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The Queue: The one with the dungeons and the dragons

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Today's edition is being published from alternate universe -- one in which coffee is expensive, sheep are extinct, and Nixon is on U.S. currency. With Mike Sacco busy managing his foul-smelling, short hair, your host for today will be Gov. Fox Van Allen.

Everyone remembers their first role-playing game. For some, it was World of Warcraft. For others, it was Pokemon. For me, it was a game of Dungeons & Dragons at summer camp.

Sure, it wasn't what you'd consider a traditional game. A lot of the monsters we fought had fart-based powers, and one of our quests involved finding magical berries that would give us the power to touch breasts. Our first (and only) game devolved into an uninteresting mess, and we gave up after being trapped in a poorly designed maze.

Still, we did get to roll dice all the time, which I found to be really cool. And not just regular dice, either. Twenty-sided dice. Whoa.

ZeroDesu asked:

When is Fox Van Allen going to do another Queue segment? I do so enjoy his writing style. And his fashion style. He's just one very stylish man in general. (Yes, this is just shameless prostrating in hopes that he'll read this and do The Queue tomorrow because of it.)

Today! Shameless prostrating before Fox Van Allen always works. But only on Mondays, because everyone else hates writing queues on Mondays.

JamesTheMage asked:

What's up with the mana reductions and heroic nerfs in the last patch? What happened to making Cataclysm heroics harder?

Personally, I love a challenge. Learning the new fights in Cataclysm was a lot of fun, but the game designers didn't quite get everything right. Some fights were challenging because they threw us out of our comfort zone or introduced new mechanics. Others were challenging because they were ... well, broken.

Consider the Altairus fight in The Vortex Pinnacle. It proved to be an especially difficult encounter for some groups, but that was often because of the "cheap shots" the dragon would take. When a player got caught in a vortex, he'd often be thrown into another vortex on the way down. Even more frustrating, players would often be thrown off the platform by the vortexes. And as you probably know, getting thrown off the platform is an instant death, thanks to Altairus's bizarre anti-fleeing mechanism. Patch 4.0.6 changed the functionality of the vortexes such that a single mistake and some bad luck won't result in an instant death.

The same goes for the Corborus fight in The Stonecore. The "jumping" phase was a nightmare. Players would often get killed despite seemingly being out of the dust. Adding to the confusion was the fact that the Rock Borer adds would create the same dust visual. The whole thing led to a lot of wipes and a lot of groups disbanding before downing a single boss.

I think it's important to make a distinction between fights that are difficult because they're hard, and fights that are difficult because they have what seem to be cheap mechanics. I died an awful lot in learning fights like Professor Putricide in ICC, but those deaths never felt "cheap." They were a result of something I did wrong, something I could correct, something I could improve upon on the next attempt. In contrast, each and every Corborus death felt cheap and frustrating.

Patch 4.0.6, at its core, was about rebalancing. Cataclysm heroics are supposed to be difficult, but not cheaply difficult. And so, game designers reduced the difficulty of the Altairus and Corborus encounters by eliminating their "cheapness." In exchange, they took fights that were too easy, such as the Foe Reaper 5000 and Asaad fights, and made them more difficult.

Even with all the nerfs of patch 4.0.6, Cataclysm heroics are still way harder than the Wrath ones of yore.

Rommel asked:

If I were to disenchant or sell my jewelcrafter-only figurine trinkets, will I be able to find the item again or is it a one-time-only drop?

The jewelcrafter-only trinkets (like the super awesome Jeweled Serpent) are quest rewards. If you've already "turned in" the quest by making the figurine, you won't be able to do the quest over again. Your only resort for getting it back would be to petition a GM -- and even then, there's no guarantee.

merylvingian asked:

I have noticed since the patch that I get a great number more Burning Embers from milling Whiptail than any other herb. Is there any news about Whiptail having its drop rate of the embers buffed drastically?

As was pointed out, there Whiptail has always dropped Burning Embers at a 50% rate when milled. Twilight Jasmine has a 50% drop rate as well. All other Cataclysm herbs drop Burning Embers at a 25% rate. Whiptail and Twilight Jasmine also tend to drop slightly more Ashen Pigment, too.

This is actually how milling has always worked. A stack of Icethorn or Lichbloom drops Icy Pigment at a 50% rate; a stack of Goldclover or Tiger Lily drops Icy Pigment at a 25% rate. Milling stacks of herbs you'd find in higher-level content usually nets you more pigments than milling herbs from lower-level content.

Lots of straight girls asked:

Fox! Will you be my Valentine?

Uh ...
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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