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Breakfast Topic: Are you there to down the boss or top the meter?

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Apologies to those who just got flashbacks of an angry raid leader from reading that headline, but it's something I don't think enough players ask themselves. It may seem like a leading question, but I'm not sure the answer is as cut-and-dried as it appears.

The automatic response might be, "I'm there to down the boss," because isn't that what it's all about? The loot, the points, the achievements and the titles all make up that carrot on a stick that keeps us playing. (I'm not the only one who still has that thing in my bank, right?)

Meter hounds, on the other hand, have valid arguments, too. Damage is the name of the game. We might jokingly tell the warrior to "tank it to death" when the rest of the group has wiped, but we all know it doesn't work that way. Statistically speaking, the person at the top of the damage meter can take a larger share of the credit for the boss's demise.

Being a healer means that I can look at this controversy from more of a third-party perspective. Meters might help identify a significant healing issue in a raid, but outside of that, those numbers say very little except how much damage a healer's assigned target(s) received. Just because I don't put much stock in meters doesn't mean I'm not interested, though.

So, damage-dealing types, care to satisfy my curiosity? Do you focus on utility to make your contribution, or do you feel like leading the damage meters is your contribution?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What have you tried in WoW that you never thought you'd enjoy?

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 was my first MMO, and when I started playing six years ago, I was terrified of everything that wasn't "kill 10 boars." Dungeons? I'd run them with a friend, but it took some coaxing. Raiding? No way. It seemed way too complicated, not to mention having an audience anytime I noobed it up. PVP? That just didn't seem like something that would interest me all.

If I'd kept that attitude, I can't imagine I'd still be playing WoW, although Cataclysm's linear, quest-driven nature might have pulled me back in. Today, dungeons are second nature to me, just like they are to any other MMO player. I finally tried raiding during The Burning Crusade at the prodding of my guildmates, who needed a healer. After the very first night, I completely forgot what I'd been so nervous about.

As for PVP, I now have a level 85 warlock whose sole purpose is melting fellow players' faces and am leveling a warrior completely through battlegrounds. I'm not sure why I didn't think I'd be interested in PVP, but I was wrong.

After years spent playing a game, it makes sense that all of these things are second nature, so it's easy to forget what it was like when everything was new. The fact that once upon a time both entering a raid and healing fellow players seemed overwhelming is kind of ridiculous to me now that I do it three nights a week.

What about WoW made you nervous at first or just didn't seem interesting? What made you try it? Did you change your mind?

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Breakfast Topic: Do character naming schemes help you or confuse 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.

With the coming of Cataclysm, class mechanics changed, preferences changed -- and in many cases, main characters changed, leaving guildmates wondering, "What do I call him now?" Thankfully, some forward-thinking types already have naming schemes in place to ease the transition. Several members of my guild use the same three-letter prefix for every character name to eliminate confusion, while others use a full word preceded or followed by a class-specific descriptive term. We have an officer who uses some combination of the same few letters, making his characters easy to identify, and one tank even uses a food-related theme.

Of course, even this does not completely eliminate the confusion, except in cases where the same prefix is used. We still have folks being called by the names of characters they have not played in a year or more. For those without the forethought to create a theme, members are often left checking guild notes to discover who they are talking to. As one of those forethought-lacking players myself, I often wish I could go back in time and find a way to connect my character names and make things a little more obvious.

Do you know someone with a great naming scheme, or do you have one yourself? How did you choose? If you don't have a gimmick, how do you handling telling friends and guildies what to call you when decide to make a change?

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Breakfast Topic: How do you respond when grinding goes competitive?

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 recently finished my Shatar Skyguard reputation grind. I'd previously done my share of rep grinding, including repeatedly decimating the populations of Felwood Timbermaw and Nagrand ogres, but I was, um, not prepared for Skettis.

We tend to be a friendly group on my server, and my previous experience rep grinding involved everyone giving each other a respectful distance, taking turns and sharing a friendly wave here or there. It is quite a bit different in the cutthroat world of the Skethyl Mountains, where more than once I detected stealthed Alliance lying in wait trying to grab my summoned mobs. When it came to summoning Terokk, I quickly learned to save that for early mornings and to scope the area beforehand just to be safe from Allies, but quite regularly, someone of either faction would swoop down into a camp where I was merrily grinding away and kill the very next mob in my sights, regardless of the fact that the next camp over was completely unoccupied. I had no idea Skyguard Rep was such serious business!

I eventually finished my grind and earned my Purple Riding Nether Ray and matching Nether Ray Fry, but I am still surprised by the experience. Ever enter into a WoW endeavor to find it unexpectedly competitive? Did you stick with it, or did you decide it was more trouble than it was worth?

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