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Breakfast Topic: Has Mists changed your playstyle?

Breakfast Topic Has Mists changed your playstyle
In Mists of Pandaria, the design intention for World of Warcraft is clear: Blizzard wants you playing this game at level 90 (although what you do once you get there is up for grabs). For the first time, a meaty profile of endgame activities makes it truly possible to sustain a non-raiding playstyle at level 90. How long will that be possible? We'll have to wait and see -- but for now, it means your endgame options are more varied than raiding, repeating a handful of dungeons, moving into PvP, or leveling another alt.

The whole thing comes as a great relief to me. Knowing that endgame players are smeared across the game world like grape jelly on the kitchen counter after an "I can do this myself, Mommy" sammich gives me permission to choose my own flavor of gameplay without turning my back on Mists' content and features.

Case in point: Last week, when leveling my pandaren was feeling too much like an obligation, I ambled back to a guildless, early Cataclysm-era level 85 character with the idea of focusing on the story rather than opening up content and improving my character like a proper little goal-driven player. I'd made a good running start into Pandaria before it finally occurred to me: Why not relax even more and allow her to become a pseudo-pacifist? It's not like I had to go hardcore and limit my efforts to leveling solely through exploration, herbalism, and archaeology. There's other stuff to do -- new stuff! I could weave pet battles into the mix, and I could even get my farm started right away. Oh, and I'll need some farming togs for that.

Before I knew it, I'd mixed up the perfect blend of activity for this little independent character. It's proving equally as captivating in 15-minutes bites at lunch as it is over a glass of wine and a wandering evening lost in exploration. So here I am, happily embracing an alternative character concept with a low-key playstyle -- and it's all a natural part of the current endgame. I won't be abandoning my more mainstream PvE characters or my roly-poly panda, but this is a pretty enjoyable way to kick back without recusing myself from the current era. I ... I think I'm hooked!

Plenty of players are moving the opposite direction, of course, leaping into raiding for the first time or grouping in instances and scenarios more than ever before. Are you enjoying a new-to-you playstyle in Mists? Is it an alternative to your main character, or has the fresh approach become your new take on WoW?

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