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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Please do a Warcraft cartoon

Why yes, that is Clancy "The Kurgan" Brown as Thrall. The trailer is from the never completed Warcraft Adventures game, and it's always gotten me thinking that the Warcraft setting would have made an excellent cartoon. You could see it working in several styles - a Bruce Timm or Greg Weisman style ensemble show ala Justice League or Young Justice, an homage to Filmation style shows like He-Man or Tarzan (I'm probably the only person alive who really liked the Filmation Tarzan) - I just think, with a Warcraft movie coming out that a cartoon could work.

And man, get Clancy Brown to just do everyone. Especially Jaina. No, not especially Jaina, I actually think Laura Bailey does an excellent Jaina. But I would laugh hysterically at Clancy Brown's version.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: The Good of BlizzCon

Believe it or not, I do attempt to be fair. I'm not perfect, I have my biases, but when I wrote yesterday about BlizzCon, I did so knowing that for a lot of people it's been a positive experience. It wasn't my intention then to try and remove that experience for anyone. So, in the spirit of equal time, let me ask you this - have you been to BlizzCon? Have you had a positive experience there?

In years past a lot of my friends, coworkers and guildmates have gone to BlizzCon and enjoyed their experiences. Some have forged long friendships there. All have gotten to play Blizzard games (including various WoW expansions), hang out with people and be social while discussing things they loved, and that's all pretty great from my perspective. I'm not much of a con-goer (I dislike crowds) but I think that's all pretty worthwhile, and is worth mentioning.

So now it's your turn. What's the good of BlizzCon? Do you enjoy lore panels, Q&A sessions, systems discussions? Were you filled with joy when reforging was removed? Share your good times please.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Do you want to keep your old face?

In my extremely accurate and scientific polling (I read some twitter) I have discovered that one of Blizzard's biggest fears for the new character models seems to have been pretty accurate. Even though they've said (multiple times) that the faces on the new models are still a work in progress, I keep seeing the same reaction over and over again - "I really like the new models but my character's face has changed and now it's not as good/not my character." If you remember back to 2009, when the when are they going to update character models talk started being bandied about, you'll remember that being one of Blizzard's biggest arguments against doing it - people get very attached to their characters and think of them in a way that makes them very dangerous to tinker with.

So far it seems like people have a Not My Character's Face policy towards the revamp - they like how the new models are more detailed and are in general much more fluid and animated, but they still don't like it when the faces change.

So how about you? How attached to your character's face?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: We destroy whatever we touch

I was having a discussion on twitter about the previous WoW expansions and someone made the point that in terms of our affect on the places we go, the 'heroes' of World of Warcraft (namely, us) are more like a horde of powerfully equipped locusts. We come in, smash everything, destroy everything and leave with everything in ruins.

Take the Cataclysm expansion. Sure, Deathwing broke most of that stuff. But after our major battle with him, the results of his rampage remained. Mists of Pandaria is even worse - the destruction of the Jade Forest and the Vale of Eternal Blossoms can be laid directly at our feet, really - we're the ones who brought the Horde and Alliance to Pandaria and fought to get them a foothold. Now we're heading to Draenor, and we're leaving Pandaria in a shambles - he might be a massive jerk who fails to grasp the bigger picture, but Taran Zhu is right about one thing. It was us outsiders that destroyed his paradise.

On the other hand, if not for us, Deathwing would have destroyed Azeroth entirely and Pandaria would still be ultimately ruled by the sha, so to my eyes it's kind of balanced out. Can't save a planet without breaking some stuff.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: How often do you look at your character's face?

The first thing I do when I create a character is turn on auto loot. The second thing I do is turn off both the helm and cloak displays. It's very rare that I actually have a visible helm on any of my characters -- usually if I do, it's a helm that doesn't really block the face too much. It's mostly because I like seeing what my character looks like -- after all, I spent all that time picking out what face, hair color and other touches I wanted on my character, I want to see it!

With the new character models, there is so much detail in the expressions and nuances of the characters that I honestly don't know if I'll ever make a helm visible again. It's like playing a brand new game, and it's really weird, but really cool to see the updates in action. Screenshots and model viewers are all well and good, but you don't really get a sense of what these new models look like until you see them and play with them in game -- and after seeing them, the last thing I want to do is cover them up!

But I'm only one person, and my habits are just that, habits. I'm wondering, especially with the advent of transmog and being able to choose whatever helm you'd like to wear -- how many people turn off helms and cloaks these days? How familiar are you with how your character looks? Have you gotten a good look at your character's face lately, or are you more accustomed to seeing them covered up? And when the new models come out, are you going to change your character's transmog to suit them, or simply leave things as they are?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Has Ashran caught your interest?

