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Breakfast Topic: What features from other games would be fun in WoW?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to our pages.

Let's face it: We all need an occasional break from WoW in our gaming rotation. My most recent slump sent me from the computer chair to the couch to play a little something called Super Mario Galaxy 2. Now, obviously World of Warcraft is not -- and will never be -- anything close to a platformer. Sure, there are some similarities, but if history is any guide, too much platforming in the land of Azeroth only leads to frustration. Having one of your party members miss "the jump" in Wailing Caverns is always a toe-tapping exercise in patience. Hell, if you need proof that your average MMO player isn't well versed in the art of platforming, just look at Naxxramas. If I had a nickel for every time I'd seen players eat slime during Frogger, fall off the Gluth pipe or trip over their two left feet in Heigan's dance studio ... Well, let's just say I'd have a pretty nice nickel collection.

But if I were to pretend for just a moment that World of Warcraft were designed solely for my own personal entertainment, I think I'd include a lot of odd mechanics in raids to greatly shake things up. Messed-up gravity. Interesting jumping puzzles over bottomless pits. Water levels! Just imagine how much the feel of a dungeon would change if only you had the right zone-wide buffs to include. Buff up the monsters, give all the players a 100 percent haste and run speed buff, and just watch things get chaotic. Oh, yeah -- and the floor behind you is slowly falling away ...

Obviously, if these things were implemented in the game, it would be the beginning of the end for Blizzard. These are simply terrible ideas; I'm aware of that. That's the point, though -- we've all had that one idea that we think would be ridiculously fun to try, even though it's incredibly impractical.

If you had your way, what bits and pieces would you steal from other genres for your own personal version of WoW? Do you have some brilliant way to turn everyone's favorite MMO into an awesome FPS or RTS?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Guest Post: Confessions of a noob hunter

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider.

As a prot paladin, I've learned my place in the world (of Warcraft). True, that place is usually face-deep in the crotch of some monster, but that's beside the point. When I'm tanking, I know I'm here to do one thing and one thing only: to piss off bad guys so they'll leave you alone. Strapping on my shield and a mace keeps me in a Zen-like comfort zone where everything seems to just come naturally.

Like many others, though, I've found myself looking for more to do as Cataclysm lurches ever closer. After all, there are only so many things to get beaten by each week. This has left me joining a growing percentage of players in a less-than-exclusive club: "Hi, I'm Brian, and I'm an altoholic."

Most classes I've tried have felt fairly natural. I've leveled my DK and priest with no problems and have really been enjoying the early levels of both my mage and warlock (which, as you'd imagine, leaves me with quite an internal struggle). There's one class, however, that has managed to bewilder me at every turn. A class that, for whatever reason, seems so counterintuitive to me that It's taken me over a year and a half to hit level 27. My friends, I am -- cue dramatic music -- the worst hunter in the world.

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Filed under: Hunter, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Alt-zheimer's

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com.

My pally will always stay near and dear to my heart. He's my beloved main, and no other class is ever going to take that coveted position from him. Recently, however, I've found myself leveling a few alts just for the fun of it. I always used to be a one-character kind of guy, so the experience has been new and exciting for me. During these excursions into altoholism, I've learned that I find a death knight's blood DPS -- may it rest in peace -- to be extremely fun to play. I've also learned that healing isn't quite the frightening endeavor I once thought it would be.

However, there are a few other things I've learned during this time, which I'd like to share with you now.

  1. Priests are not tanks, and running head on into the first pack of mobs in a dungeon will likely make one die.
  2. Death knights cannot leap from ridiculous heights with impunity because they do not have Divine Shield.
  3. Paladins cannot Death Grip loose mobs.
  4. It's dangerous to bind Divine Intervention to the same key as Power Word: Fortitude.
  5. Responding to a trade chat ad for Vault of Archavon from a level 45 character will get you ignored rather quickly.

I could go on, but I'll spare you all of my stories of momentary in-game fugue. The point being, bouncing between alts can make it very easy to forget exactly what you're doing at any given time. Of course, the more alts you're leveling at once, the harder it becomes to keep track of each little difference.

For many of us, World of Warcraft is full of moments like these. People jump off of cliffs because they fail to remember that their trusty epic land mount can't fly. Keybind discrepancies lead to interesting mistakes with unintentionally hilarious results. The myriad of abilities offered by the 10 classes can make even the sharpest player forget that some of them exist.

As you may know, the internet is partially fueled on the most renewable resource in existence: embarrassment. So, let's do our part in keeping it powered for one more day. We want to hear your stories of alt-induced failures. While you're at it, let us know if you've got any clever tricks up your sleeve to help the rest of us avoid these symptoms of Alt-zheimer's disease.

Have you ever wanted to write for WoW.com? Your chance may be right around the corner. Watch for our next call for submissions for articles via Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com. The next byline you see here may be yours!



Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Lil Timmy, destroyer of worlds


This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com.

Every few hours or so, an NPC named Lil Timmy magically appears on the streets of Stormwind. He walks through town, musing to himself about the meaning of the word "allergic," offering one lucky person the chance to buy an adorable white kitten. He's a sweet little boy, right?

Wrong! Lil Timmy has fooled all of you. Think about it ... A 9-year-old with an endless supply of cats who wanders around at all hours of the night? There's something sinister going on here. It's obvious that this kid is all part of some nefarious plot. If you were to part the fur and look closely at that kitten's belly, I bet you'd find a timer, ticking down the days until detonation. It all makes perfect sense if you think about it. Lil Timmy is the herald of Deathwing, hiding in plain sight in the form of an unkillable child, selling you the very exploding kittens that will help bring on the coming Cataclysm. At least that's what I like to think ...

The World of Warcraft is full of characters. I'm not talking about those major lore characters we've watched develop over the years. I'm referring instead to the one-dimensional extras that help make Azeroth feel more alive. I've found that some of these unimportant NPCs have left even more of an impact on me than the Tirions and Thralls of the world. Sure, Arthas may have a compelling story, but I just can't relate to him as much as the "work is da poop" guys out in Netherwing Ledge. (Hang in there, my disobedient red brothers.)

So what about you, Breakfast Topiceers? Do you have any favorite bit characters? If so, have you ever given any of them your own background stories and personalities?

Have you ever wanted to write for WoW.com? Your chance may be right around the corner. Watch for our next call for submissions for articles via Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com. The next byline you see here may be yours!



Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: The motivations of guild leaders


This Breakfast Topic is brought to you by WoW.com's guest blogger program. Want to participate in a future call for guest posts? Read up on how to contribute, and keep an eye on the site for program announcements.

My guild sucks. No, no ... it's okay. You don't have to comfort me. I've already accepted it. My guild sucks and it's entirely my own fault. I never finished our website. I've never done any proper recruiting. We have a tabard, but I'm not sure that it's very "sick" or even "awesome." I've been a terrible guild leader so far and as a result, I've watched our membership dwindle down to just the dedicated few over the past several months.

I'm not stuck there by any means. I've been offered spots with raiding guilds that actually do things like -- say, I don't know -- raid. So, why do I do it, you ask? Well, I choose to continue leading my cold, dead husk of a guild because I so thoroughly enjoy the concept of the guild management metagame. Call me stubborn, but for me it's a huge part of World of Warcraft. Even if I were to finish off every single achievement in the game, it wouldn't give me nearly the same sense of satisfaction that leading a mildly successful guild would.

Doing that, however, takes a lot of work. You can only get so far with word-of-mouth recruiting and a friendly atmosphere. Eventually, you have to have something to offer your few members or they'll find greener pastures. It's a big job, but somebody has to do it, right?

Have you ever tried to run a guild or is that a job that doesn't even interest you? For those current guild leaders out there (both successful and otherwise), what drives you to keep on keepin' on?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Titles


This Breakfast Topic is brought to you by WoW.com's guest blogger program. Want to participate in a future call for guest posts? Read up on how to contribute, and keep an eye on the site for program announcements.

I'm a man who enjoys a good title reward. At 24 titles and counting, I have been forced to find creative ways to get the most out of them. Since I refuse to use a title rotator add-on, I've instead merged a few /settitle commands into some of my usual macros. Now when I lay down a Basic Campfire, I also become Chef Cutaia. When I'm forced to perform emergency first aid and bandage myself? Cutaia the Patient (you see what I did there). Each time I switch out my gearset, it comes with a new title, too. Crusader for ret, Loremaster for prot ... you get the idea.

Now, I've heard the argument that all titles should be difficult to get so that they can retain a sense of distinction. However, I place myself firmly on the opposite side of that debate.

Personally, I wish titles could be a bit more like the game's other collectables. Think of all the ways in which pets are obtained, for example. Some require a rare drop, while some come as achievement rewards. Some require hours of brain-melting bookshelf camping in Dalaran, and some are sold by vendors around Azeroth.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts