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Breakfast Topic: What will you do over the holiday season?

Winter Veil
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'm sure we've all heard or seen by now that summer and holiday breaks can be hard on the WoW playerbase. With school semesters wrapping up, many of us are returning back to our homes, jobs, and less World of Warcraft. I know some people will stick around and raid or hit up Rated Battlegrounds till their eyes bleed, but some people are heading off to other things.

I've had several guildies take breaks for a week or two with some pretty fun stories. Someone took part in a bass fishing tournament and did quite well, but sadly the tournament is for catch and release, so no one got to taste the winners. One of my guildmates returned to Korea for a bit and came back quite refreshed, ready to jump back into raiding and world PvP. Another guildmate came back from a rather short trip with an epic story involving alcohol, fireworks, and getting banned from a campsite.

Will you be doing anything interesting while away from WoW this holiday season? Will you meet a guildmate? Have a fling with another game? Maybe got some extra work done so you can pitch in more when people came back from their school breaks?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What's your character's job?

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

No no, this isn't about roleplay. You've got gold in your pockets, but it didn't just magically end up there. You've done something to earn it (unless you've, you know, bought it -- for shame!).

In-game gold's always been easy for me, but I think it's partially because I love gathering. Yeah, you heard me. I'm the guy who has a bank character, bank, and mailbox full of ore, leather, gems, and odds and ends. Sure, I do my share of adventuring, getting dailies done while I search for blood and glory -- but you better believe that if I find someone messing with my Azshara's Veil when I'm trying to do an escort, there will be blood. I'm a farmer, plain and simple.

It wasn't always this way, though. There have been times where I offered my services for a significantly reduced fee so that people would buy from me instead of the Auction House. I'd gather loads of ore and gems, find the AH prices of them, and offer them at a much lower price than what was on the AH (but still at a profit compared to the cost of crafting). It got to the point where I didn't even need to use trade chat to get customers -- they'd PM me while I was gathering resources. My ignore list was filled with names of my AH-PVP victims who wanted to make higher profits with less effort. I was a jewelcrafter for hire.

What is your character's job? Do you make money by teaming up with lesser-skilled PVPers for Arena ratings? Maybe you lead raids for cash? Or perhaps you run a shady tavern in Elwynn Forest doing odd jobs for people?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What WoW holidays need to be improved?

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World of Warcraft has a lot of holidays, but some are rather ... bland. Take the Harvest Festival, for example. No, really, take it back in its current form. I did it back when it was first released on several alts, and I don't think I've noticed any real changes since then. Let us do more Peacebloom vs. Ghouls to save the harvest, or let us go to Caverns of Time to meet the fallen ... um, heroes we're celebrating. Give us a new mini-feast perma-item to lay out for the event, similar to the celebration mug that Brewfest almost always got.

What about Day of the Dead? It's got a few fun things in there, but remember when we first heard about it via datamining and thought it was the return of the zombie apocalypse? What if Blizzard actually brought that back, just for a few days a year? I know people who don't play WoW anymore who'd resub just to get in on that.

Hallow's End got a facelift, so which other events should be considered? Is New Year's not new enough? Does Love is in the Air need some more love? Is there not enough "Yarr" in Pirate Day?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: How do you transition in and out of playing WoW?

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

We all know it: Other games are coming. We say it'll be what we're sticking with this time, but after a few days, weeks, months, or maybe years, we end up back in WoW. The question is, what do you do before you leave?

For me, I go with friends. It's what always brings me back to WoW anyway. We go as a guild usually, maybe bring some server mates, but we don't quit cold turkey (and maybe that's our problem!). We still play WoW a bit, to make sure the guild doesn't die and so others can chip in, but after awhile, we find ourselves back in WoW, sometimes bringing a few new friends with us.

I know other people who just quietly leave, play a new game, and then server/faction/name change as a way of not having to face their old contacts again (unless they decide to contact a few choice ones). Some just don't think about it but have talked about a new game for months and hit it up, then come back because they missed something about WoW.

What do you do? Plan things out, escape WoW duties, or just take a short vacation into a new world?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Who'd be next to die in WoW Faction Leader Survivor?

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Cataclysm killed off Cairne Bloodhoof and apparently Magni Bronzebeard (I'm still hoping that one can be reversed!). Before that, we (apparently) killed off Kael'thas, the Blood Elf leader, and Zul'jin, one of the Troll leaders. Heck, Fandral Staghelm, while not exactly a leader, was just killed off in 4.2. Blizzard isn't afraid to kill off its own creations, so who do you think Blizz will kill off in the future?

I'm sure Magatha Grimtotem is up next. Revenge is sort of a theme we got going on in WoW, and I doubt that old meatloaf-to-be will be useful in the next expansions as anything other than a raid boss. But she can't be the only one.
Personally, I'm betting on Sylvanas. Something big is brewing, and despite the fan hate of Garrosh, I have a severe doubt Metzen will let us off the hook on that guy any time soon. The Undead are going to need to be brought further into the Horde, and unless we're getting a third faction (/pray), I'd be we'll be finally putting that Undead to rest.

Who else do you think will be going the way of Cairne? Will the death knights' leader, serving no known purpose, get the axe next? Will Thrall perhaps die for real? Or will someone bump off the cheese master?

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Breakfast Topic: How do you handle game mechanics when RPing?

Dungeon Finder
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'm going to be honest: I could never get into Warcraft roleplaying. RP can be hard enough with the different approaches people have (accents, interpretation of lore, Pollyannas), but in-game mechanics can often make things incredibly difficult. For example, in past games, I knew people who refused to RP in any channel other than /say. Why? Because they felt that only psychic characters would be able to communicate across mountains without cell phones or other modern-day conveniences. It's a bit picky, but I get it.

What about other things, though? Our players constantly come back from the dead without an explanation. From Asheron's Call to Rift, other games have made the death situation take a front and center position in lore. AC characters are magically bonded to lifestones for a seedy purpose unknown to them for several years; Rift players have spirits anchored to the world via technology or divine intervention; and WoW players ... have more resilient ghosts than most NPCs? Or at least, most of the time, since Cairne was ganked a lot prior to Cataclysm and always came back until someone gave Garrosh a poisoned blade.

How do you deal with game mechanics when RPing? Are levels "birthdays"? Is earning an achievement an epiphany? Maybe cross-faction dungeons with instant transportation are similar to finding Dr. Who's telephone booth?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Have you ever seen anyone RP a peon?

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

Let's face it -- most roleplayers are heroes, villians, peerless veterans, or other Mary Sues. We want to feel awesome from time to time, and games let us do that. But after awhile, it gets old. Every guild leader you meet seems to be the head of a secret organization, the leader of one of Thrall's elite group of warriors, or a famous mercenary group that, for some reason, only works for the Alliance.

But they're not all like that. I'm not on an RP realm, but I've had a guildie who has been lightly roleplaying a simple Undead priest hell-bent on making babies with a Dwarf warrior. They both keep things within the game's context -- they don't speak each other's language but (not so) secretly try to meet up and communicate. It ends rather badly when the guilds shows up to kill the enemy lover, but the two still press on, shouting in Common and Orcish and emoting strange gestures in order to better try to express their love.

I've had people from RP servers try to get me to rally to their cause in the random Dungeon Finder, but they get shot down fast most of the time, and ... well, the game already calls me a hero every other quest, so it's lost its shine. However, when my guildie cries about seeing her potential Dwarven lover with another woman, then later finding out it was his evil twin, I can't help but chuckle a bit and even do some very light roleplaying myself.

Have you ever met someone who RPed something unique? A seer who was always wrong? A farmer's guild? A hard-working peon?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, RP, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Which WoW Insider column would you like to guest write?

