I have absolutely no Danish heritage. Well, I might from my English ancestors, but none of my relatives that I can trace are from Denmark, so when I say I'm fascinated with Valdemar Atterdag aka Valdemar IV of Denmark, you know it's not out of any nationalist pride. My reasons for being fascinated with Valdemar Atterdag are threefold - first, that he came to the throne as a relatively young and untried man and through ruthlessness, guile, economic brinksmanship and naked war effectively reconquered Denmark. Second, he did so at a time when Denmark had been effectively parceled out and in the face of plague and powerful neighbors like Sweden and the Hanseatic League. Finally, he's become almost mythic as a consequence - Valdemar's name is actually used in connection with the Wild Hunt as the hunter himself, meaning that some people think Valdemar Atterdag was Woden.
What I'm getting at is that Warcraft needs more people like this, who achieve conquest through every means at their disposal and who create something when they're done. Also that name kicks ass - not many people get a last name that means 'day again'. Why doesn't WoW have a Wild Hunt yet?
Anyway, World of Warcraft questions! There will be Patch 5.4 spoilers in these questions. As a result, I'm putting the first question behind the break.
WoW related: Anne mentioned (via Twitter) using one of the remaining Vials from the Well of Eternity to help restore the Vale. Do we know if the Vale and the Well are sorta/kinda the same thing anyway?
Okay, the pessimist in me wants to say that nope. We blew up the Vale, it's dead. The optimist in me thinks that when we defeat either Immerseus, the Tears of the Vale or the Sha of Pride, that we'll cleanse the Vale's waters of Sha corruption. It has never been said in game that the waters of the Vale are the same as the Well of Eternity, it's just impossible to ignore that the sparkly glowing water that mutates and uplifts species in the Vale (like the jinyu) bears a resemblance to the sparkly glowing water that mutates and uplifts species from before the Sundering (like the night elves).
So if pessimist me is right, nothing can save Pandaria now. And if the optimist me is right, then we'll save the Vale by killing monsters. Dadaist me thinks that Abraham Lincoln and Abraham Van Helsing picnic atop a Shiva lingam. He's not much help when I write the Queue.
Question about the Virtual Realms:
Not too sure if I quite grasp the idea yet, but if they combine different realms together, wouldn't it make gathering a bit more difficult as you'd compete with now other people on other realms for the mineral/herb nodes...etc.? Or do I have the wrong idea?
We don't know for sure exactly how the 'fused realms' will work. If it functions like a gigantic version of the battletag system, then no, you'll still be on your realm and they'll still be on their realm, but you'll be able to group and when you do you'll shift to a different realm depending on who does the inviting. (My wife and I use this aspect of RealID/Battletag fairly often.) If it works like CRZ, then yes, you'll be competing with other players. Since the AH's will be shared across the Virtual Realms, either could be the case. I'd expect you will, in fact, see these people out in the world and have to compete with them for nodes and resources, but will also have access to a wider AH pool.
Do you think the Pandas will go the way of every other new race introduced so far? As in, "Expansion over folks, don't bother tying up loose story lines or worry about further development. We have new things to do over there!"
I am glad they brought Blood Elf storytelling back, but Draenei, Worgen and Goblins are still waiting... Hell, even Forsaken are left in the cold right now. I don't know why they feel they need huge paint brush swipes to story telling, and not also add a few extra little ones here and there to catch up.
I don't expect we'll see too much more of Pandaria once we're done with Pandaria. I hope there's a small patch between 5.4 and whatever the next big thing is that lets us know if the Vale gets reclaimed and shows us the immediate aftermath of the Siege, but as for Pandaria itself I expect we'll swarm off like locusts to bedevil some other poor place. Seriously, I'm starting to feel less like a hero and more like a walking natural disaster. Go to strange new lands and exotic locales and blow them the heck up! Meet interesting new people and kill them!
But as for player pandaren, well, you kind of had your storyline finished. Playable Pandaren aren't representing a nation that's joined the Alliance or Horde, you're playing as one of a small group, an ambassador of your people in a way, come fresh from the Wandering Isle to learn the ways of the Horde and Alliance and teach them a bit about yourself and your people in the process. Pandaria was as much a fabled land lost to time to you as it was to everyone else. Whether Shen-Zin-Su is ever going to pop up in game again, I have no idea. It would be nice if your level 95 pandaren could nake a trip home from time to time.
With the magic waters gone from the Vale, is there any motivation left for the Burning Legion to come to Azeroth once more?
Well, first off we don't know that the magic waters are gone gone. (See Immerseus, in the Dungeon Journal for Siege of Orgrimmar.) But even if they are, as many others have noted, Azeroth is chockablock with reasons for the Legion to be interested, and not just the Legion, either. The Naaru are here now (there's one living in the Exodar for certain) which indicates that Azeroth is important with a capital I. The Well of Eternity atop Hyjal is still there, and Nordrassil is healing from the destruction of Archimonde, so that source of power remains. The Sunwell has been restored with the essence of a Naaru, making it more powerful than ever and now a source of the Light as well as arcane power. Karazhan still sits atop an incredibly powerful concentration of ley line energy, the Nexus is still there in Coldarra, and there's a cave in Tanaris that allows time travel.
If anything, with the Dragon Aspects no longer so aspecty (aspectious? no, no... aspectalicious? I'll come up with something) and the Lich King dormant, Azeroth has got to be looking like a fat plum just sitting there, with the forces that aligned to stop the Legion completely devolved into squabbles over who gets to live in what shack on which clump of dirt.
It's not a question of if the Legion will return. As Wrathion noted, it's a question of when they'll return. Prophet Velen even said that Azeroth is likely going to be the place where the ultimate war between Light and Darkness takes place, so expect more Legion sooner or later.
Do you think having a new and different lockout mechanic for flex raids is too confusing? You will now have different rules for LFR, flex raiding and normal/heroics, all with different idiosyncrasies. It seems especially confusing that bringing someone who has already cleared a boss gives drastically different results for flex raiding versus normal/heroic.
Seriously I don't get what is confusing about this. It seems pretty simple to me. We've had different rules for normal dungeon, heroic dungeons, old world raids, BC raids, Wrath raids, and then the modern Cataclysm/Pandaria raid lockouts plus World bosses and LFR this whole expansion, and I keep track of all of those. (Have to, I farm a lot of transmog gear.) An argument could be made that we have too many lockout systems, but again, think of flex raiding this expansion the way we did LFR in the last expansion.
I don't know. Maybe it's confusing for other people because they expect logical consistency between different systems due to those systems resembling each other in function. I don't expect that, so I don't get confused when they don't share that consistency. Flex raiding is a different beast than either LFR or normal raiding, it should have a different lockout mechanic.
And that's the Queue for today. And for the people asking, I overall enjoyed Man of Steel. I feel like I'd be spoilering the film if I talked about it any more than that. I wrote a review (heavy heavy spoiler warnings) if you're interested - it's here. I am so not kidding about spoilers so if you read that it's on you.
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!