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Breakfast Topic: Could transmogrification save archaeology?

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

Ah, archaeology -- a secondary profession with so much potential in theory, and the mind-numbing death of many hours of playtime in reality. I was originally really excited about a global scavenger hunt as a downtime activity, but after skilling it up, I lost interest. Piecing together tons of vendor trash in the hopes of my next find's being a rare became just another grind for items.

Now that the Cataclysm expansion is winding down, I've been thinking about where archaeology could grow from here. Certainly there will be more toy-type items and account-bound epic gear to chase after, but what else could this profession bring to the game?

It occurred to me that with the coming of the transmogrification feature, digging around Azeroth could be made interesting again. Instead of adding a number of gray-quality artifacts to sell for pocket money, why not have the common finds be transmoggable art pieces? Think gray-quality versions of gear, good only for costume unlocks. What better way to bring old stuff back to the present than by having us literally dig it up? It could work as an avenue to bring back discontinued tier looks (imagine digging in Eastern Plaguelands for pieces of original Naxxramas raid gear) or even open up items that never were before available to players (like a giant totem skin for two-handed maces, so you can look like a tauren warrior from Warcraft III)!

Where else do you think archaeology could go? What do you think we could be digging up in the next expansion?

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Breakfast Topic: Could there be more than two factions?

Kaluak boat
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 World of Warcraft grows older, perhaps it's time to shake up things a bit to keep things interesting. After seven years of a war between two groups being the focus of the storyline, could we return to a time of four factions? That's right, a return. After all, Warcraft 3 had four opposing armies: Humans, Undead, Night Elves and Orcs. Presently, we have 12 races among the two factions, and considering all the new class/race combinations implemented in Cataclysm, perhaps four separate groups are not as unthinkable as they once were.

With the political climate of the Horde being what it is and Sylvanas going farther off the grid all the time, it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine the Banshee Queen pulling the Foresaken and her Blood Elf relatives out of the Horde, establishing her own nation in Northern Lorderon. (For the sake of racial number balance, maybe she bribes the goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel into joining her with a new home city of ... Gilneas!) Or frustrated by the unwillingness of King Varian to stop the Orc's systematic destruction of Ashenvale , could Tyrande (finally doing something in-game for once) decide to defect from the Alliance, bringing her Worgen and Draenei allies with her?

Do you think additional factions would be interesting? How would they work in game? What do you think they would look like?

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Breakfast Topic: How would you revamp Outland?

Nexus-Prince Haramad
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 lot of players remember The Burning Crusade expansion fondly. After a few years of playing the original World of Warcraft, people were really ready for new places to explore, and BC really delivered. Now, however, leveling through Outland now is kind of a jarring experience. After moving up through the revamped old world content that Cataclysm has provided, the level 58-to-68 experience in the remains of Draenor is really showing its age.

Blizzard has expressed interest in revisiting Outland some day to update the content. If it were to do this, what would you like to see? Should the BC zones support a new expansion of high-level content, as opposed to a reworked 60s leveling experience (perhaps through phasing)? Could we see some more Draenei lore and storyline involvement, something really missing from the last two expansions?

What do you think the Outland of the future would look like? Would Zangamarsh swell with water again now that Lady Vashj and her Naga have been defeated? Who would sit in Tempest Keep? What have Akama and the Broken done with the Black Temple in our absence? Do the Naaru still reside in Shattrath City? What stories are there still to tell beyond the Dark Portal?

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Breakfast Topic: What about Gilneas?

Gilneas street
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 love Gilneas. I love the look of the zone, the ambiance, the music. I've leveled a number of Worgen alts (that I never plan on playing again) through the zone just to experience the storyline again. I've even run an Undead alt through early levels just to see the other side of the ending events.

What bothers me (and many others, I'm sure) is the fact that this fantastic zone is now phased out and empty. Presumably, the story of the zone isn't finished and may even see some closure by the time the current expansion's life cycle is over ... but what then? The most apparent answer is to make Gilneas City another Alliance capital city, but does the game really need a new dead urban center like Darnassus? Throughout the lifespan of World of Warcraft, players have asked for the ability to buy housing for their characters. Could an empty zone like Gilneas be good starting location for this kind of feature? Instead of a creating new world PVP location like Wintergrasp or Baradin Hold in the next expansion, could the ongoing struggle for the walled peninsula become the new focus of the war between factions (with all the associated rewards and daily quests)?

Now that Cataclysm has been out for a while, what can be done to make this zone a viable place to visit?

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Breakfast Topic: Is it time to implement artifacts?

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

More and more people are gearing up in epic equipment these days, either through Zandalari heroics or normal and heroic-level raiding. This leads to a lot of purple items of wide range of different ilevels, particularly toward the end of an expansion set. While this is great for those of us who are catching up to current content (or gearing up an alt), couldn't there be more of an incentive for hardcore raiders?

Back in vanilla, it was really something to see someone decked out in the highest level of gear. The color category of a player's items alone was enough to determine their in-game accomplishment. I absolutely think it's a good thing that a larger group of people get to see content and gear up quickly, but shouldn't there be a new level of reward for those who work the hardest on progression?

Well, as longtime WoW players may remember, there already is. There has always been a level of gear above epics that has never been implemented in game: artifacts. Originally planned as a step above legendary items, red-quality artifact items could perhaps instead replace heroic raiding-quality epic items as a status symbol for those at the cutting edge of content.

At a point in time when blue gear is considered temporary and purple is again becoming the norm, could it be time to implement a rarer category of reward? Do you think it would be beneficial to World of Warcraft for the best possible items to be of a different grade? Would this be enough to bring hardcore players back to the game? Or would it greatly devalue traditional epics?

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Breakfast Topic: What will you be wearing the first day of transmogrification?

Priest wielding Benediction
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 the announcement of the new transmogrification system in patch 4.3, I've been thinking a lot about what sets I'd like to collect for my character. My main is a Blood Elf paladin, so naturally I've been grabbing a friend to blaze through Blackwing Lair once a week to finish off my Judgement set. However, I am certain on day one of the update, Azeroth will be filled with pallies rocking the same duds.

How can a fashionable Sin'dorei stand out in the crowd? I did some research online and have been reminded of a number of great sets that aren't raid tier but look just as good. I finally settled on the very blood-knightish Red Lawbringer (at least for my retribution gear set), easily farmed out of various Burning Crusade regular and heroic dungeons. As for my alt death knight, I've been traveling to Dalaran weekly to spend his excess justice points on tier 10, because (as I'm sure we can all agree) there aren't many things in this world more wicked-looking than a Worgen in Scourgelord Battlegear!

What gear will you be wearing on patch day? Are you collecting an old tier set (or have you saved a favorite in your bank all this time)? Or are you putting together a more avant-garde look? Will you have different transmog looks for particular gear sets? Or does all this doll-dressing business not interest you in the least?

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Breakfast Topic: Who is your in-game nemesis?

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

During a break from WoW this summer, I took some time to try out some of the other MMOs out there. One of the ones I really enjoyed was Champions Online: Free for All, a free-to-play MMO on the Steam network. Aside from the incredible character customization (it took me hours to fine-tune my superhero outfit!), one of the things I most enjoyed about it was the concept of the Nemesis. At some point during the leveling-up experience, you get a chance to design and create your character's own supervillain ... who then randomly pops up from time to time to make your day more difficult!

Now that I'm back to World of Warcraft, I keep thinking about that concept. Who would be my toon's main antagonist? Even though it's not possible to design one, there are tons of great villains to pick from in Azeroth. For my main, a Blood Elf paladin, I figure Kael'thas fits best. Lore-wise, he betrayed his people by making them dependent on demonic magic, so he'd be the top of any Sin'dorei hit list . It's also nice that whenever I am bored or frustrated with endgame content, he is always waiting in Magister's Terrace for me to pound on in hopes of getting a white chicken to ride!

Who is your in-game nemesis? Is it a player from the opposing faction who is always capping flags in your battlegrounds? Is it that druid who is constantly grabbing your herbs a second before you can? Is it a raid boss your group is having trouble on? Is there a particular mob (or critter) that you cannot stand to let live?

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