I feel the problem with this gameplay is focusing TOO heavily on minions and minion based items. They are a GREAT commodity, however minion gameplay with queen isn't utilizing her best strenghts. In the early/mid/late game she NEEDS mana and mana boosting items. My ideal queen item selection is Scaled Helm+Banded armor first, Then Unbreakable Boots, Then Vlemish (OR Plenor depending on current gold). Bramble Shield is (in my opinion) the best preventative ability in the game... well after L3 sedna heals.
She's a general and her best strengths are apparently her support abilities (ie, bramble shield, which is located in her closed, minion form) and her Uproot ability (which is worthless). These are her strengths as outlined at the DG selection screen. Many of her skills have something to do with minions though, so how can this not be a "strength"? Bramble Shield *is* awesome, but let's face it - if you're planning to use that ability, and use it often, how many times are you going to be in open form? Doing what all that hard earned mana is providing for you? If you're going to do a Bramble Shield build, you're going to HAVE to pick some other skills, instead of minions obviously, so that leaves Wave and Spikes.
If all you're going to do is Bramble Shield, than they should have just saved some time and the decision making process by just removing all of her (worthless) abilities, leaving 4 or 5 levels of Bramble Shield and 20 levels of flowers, hugs, and hearts.
I think a good queen knows when to shield her allies, when to sheild herself, when a fight is insurmountable (when to run), and when/how to push a creep lane. I don't normally take uproot but I'll substitute it for spike wave if i realize that it's more important to push a lane than help pound on DGs (in that case i'll take Spike Wave later in the game around L12ish)
She's definitely NOT a frontline figher but she is a frontline fighters best friend in big fights. With that said, I never choose Queen unless I know i'll be playing backup dancer to a heavier hitting DG. Queen+Rook melt towers away. Queen+High Burst Damage Scare away even the best coordinated DGs from time to time.
Final summation... She's primarily a support class character... use her as such.
P.S. Upgrade your minons... (their strength and armor too)
You're just being silly. Of course a good queen will know when to shield, because anyone who spends the time playing her will quickly realize how horrible everything else she has really is. That's not solving the problem though, it's just making excuses for what she should be doing instead of what she could be doing, when the truth is that she should be good at more than just that. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Generals are supposed to be great at controlling creatures - right? Half her abilities focus on her minions, right? Something is not right here.
And yes, she isn't a frontline fighter and I'm not asking her to be, nor did I ever expect her to be as such. But she does have spells, so she should be able to perform in that area just as good as the Torchbearer.
Queen+High Burst damage? What are you smoking?
Spikes and Wave will do 1275, together, at max level. A single max level Fireball will do 1050 and will cost half as much mana. If you want to throw Mulch in there, you can *maybe* get an extra 750 damage in there, but you have to switch forms to do that, which is 2-3 seconds you aren't doing anything. With that, they may be running away, or hell - they may still be there shrugging it off. What is 1000 health in the late game? Most DG's have 4000 before I hit level 4 and that's because they don't have to worry about mana nearly as much as the Queen does and can spend that well earned money on survivability.
P.S. Didn't you just tell me to not focus on the minions so much?