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The Queue: Frozen waterfalls are cool

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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.

My wife's cousin went behind a waterfall in Minneapolis a couple days ago. Only this waterfall is frozen, and looks like something out of Icecrown.

An actual frozen waterfall. There were no frozen thrones, but he did invite me to go and see said frozen waterfall with him, and I might just do that -- if only so I could say at parties that I walked on a waterfall. Check out his pictures, they're just nuts.

Also Alex, just sayin', Minneapolis > San Francisco.

James asked:

Looking at the theoretical differences between our heroes and the lore characters, one has to wonder what makes them so much more powerful. Now, obviously someone like Illidan or Malfurion is explainable with the old idiom "it's magic", but what about, say...Varian? Or Garrosh? They are both mortal, aye? Prick them, do they not bleed? Tickle them, do they not laugh? Pop Divine Shield and will they not just laugh and kick you in the wee bouncies? Overall, what makes them so much MORE than us, and not just in terms of game-play.

I love this question.

There's a few different ways to look at why most characters in lore are stronger than the adventurer.

First, from a story telling perspective there is the motivation of conflict. The conflict between a normal (read: you and I) character and a super villain is an old tale and makes for excellent plots. If the plot was you versus your next door neighbor, it wouldn't be very interesting. But what if your next door neighbor happened to have the lineage and upbringing to make him into a strong gladiator, who for fun goes and kills orcs? That's a story.

Second, from a gameplay and balance perspective, the disparity is necessary in order to ensure a proper playing experience. There have been games where the mobs have the same life and relative power as a player, and those games get very old very quick. Infact, one of the reasons why the end game doesn't get old very quickly (as compared to leveling), is that most mobs are so much tougher than you that you need to gear up to their level. This extra bit of progression forces a new balance and improves overall gameplay. Lore characters, in this regard, are no different than any mob you'd see in a heroic dungeon or raid.

Finally, from a historic perspective in the plethora of tabletop games and what not, we see key (lore) figures always having a bit of a natural edge over the player character. In many ways this was done for the same balance reasons as talked about above, but at the end of the day, the result is that mobs and primary figures are simply more powerful. The guys and gals that built MUDs played D&D and carried this feeling across. Then the same feel and historical context was carried to Ultima and EverQuest, and then to WoW.

In the end of the day, WoW needs the larger than life characters to be just that -- and I think WoW has struck a balance here better than any other game out there.

Hstein asked:

I've been leveling a healer through the dungeon finder, and I just hit a huge ilvl gap with the Cataclysm dungeons. Any suggestions on getting over that gap without going broke at the auction house?

Hit the first zone's quests, gear up, and then you'll be good. Alternatively you can buy things off the auction house, or make the gear yourself.

Xerianne asked:

Do you think Blizzard will ever make Halfhill a sanctuary? I'm on a PVP server and you simply can't do the Chen quest line while leveling or any other quests in halfhill, the 90's just 1 shot everyone on both sides (and I'm not talking about the NPCs which are also being killed by said PVPers). I understand being on a PVP server and I'm all for it unless it makes an entire chain of quests pretty useless because of all the 90's hanging out there.

Hopefully not!

PvP servers are meant to be rough, cut, and tumble. You enter the world out to do one thing: destroy the opposing faction. If you can stop them from being able to do dailies and earn reputation with those farmers, then you've done your job. If you're so completely destroying the other faction that they can't even level so that they can muster the forces to defeat you, then you're doing a REALLY good job. They can go level by killing some wolves and boars, like those lowbies in Elwynn. Actually scratch that, those wolves are being camped too -- because that's how complete domination is done, son.

Don't like it? Reroll on a PvE server.

I personally don't like that, and I'm on a PvE server for that very reason.

JCPowell asked:

Any chance we could see some "soloing old raid content" articles? I love reading tips like the Illidan info from today's queue.

It's something we'll look into. I can't really say that it'd be easy to do, given how different all the classes are. There are other things we need to cover in the class columns as well, and I'm not sure it's an assignment I want to hand out to the columnists. But... maybe there's something that we can do that's more general. We'll brainstorm and see what we can do that's reasonable.

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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