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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

Breakfast Topic: When I grow up

My problem is, I want to use my level 90 boost but I have no idea what class to use it on.

A warrior would be ludicrous and pointless - I have like five of them at 90 at this point. Even I'm not crazy enough to waste it on one of them. Right now I'm kind of stuck between mage, hunter and warlock -- all three are fairly different from my usual classes. I have a hunter at level 62, while my mage and warlock are significantly lower level (my mage is level 14, my warlock level 12) but I'm not all that concerned about deciding on a profession for them. What I really want is to use it on a class I might enjoy at endgame, but which the leveling style isn't for me, and which I haven't already played much - so I'm basically looking at the cloth classes.

Are you in the same boat? Did you blow your 90 boost immediately or do you still wonder what to use it on?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Unexpected revelations

There won't be any spoilers for Warlords of Draenor in this Breakfast Topic. I want to talk about the feeling I got when I played through, not actually tell you what happened, so you don't need to fear.

One of the things that I, as an unabashed draenei lover, got to experience in Shadowmoon Valley during the alpha/beta test was that of several holy crap moments one right after the other. Characters that were supposedly dead long before were alive. Specific plotlines exposed the origins of enemies from The Burning Crusade or at least shed some light on them. There's a whole new aspect to draenei culture that has never really been covered in any detail before, because all the draenei we know were the last remnants, refugees from a genocide that hasn't happened to these draenei, and may never happen to them now. It's kind of like story fireworks, in a way. In a good way, but still, very surprising to see it. We didn't really know anything about the day to day of these people -- traveling in Shadowmoon, you see roads they built, buildings they constructed. They had a whole society, and for the first time here it is, ready for you to step in and defend it.

Frostfire Ridge has some surprises as well, if you're an old school Horde player and interested in the whos and wheres of certain Horde figures. But for me, it's all about SMV.

Do you pay attention to these kinds of story beats, or are you completely uninterested?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: What will be your ground mount of choice in Warlords?

Matt "Matticus" Low asked a good question the other day over on Twitter -- he wanted to know what everyone's ground mount of choice was going to be in the upcoming expansion. Obviously players can use flying mounts as ground mounts in Warlords, but with the sheer number and variety of ground mounts out there, why would you want to? It's been a long time since I've had an excuse to actually use a ground mount instead of the flying variety. Poor little guys must be feeling all neglected.

Personally, as far as the beta goes right now I use either the talbuks or the zhevra from the original Recruit-A-Friend program, and I'll probably stick to them at release as well. I like the sound of hooves on roads, what can I say. The other thing I like about both of them is that they're small, so they don't take up a lot of real estate on my screen and I can actually look at what's going on around me. With how much there is to see on the beta, this is definitely a good thing. I suppose if I were going to use a flying mount as a ground mount, I'd go with the trusty Red Flying Cloud from the Lorewalkers. It's easy enough to get, it's low-profile, and my characters look cool standing on the thing.

What about you guys? Do you have a favorite mount you're going to break out for use in Warlords? Are you going to take advantage of the random summoned mount feature and favorites list? Do you have a preference to what kinds of mounts you use -- do you like the ones with hooves, the bugs, the bears, or some other variety? What are you going to be trucking around on in Warlords, and why?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Does your partner play?

Pandaren
I know many couples in WoW. My GM, for example, and his wife. Our hunter and her shaman husband. Three of my closest female friends either do play or have, in the past, played with their male partners--one of them even met her husband in WoW! (There was a "Warcraft" table at their wedding. Yes, that is where I sat.)

My husband, on the other hand, does not play WoW and has never shown the slightest interest in the game. Often times, when I explain this to people, they express shock and awe that this reality works for us. I guess the idea that one half of a couple can enjoy video games while the other does not is a new concept for some. Yes, occasionally I feel a twinge of sadness when I realize Mr. Lani (as I call him on Twitter) will never understand why I'm so thrilled about certain in-game accomplishments, but really, all he needs to know is that it makes me happy, and he's happy for me.

Do you play WoW with your partner, or have you in the past? Would you be sad if your partner didn't want to play with you, or would you not care? Or maybe you introduced your partner to the game! If you don't have a partner, would a potential date's interest in WoW be something that mattered to you? Tell us all about it in the comments.


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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