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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: It should have been a raid

Every single time I go through the Well of Eternity dungeon, I keep thinking to myself that they really missed an opportunity. It was such a huge, sprawling dungeon with plenty of space for more than the three boss fights it contained - it could easily have been a five or six boss raid with minimal adjustment. Seeing the familiar night elf architecture but with painted, colored walls and the sweeping glass ramp to Azshara's platform always made me wish we'd gotten more of it.

But there are quite a few dungeons in the game that could have made excellent raids. Wrath of the Lich King had Utgarde Pinnacle, which was originally designed as a raid, and Mists of Pandaria had Mogu'shan Palace, which feels to this day to be unexplored due to the sheer scope of the place. We've had old raids come back as dungeons before - Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman come to mind - but if you ask me, I'd like to see some of these dungeons come back as full fledged raids.

So I'll ask you - what five player dunegon do you think would work as a raid?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Down To The Wire

With the announcement of the upcoming end of Season 15, we're likely looking at the date for Patch 6.0 and thus, the last month of Mists of Pandaria, which means if there's anything you've been procrastinating on, it's time to get a move on. For me, it means running through Blackrock Mountain on several of my alts to make sure I have the Blackhand Doomsaw on anyone who wants it. (It's the same model as Lantresor's Warblade, but it sheaths differently.) For friends of mine, it's the Brawler's Guild, or getting their PvP rating up, or finishing a Legendary Cloak.

So what're you working on? Anything you need to get done before 6.0, or are you already ready?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: A kodo at last

Sometimes I don't have anything particularly deep or interesting to say. Sometimes, I just have a story. A story about a kodo that I didn't get.

Several years back, when Coren Direbrew worked differently (he dropped mounts, you didn't get them in a keg after you killed him) a group of friends got together to run Direbrew over and over again to maximize people's chances to pick up the mount. With people rotating in alts, we managed a grand total of sixteen Direbrew kills. On the last kill of the night, I offered to rotate in my Death Knight - he was a new character, just recently arrived at level 80 and not particularly geared. But I really wanted the kodo, even if it would be on an alt and not my main. (This was before mounts were account bound.)

I switched to said DK, we did the fight, and sure enough the kodo dropped. And then I realized my wife was in the group. She didn't have the kodo. She wanted the kodo. And she was a mount collector. So I did the only thing I could and passed - after all, I was on my alt, not my main.

As soon as they made mounts account wide a tiny piece of my soul withered and died. I've watched friends get the mount over the years, but I never did. It just seemed to be out of my reach. Until tonight, when after years, after Wrath and Cataclysm and two years of Mists of Pandaria the bloody thing finally dropped. For my alt.

So yes, my wife's finally off the hook. My draenei can finally ride around on a kodo, the one thing I desperately missed from playing Horde. Life is good. Now you tell your stories of long-awaited victory, I suppose. Or don't. I'll be busy tooling around on my kodo.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Raid revamps

Blizzard is revamping Molten Core as part of its ten year anniversary. Onyxia's Lair received similar treatment for prior celebrations. Today, we ask: what other raid is worthy of coming back into the spotlight? What other raid is iconic enough to be worthy of a max level revamp? Or, iconic status aside, what's a personal favorite of yours that you'd love to run again at max level?

Karazhan feels like the obvious answer to me. After Molten Core and Onyxia's Lair, few raids carry the same strength of nostalgia. Karazhan is one of the few. It had its flaws, what with the endless, tedious trash in the middle stretch, but it's beloved by most. Who doesn't love the Chess Event? To be fair, a lot of us probably didn't. But nostalgia is a powerful thing.

I anticipate we'll see some Ulduar answers, too. I admit, Ulduar wasn't my favorite raid ever, but I didn't hate it, either. I know a lot of players who did love it, however, and its life was sadly cut short by the release of the Argent Tournament.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Do you have a pre-expansion to-do list?

I'm pretty obsessive about achievements. I don't go out of my way to complete them, but if I'm in an area questing or farming and there's an achievement to be had, I'll grab it while I'm there. But what I normally find myself doing at the end of an expansion, when the days are waning and there's little to do, is going out and finding all of the achievements I missed. I don't get them all -- after all, there are only so many hours I have available to play -- but having a tangible list of stuff to do keeps the end-of-expansion doldrums mostly at bay.

The latest round of things to do involved the Brawler's Guild, which I began when it first arrived, and then abandoned in a flurry of raiding and dailies and things that were nowhere near Orgrimmar or Stormwind. I think that's why I'd all but forgotten about the feature until recently. Most of my days were spend in either the Alliance or Horde shrines, and I never really traveled to either capital city if I could help it. But upon the announcement that the Brawler's Guild was being revamped for level 100, I figured I should go knock out as many of the bosses as I could.

It was slightly easier than I'd expected, but that was in large part due to all that raiding I'd been doing and the gear I'd acquired. Still, there were a few bosses that proved to be a challenge, and no amount of gear could get me around the mechanics and tricks required. But I'm rank 10 now, and working my way through the various challenge cards. I don't know if I'll finish them all before 6.0.2, but it's become a fun and somewhat relaxing diversion. What about you guys? Do you have a to-do list of things to complete before the expansion is over? Do you go after particular achievements? Do you go back and finish zone quests you might not have seen in your rush to level 90? Or are you just taking a break and relaxing while you wait?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Do you want more Lords of War?

Yesterday was the fifth and final installment of the short series Lords of War, which avoided featuring another orc warlord and instead gave us a glimpse of Vindicator Maraad's past. As a finale, it was just the right emotional gut punch to push us forward into the next expansion -- although I found myself wondering about the other orcs who were not featured. Certainly we'll be seeing them in other lore material introduced as the expansion is released and moved on, but it's not quite the same, is it?

I pretty much fell in love with the moving illustration style of lore presentation we've been getting since it was introduced with the Burdens of Shaohao. Let's face it, this is a really cool, evocative way to present some of the back story and lore that we don't see in game. But I find myself, particular with the latest series, wanting just a little more. I'd love to see tales of the draenei from the Draenor we're traveling to in Warlords -- Akama, Nobundo, Velen, Yrel -- or even just more back story on Garrosh and his interaction with the orcs of the world.

Or Ner'zhul. A whole series dedicated to Ner'zhul and the Shadowmoon would be pretty sweet.

What did you guys think of the series? Do you want more? Are there characters whose stories you wish had been told? Are there tales you still really want to see? Do you want more Lords of War -- or is there another series of tales you'd like to see come to life?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: If you could design one new feature...

Most of us reading this aren't game designers. (Hi, Ember! She is!) So it can be fun for us non-game designers to think about features we'd add if we were helping to design World of Warcraft. For example, I've always wanted to see WoW allowing us to permanently claim a dungeon or raid we'd successfully cleared as a kind of housing instance. So, as one example, if your raid killed Garrosh Hellscream in Siege of Orgrimmar, you could basically set up shop there and have your own permanently cleared version of the raid with your own castellan and other features.

Another idea I've always cherish was the idea of cross-faction raiding. I know it'll never happen, but I'd like it to.

So, what are your ideas? What feature have you always wanted to see in WoW?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: What are you doing while you wait for Warlords?

We've had discussions previously about our pre-Warlords goals -- what we hope to accomplish before the expansion arrives. Today, I want to phrase the question a little differently: what have you been doing while we wait for the expansion? Are you actually pursuing those goals or doing something entirely different?

Personally, I have to admit I haven't been on live realms in months. I've been on beta realms plenty, but not live realms. There's simply nothing there that interests me right now. I had a hard time investing myself in Mists of Pandaria in general, so it sparked no new must-have goals. I'm eager to move on. In the meantime, when I'm not on the beta, I've been playing other games altogether. My love/hate relationship with Hearthstone continues.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: How big should dungeons be?

This is one of those topics I've written about before, but I love the oldest, classic dungeons of World of Warcraft. WoW has had a lot of great dungeons over the years, I'm not saying it hasn't, but for me personally I've never liked any of the more recent dungeons as much as the classic ones - I especially loved Dire Maul, Blackrock Depths (as Scott Andrews put it here, it was pretty much WoW's ultimate dungeon) and the combined Upper/Lower Blackrock Spire. What was always really amazing about the spire was how it all connected - you could kill General Drakkisath, and then realize you were essentially standing over a dizzying plummet that would see you land at the base of the spire. You could even physically fall out of the dungeon.

There's down sides to big, big dungeons like these, of course. A complete clear of BRD was as much of a chore as any raid, and could take as long if not longer - back in the day a BRD run was basically it, you were committed, it was what you were going to do all afternoon. So I guess what I'm asking is, do we miss sprawling dungeon complexes like these, or are they artifacts of the past we're better off without?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Will you reroll for Warlords?

To answer the question posed by the headline, I'm not going to reroll for this coming expansion. But every expansion I've seen since The Burning Crusade I've seen people reroll. People reroll for lots of different reasons - they feel their class is weaker now, they're bored, there's a new class introduced (so not this time for this reason), they want to switch roles and their current class doesn't tank or heal or isn't a pure DPS class, or they feel like the class they are currently playing isn't as good at what they're doing than another class. The start of an expansion is often seen as the best time to make this kind of switch, because everyone's leveling up anyway and we're all on an even footing for a while.

There's also the old fashioned way to switch servers or factions - back before you could pay to move a character, I often rolled a new one just to play with friends on a different server or faction, and it's still the cheapest way to do that. My tauren warrior wouldn't exist without it.

With all the systems changes and item stat squishes it seems like now might be the best possible time to get on with a reroll. Are you planning to make a change?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: So Many Feelings

This is a spoiler free post about spoilers. And how those spoilers can make you feel. I'm warning you, even though I intend to spoil nothing at all, so you can avoid the post if you'd rather.

This has been the expansion beta test where I constantly find myself forgetting that the Horde storyline exists. I say this having played it. It's not that the orcs of Draenor aren't interesting or cool, it's that I simply just do not care because there's draenei lore to explore, draenei settlements to visit, draenei to watch being awesome in cinematics. If you watched the recent cinematics Blizzard released, you'll know what I mean. If you didn't, you'll have to take my word for it - there are some awesome draenei moments to be had. It's gotten me so pumped I resumed work on my draenei-themed transmog, which you can see above on the beta. Having watched the cinematics, I'm now incredibly ready for Warlords, but I have no idea if I'll even bother to play Horde. As cool as the Frostfire Ridge ending is, the Shadowmoon Valley one dwarfs it, and Talador? Talador actively made me upset, something that hasn't happened to me in World of Warcraft in a very long time.

This is the draenei expansion. The orcs? Well, they're here. They're villains for the most part. I'm not impressed. But the draenei? Oh yeah. Y'rel, just point the way. Let's go wreck the Iron Horde.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Did you watch the Warlords cinematics?

One of the bigger pieces of news to come out of last week was the release of several of Warlords of Draenor's key in-game cinematic pieces. Now, normally we kind of expect to see these things at some point during the beta's lifetime -- but usually it's one datamining website or another that manages to dig the cinematics up prior to the expansion's release. This time, in a completely different move, Blizzard released all of the cinematics on the official website, clearly labeled as spoiler content and requiring players to click through a very blatant spoiler warning before actually showing any content at all.

It's a new approach. I'm kind of a fan of this approach, because we all knew that material was going to surface at one point or another anyway -- this way, Blizzard has control of how it is released, and guarantees that it's labeled so as not to take anyone by surprise. You can't get much clearer about spoilers than Blizzard did in their official post, and although some might say they went overboard with the warnings, I think that was perfectly fine, given the nature of the material. And of course I watched them. I watched them all, because I like to write about these kinds of things on a weekly basis and I wanted to see what would happen, to give some context to what I'd already seen in the beta.

But I'm wondering how many of you watched the cinematics, as blatantly placed out and clearly labeled as they were. Did you appreciate all the spoiler warnings? If you're avoiding all spoilers, did the clear labels and official post make it easier to stick with your resolve, or did it just tempt you into really wanting to see? Obviously, since we're talking about the nature of spoilers, rather than the actual spoilers themselves, please keep the comments spoiler-free. Trust me, we'll have more than enough articles where you can talk about the spoiler content to your heart's content.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: If WoW had romance options

One of the things I liked about the old Baldur's Gate games (especially BGII, my all-time favorite) and their modern-day successors the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series is their romance options. You don't have to play with romance in mind -- in fact, when I play Dragon Age, I absolutely don't romance anyone, it's just how I roll in the DA franchise - but it's a well-designed feature and something I enjoyed, especially as it got more inclusive. It's a good mechanic for letting players see a little of themselves and their personal existence in the larger game world without forcing everyone to see it, since it's easy enough to not pursue.

And now I think it's time for WoW to steal the heck out of that idea. For example, Yrel. Let us all date Yrel. Or Drek'thar, or Liadrin. Make certain awesome NPC's available in our garrisons and let us pursue completely fictional romances with them to help introduce story elements you can't get any other way. We could have special quests just from our significant other, chains that helped flesh out the world we're exploring.

Okay, I admit it, I just want to let rogues date Vanessa Van Cleef. She's had a rough life. Druids could maybe talk Fandral Staghelm or Leyara down?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: The future of tier sets

One of the things I love after getting a chance to pick up the Tier 17 pieces yesterday in the beta is the way the set bonuses switch between specializations. This is the greatest thing about the way gear has been changed in this expansion - one tier set effectively covers all three specializations. Now, there will always be set bonuses we like and set bonuses we hate, but it's indisputable that it's a relief not to have to farm up tokens twice for a DPS and tank or heal set (or three times, for a DPS, tank and heal set) and I'm down with the overall simplification of enchants if it means we can just plug and play more than on live.

So I'm sure I'm missing some huge negative of this change. Luckily, we have a comment section. What's wrong with the way tier works in Warlords that I'm missing?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Machinima in Warlords

One of the things I've been surprised by is the lack of people hopping on the beta to test out the new character models (especially considering how much more expressive the faces are) for the purposes of making machinima. I realize it's a beta test, and furthermore, I realize a lot of people who make machinima don't do it in game - model viewer is a friend to many and all that. So I guess I'm curious - are the many changes to how the game is stored and visually processed helpful or harmful for those of us who aspire to or already do make movies with World of Warcraft?

And yeah, part of me wishes that Gnomechewer would be so moved by the new models that he'd come back to WoW long enough to make a few machinima as good or better than Gilnean Like Me. Have you guys got a machinima you'd like to see visually updated with new models?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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