michael Bell is... well, you should. He only voiced a dude named Medivh.

Steve J asks:
We want new content now, so why go to all the trouble to change the class structure now? Why not give us the new content and change the classes over time? I know, the game is designed around the class design.

Well, I don't work for Blizzard, so anything I say here is just speculation. That being said, the ramp up period to an expansion has traditionally been when sweeping design changes have been made -- Warlords is continuing in a tradition that goes all the way back to The Burning Crusade in that way. Blizzard tends to use this period to do design work on new content, new class abilities, revamps - it's a lot less disconcerting to learn class changes as you level up than it is to try and adjust in the middle of a raid tier, after all.

As for why they don't just give us new content now, one assumes all of their focus is on designing the new content for Warlords of Draenor. I personally wish they'd done a patch 5.5, but that doesn't seem to be the choice they made.

JerryGinzel asks:
I have a question concerning Warriors on the alpha, has gladiator stance become available for testing? If so, is it as cool as it sounds?

As a level 100 talent, it was available for testing once you leveled to 92. Honestly, I didn't get a chance to play with it. Once the servers come back up for Shadowmoon Valley testing, I'll give it a spin and let you know how it works, but I'm pretty excited for it. (I was very focused on arms this time around.)

Dakos asks:
Q4tMR: Why do Warriors still have stances? It seems pretty pointless now that there's so extremely few reasons to be out of your "ordinary" stance for your spec. They took Auras away from Paladins, and have stripped Hunter Aspects down so far, why do we still have multiple stances? Is it just another artifact of a bygone era waiting to get stripped away?

Short answer: Warriors have stances because we're better than paladins or hunters.

Accurate answer: if anything, the design in Warlords seems to be going towards more stance specific abilities, not less. Of course, keep in mind we did lose a stance (Berserker) and got another (Gladiator) as a talent choice. But in general there seems to be a design intent towards stances being a significant choice. It's certainly easier to design separate tanking and DPS roles for a hybrid class with something like stances or presences to make it work.

gazaa07 asks:
Q4tQ: When a demon dies in Azeroth, they go back to the Twisting Nether so they don't really die. Does this mean that Archimonde survived the Battle for Mount Hyjal when he was draining Nordrassil?

Only Nathrezim (Dreadlords) do that - it appears to be a racial ability, and not something all demons do. Archimonde is dead.

BlazeNor asks:
I had a power outage due to weather in the middle of a raid.

Q4tQ: What was the worst thing out of your control that put you out of your game?

The power supply on my computer exploded while I was in game. That was pretty much the worst one for me.

JasonCassidy asks:
I have a question: Are there any plans to update the Blood Elf and Draenei newbie areas? I don't mean this in terms of gear or challenge...I mean in terms of lore. I mean, the Draenei are STILL crawling from a crashed ship years after the fact, and the Blood Elves lore and area should have changed sharply with the defeat of the Lich King and the reclamation of the Well. It's really rather awkward. The Gnomes newbie experience changed because their circumstances changed, and I'd love to see the same thing applied here.

They actually did see updates to move them into the Cataclysm era to some degree (less the draenei than blood elves, but neither by very much) but there's a certain limit on how much updating they're likely to do on either. When Cataclysm was being designed, the draenei and blood elf starting zones were way ahead of the starting zones of other races. Now they're relics, but the Cataclysm redesign backlash means that it's fairly unlikely we'll see more work on them any time soon.

I'd personally love an updated draenei start zone with Azuremyst all cleaned up and a restored Exodar floating above the zone, since it was repaired in the short story Velen: Prophet's Lesson. It would be cool if Silvermoon finally just eradicated the Dead Scar undead, even if the Scar itself remained. But I wouldn't hold my breath on it.

And that's the Queue for today. Be sure to leave Anne lots of questions for Saturday.
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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