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Breakfast Topic: What's in a name?

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

Back when I first made my main on my server, it was around Halloween and I was looking at costumes. A beer wench costume caught my eye, and it became the inspiration for my name. Much later when achievements and many titles were introduced, I learned of the Salty title and knew I had to get it. Salty just goes so well with a wench name; I always go back to it after wearing a new one for a few days.

Names are a very key part of the game -- from the creation screen, titles, pets, renaming scrolls for pets, guild names, and paid guild/character name changes. You can now even pay gold to change your warlock demon's name, if you wish.

Either I'm not very creative or I just like to honor the beast, but if I tame a rare creature that comes with a name, I rename it back to the original. It would be neat if there were an option to either keep the name or rename it, since some names you can't emulate exactly.

There are some creatures out there that I wish could be named or renamed -- a mage's water elemental, for example. It would be nice if something that is with you from day one could have a unique name, similar to warlock demons and death knight minions.

What was your inspiration for your name? Is there a title that was a perfect fit? Have you renamed any of your pets, demons or mini-pets, or do you keep their original names? Do you wish you could name something but can't yet?

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Breakfast Topic: What will you do after 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.

I'm going to ask a question, and you're not going to like it. In fact, you may want to take a big chug from a pint of Ironforge's finest first. Go ahead, have a seat; I'll wait. In fact, I'll have one of my own.

Ready? Just remember, it's hypothetical, all right? Okay, here goes: What would you do if WoW shut down tomorrow? Say there were a huge natural disaster (but all the Blizzard employees made it out okay; I'm not cruel) and there was major data corruption and destruction, or perhaps the game just ran its course and is over. Either way, there is no more Azeroth, no servers or realms, no character list, not even a login screen or an annoying dragon roar every minute. What would you do?

Do you have another game to fill your time? If it were sudden and unforeseen, would you be angry about all your lost time and give up games altogether? Would you fill up the void with other technological means, with another hobby, or with family time?

I would probably spend more time writing, and maybe get some of these brainstorms colliding in my head down on paper. There are other games I've been putting off so I could concentrate on WoW that I could give a whirl. How would you fill your time?

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Have you ever found bored NPCs?

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

While leveling an alt through Northrend recently -- more specifically, on the quest It Could Kill Us All -- I found a most curious sight in Crystalsong Forest. There is a female night elf jumping from bench to bench on the ruins. From a distance, I thought it was a player and flew in closer, only to discover it wasn't a player at all! I couldn't believe it; I haven't seen an NPC act in such a player-controlled manner before. I flew around to see if any others were doing it and only managed to aggro and kill several without any luck.

While doing archaeology, I've seen some zombies jump from wall to wall on the troll ruins in Stranglethorn Vale. But that isn't something a player could actually do out of boredom, such as bench hopping -- the distance they jump is too great. It made me curious, though: Are there other NPCs out there that act inordinately player-controlled? Not as in generic city guard walking from point A to point B or the conversations that take place regularly, but as in erratic actions, seemingly random hopping, or other typical boredom actions? Are there more NPCs like the Shandaral Spirits out there?

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Breakfast Topic: Are pretty pixels important to 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.

I admit it: I judge books by their covers. By the same token, I also judge games by their pixels. The look and feel is a key factor of my enjoyment of the game. If I can't customize a character, the game loses appeal quickly.

WoW doesn't have a huge amount of customization, but it's added a lot with barber shops to keep me and my mood swings satisfied. It may be a niche need or desire, but I am happy it is recognized. There are, however, some colors I think it would be great to see added. Female night elf death knights need a pink hair color option. I would love if my druid could get this same hair color without having to die for it. The Gilnean rogue trainer Lorna and Surwich Innkeeper Donna Berrymore have a dark blue/purple hair color. I wish one of my humans could stumble upon this mysterious hair dye bottle.

Blizzard recently mentioned that it's adding a choice between male and female versions of demons. This was beyond expectations, as all I'd ever hoped was a color choice for my demons. Felguards, succubi and imps have many skin colors in the game, and I would enjoy being able to choose from them all.

Some players have voiced a desire for an option to show or hide their gear. I'd like to broach the idea of dyes here as well. Although it would hinder being able to tell heroic from normal gear at a glance, it would make it more aesthetically pleasing for each character to choose an individual look. I wouldn't look the same as every other person in my class.

In what other areas would you like to see the game's aesthetics added to or improved?

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Breakfast Topic: Are you an Azerothian prankster?

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

Back in the good ol' days, our guild was much smaller and tight-knit. We had enough for a solid 25-man raid, with a handful others who just liked to call us "home." Some guildies knew each other in real life or were roommates who liked to have fun and play pranks on each other. While I glad to not be a part of it, I did enjoy hearing the creativity they came up with, especially when it involved something in game.

The most memorable prank was back in the golden days of yore, back when mounts were items in your bag, guns and bows took ammunition, and gold wasn't fished in fountains. Someone logged onto a low-level alt and commented the character wasn't where he had left him. He shortly discovered that he had no gear, no gold for a flight path, no hearthstone, no mount, was nowhere near a bank, and had to run through high-level mobs to get anywhere remotely close to bank access. Watching him discover all these atrocities one at a time made for a very entertaining evening.

With authenticators bringing heightened account security and Blizzard making items such as mounts "learned," pranks such as this are hard to recreate. This just means pranksters have to be more creative.

Do you and your friends pull fast ones on each other? What epic in-game tales and pranks were you in on or have you heard about?

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Breakfast Topic: Where are the sports references in 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.

There are many pop culture references that make it into the World of Warcraft, from celebrities to song lyrics and titles to movie and television quotes. But with all the pop culture references, we see very few sports references in WoW. Until Cataclysm.

I was pleasantly surprised when questing in the goblin starting zone, I saw a makeshift football field complete with goal posts. And actual footballs! Granted, the players are controlled machines, but it's an actual sport being represented in game! I was thrilled.

Where else could Blizzard implement sports? There are many sports that could be included, from rugby, to golf, tennis, basketball, soccer ... The list is staggering. When I thought of basketball, my mind immediately went to the '80s video game Double Dribble, where you have the ring moving vertically over the net as you try to make your foul shot. Blizzard could implement something like that in a quest with a round leather ball, where you earn higher points the further you are away from the hoop -- and hey, you've got basketball!

How and where would you like to see some of your favorite sports implemented in the World of Warcraft?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What's your favorite WoW symbol?

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 play Alliance now, but I started out as a Horde player. I have pride for both factions, but I think I will always have a preference for the Horde. They're very diverse to me. The Alliance seems so humanoid-centric: You have humans, you have dwarves (who are squat humans), you have gnomes (who are even smaller humans), and you have worgen (who are shape-changing humans). It could just be cynical me.

I think my most favorite thing about the Horde is their symbol; it's unique, it's bold, and no one outside the game will know what it is if they don't play. It's a great emblem for a shirt, jewelry, or body art.

I just can't get as excited about the Alliance symbol. I love cats large and small, don't get me wrong. But it just looks like it belongs to a family crest or on a shield. I wouldn't sport it on my clothing or pay for the body art. That symbol just doesn't evoke the same pride as the Horde symbol. To be honest, I like the Argent Crusade or Silver Covenant symbols more than the Alliance lion crest. Granted, the Alliance get the lion mount, which is awesome ... but that's going on a tangent.

Do you take pride in sporting your faction symbols? If not, what changes would you propose to make them better? What are your favorite faction symbols in WoW?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Where do you play World of Warcraft?

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 favorite WoW-related comic strip of mine recently had the characters playing WoW in a bar, which was quite a foreign idea to me. First of all, my computer is a desktop system, so it's pretty much limited to its spare-bedroom, crowded desk space, which is shared with my husband. In fact, I sit in front of the desk drawers. It's not the most comfortable raiding location, to be honest.

Not having a laptop with gaming abilities, I'm not that familiar with wifi. I didn't even know bars offered wifi; I assumed you had to go coffee shops with Moby Dick themes for that. It piqued my curiosity, to say the least.

What's your computer setup like, fellow Azerothians? Is it a crowded desk that you share? Do you have your own L-shaped desk with all the room in the world?

Furthermore, what's the craziest place you logged in to WoW from? Have you set up a LAN party with all your friends on your dining room table? Or do you quest in coffee shops and bars on a general basis?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Has Deathwing caught up with you yet?

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 just another day of questing for this frost mage, flying all over Twilight Highlands to get Fading into Twilight. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, my dead crumpled body is falling to the ground. I'm too high for someone to one-shot me, right? Confusion abounds. There's fire all around me, and I can't see a darn thing. Then the little achievement box pops up: Great, Deathwing struck. My guildmates feverishly ask me where I was in the hopes they can quickly fly over.

Another day, another dollar -- this one being earned in Uldum. As I'm following Indi -- er, Harrison Jones all over the endless rolling sand dunes and speaking to cat people who somehow speak Common after being secluded for eons, I meet my newest archnemesis again. I actually see him coming this time, lurking in the distance, attempting to creep his behemoth body up behind me. There's no achievement this time, just a dead body amongst the flames.

All right, Deathwing, you've destroyed my homeland and you've killed me twice; I'm throwing down my gaunt -- cloth gloves! This is war.

Where were you when Deathwing struck? Has he gotten you more than once? Perhaps you feel, as I do, that there should be an achievement each time he strikes you down.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Do Cataclysm's explosive quests light your fire?

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'm a fire mage, and the explosion-riddled Mythbusters show is on my DVR, so it shouldn't be any surprise that the two quests that top my nonexistent Favorite Cataclysm Quest chart are explosive and fiery. I have no idea if this is some subconscious RP coming to the surface or if I just like big booms. I'll ponder more on that later.

In Uldum, there's a quest where you turn into a fabulous, fiery gnome-killer ball. Having been a gnome, I actually feel no pangs of remorse for rolling over 1,000 of them and trying to eke out a few more before the vehicle ejects me.

My second favorite fiery quest is in the goblin starting zone. You put on a pair of rocket boots and fly over goblin zombies, roasting them into oblivion. Hey, they're evil, okay? It's all right to giggle maniacally as you fly over 50 of them ... or more ... for hours.

What are some other fiery and explosive quests you've come across? Do you enjoy the mass slaughter of evil pixels, or do you or your character feel remorse? Do your favorite quests tend to complement your character's motif?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

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