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The Queue: Orderly

If there's one thing the English are good at, it's an orderly queue. As an Englishwoman myself, I'm expecting no faffing around, no funny business, and absolutely no shenanigans in general. Keep your hands out of your pockets, maintain your stiff upper lip, and just remember that we had Hugh Laurie first.

I'm taking a lot of Twitter questions today because you all spent most of yesterday talking about Godzilla.

Nick Duffield asks:

Are proving grounds the "feature" that Ghostcrawler teased us with this expansion?

There is a very simple answer to this question indeed, and that is this: "do you want them to be?" Ghostcrawler publicly retracted his teasing tweet, saying that there were so many new features coming for patch 5.4 that he didn't want to say that just one of them was the feature that would change the game. Directly after that, just a few days later, Flex Raiding was announced.

Now, this doesn't necessarily mean that Flex is the feature in question, not at all, especially given that since then Blizzard has also announced the impending arrival of their solution to the problem of underpopulation -- Virtual Realms -- as well as Proving Grounds, and of course, the highly controversial in-game store. And there could be more coming, too. It seems that, with Mists, anything is possible -- it really is the expansion of rampant experimentation.

So I'm going to throw it back to you, readers of The Queue, what do you think, if you had to pick just one, would be the Big Thing that is going to change the game the most come patch 5.4? While I think that the general change that will have the most impact is likely to be Flex Raiding, the biggest one right now in everyone's minds is probably the in-game store.

Ross asks:

In the Player's Cut interview, GC said Blizzard's thinking 3-expansions ahead...meaning we'll see at least 3 more? Thoughts?

To be completely honest, I would be very surprised to have seen anything less than three more expansions. Think about it, Titan's not even slated until 2016 now, and we haven't even been in Mists of Pandaria for a year at this point, and we're already nearing 5.4's arrival. I'm expecting the announcement of the next expansion to take place at Blizzcon in November, and for the total lifespan of Mists to be around 18 months at the very, very most.

On that basis, March 2014 will see the release of WoW 6.0, followed by 7.0 in August 2015, and then they're not just going to drop WoW like a hot brick when Titan appears, and that's assuming it even makes it onto our screens. They'll need something to tide them over, and even if Titan is the greatest game anyone's ever seen, people aren't just going to immediately abandon WoW and move over to the new title. I would guess that we're going to see at least 4 more WoW expansions. What's your guess?

Razerbug asks:

#Q4TQ what totally out of left field thing could Blizz put in the PvP game to get us chicken PvEers back into it?

A man after my own heart! One thing I think Blizz badly needs to recognize is that PvP isn't for everyone. There's nothing at all to be gained by trying desperately to lure people into PvP with the promise of ponies and purples and pretty shiny things. Some people just won't bite. I know people, friends, who are so vehemently opposed to every kind of PvP that, despite being gear junkies, they abandoned the Legendary quest chain just because you had to win two battlegrounds. Why? Because they don't, or indeed won't, PvP.

Blizzard needs to focus not on increasing numbers in PvP with gimmicks and tricks, but on making PvP the best it can be in WoW. If PvP is good, participation will increase. Sure it will not cause a massive boost in numbers, but that's not a bad thing. It's like the tortoise and the hare. Look at your existing PvP playerbase, and try to make the game better for them, instead of focusing on the race to increase participation.

Balance is a huge deal, burst is a huge deal, CC is a huge deal, and all of these are problem areas at the moment. These are the basics. The very simplest things that need to be right, or as close to right as possible. And they're key to increasing participation, because if a PvE-focused player places a tentative toe in the arena and is immediately roflstomped by the lolcomp of the moment, they probably won't come back.

But you asked for a totally out of left field idea. So here's one that I think is actually quite sensible -- lower level rewards. There's been a rather half-hearted attempt at this with a reward available for winning what would seem, to a novice PvPer, a very daunting number of arenas and battlegrounds, but bring the bar down. Don't worry, elitists, it doesn't have to be a Drake, but something tangible for getting to a personal rating of 1500. Something for winning 10 arena matches. Something for 50. Something that's not setting the bar so high, that's a rung on the ladder to the 2200 achievements and the shinies that come with them. But in the meantime, the PvP house needs to be got in order. Think inside the box for a while, Blizz. It's a mess in there.
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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