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Breakfast Topic: Is Azeroth's technology too advanced?

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 party agrees to meet just outside the dragon's lair at sunset for a surprise attack.

First to arrive is the Night Elf Allara; the huntress silently tests her bowstring, as the nightsaber at her feet opens its mouth for a huge yawn. Next is Grizz, the mighty Dwarf; he adjusts his plate armor carefully, tightening the straps. Then Doria, a Worgen rogue; she slips in amidst the pair unnoticed and greets them with a huff from her canine nostrils. Fourth is Elden, an aged Human priest; he moves with serene grace, his simple robes making a gentle hiss in the cool evening air.

And lastly ... "Hey guys! Sorry I'm late!" roars Nitpik the Gnome as he gallops in atop a clanking Mechanostrider. His mace -- a rotating gear -- creaks loudly as he hops to the ground, landing with a crunch in his jet boots. The tiny technophile adjusts his goggles and pats the mechanical chicken at his side. "What'd I miss?
"

Azeroth has a lot of advanced machinery. From the Gnomish Death Ray to the Goblin Rocket Launcher, from biplanes to zeppelins, from logging robots to entire mechanized defense systems, the World of Warcraft is an odd blend of fantasy and science fiction. In Cataclysm, the emphasis shifted away from robots and ancient machines -- the elemental planes have a distinctly organic feel, and the other zones are all rooted in the natural world -- yet we also saw the addition of playable Goblins, a race that's arguably brought more new technology to the landscape than almost any other.

Do these technologies belong in a swords-and-sorcery fantasy setting? Do you think there should be a cap on how advanced technology can get in such a world, or should it be allowed to run wild? Does seeing a sword-wielding Orc alongside a Goblin with a shotgun ever strike you as odd, or do you find it perfectly acceptable?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What item slot would you create?

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're all intimately familiar with the 19 equipment slots on our character screens. There's nothing quite like the feeling of finally putting an item in an empty space on a low-level alt, and many players absolutely live for new gear at max level. Love it or hate it, care or don't, there's no denying the truth: Loot is a major part of the WoW experience. And the 19 slots we have -- head, neck, shoulder, back, chest, shirt, tabard, wrist, hands, waist, legs, feet, two rings, two trinkets, main-hand, off-hand, and wand/ranged/relic -- are filled and then updated almost constantly.

What if we made it an even 20? There are still some parts of the body left ungeared, so to speak, and other slots that could be broken down further. What if legs were two slots -- maybe kneepads and leggings? Or perhaps a vest/harness slot, worn under robes and armor but over shirts?

I'd add a slot for earrings. They could range from simple gold and silver studs for characters in their 20s all the way up to elaborate magical hoops and bars for 85s. Can you imagine sporting flashy gemstone earrings you ripped from the lobes of various bosses? My blood elf would enjoy rocking some seashell spirals stolen from Lady Naz'jar.

If you could add one more item slot to the character screen, what would you add and why? What kinds of items would that slot accept? Where we would we obtain them?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: After you gank, do you rub it 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.

It's happened to each of us at least once, if not dozens or hundreds of times. You're wandering the wilds of Stranglethorn (or the dark glens of Duskwood, or the rusty ridges of Hellfire Peninsula, or even the hot sands of Uldum) when suddenly, your character locks up. You hear the sound of blades or magic, and immediately a sickening realization hits you: You're being ganked.

In seconds, you're dead. Perhaps you sigh. Perhaps you swear. Perhaps you were in the other room getting a drink. Regardless, the view before you now is your corpse with an enemy player standing over it, triumphant.

But then this happens: G4nkst4r laughs at you. G4nkst4r spits on you. G4nkst4r brushes up against you and farts loudly.

Then, in all caps: "Y O U L O S E."

Taunting enemy players is a practice that's been around as long as WoW itself. Some players make the kill and leave, content that slaying their enemy is enough. Others stay -- to camp, to jeer, to make lewd gestures, to teabag. The option to make fun of your slain opponent is available to all, but not everyone does it. It's a controversial topic with fierce proponents on both sides.

Should you tease your foe after you've killed him? Are there any special conditions surrounding when you should do so (your enemy was caught by surprise, he had friends with him, he's much lower/higher-level, etc.)? Do you rub it in -- and why, or why not? Do you think taunting enemy players is a malicious act, or do you see it as justified?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What WoW character would you like to have coffee with?

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

Ner'zhul. Medivh. Zul'jin. Uther the Lightbringer. Malygos. Aegwynn. King Terenas Menethil II. Archimonde. Rend Blackhand. Kel'Thuzad. Grom Hellscream. Alleria Windrunner. Illidan Stormrage. Lady Vashj. Gul'dan. Sir Anduin Lothar. Dagran Thaurissan. Archmage Antonidas. Turalyon. Orgrim Doomhammer.

These and many other legendary characters played major roles in shaping the Azeroth we know today. Some were heroes, championing their causes with honor, courage, and compassion. Others were villains, sowing seeds of pain, destruction, and chaos. Still others were merely bystanders or victims, caught beside or within the crossfire of the world's many wars. Each met their end, some too soon, others far too late.

We know their stories as history tells them... but what of the personal tale? What of the man or woman behind the legend? We have little to nothing recorded on the thoughts of these influential leaders, murderers, thinkers, and watchers. What if we could obtain an autobiographical account firsthand? What if we could meet with one of these titanic figures and hear his side of the story?

Ruling out the fact that some characters refuse to stay dead (Kael'thas Sunstrider, I'm looking at you), and assuming the nastier villains wouldn't kill you on sight (perhaps we'll host the event in a neutral city like Shattrath), which deceased figure from Warcraft history would you sit down for a cup of Blended Bean Brew with? What would you ask him?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Did you accomplish your Fire Festival goals?

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The coming and going of the Midsummer Fire Festival was overshadowed by the arrival of patch 4.2 and the Firelands, but now all the assorted bonfires scattered far and wide have been extinguished, and the flaming torches have all come clattering to the ground. We've danced 'round poles and taken care of danger in Zangarmarsh. Heck, the Ice Stone has melted so many times it's hard to keep track! It was a time for celebration and a time for fun, but like all good holidays, it had to come to an end.

Did you get your hands on that new pet you wanted? Some sweet gear for strutting around town? Did you finished your holiday achievements? If you didn't get what you were seeking, what held you back?

Have you ever wanted to write for WoW Insider? Your chance may be right around the corner. Watch for our next call for submissions, and be sure to sign up for Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider. The next byline you see here may be yours!

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Male or female?

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

When you first create a new character, you have many choices to make. Some of these choices -- faction, race, and class -- will dramatically affect your gameplay. Others, like hair color and facial features, are purely cosmetic. One decision, however, straddles the border between significant and arbitrary: Will you be male or female? Male and female characters have no stat differences, so picking one over the other is essentially an aesthetic option ... or is it?

Gender politics in WoW are a huge topic in their own right, so we'll keep the scope narrow and focus just on the choice at the point of character creation. How do you decide which sex to be? Some believe that one should play one's own sex and not the other (the term G.I.R.L. [guy in real life] springs to mind here). Others say it's totally up to each player, and it doesn't matter if a guy wants to play as a girl or vice versa. Still others think your choice of character gender says something about who you are as a person; a rival camp claims your choice of sex has little to do with who you are in real life.

How did you make that decision when you first created a new avatar? Perhaps you automatically gravitated toward your own sex, or the opposite. Perhaps you felt pressure from an outside source -- social mores, a friend, your beliefs or opinions -- and chose given those parameters. Perhaps you just took whatever the game gave you at the outset.

Are most of your characters male? Female? Or do you have an even split? Which sex do you play the most, and why? Do you think a player's gender choice says something about who he or she is?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Your personal guardian

Noobcakes knew he was a goner. A dozen nerubians, pouring in from every side. All cooldowns blown. Pet deceased. Only one hope left: Feign Death. He collapsed to the ground, praying his assailants would be fooled ... but alas! Still they came, fangs dripping, mandibles clacking. He fired shots wildly into the pack, randomly, wounding some but missing most. Still they skittered, drawing nearer and nearer. Noobcakes shut his eyes, and prepared for the end.

Suddenly, a heal! A whirlwind! Frost shock; blades; holy light! Noobcakes opened his eyes to find the bugs dead at his feet, and his three loyal friends standing by, their faces solemn. Breathing a sigh of relief, Noobcakes thanked each in turn, and continued onward, secure in the knowledge that his faithful guardians had his back.

There are a number of quests scattered throughout the land that require you to free or otherwise recruit a small, temporary party of casters, warriors, and healers to your cause. If you've done any questing in early Borean Tundra, Howling Fjord, or Twilight Highlands, you're already familiar with this concept of NPC guardians: they are mini-versions of certain classes who follow you tirelessly and fight at your side. During the quests, they only last a short few minutes. But what if they persisted longer?

If you could have a permanent NPC guardian, what class would they be? What race? Which abilities would you want them to have? Would they be summoned or always with you? If you could custom-build an NPC friend/hireling, who would you create?

Have you ever wanted to write for WoW Insider? Your chance may be right around the corner. Watch for our next call for submissions, and be sure to sign up for Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider. The next byline you see here may be yours!

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Where in Azeroth would you make your imaginary home?

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

Mornin', friend! Cheapo Renthike here. I'll be your Goblin realtor today! I've the finest Azerothian real estate right at my fingertips, ready to show and sell! What are you in the market for? Big city? Country farm? Small town? Or something more exotic? C'mon, I ain't got all day here!

No matter your preference, your options for where to place your imaginary home in an imaginary world are quite numerous. Do you enjoy big city life? Why not settle down in Strormwind (only occasionally attacked by dragons), Ironforge (a bit damp), or Darnassus (recycling is mandatory)? How about Undercity (frequent mold problems), Orgrimmar (terrible traffic at rush hour), or Thunder Bluff (not good for acrophobics)? You can even make your home in Shattrath or Dalaran.

Maybe you'd prefer the country experience? You might find a farmhouse in Westfall (beware of twisters), a quiet outpost in the Grizzly Hills (if you're a lumberjack), or perhaps the remnants of a cottage in one of the Plaguelands (be sure to get your vaccines updated). If small town living is your style, you may enjoy Lakeshire (now with 25% less lake), Auberdine (currently under renovation), or Crossroads (Chuck Norris' summer getaway). Fan of the beach? Head to Ratchet, Booty Bay, Sen'jin Village, or Theramore. Perhaps something more arid? Plant your feet in Cenarion Hold, Gadgetzan, or Ramkahen. If you want to hit the slopes, try Gnomeregan, K3, or Everlook. The choices are nearly endless!

If you could move to one of Azeroth's many cities and towns, where would you go?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What class puts you at ease?

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's been a draining evening. Your eyes have long since become glossed over. Dungeon after dungeon -- and every single time, some moron screws it up. "If I see one more [your least favorite class] in these randoms, I'll scream!" you growl as you click "Enter Dungeon" once more. A quick scan through the portraits on the sidebar: "C'mon ... please ..." And then suddenly, a ray of hope. A spark of light (or shadow, or fire, or bullet, or nature, or blade, or whatever) -- maybe this won't be such a bad run after all, since your party now includes a ...

There are 10 potential possibilities for that statement (unless you start making up your own classes, which is silly), but any given response will require clarification. The meat of the question is this: Is there a class that, when you notice one with you in a 5-man, makes you think to yourself, "Phew. Okay. At least we have one of those." Now, what makes this difficult is the fact that there are skilled and unskilled players of every class. One person's relief is another's nightmare. Nonetheless, is there a class that causes you to breathe a sigh of relief when you see its color in your party chat?

For me, it's definitely priests. Something about those flowing robes and that sparkling yellow light fills me with a sense of calm. The sight of healing spells and protective shields radiating all around me makes me feel certain that, despite whatever trials we face, we'll pull through.

Unless it's a shadow priest. No one should be that transparent.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Guest Post: 5 ways to become a master of disguise

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

We've all experienced it: You're walking into Orgrimmar or Ironforge, intent on visiting the auction house to spend that gold jingling in your pocket, when suddenly you stop dead, dumbstruck. Your jaw goes slightly slack as you /awe in wonder. A strange creature unlike anything you've encountered before is dancing in the town square and emoting kisses to everyone nearby. A crowd has gathered. People are cheering. "That's neat ... and maybe a little weird," you silently muse as you crack a smile and continue on your way.

I'm talking about player costumes. When the skin of your orc, troll, gnome or draenei becomes too heavy a burden, plenty of opportunities exist for a brief stay in the body of another creature (unless you're a druid, in which case you change forms all the time). These devices, elixirs and enchantments come in many shapes and stack sizes, but one key element runs through them all: They're a blast for the light-hearted player inside each of us.

Ever wondered where they're from and how to get them? Wonder no more! Without further ado, I present five of the most delightfully awesome, portable, use-anywhere player costumes of all time. With Hallow's End just around the corner, you're sure to find something here that will suit you as you strut through your city of choice, sipping from a bottle of Autumnal Acorn Ale.

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Filed under: Events, RP, Guest Posts

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