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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 know, this topic was already addressed in The Queue, but let's ignore that for the moment. Someone at WoW Insider gets sick/has a baby/is trapped in Azeroth due to a bad writing plot, and the site visitors are needed to save the day. What column do you think you could handle?

Personally, I think I could step in for Officers' Quarters or Drama Mamas (Drama Daddy for me, I suppose). I always end up dealing with the social aspects of WoW, especially the ones that require hard choices and hurt feelings. Gold Capped might be something I could handle, depending on the timing. I've helped a good amount of folks learn how to stop losing money on the AH (and no, I'm not just telling them to ignore their alts). I normally sit in my chair nodding when I read these articles, and I often point my fellow players to them if we've had a similar situation come up in which one of the articles comes to a similar conclusion we discussed.

What column do you think you could fill in for at WoW Insider? Can you take the reins from Alex Ziebert and be the WoW Archivist for day? Fill in for Michael Grey and post a winner for WoW Moviewatch? Or maybe you, like Michael Sacco, have some connections and can conduct the interviews for Ask a Faction Leader?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Would you play WoW if it had no levels?

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 recent discussion in The Queue brought up the idea that perhaps WoW's Recruit-A-Friend could have been done differently. The point of RAF's bonus XP is to help you friend get to the max level as fast as possible to play with you. This is essentially so that they can experience endgame content, as opposed to leveling content. Unfortunately, WoW as an RPG relies on story for raids to be meaningful as anything other than a loot grind. Players who level too quickly may miss out on lore. In addition, quick leveling also means less time learning character skills needed to raid, and we've all seen the guy who bought a level 85 warrior but still didn't know how to taunt.

But what if leveling speed isn't RAF's problem? What if the problem is the concept of levels themselves? If you want to play Mario Kart with a friend, you just jump in. Skill becomes the only barrier, and fun gameplay mechanics take over the grind. It also makes it a lot easier to close the gap between you and your friend in a fun way. The same goes for most FPS, RTS and fighter games ... Only RPGs put this artificial barrier in place.

However, removing level would affect other areas of gameplay. Quests could be lore- and appearance-centric, rather than grind- and gear-centric. Since all players are at the same level, queues for instanced content would go down and it would be easier to get bodies for raids. The rest of the game world would also be easier to expand and utilize, since developers wouldn't need to worry about sheltering level 15s against level 80s. It would, though, make alts more common, which may be problematic in gear acquisition for people's mains for those who raid.

Would you play a WoW without levels, or is there something about levels that is still needed?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: How do you want WoW crafting to change?

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Face it: WoW crafting is boring. Learn a recipe, put in the materials, click to create. Repeat again and again to skill up and get new recipes. The end. We have exciting-sounding skills such as engineering and alchemy, but we have no experimentation and little customization! While we've gotten crafting dailies to make the skill-ups a little more fun outside the usual materials grind, Blizzard should probably update how crafting skills work.

Personally, I'd love a system that favors some creativity. Imagine if materials for alchemists were in certain classification: increase or decrease, physical or mental, strength or speed, endurance or power, etc. If you mix an increase reagent with a physical, mental, or power one, you'll make a strength potion. Choose decrease, mental, speed, and endurance, and maybe you make a consumable potion that lowers mana/rage/energy/runic power/focus to targets within the blast radius. No premade recipes, just players experimenting with the game. I can see a similar situation for cooking (mm, spicy chocolate gator bacon!).

Gathering could be redone a bit, too. Imagine if you could break down items to get certain materials, sort of like enchanting. Skinners can break down leather for rare hides, miners can melt down armor to retrieve rare minerals, herbalists could ... pick mushrooms out of pies?

What would you like to see change in WoW crafting? Dyes added to change armor color results? Choosing blades and hilts when crafting a weapon? RP leather armor and whip options tied to custom emotes for those nights in Goldshire?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts