Skip to Content

WoW Insider has the latest on the Mists of Pandaria!

Breakfast Topic: How and where do you prefer to level your alts?

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

With all the improvements to the leveling process, you'd be hard pressed to find a player immune to the ill effects of altoholism. Everybody (and with the new free-until-level 20 system, probably their grandmothers too) is rolling that one class they've really, really wanted to try but were too put off by the leveling process to actually do so. In many cases, they are rolling several new alts. All those alts adds up to a lot of leveling -- far more leveling than the current content can support, even. Even after three alts, many find themselves having exhausted the zones currently available in the game. It can get stale very, very quickly.

To prevent the dread condition known as burnout, alt-heavy players have to mix things up as they level -- different zones, different continents, dungeons, Battlegrounds ... Anything to break up the monotony. Personally, while there are several zones I never skip -- Zangarmarsh, Netherstorm, Howling Fjord and Grizzly Hills, for instance -- I make an effort to play through the zones in a new order, hopping continents as often as possible, and never running dungeons or Battlegrounds. Sure, the story may be massively fragmented this way, but I've played through it before. I know the story; I'm there for the gaming aspects the second time through. Sure, dungeons and Battlegrounds may be fun and provide quick experience, but questing lets me go at my own speed.

When you level alts, how do you navigate the zones? Do you have a select few favorites that you always level through, or do you try to forge new adventures in new zones as you make your way to 85? Or do you bypass the zones entirely and opt for dungeon or Battleground farming?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Are you running out of stuff?

Zoning in
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've played WoW for nearly seven years, almost as long as the game has been available. I've always enjoyed the game and have never once given serious thought to just quitting cold turkey. However, when I logged in a few days ago, I was struck with a revelation. I'd run the Zul dungeons nearly every day since patch 4.1. "I think I'll pass for today," I thought. I didn't really need the points, in truth, as I don't raid -- preferring small groups to large ones and having a rigid schedule -- nor plan on doing so any time soon. So I headed to the Molten Front and found myself asking why I was doing dailies. I had plenty of gold for my typical expenditures, and I didn't particularly care for any gold sink items. I had the Flamebreaker title already, having completed it a day or two before. "I'll come back later," I said.

I didn't go back. It was then that I realized I was out of things to do -- and with further thought, I realized it wasn't a new experience. At least once during each expansion I have this gaming funk, where I find myself excited upon logging in, looking forward to seeing my wonderful guild members, looking forward to being my usual death knight self -- but then find myself almost instantly bored upon doing so. It's not that I don't still love the game. I do, very much so. It's simply that I am out of things to do on my main character.

So what did I do? I rolled a new character, Ashcroft the Worgen warrior. Though I moderate my playtime much more closely now to avoid quickly exhausting the novelty, I have had more fun than I have had in a long time leveling my wolfish avatar through Kalimdor. There is a sense of pervasive newness to the experience that has reinvigorated my love for the game.

Do you ever feel the mid-expansion doldrums, and if so, how do you break out of them?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Why do you raid?

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

The way I see it -- and bear in mind, my vision isn't exactly 20/20 -- there are two chief motivators for those who raid. The first is a rather simple one -- they know the game, and they're going to play it. As real as Azeroth may seem at times, it is in the end simply a game to be enjoyed at its highest. For many, raiding fulfills that call. The allure of tackling impossible odds with nine or 24 of your friends in a stunning display of coordination is quite powerful and wholly compelling.

Yet on the other front, we have those who (like me) approach raiding not from a gameplay perspective but from a story perspective. Some see raiding as the way to conclude the story that we play through as we quest our way to the max level. After all, only by braving the Firelands is one afforded the opportunity to vanquish Ragnaros for good.

Why do you raid? Do you seek the thrill of downing a boss with your friends? Do you want to finally see that fiery menace destroyed for good? Or perhaps you are drawn by both possibilities -- to see the story to its end, and to do so with a group of your friends? Or do you prefer to wash your hands clean of the raiding scene, drawn neither by the cooperative efforts and payoff nor by the allure of the story's conclusions?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Are you a fan of Azeroth's sheer size or fine detail?

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

World of Warcraft certainly has a wide appeal. One need only look at the motley crew assembled on this news blog to take notice of that. Along with such a vast fan base come varying ways to appreciate the game world.

Depending on who you ask, Watchmen is either a great piece of popular literature, a great graphic novel, or an overhyped piece of junk. If you talk to somebody who falls in one of the former camps, you're likely to hear that one of the key reasons for the novel's success are the small details. Throughout the novel, a minor backstory involving Soviet aggression and the escalating chances of nuclear war in Dr. Manhattan's wake plays out in the form of newspaper headlines. It's one of those blink-and-you'll-miss-it plot points, but it really helps to create a sense of reality in the novel's dystopian alternate history.

Such minor details are often the key to success in most artistic media -- and gaming is no different. Look no further than WoW's famed arguing NPCs Asric and Jadaar, or on a smaller scale the shifty vendor Griftah, whose magical amulets prove a little less than spellbinding. Such small aspects of a game world so massive can often go overlooked, yet it is there that the game finds its heart. On the other hand, few game worlds are as expansive and in constant flux as Azeroth. With four continents to explore and a growing story that evolves every few months, it's hard to downplay the brilliant sense of scale and scope that Blizzard has brought to Azeroth.

What sells the game world for you -- the details, or the big picture?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Do you feel the life behind the game world of Azeroth?

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

One of the most powerful aspects of gaming is the prospect of visiting new, alien worlds. Even familiar worlds are a treat to visit, as long as they are fresh with life. The success of many games is based solely on how well the designers are able to create a credible, realistic world for players to explore. My personal favorite is Tamriel of Elder Scrolls fame. Especially in Oblivion, the game conveys a strong sense of a living world. NPCs have seemingly random behavioral patterns, walking into shops, talking with the shopkeep, returning to the streets. They meet in secret, they spread rumors, they get arrested, and they get killed. No action feels inconsequential, no character useless.

In this regard, World of Warcraft is often taken for granted. At endgame, most players will rarely leave Orgrimmar, instead using the Dungeon Finder and the in-city dailies to provide their sustenance. Even for the tasks such as materials gathering, rep grinding, and questing that most players perform, very little of the game world is actually seen. But Azeroth is a wonderfully lively place, especially in Cataclysm.

While the online aspect of WoW prevents it from becoming the masterwork that Tamriel is, Cataclysm has made great strides in making the world seem alive. NPCs fight each other along the battle lines. Phasing makes your actions impact the world. Patrol mobs in zones are more common. There are more voice-acted, scripted quests. The world seems far more important, far more worth saving than it ever has.

Do you feel the life behind WoW's game world?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What should WoW's grand finale event be like?

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

As much as it may hurt to consider, WoW will one day end. It's unfortunate, but all good things must come to an end. There will be a point when Blizzard realizes that it is no longer economical to keep the WoW servers running. It will flip the big, imposing, red switch, sending all the servers offline for the final time. But knowing Blizzard as we do, such a monumental event would not take the form of an unceremonious shutdown. There would be spectacle, and lots of it.

Given that Blizzard would be shutting down the servers because they yield no economic benefit, putting development time into a great sendoff would be highly unlikely. As such, we would be stuck with preexisting world events. That still leaves a lot of room for shenanigans, however. Would Blizzard bring the zombie invasion back? Perhaps The Burning Crusade launch event? Raid bosses all over major cities? Or (my personal favorite) perhaps a conglomerate of them all: zombies aflame with fel fire disrupting major cities, creating rifts that require an entire server's effort to close? With the Lich King in the center of it all just for grins? Sign me up.

There are so many ways to give WoW the send-off it deserves. How would you do it?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What quest chains can you imagine on the big 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.

If there is one thing that I absolutely hate about being a film student, it is that I cannot escape being a film student. See a movie? Rip it to shreds mentally by dissecting every little detail. Read a book? Visualize it as a film in my head, and make changes to the text to support the cinematic format. Everywhere I go, everyone I talk to, everything I do -- all of it is viewed through "film goggles."

This includes World of Warcraft. When I heard that they were planning a film, I was understandably hesitant, yet nonetheless optimistic. While WoW's lore isn't the cream of the fantasy crop, it is undeniably a pretty decent collection of stories and mythology. It is, while not as vast as Tolkien's mythos, very expansive and covers a great deal of in-universe history. With all of this backstory, there are plenty of moments that would feel right at home on the big screen.

