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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: What expansion feature do you want to see next?

Earlier this week, we learned that work is already underway on the next expansion, which is interesting in and of itself. Naturally that means that things like story and lore are probably already in the process of being fleshed out. But with every expansion there's usually one or more fairly big things -- Heroic Dungeons, the LFG system, LFR, Transmog, Scenarios, Garrisons. You know what I mean, the kinds of features that players use again and again, the stuff that we eventually have for so long that we only vaguely remember what the game was like without it. Remember the original meeting stones? Yeah, I can't exactly say I'm unhappy that they're gone.

It's almost kind of magical how Blizzard is still coming up with all these innovative things ten years after the game originally launched. But even with all the additions, there are still some things I'd really like to see. Garrisons are all well and good, but the housing system in Wildstar is still a magical playground of infinite possibilities, the kind of possibilities I'd very much like to see in World of Warcraft. Level 90 boosts are fine, but I still want to see some sort of championing system that will allow you to scale down and join your friends in lower-level dungeons without overpowering said dungeons, or maybe even just go the other direction and have every dungeon in the game just automatically scale to whatever level you happen to be. Level 100 Gnomeregan? Let's do this.

What about you guys? What kind of expansion features are you hoping for with future content? Is there a cool thing you've seen in other games that you'd like to see implemented in WoW? Is there a feature already in game that you'd like to see updated or overhauled for current content? If expansion content is already underway, and future expansions are already planned, what do you hope will be the next big thing, and how do you think it could work?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: How The New Models Got Me To Play A Nelf Again

This is one of those Breakfast Topics where I really feel like I could point to the headline, then the comment section, and then go eat a delicious whole wheat bagel while y'all had at it. But because that's shockingly selfish and lazy of me, I shall instead relate to you a story.

Back in Wrath, I started tanking for my guild again. Because we were doing heroic Anub, I decided to race change to night elf for the Quickness racial, because it made pushing unhittable to tank the adds just that little bit easier. I did this thing. And man, I hated it. Playing as a night elf meant looking goofy as heck. Luckily, we were soon in Icecrown Citadel and our tier set covered up a multitude of flaws, but I was still unhappy with the night elf dude and did not miss it when I switched to draenei for the hit.

Flash forward to now. The new night elf guy has his work in progress model. Aside from still burying his face in his shoulder like he's sobbing when he uses a 2h weapon, it's leaps and bounds improved. I like it a lot better. And so, now I'm running around the beta on a nelf. And that's my story.

And now, comment time. Have any of the new models got you to try a race you normally never would? Horde side I'm seriously contemplating a troll right about now.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Where to next?

Okay, now that we know that Blizzard is already designing zones for the next expansion, my question becomes this - where is it set? Where are we going? Back to some lost continent on Azeroth? The Emerald Dream? The Dark Below? (I never get tired of that one.) Argus or Xoroth or some other world entirely? The Azeroth that would result if the Horde didn't invade it thirty-five years ago, so we can see all those cool Alliance heroes like Lothar and Turalyon and Alleria? Sanctuary? (Seriously when is the Warcraft/Diablo crossover going to happen already?) Are we going to actually go to Nexus, the setting of Heroes of the Storm? Probably not. But where are we going?

Well, of course none of us know. But we can speculate. Where do you think we're going next?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Six expansions?

I mean, I like planning ahead as much as the next guy, but six expansions? I read that and I actually had to sit down and think about what that means. They're already working on zones for the expansion after Warlords. Does that mean we'll get an announcement at BlizzCon? Does that mean we'll see those zones? How long of an expansion will Warlords actually be - will it be a year and then on to the next one? And then the one after that? Will we level up 5, 10, more or less between expansions? That could put us at level 160 and the year 2020, if all six take a year between releases. What would we even be doing at level 160?

I can't be the only guy scratching his head at the idea of six expansions being in the conceptual pipeline, can I? It just blows my mind. What're your thoughts, gentle readers?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Who do you want to see in your garrison?

The garrisons that are due to arrive in Warlords of Draenor have a full cast of characters, with plenty of familiar faces among them. (How Dog has made it from your Halfhill farm all the way to Draenor I don't know, but I'm glad he's there.) But as we try to make our garrisons feel like home in the wilds of Draenor, I wonder who should be there but isn't.

Will we see pandaren eventually joining us in Draenor? Though the garrison's trade outpost was originally staffed by pandaren, they were replaced by other races in a recent beta patch... but that doesn't mean our garrisons have to be completely panda free. Perhaps Li Li or Lorewalker Cho might make the trek out to Draenor to join our crew of adventurers. And where's Harrison Jones this expansion? Exploring an alternate universe for artifacts seems like it would be just his thing.

So tell us, readers: who do you want to see in your garrison?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Will Mythic Raiding bring back raiding prestige?

One of the things I've never cared all that much about is world firsts. To my way of thinking, I don't care when someone else kills a boss. I care when I kill it. But in talking about this topic on twitter this week, I've been presented with the argument that once upon a time, the world first races on various bosses really mattered to some people. They kept track of which guilds got the world first kill, watched the rivalries develop.

The argument is that the 10/25 split caused some difficulty, because it was hard to know which kill counted - does guild A killing, say, Heroic Rag on 10 man count more than guild B doing it on 25? I have no idea if that actually diluted the interest in world firsts and kill rivalries or not, but perhaps it did, and if it did, perhaps Mythic with its fixed raid size will once again give us this sense of interest as a community in who kills what first.

What do you think?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: What does your character think about you?

Unless you're playing on a roleplaying server, chances are you don't really think of the character you play as a person. You haven't made up some kind of back story for their life, you don't really think about how they feel about queuing for yet another battleground or jumping into the Siege of Orgrimmar for more gear, or just running around killing stuff for other people. It's just not something that really occurs to most people -- your character is just a little collection of pixels.

And that little collection of pixels has come under close scrutiny lately with all the new model revamps. Players have been watching like hawks to make sure their beloved characters still have the same faces they've always known and loved, and that new expressions and emotions don't look weird. We're all being incredibly judgmental, but for some of us, we've been playing these characters so long that even if we aren't roleplayers, they still feel like old friends.

What if we flipped that around, and just for a moment, looked through everything with our character's eyes? What would they think of us, the people that constantly stick them in these situations where it's either fight or die? The people that happily hurl them off of cliffs without any regard for fall damage, or encourage them to go poke something large and dangerous looking just because it's large and dangerous looking? What, hypothetically, would your character have to say about you? After all, they've known you for exactly as long as you've known them.


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Have you considered a race change?

With the latest beta build, all of the scheduled new models are currently playable on the beta servers. Although some races are obviously in need of tweaks, by and large they all look pretty solid. But I have to say, it's a little weird going into the character selection screen now and seeing all the old familiar faces and models exchanged with gorgeous updated versions that are on par with the pandaren from Mists. Moving hair, emotive expressions, and in the case of female trolls, even eyelids and blinking -- it all blew me away.

And after looking at all the new models, the urge to switch it up and play a different race is admittedly tempting. Orcs, humans and trolls in particular are so far removed from the original models -- yet they still retain that distinctive Warcraft look and feel. I know I have a handful of friends who have decided to switch it up and change what race they're playing when Warlords hits -- not for racial abilities or anything like that, but just because the new models are that impressive.

So I'm curious what you guys think -- are any of you considering a race change? Do you like the new models well enough to switch from one race to another? Have you ever used the race change service before? Was it to take advantage of racial perks, a faction change, or some other reason entirely?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Novus Alfar Noctem

Above you is a night elf male, on the beta. As you can see, in Tier 10 it's pretty hard to really tell the difference, but it's pretty profound if you get a chance to look at the model when it's more stationary. Understanding that this is still a work in progress, it's a pretty amazing leap forward and I'm definitely interested in playing a night elf warrior in Warlords now.

Also debuting last night were the human male, tauren female, and both male and female trolls. If you got a chance to play any of them, what did you think? And if you're not in the beta or just didn't get a chance to play, which of the new models are you most interested in getting to see?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Old school questing

Mankrik's Wife
In the WoD beta, if you choose to put a Barn on the first available medium plot in your Garrison, as I did circa level 92, you immediately receive a quest from the NPCs there to head to Nagrand and trap an animal. So off I went, west out of Shadowmoon Valley, through Taladar and toward Nagrand, seeking my quarry. This was a mistake. All roads in Taladar lead to Shattrath, and Shattrath is under siege by both level 100 Iron Horde soldiers and demons of the Shadow Council. If you try to run south around Shattrath, you'll end up in Auchindoun, also overrun by Shadow Council demons and a load of other nasties who are way above level 92. Once you've finally made it into Nagrand, you'll discover that it's a level 98-100 zone. Oops.

After many deaths in Nagrand, I finally managed to successfully trap a clefthoof and returned, bruised, battered, but at least triumphant, to my Garrison, where I vowed never to set foot in Nagrand again for at least another five levels, Barn resources be damned. Upon reciting my tale of woe to sympathetic colleague Liz Harper--who went through the same thing when she too chose to put a Barn in her Garrison--I realized that I felt almost like I was picking up my swim form quest in Moonglade as a level 16 night elf druid, only to find that half of the amulet I needed was off the coast of Westfall. I had the same sense of apprehension about the unknown zones I had to head through, frustration when I found I wasn't quite up to the task, and eventual elation as I managed to finish the quest anyway. I thought, "Would I want this kind of questing experience to be a regular WoW feature again?" Is the fist-pumping moment of triumph worth the reckless blundering through two zones full of red-leveled, hostile mobs? Honestly, I'm not sure. What about you? Would you be eager to rise to the challenge, or frustrated to be handed a task so far beyond your current means? How old-school do you want to go?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: How Many Dungeons? All.

I raided back in Cataclysm. But for me, the most fun was five player dungeons. I've always preferred the five player dungeon to any other form of content - I like them more than scenarios, more than raids, more than PvP. There's just something so perfect about the five player experience. Sure, it's not always good - I have had plenty of bad PuG's in my time - but to me the dungeon is like pizza. Even when it's bad, I'll eat it. Actually, that might go for most kinds of food. Hmm. I may have a problem.

Anyway, reading Zarhym's forum posts today (as I do) one of the things that really grabbed my attention was that the folks at Blizzard are aware that we wanted more five mans and didn't get them for Mists. This is a good thing, this awareness, but only if it translates to a renewed focus on incoming five man content. Especially with Challenge Modes so much a part of the game today, more five mans means more Challenge Modes to do. I didn't like any of the Challenge Mode rewards in Mists, but the ones coming in Warlords interest me greatly, and I'm looking forward to them.

So here we are, me praising dungeons. Five player ones. How do you feel about the humble five person experience? Yay or nay?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Forums vs. Social Media

Recently, Celestalon has been hitting the forums to talk about various classes and specs, from arms and fury warriors to discipline priests and death knights and elemental shamans. What's interesting to me about this is how it illustrates the strengths of forum posts over social media like twitter, and also, how much work it can be to make detailed forum posts like these.

What social media does very well is provide an instant dialogue between developers and the player base. What it is pretty bad at is allowing for in depth responses. I find the idea of getting back to the forums for feedback like this something I want to encourage. I don't want Blizzard or other game companies and their developers to abandon twitter - far from it - but as time consuming as doing forum responses like these can be, it's an ultimate good in my opinion to get more detailed information out in front of the players.

But since this is a Breakfast Topic, let's find out what you think about this. Which do you prefer? What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of each method of communication between game designers and players?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: What would you change about Warcraft's past?

We know that Warlords of Draenor takes place in an alternate version of the game world we know. And, as the trailer showed, in this world, Grommash doesn't drink the demon blood that enslaved the orcs to the Burning Legion... though it apparently doesn't stop them from being conquerors.

But now that the door to crazy alternate Warcraft universes has been open, let's make use of it! Looking back on the history of Warcraft, what would you go back and change if you could? In my case, I think I'd go back to that Nagrand quest chain where we helped convince Garrosh that he was leadership material. Why did we ever do that?! (Answer: to get the quest achievement. But it wasn't worth it!)

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Do you want the Alliance and Horde to work together again?

I've never really been into the Alliance vs. Horde thing. I've played -- and have friends that play -- on both sides of the fence and I have fond memories of time as both Alliance and Horde. So why do the Alliance and Horde never seem to get along? As the game's storyline has pushed the Horde into the role of defacto villains, with Garrosh leading the charge to bomb Theramore, attack Ashenvale, and destroy the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, the rivalry's made a lot sense ... but it's also made me a lot less interested in playing Horde characters. (And I say this as someone who once had a blood elf main. Sure, blood elves weren't always good guys, but even my naaru-enslaving blood elf paladin had to look at Garrosh and say, "Hey, man, that's a step too far.")

But the expansions I've enjoyed the most have always been the ones where the Alliance and the Horde have faced a common enemy, pushing them together as at least impromptu allies. Even if we didn't always like each other, none of us liked Illidan or Arthas. The Garrosh-caused conflict in Mists always felt forced, like my character was being pushed in a direction I didn't approve of (having anything to do with Garrosh) without leaving me any options to decide what I wanted to do... it was go along with everything Garrosh wanted, or play Alliance. (Spoiler alert: these days, I play Alliance.)

So I'm actually kind of excited about Warlords of Draenor, since it looks like the entire game once again has a common enemy... even if it is still (sort of) Garrosh.

So what about you, readers? Do you want more war in your Warcraft? Or do you prefer it when we all work together? Do you think the factions will have to band together to defeat the Iron Horde?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: What did you think of Lords of War?

Along with Thursday's cinematic reveal, we got the first episode of Lords of War, a new animated series from the same crew that brought us The Burdens of Shaohao. I have to admit that the reason I was excited about this expansion wasn't just the potential for draenei lore -- which I'm completely in love with on the beta so far -- but the addition of backgrounds and history for all the assorted orc clans found throughout Warcraft. These clans have always had evocative names, but little depth in terms of how they got those names, or how long they'd been around.

The teaser trailer only got me more excited, because we're finally going to get some background on orc clans we knew very little about. Durotan was covered pretty well in Rise of the Horde, but this is a different Draenor we're visiting, and his story may be a little different as well. However, we know next to nothing about Grommash and Kilrogg -- both were briefly mentioned in Rise of the Horde, but how they rose to power was never really addressed. It's new lore, and I always appreciate that.

What did you guys think of Lords of War? Are you looking forward to the remaining episodes? Were you hoping to see more of the storytelling methods used in The Burdens of Shaohao? What kinds of stories do you think Blizzard should animate and tell next? What areas of lore do you want to see fleshed out?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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