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Breakfast Topic: Have you ever taken time off from 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.

Sometimes people need a break from Azeroth. There are various reasons for it -- real-life issues, lack of new content, boredom, another game you have to try -- but despite the reasons, most of the time people come back. Something about the world or the people in it draws players back to see what is new since the last time they logged in. Sometimes it almost seems that WoW has a pull that is hard to escape, and you find yourself launching the game and putting in your account and password without even realizing you are doing it.

I have never taken a long break from WoW, and I have played since launch. I have taken a week or two off from time to time, but never any of these extended multiple month or year breaks from the game. Perhaps it is being a pretty serious raider that makes me log in nearly every day. Perhaps it is my penchant for being an achievement junkie or the fact I am an altaholic. But for some reason, I cannot seem to avoid the game for any major length of time. My latest break was right before Cataclysm launched, in which I caught up on some other great video games I missed -- but even then, I logged on to check mail and the AH and chat with some friends. And that is what I realized keeps me coming back: the people in my guild and on my friends list; it isn't the raids or the chance at shiny purples, even though I do enjoy that aspect.

So have you taken time off from WoW? How long was your break? What brought you back?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: How are you managing your alts?

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

It is hard to focus entirely on a single character in WoW. Unless a person can PvP, raid, or dungeon crawl all the time or has an extremely limited play schedule, most players create an alt or two or 10. Wrath made alts easy -- hit 80, run a few dungeons, full epic gear in a day. Cataclysm may have eased the leveling process, but gearing and rep grinding on a single character is much slower than in Wrath. Also, there are not a lot of successful PUG raids to get an alt into. Most guilds haven't even killed all the content yet in normal, let alone in heroic. So the question remains: How to deal with alts?

I had seven 80s in Wrath, and all of them had at least full 251 gear before Cataclysm launched; heck, I had the ICC drakes on two different characters. Yet in Cataclysm, I find myself leveling them much more slowly and in fact didn't touch any until I had gotten my main through heroics until the point that justice points became useless and I had been exalted with every Cataclysm reputation except my guild. Even then, I concentrated on a single alt primarily hitting 85, then getting some gear.

But I found something interesting: Merely doing cooking and fishing dailies every day in Stormwind, my other alts are gaining experience much faster than I thought they would. I hit 81 on a few alts without ever having left Stormwind, except for the initial trips out to Hyjal and Vashj'ir in order to open the portals. One the other hand, I have a friend who leveled all his toons to 85 before deciding which one he was going to focus on.

So how are you dealing with your alts in Cataclysm? Are you leveling them all or letting some sit? Did you change your main?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Which Cataclysm heroic do you dread seeing on your loading 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.

Since every instance in Cataclysm has its own load screen, players know where they are going before they ever set foot in the instance. Some instances are harder than others. Some have awful trash. Some have boss fights that require lots of moving, and some have tons of ambient group damage. Depending on your role, which instance you want to see come up as your random probably changes. Some have that one piece of gear you need or that achievement you really would love to get; others make you feel disheartened as soon as the loading screen pops up.

I currently have two 85s; my main is a tank, and my alt is a hunter. While tanking anything but Stonecore, I am fairly happy. I hate the initial few pulls in Stonecore with Milhouse Manastorm and those damn guys that turn into rock elementals and have that disgusting AoE so much, and the trash pulls with the sentries later on also suck. My tank just runs the one heroic a day for the points so I can get my last piece of tier for feral and start picking up some of the moonkin off-spec pieces, so if I get Vortex Pinnacle every day and just blow through it, all the better.

On the other hand, with my hunter, every time I see The Deadmines I am actually happy. I still need the axe and bracers. Also, my hunter hasn't been 85 very long, so justice points are still useful to me.

What heroics do you hate to see pop up? What makes you hate this particular instance? Which are you actually happy to see?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: How hard are you working on guild achievements?

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 guild leveling system is both interesting and annoying at times. There are some fun and interesting guild perks, as well as some obscure ones. Whether fiercely gathering, fishing, cooking and crafting in an attempt to reach the guild totals, or running around killing every critter in sight, there is no shortage of work to be done to accomplish all the guild achievements and access all the guild perks. Some people dive headlong into them, and others just take care of their own toons -- and whatever comes is just a bonus.

The idea of having every race/class combo at 85 and at least honored with the guild to get an extra bank tab is frustrating. Seriously, how many dwarf mages have you seen running around? On top of that, the caps for guild rep each week leaving you just a few points shy of that next rep level can be disheartening. I have leveled a human hunter to 85 and am currently working on a dwarf rogue and gnome priest. Other guildies race-changed to worgen or the new race/class options, and we are down to being only a few short.

I have taken my main out and killed hundreds of critters, fished in endless numbers of pools, and between my alts, I skin, herb, and mine. My guild as a whole took the fishing to get the fish feast recipe as a major endeavor, as well as making flasks for the cauldron recipes, having everyone get their flasks made by elixir-specced guild members. My guild certainly teams up to push achievements hard.

So how hard are you working toward the guild achievements? Which ones are you focusing on the most? Is your guild teaming up to push out the achievements? Or are you busy being a lone ranger?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Do you test patches on the PTR?

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

Blizzard puts up public test realms (PTRs) for testing new content all the time. At times the PTRs are unplayable, either due to bugs or overcrowding. At times they are ridiculous because of the economy, because people transfer all the gold on their account to a single character before copying them. Some major guilds go whenever there is new raid content to practice it on the PTR, so they can get their world firsts whenever the content does go live. Some people seem to go just to stand around and complain about the changes yet not actually test anything. However, all the problems aside, the PTRs are the only way to experience the new content or class changes prior to live.

I tend to copy over to the PTR whenever there is a new raid instance or a major revamp of my class. Having been in the betas for the last couple of expansions, I tend to file lots of bug reports and hope that at least some of my issues are addressed. I have gotten frustrated with people attempting to make a ton of gold in the test realms because they do not seem to grasp the fact that the money doesn't come with them to live. Whatever is done on the test realm stays there and dies there.

The PTR is there for testing, and testing requires people to be able to have access to the new material. Because a lot of people don't actually test on the PTRs, we tend to have several mini-patches in order to fix bugs with a major patch. So actually use the PTR for testing, since it will only help cut out some bugs for when it goes live.

Do you actually use the PTRs? Do you participate in sending in bug reports? Are you one of these people who copy over all your gold and charge exorbitant AH prices on the PTR?

Do you test new patches on the PTR?
Yes, I consciously try to test the new material.319 (3.9%)
Yes, but only to sightsee or get an early shot at the content.825 (10.2%)
No.4841 (59.8%)
Only if there's something specific to my class or character I want to check out.2106 (26.0%)


Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Do you save stuff for nostalgic reasons?

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

Nostalgia is a funny thing; it often lets us remember only the good and forget the bad. We look back with rose-colored glasses on the past, thinking how awesome it was. In real life, people hang on to odd souvenirs as memory triggers, and sometimes it is the same in game. There are old drops that took us a long time to get or signified a first kill of a boss in a previous expansion, things we just cannot seem to vendor or throw away because it feels like cheating on the memory. So we hold on to these items, allowing them to clog up bank slots so that whenever we go digging through them for an obscure item we currently need, we get that pleasant flashback.

For the longest time, I was a borderline hoarder of nostalgic items. I had my full Stormrage set in the bank from vanilla, my tier 6 and my SSC trash staff from BC, and a few other random pieces, even including a Wildheart helm. I used them to not only remember the old raids and guilds, but friends who left WoW or switched factions or servers. However, it would be a quick, wistful moment -- then I would grab whatever I needed and close my bank back up.

The trouble was, the amount of items and the randomness in which they were fit into my bank created chaos, and as I was collecting tabards for my 25 tabard achievement and gear sets for achievements, I simply ran out of room. So I purged my bank, selling any and everything with a cash value. It was a little tough, but I moved on.

Do you have items in your bank purely for nostalgic reasons? If so, what items did you keep and why? Have you ever had to purge your bank when it began to fill up?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Do you actually enjoy PUGs?

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 have all heard a friend or a guild member share a PUG horror story. Most of us even have one or two of our own. Prior to Wrath of the Lich King, WoW was not very PUG-friendly. There was no random dungeon tool, trash was not the AoE-fest it was in Wrath, raids didn't have normal and heroic modes, there wasn't a lot of 10-player content -- the list goes on and on. However, unless you have had a truly sheltered existence in WoW, you have joined a PUG. Surprisingly enough, sometimes PUGs can even be fun and rewarding.

I have my fair share of PUG horror stories, but I have had a couple of great moments in PUGs. In BC, I joined a PUG Mag's Lair and ended up meeting members of a new raiding guild I got invited to after I saved the raid from wiping. I met numerous friends while tanking dungeons, both in the leveling process and heroics. I even started using the random dungeon tool again since 4.03 so I could get exalted with Gilneas prior to the Cata launch. With some of the AoE tanking nerfs and the tanking changes, I was actually enjoying tanking heroics wearing complete DPS gear. I even did a couple of successful PUG achievement runs to try and finish off a few remaining things, so I could focus entirely on new content. Most importantly, I was having fun while pugging.

Do you have good PUG stories? Do you actually like or even prefer to PUG? Or do you avoid PUGs like the plague?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What mods could you not live without?

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

Some people love their mods, downloading every single new thing that comes across the pages of Curse or any of the other addon sites. Others are very minimalist, using only what they need to function for raiding or PvP. And yet still others try and completely avoid mods altogether. The last group is clearly the minority; the mod community is a huge part of WoW, and mods have become such a common part of the game that some people forget what the default UI looks like.

Throughout the game, Blizzard has seemingly had a love/hate relationship with the mod community. Some of the mods it felt were so functional and helpful that it absorbed some of their functionality into the default UI; the raid frames are now similar to Grid, your map lights up with objectives and arrows like Quest Helper. Others Blizzard felt were overpowered and changed the game in order to break them, such as the original, one-button Decursive from vanilla WoW, and recently, AVR.

When I was in the recent beta, Blizzard turned off the option for any mods for a while, and the game was a flood of QQ from people who basically claimed they couldn't play with the default UI and without their necessary mods. Personally always running mod-light, I adapted quickly to the mod-free play, and it even led me to dropping a few things from live, such as my damage meter and chat mod. I have found the game functions fairly well without mods, but I do still require my raid warnings, threat meter, and my guild's loot mod.

What mods can you not function without? Has Blizzard ever changed the game to make a mod you felt like you needed no longer work? How long did it take you to adapt to playing without the mod again? Or are you one of the few who refuses to use mods at all?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What do other players do that really annoys 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.

WoW is a game of interaction. If you want to do any dungeons, serious PvP, or tough quests, you have to work with other players. Also like the real world, occasionally we meet other people we like, some we instantly click with, some who grow on us over time, and some people who just annoy the heck out of us. Sometimes it is in-game actions we find distasteful; sometimes it is how they talk to other players or any other variety of actions that hits a nerve. With some of these people, we have to bury our dislike because they are in our guilds, and we just do an if they don't bother me, I won't bother them approach. Others, we can avoid entirely and make use of the wonderful /ignore feature.

One of my biggest pet peeves is ganking. Killing someone who is 20 or 30 levels lower than you isn't honorable. It doesn't make you cool -- it is basically a grown man beating up a toddler. The worst part of it is that these same players tend to run and hide when someone their own level comes out to defend the noobs. This is a cowardly act. Another issue I have is people who use Xbox Live talk when they are frustrated -- they immediately devolve into racist, homophobic, and just awful and often nonsensical comments. My final pet peeve is people who mispronounce words in Vent but say them over and over as if it was on their word-of-the-day calender, pronouncing melee "mealie, mealie" and using it as if it were their new favorite word.

Are there certain actions other players commit that really annoy you? What do you find truly distasteful? Do you have some of these people who annoy you in your guild? Or are you one of the offenders?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Has Cataclysm let you down?

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

After all the anticipation, all the build-up, all the hype ... Cataclysm is here. For all intents and purposes, Cataclysm has delivered on much of what was promised. However, as with all change, there is good as well as bad and things that left us without the enjoyment we thought we would have. Some still complain that offering only 5 levels isn't a full expansion; whether level cap really effects all that much other than being an arbitrary number at which max-level content is at remains to be seen. Others complain about having to find the instance portals to queue for those instances, but it does make sense that you should have to know where you are going to go there.

There are numerous moments I found epic. The Uldum quest chain with Harrison Jones was great, but at the same time, the fact I had to go back and find those couple of random quests that begin by killing animals to finish my Uldum quest achievement kind of annoyed me. Another disappointment was the length of the Vashj'ir boat phasing scene, at least for Alliance -- and after this nearly 10-minute snorefest, it bugged, did not give me credit, and I had to hearth to Stormwind and repeat the awful process. As an herbalist, the fact Azshara's Veil is only in Vashj'ir was also disappointing. These small, annoying little issues are trivial, however, and only show small flaws in an otherwise great expansion.

So what things in Cataclysm have disappointed or annoyed you -- or have you been completely pleased? Or are you in the small fraction of players yet to get Cataclysm?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Cataclysm, Guest Posts

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