Ashran, Warlords of Draenor's world PVP zone, has been hyped as one of the most exciting locations in the expansion. While the zone only opened up for play on the beta last night, it's been clear throughout development that many lessons from the game's past have been taken to heart in its creation. The devs have cited pulling not only from prior PVP areas such as Halaa and Wintergrasp, but also the Timeless Isle, which contained a potpourri of activities across the spectrum of gameplay styles.

Are you interested, though? Despite the great efforts put into the zone, I feel as if it's still only going to interest players who have primarily been PVPing all along. Faction-hubs-in-Ashran aside, I'm not sure that's necessarily a problem. I can hardly fault PVPers for getting new content when every other zone on Draenor is clearly dedicated to PVE. As someone who doesn't PVP at all, I have to see more Ashran before I can say with confidence whether or not I'll play there when the game goes live, but I imagine my participating will be much like Wintergrasp and Tol Barad. That is, I'll participate a handful of times, remember why I don't PVP, and never return.

Even the faction hubs being on Ashran may not be compelling enough to take me back there on a regular basis. I didn't like the Shrines in Mists of Pandaria very much. My hearthstone remained in Stormwind for the entire expansion. I just might be in Stormwind for another one.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: The best part of beta testing

For me, the best part of beta testing is actually getting to find and report bugs. For instance, on the beta right now, helmets, shoulders and weapons are not functioning visually for draenei women. This is kind of weird, but that's not the point. The point is, it's happening, we're reporting it, and it's extremely unlikely it'll make it to live. A lot of people get frustrated when a beta is buggy and doesn't work, but that (in my opinion) isn't a productive attitude. You're on the beta to test it - whether it's a class mechanic that's not functioning (like, as an example, tanks actually taking negative damage in PvP), a texture not appearing, a quest not working, what have you, it's actually kind of awesome when something goes wrong while you're playing so you can report it and improve the ultimate experience.

Of course, some bugs still get through - anyone who played the Alliance side starting quests remembers the bugs that made that very hard to play for some people. But I still enjoy finding a bug on the beta. It's like a kind of prize.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: In my day...

I tend to be stridently anti-nostalgia when I play World of Warcraft. One of the things I absolutely hate is when people try and tell me something was better back in the day, whether it's class mechanics, raids, dungeons, the world at large, pretty much anything. But I'm still human - the game is always going to be tinted by the memories I have of when I first started playing and it was all brand new.

So this morning I'll indulge - to me, the launch dungeons will always feel more like WoW than any dungeons that have come after them. To this day, I still love Dire Maul, Maraudon (yes, even with its ridiculous internal layout), Stratholme, Upper and Lower Blackrock Spire, Sunken Temple (pre-redesign, when you could get lost in there for hours) and Blackrock Depths. Sure, they were often long, confusing slogs and I don't want a dungeon that massive - it would take too long to run. But I still go to BRD to this day, just to hang out in the bar. I still climb around inside LBRS and drop down from the entrance directly to fall out of the dungeon entirely just because I can.

So yeah, that's my bit of rose-coloring. The dungeons were better in vanilla. What's yours?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Gray Text

I didn't think I would like the new system where gear has all kinds of stats on it and the ones you can use in your current spec/class are white, and the ones you can't use are greyed out. It's kind of fascinating how I now thing it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Running around on a druid in starter greens, these boots would have been an upgrade - sadly, they dropped for my warrior and soulbound immediately on pickup. Le sad. Still, I really like this change to gear - no more 'do any of our six paladins need these' and then a quick trip to the disenchanter.

So how do you feel about it? Awesome change? You hate it? You don't care? Why would you hate it, it's so awesome, sometimes I don't get you.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: You can't go home again

One of the things that playing in the Warlords of Draenor beta has done is it has made me really appreciative of small things and their cumulative effect. In terms of the story of Shadowmoon Valley, the ultimate effect of all the small touches is to give you (if you want it -- if you're the type who doesn't read quest text and doesn't pay attention to in game events and cinematics) the effect of a slowly dawning realization. Especially as a draenei player, by the time you finish with Shadowmoon Valley you'll realize that not only can't you go home, you didn't -- Draenor isn't the same place you come from.

It's really well done, it's very subtle -- even for Horde players, there are constant little moments that tweak the status quo you remember from books like Rise of the Horde. I like how it's playing out.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: What time do you usually play?

I don't really play games during the day -- most of the time, I'm working on something, either around the house or for work. When I'm actually going to sit down and play a game, it's usually in the evening, after dinner is done and taken care of. It's a habit I guess -- if the sun is still shining outside, I have other things to do. There are a few exceptions of course, because I do hop on beta servers at any given hour of the day in order to test content, take screenshots, and write. On top of that, Tuesdays are the days that I'll usually log on to quickly kill whatever world boss I happen to be farming, and then hop right back off again.

Because of this schedule, I don't usually see what Azeroth looks like in the middle of the day. With darker nights about to make a return, it's likely I won't see too much of the sun while I'm playing unless I'm in specific areas. Oddly enough, that doesn't bother me a bit. If nothing else it's a quiet and constant reminder that yes, the hour is late and yes, I should be thinking about things like sleep before too much time has passed. Sure, the clock is another reminder -- but it's the dark skies that give me an immediate visual cue as to the hour of the day.

I'm just one outlying example, though -- and when I'm online, there usually aren't that many people on. So I'm wondering, when exactly do you guys usually play? Middle of the day? After work, but before dinner? In the wee hours of the morning? Is the possibility of darker nights in game something that excites you, or something you'd rather not see? When do you prefer to log on and spend some time playing the game?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: How much of a spoiler is too much?

With every beta comes spoilers -- it's pretty much a given that if there is no NDA in place for beta testers, those testers will talk in depth about what they've seen and experienced. They'll stream as they play the game, or post galleries with screenshots of gorgeous locales and potentially spoiler-laden NPCs. As someone that writes for a site dedicated to covering this type of information, I can't really avoid learning spoilers -- and honestly, it's kind of fun to learn them in advance and let my brain mull over what they could potentially mean.

But it's one thing to post a pretty picture or two, and another altogether to post the step by step plot points of a particular quest chain, or the ultimate fate of an important NPC. Sure, if you see a screenshot of a familiar face, it could be considered spoiler information -- but if there's no context surrounding the screenshot, is it really that much of a spoiler? All you can from that image is the knowledge that that character is there. You don't actually learn anything about why they are there, what they are up to, and what ultimately ends up happening to them down the road.

So I'm curious -- how much of a spoiler is too much for you guys? Do you avoid any and all spoiler information like the plague? Are even screenshots of NPCs potentially too far into spoiler territory for you? Is it the information that you're avoiding, like important plot points and story threads, or is it any information from the beta at all, regardless of whether or not it's delivered with any context behind it?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Which Burning Crusade NPCs do you hope to see in Warlords?

I have to admit, a good chunk of the reason I'm so excited for Warlords of Draenor has very little to do with whatever new content we'll be seeing, and far more to do with simply seeing Draenor as it was meant to be. I loved the Burning Crusade expansion -- the shredded landscape, the alien tranquility of Nagrand, the eerie sight of planets hanging in the sky. But even more than the scenery, I loved the NPCs. Burning Crusade introduced a ton of really entertaining NPCs, many of whom had little in the way of quests to give, but plenty to provide in the way of entertainment, like Cro Threadstrong, Asric and Jadaar, Granny Smith, Griftah, and more.

Sure, I'm excited to see the landscape as it was meant to be, pristine and untouched. I'm really looking forward to seeing Nagrand as it was meant to be, and Shattrath City, and places like Netherstorm, which likely look nothing like the torn landscapes from Burning Crusade. And I know we're going to see familiar faces like Akama, Nobundo, Velen, Drek'Thar, Durotan, Draka and others -- big names in Warcraft lore. But what I'm really hoping is that we'll see those random, weird, delightful NPCs, too. I want to see what Jadaar was up to before he paired up with Asric. Let's see if Cro was always a leatherworker, or if he took a different path entirely on this version of Draenor.

What do you guys think? Did you play during Burning Crusade, and if so, who was your favorite NPC? Do you have a familiar face you'd like to see in Warlords?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Argus

As much as I love Warlords of Draenor's focus on draenei and draenei culture, I'm very much interested in the world the draenei originally come from, the world of Argus. Especially when we're told several times that the draenei crystalline magical technology worked better there - that they had vast cities, an elaborate and storied magical culture so amazing that it attracted the attention of Sargeras the fallen Titan himself. I've wanted to get to see Argus for years, ever since I ran into members of the Argus Wake outside of Alterac.

What does the planet look like now? Is it a blasted ruin, or do its towers still rise imposing, as the bastions of the eredar warlocks? I'm just totally nuts about the idea of getting to see it all. As much as I'm jazzed for Draenor, part of me wishes we'd gone to Argus instead.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: The Before and After

Certain features in World of Warcraft changed the game so thoroughly for me that there's a clear demarcation between how it was before them and how it is now. One example is the Dungeon Finder -- in the time before it rolled out, people had very little idea of how it would function and people who worked for websites that talk about World of Warcraft might even have dismissed it out of hand as pointless. It may have been said (and I'm not sure who would have been short sighted enough to say this, certainly not by me oh my no, ahem, is it hot in here?) that there wasn't really any reason to introduce such a feature to WoW, that people were doing fine finding groups on their own.

Other features come to mind as game changers - flying mounts, arenas, transmogrification, and looking for raid for starters. What feature do you think changed the game most, whether for good or ill? What changed it the most for you?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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