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Breakfast Topic: What's your favorite 5-man instance of all time?

Shadowfang Keep
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The first instance I ever ran was Shadowfang Keep with my brother and his friends. I was led by the nose through it and it's a good thing, because I couldn't fight to save my life -- I just wanted to look at everything! To this day, it remains the benchmark for me by which all other instances are judged. When it received its update in Cata, part of me was really disappointed. I had always looked forward to running it on fresh alts, and I never wanted it to change. For the most part, I'm OK with the changes, and it still remains my favorite instance. And now I don't have to make alts to run it.

So what has been your very favorite instance to run? Not raid, mind you -- that's a whole other Breakfast Topic. Just a regular 5-man instance. Do you prefer the old classics, or has something from Cataclysm stolen your heart? None of the Wrath or Cata instances really did it for me, but I really got a kick out of the Caverns of Time instances from The Burning Crusade.

What grabs you when you get to an instance? Is it the setting? The music? The end of a quest line? Or are you primarily concerned with what kind of loot you're going to get out of the deal?

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Breakfast Topic: Have you ever rage quit?

Ragequit
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I've been sorely tempted. You know the days I'm talking about. Nothing is going right. Your own faction is mining the nodes right out from under you. You just got ganked by a rogue for the fifth time, and now the jerk is corpse camping you. You queued up for an instance and managed to wind up with the leetest tank on the server and three of his guildies who proceed to talk smack about your DPS until the timer runs out and they are able to boot you. You wind up back where you started, and that stupid rogue ganks you one more time for good measure.

Screaming every curse word in the book, you yank your headphones off and throw them across your room, sign off, and storm away from the computer, vowing to never play this stupid game again. Of course, in the end, we always come creeping back, don't we? Oh sure, there are a few who don't, but I strongly suspect they aren't reading these words right now.

So what's your story? What was the last situation that made you quit WoW in a fit of pique? How long did you stay away? Why did you finally come back? Did you think for sure you were gone for good that time? How many times has this happened to you?

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Breakfast Topic: Which storyline do you want more of?

What's the end of the story?
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WoW has so many ongoing storylines that it's hard to keep track of them all. Occasionally, they blend and merge, and sometimes they simply drift off without any sort of resolution. Sometimes we can get all caught up in the story and then abruptly it's gone. Sometimes storylines are resolved in books and unless you make a point of reading the novels or the comics you have no way of knowing what eventually happened, unless you can find some random NPC who will drop hints.

I've never managed to pull off Loremaster, so I've missed the ends of lots of storylines. I do always perk up a bit when I hear bits about the Old Gods. This particular storyline is fascinating to me, and it always just seems to show up in hints and winks, with occasionally an Old God turning up as a big boss. I know I would like to see more happening with these guys, like the sneaky little voice that show up sometimes with archaeology.

What about you? Are there any stories that petered out that you want to hear the end of? Do you like catching the beginning of the story and filling in the blanks in the Caverns of Time? Do you hope other old stories get revived?

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Breakfast Topic: Which race has the best lore?

Tyrande Whisperwind
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Every race has its own unique storyline, many of which have been played out in books, comics, and endless fanfics. Who have you enjoyed reading and acting out the most?

I'm torn. I love the orc lore -- it's so richly detailed, especially in so many of the books, that when I play an orc or head into orc territory, I really feel like I get them. I know most of the NPCs by name, and I know their backstories and their motivations. Landing on Nagrand for the first time in The Burning Crusade with an orc character was a game-changing experience.

The night elves probably have the most complete lore -- quite a feat when you consider how long their race goes back. Night elf lore imbues the game with an aura of mystery and grace that I have yet to find anywhere else. It's hard to play a night elf and not feel inclined to roleplay, at least a little bit. Playing through the quests involving Malfurion Stormrage always provides a sense of urgency, like the world actually depends on what you are doing.

Now it's your turn. Whose lore gets you really involved? Have you acted out stories involving the lore? Do you read up to get the background on your characters?

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Breakfast Topic: What starting zone bores you?

Early Gnome quest line
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When Cataclysm dropped, most of the starting zones got a major revamp. I made a point of at least trying most of them, just to see the changes. Prior to Cata, my least favorite starting zone was the Human zone, followed by the Dwarf/Gnome zone. It just felt like there wasn't much involved, and the quests were, well, kind of generic. Suffice to say, my Human and Dwarf/Gnome characters never really got off the ground.

I came back after Cata dropped to see what had changed. While the Gnome and Dwarf area had seen major changes, I still didn't enjoy it that much. The Human area still wasn't doing it for me either. I think I need to accept that I'm just never going to have a high-level Human character! Horde-side, I always found the Troll and Orc starting zones boring. The stories just didn't grip me, and I found myself not caring about the characters.

What about you? Any starting zone bore you to tears? Have quests you thought were completely ridiculous? Leave you with a burning hatred for all members of that particular race and everything they stand for? Are there any that you used to like and feel like Cata completely screwed them up?

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Breakfast Topic: Do you read the WoW novels?