The problem is choosing just one. While it is likely that they will go for an original story, there are so many moments and stories in WoW's universe -- both the backstory and the in-game experience -- that would be wonderful to witness in the full majesty of the silver screen. Most every large quest chain that I complete, I envision as some sort of film. My personal favorite candidate is the Cipher of Damnation chain. It has all the makings of an epic fantasy tale -- massive, world-threatening conflict (the elements and their unrest); the revelation of a grander scheme (Kael'thas having the Cipher at his disposal); a family with issues intertwined within the larger narrative (Oronok Torn-heart); an intense, heated finale (Cyrukh); and most importantly, one of the most scenic and (in its own way) beautiful settings the game has to offer.

When you play WoW, do you imagine the story on the big screen? What chain would you want to see Hollywood take on, assuming that they'd do it justice?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What place in Azeroth scares you?

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

If Amnesia: The Dark Descent has taught us nothing else, it has taught us that minds can be broken, and even the most brave and unshakable of men will succumb to fear and terror with simply ambient noise. Jump scares are aplenty, but it's the ambient sound constantly echoing throughout the dark halls of that game that really make my blood run cold. The anticipation of something around the next corner, not the thing itself; the unknown, not the known. In this way, anything, anywhere, anyone can be scary -- even Azeroth.

What area of Azeroth scares you the most? The first thing that comes to the minds of most is the infamous Karazhan Crypt. It has all the makings of a great horror story: ambient noise, suspiciously empty chambers, an ancient feel, and just a hint of a terrible backstory. Not to mention, of course, the scores of bodies hanging upside-down on rusted hooks submerged in water. The place is high octane nightmare fuel, and we know next to nothing about it.

I, personally, am far more terrified by the northern region of Deadwind Pass. The strange campsite called "Ariden's Camp" has haunted me since my first character, a lowly gnome warlock who had just ventured through Duskwood. Who was Ariden? Why is the camp abandoned? What of the Dark Riders mentioned in Duskwood? The not knowing ate away at my thoughts, and I began to create grisly links between the scant clues. That Blizzard has offered no explanation has done little to ease my fears, and to this day, I avoid the northern region of Deadwind Pass if at all possible.

Where do you find fear in the World of Warcraft, and why is it a scary place for you?<

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What do you listen to while you play WoW?

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

Your listening music for today's Breakfast Topic shall be A Whole New World from Disney's Aladdin. Rake in the nostalgia.

I grew up eagerly anticipating the latest Disney animated film. The first movie I can recall seeing in theaters was Hunchback of Notre Dame. The music has always stuck with me, and to this day, I have an extensive Disney music collection -- from the Oscar winners (Beauty and the Beast, A Whole New World) to the lesser known but still powerful (Hellfire/Heaven's Light), I've got most every song to come out of that studio. And when I play WoW, that playlist is on an infinite loop.

The in-game music has matured with the game, and the tracks introduced with Cataclysm are incredibly powerful and impacting. When the Shattering login music leaked, universal praise was given to the track, with many people -- myself included -- looping the 12-minute masterpiece for a good while.

And yet, despite the excellent default tracks, many people -- again, myself included -- choose to mute the sound of the music and replace it with a soundtrack of their own choosing. You can tell a lot about the way people game based on the music they listen to. Immersion gamers tend to listen to the default sounds, while more competitive types may replace it for a more high-energy sound.

What music graces your ears as you play, and what does it say about you?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Do you play other games besides WoW?

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

2011 looks to be a great year for gamers. The return of Duke Nukem. Portal 2. BioWare's trifecta of Dragon Age 2, Mass Effect 3 and The Old Republic. A new Final Fantasy. A new Legend of Zelda (and a remake of the greatest game ever made, Ocarina of Time -- flame on, but you know it's true). The return of Kid Icarus. The already-released Dead Space 2. There is no shortage of great stuff to play. And all the while, sitting smugly on my desktop and the desktop of 12 million others worldwide, is that little golden "W."

When the Steam holiday sales rolled around, I found myself drowning in a sea of backlogged games. The past five years that I've played WoW, I have seen very little of games outside of it. So when I should get sucked into Mass Effect, I realized there was a massive (no pun intended) collection of great games out there I had missed! I must play them all. The challenge then was playing these other games and still playing WoW -- a balancing act I have yet to master.

With the smorgasbord of excellence awaiting gamers in 2011, how will you find yourself sneaking time outside of Azeroth? Will you succumb to the deluge of games and break away from Azeroth entirely for a time, or will you find ways to incorporate WoW and other games into your gaming schedule?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts