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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: At last, the Beta

We've been waiting a long time, and now it's here. I know that the Alpha's been running for a while, but an Alpha test never feels as real to me as a Beta - this is where we start really seeing bugs get discovered, see players swarm onto the zones and explore, and get tons and tons of lore spoilers that I am completely incapable of avoiding.

So we have a multitude of questions? Did you get in? If so, are you going to participate or are you going to avoid all Beta information for fear of spoilers? What are you most curious about, where do you most want to go, what's your plan for the Beta? The dam is broken, and the floodwaters are loosed - are you planning on swimming along or getting to higher ground and waiting it out? And if you didn't get in, are you planning on waiting patiently or are you avoiding it altogether?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Broken things and Daleera Moonfang

Broken things are one of my guilty pleasures. Not completely broken, mind you -- something that doesn't work at all isn't much fun. But things that are just broken enough that they function incorrectly are wonderful. A household animatronic with low batteries, for example. Or when game physics go bad. This guilty pleasure means I love alpha and beta test phases of games. Sometimes the stories that result from a glitch in a game tickle me more than the actual stories.

Daleera Moonfang, pictured above, is the subject of one such story. While playing the latest Warlords of Draenor alpha build, I'd just recruited Daleera as a follower in my garrison. She'd been with my crew for no more than five minutes before I noticed her over by a keg of ale, drinking away. I wandered over there just for the sake of saying hello and noticed her actions were looping a whole lot faster than they should. Only a few seconds passed between each refill of her mug and she never stopped. She'd fill, drink it down in one go, then immediately refill. While refilling, she'd comment on how much she enjoyed the drink before it. "That'll get you there, son," she said. "Just like Mom used to make. It's like a little piece of Ironforge."

It doesn't matter that the NPC that loiters by the keg is randomized. It could have been any of my followers. But Daleera was the first, and now, in my heart, it will always be her. Daleera Moonfang is my hard-drinking priestess of Elune. She could drink dwarves and pandaren under the table. She's honed her boozy craft for an entire elven lifetime. It isn't canon, but it's my canon.

Tell me: do you love broken things? I want your stories!

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: The Horde's really not so bad

Sometimes I like to go play Horde because it's such a different experience than Alliance. Oh, there are similarities - there are bound to be when both factions basically level through the same zones (which they do more through the various expansions, for obvious reasons) - but the decision in the Warlords of Draenor leveling path to give Horde and Alliance their own starting zones makes a lot of sense in my mind. It reminds me of how zones like Azshara and Westfall can serve to give you a different experience leveling up, and it's that different faction experience that makes having the two factions worthwhile.

Leveling a blood elf or tauren or orc gives you a far different experience than an Alliance character (I still haven't managed to get a Forsaken past twenty, though) and it's a worthwhile one even if like me you're basically Alliance forever. Have you tried it? If you're Horde, have you ever dipped a toe over in that blue pool?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: What do you hope to see in Shadowmoon Valley?

Blizzard's alpha testing of Warlords of Draenor alliance zone Shadowmoon Valley came to an abrupt halt on Friday when the alpha realms were brought offline to address an issue. With only a brief glimpse of Shadowmoon and a short zone preview to whet our appetites, today let's talk about what we want to see happening in the alliance zone.

I'm eager to finally get some hands-on time with alliance garrisons -- though we've seen a preview, I'm eager to see how they play out in-game -- and finally meet up with the Draenei of not-yet-Outland. These early glimpses of new content are always exciting and filled with possibility -- so tell us, readers, what do you most want to see in Shadowmoon Valley?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Starting at the bottom

It's been a few months since the Level 90 boost was introduced, and I still haven't bothered. Part of the problem is, any time I decided I want a level 90 of something, it just feels silly to me to level it via the boost. But another reason is simple - I really like the first 20 or so levels of pretty much any race/class in the game. I have a ton of level 20 characters. I have leveled every class in the game to 20, even mages and warlocks, classes I am just terrible at playing. Honestly, if the rest of the leveling game went at the speed the first 20 levels does, I'd have no complaints about it. It's absolutely my favorite level stretch - it's fast and easy and fun. And for me at least, every level after 20 gets harder and harder to get through, even with rested and heirlooms. I can do it - my hunter and druid are closing in to some extent.

I also feel like the highest level content tends to feel faster and more fun for me, for whatever reason - every time I get to Pandaria I feel like I just hit my rocket thrusters and leveling speeds up.

So now I wonder - what's your favorite leveling stretch? Or are you eager to avoid it all?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Are you doing the Fire Festival this year?

The Midsummer Fire Festival has arrived, and with it, the same round of achievements and rewards as we saw last year. I have to admit that I secretly love these kinds of holidays. It's not for the rewards -- I have them all. It's not for the achievements, I have all those too. No, it's for the gold. Every time you honor or desecrate one of the fires scattered around Azeroth, Outland, Northrend and Pandaria, you get gold for the associated quest involved. It's not a ton of gold, certainly -- but all you have to do is fly up to a fire and either honor it, or put it out. Not exactly what I'd call a stressful task.

Usually I'll throw Netflix on the second monitor to serve as a suitable accompaniment for the task at hand, and spend an evening running around finding all the flames, every year. Most of the time, I'll just hit them with one character, but if I'm feeling especially motivated, I'll run the route on two or three. Why not? It's free gold! But although I've got my own greedy motivations for participating in the holiday, I'm curious how many of you are going to be doing the same this year. Are you going to participate in the Fire Festival? Have you gotten all of the rewards and achievements associated with the holiday yet?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Have you used your level 90 boost?