Library
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For the most part, I've always sneered at novels that were spin-offs of popular movies or games. I considered myself a bit of a literary purist and felt that the writing in these books was mediocre, at best. When I met my husband, he had a full collection of every book ever written that tied into a Blizzard game and more than a few books based on card games as well. I accepted it as one of his quirks, and we did just fine.

As luck would have it, one day I found myself desperate for reading material, with nothing at hand but Rise of the Horde by Christie Golden. I rolled my eyes, picked up the book, started reading ... and couldn't put the darn thing down. I was astonished. This writing wasn't bad ... in fact, I thought it was pretty good! The story was interesting. I enjoyed reading the back history of characters I had been encountering for years.

I asked my husband for a recommendation on what I should try next, and now I'm a thorough WoW novel devotee. Christie Golden remains my favorite author. I think she gets into the character's emotional states better than anyone else, and I love her strong female characters.

What about you? Have you given them a try? Any particular authors or stories you prefer?

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Breakfast Topic: How do you feel about using guns in WoW?

Shooting a gun
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

A while back, I wrote a Breakfast Topic on technology that got folks up in arms. It seemed that while most people were fine with the majority of steampunkish Gnomish and Goblin technology (and some absolutely loved it), the one piece of equipment that ground more gears and got the cranky juices flowing was the gun. The people who didn't like it found it intrusive and at odds with the world around them.

I'm personally of the "Are the stats better? I'll take it!" variety, so gun or bow, I don't think about it that much. I don't care for the noise of the gun, but that's my only gripe. At the same time, I don't do much roleplaying, so I don't have to worry about whether a gun would be appropriate for my character's storyline. Plus, my characters that are able to use guns are alts, so I'm not terribly committed to them.

What about you? Are you vehemently anti-gun? Or are you cool with it, as long as the stats are an improvement? If the stats were exactly the same, which would you go with -- a gun or a crossbow? Aha -- see, you do have a preference! Tell us what drives it!

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Breakfast Topic: Do you blog about WoW?

Theorycrafting
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

Have you ever noticed that a search for tips about WoW brings up about a million blogs on the subject? Blogs can be found on nearly every aspect of WoW -- you can find lore blogs, class blogs, race blogs, profession blogs ... You name it, there's a blog on it.

I personally maintained a blog for raiding mages for a while, but I had to let it go when my raiding group went on hiatus and I simply couldn't fit any of the other raiding groups into my schedule. I'd like to get back to it. It was a lot of fun, and I also noticed that since I was trying to pay really close attention to mechanics so that I could pass the information on to other mages, it made me a better raider. My husband currently writes a blog about being a dad who games. I know that there are a bunch of those out there too, but it's fun for him to discuss situations that come up in his daily life with other people who understand completely.

What about you? Do you blog about WoW or gaming in general? What's your specific topic of expertise? Do you feel like you have a lot to contribute on the subject? Have you thought about starting a blog but just haven't found your niche yet? Do have any specific blogs about WoW that you really like?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What starting zone do you love?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

Lure me in with a beautiful location and great storyline, and I'm yours. I've been sucked in by the Blood Elf and Draenei starting zones and was loathe to leave. I also loved my time in the Goblin and Worgen starting zones, although being plopped out into the world with no real skills was a tad frustrating. I've also enjoyed starting Night Elves and Tauren. Despite this, my favorite zone is the Undead zone. That's right, Tirisfal Glades. Although it doesn't meet my "beautiful" requirement, the story more than makes up for it. And actually, on second thought, it is beautiful, in its own special way.

There's just something about Tirisfal Glades that feels so ... good. Maybe it's the slightly gothic feel. Maybe it's the tragedy that permeates the zone, the loss that is evidenced everywhere. And Sylvanas is one of my favorite characters, so having the opportunity to play next to her feels like an honor. I liked the undead starting zone from the beginning, but the changes in Cataclysm really added to the atmosphere. Being evil is so fun.

What about you? What starting zone really gets your juices flowing? Do you find yourself constantly making the same race over and over again just so you can watch the cinematics or do the same quest? What is it about that zone that makes it so very awesome for you?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: How do you choose your spec builds?


This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

I confess that when it comes to my specs, I am incredible lazy. I'm not dual-specced. I don't have a PVP spec. I'm just a standard PVE frost mage. I didn't even change to arcane when arcane was the only way to be a "proper" mage. I'm not into theorycrafting, and I would rather let someone else do all the work. I poke around the internet for awhile, find a spec I like, and copy it. I then stick with that spec until major changes are made and I have no choice but to fix the spec.

Some of my good friends are the total opposite. They loiter on theorycrafting websites, crunch the numbers, and constantly tweak the numbers until their spec seems ideal. A few days later, they are ready to tweak some more.

Where do you fall on this spectrum? Are you a theorycrafter who loves the numbers game and could spend hours trying to devise the perfect spec? Would you prefer to sit back and yank someone else's perfect design? Or are you somewhere in the middle? Do you study the builds and then come up with something of your own, roughly based on the work you've seen?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

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