A couple of nights ago, after much deliberation, I finally got around to using my level 90 boost. I now have a very nice hunter that I have absolutely no idea how to correctly play. This actually works to my advantage, because I can mess around with that in my free time without really bothering anyone. That, and I have a class that is perfectly capable of soloing a whole mess of fun stuff, probably. First though, I have to find some cool pets. My hunter didn't have many pets. Which pets are cool, these days?

I still have a second WoW account that I have yet to pre-order the expansion for, which means I'll have another level 90 boost to play with when that time rolls around. It took me long enough to make the decision with this character that I can only imagine how long it'll take for a second one -- hopefully sometime before the expansion after Warlords is released. But I'm curious whether or not I was the only one that dragged my feet and waited before using the feature. Have you used your level 90 boost yet? If so, what did you make, and why? If not ... well, why not? Do you think waiting until Warlords is out is the better idea, or would you rather take advantage of the service right away? Which class do you think is the best for boosting, and why?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: The music of WoW

Straight up - WoW hasn't put out an expansion yet with bad music. It just hasn't happened. And it's not happening this time, either.

Seriously, just listen to the music they put behind the announcement trailer. I'd listen to that trailer on loop to just hear the chorus of voices and ascending music after Grommash says "and all others" because that is some good music. I honestly feel like Russell Brower doesn't get nearly enough credit for how amazing WoW can be at setting a tone.

I don't even know what we should discuss here. I guess you can talk about how awesome all of Blizzard's musicians and sound designers are. Because they are.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Keeping up with the Alpha

Well, if you're keeping track, some pretty big changes have come down for monks and warriors as of the latest alpha patch, and before that several other classes saw some significant changes as well. This leads me to wonder if anyone else has trouble keeping up with all of it. I'm a pretty clued in warrior, but seeing patch notes that shuck whole class mechanics and shake up abilities leaves me feeling a bit flat footed. I mean, arms without Slam? Only prot getting Deep Wounds? I don't play a monk, but they saw some really big changes to abilities like Zen Meditation.

Sometimes I wonder if it's better for most players to simply ignore any alpha or beta news about their classes and discover it all as it goes live. If Slam ends up coming back, will it matter to most players that it was gone from the alpha for a while? So we come to the topic of discussion - do you keep up with alpha changes, or are you happier finding out when it goes live?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Your abandoned alts (and mains)

For many of us, the class we started playing in World of Warcraft isn't the class we still play today. No only have the classes themselves changed over time, but so have we -- deciding we want to do different things as we delved further into Azeroth. But revisiting your early alts and abandoned mains can be enough to give you nostalgia whiplash. For example, some months ago I hopped on a hunter alt that I probably hadn't logged on to since before Cataclysm -- the character still had melee weapons equipped and a bag full of arrows. And logging on to long-abandoned warlock, which I haven't played seriously since vanilla, is like opening a time capsule: she wears a full set of tier 2 and her bags are stuffed with fire and nature resist gear, different enchanting rods, mounts, and pets.

But even though my warlock is clearly an inventory disaster, logging on as this long-abandoned alt comes with a heavy hit of nostalgia. Maybe I should transfer her to my regular server and play her again? Maybe I could have the same kind of fun I used to have raiding Molten Core and Blackwing Lair. Or maybe the past is best left in the past.

Today, let's talk about your abandoned alts: which characters have you left behind, and what's to be found lurking in your time capsule of alts?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Do you stick with your guild?

In a game as long-lived as World of Warcraft, virtual acquaintances come and go. Players stop playing, guilds break up (or simply grow inactive), and groups of friends move apart. Over the course of WoW's nearly ten-year lifespan, it's hard to blame anyone who's grown tired and walked away. But sometimes guilds stand a longer test of time, passing from leader to leader, maintaining an identity of sorts even though the game -- and the guild members -- may have changed.

And for some gamers, who you're gaming with is all that matters -- membership in an agreeable guild is crucial to fun gameplay. For others, tackling content matters more, and those gamers might jump from guild to find a group that best suits them. Today, we're asking whether you've stuck with your guild: do you game with the same group of players day after day, or do you come and go from guilds as your gameplay needs change?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: How many expansions have you played through?

At first we weren't prepared, according to Illidan Stormrage. And then we weren't ready, according to the Lich King. We were going to burn, according to Deathwing, and then we were simply taken by surprise by the discovery of Pandaria. Each expansion has brought with it new heroes and villains, new places for us to uncover and explore. Each has been a little different, but in some ways, they remain absolutely the same.

When Burning Crusade was first announced, I had no idea what an expansion was. My MMO experience to that point in time was very limited, to say the least. My guildies had to explain to me what exactly an expansion was, how you had to pay for it, that the original game would still be there, that you could still play that original game if you didn't buy the new expansion, you just couldn't play with all the new expansion's toys or go to see the new world being introduced. Since then, it's become pretty old hat.

We've been through almost a full handful of expansions in the last ten years -- Warlords will mark the fifth. I'm curious -- how many expansions have you been present for? How many times have you seen the alpha/beta/release cycle? Is it something you're used to by now? Are class, talent, and profession changes something you just shrug off and deal with, a natural part of the expansion cycle? What's your favorite part of seeing a new expansion on the horizon? Which part could you really do without?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: How much ability pruning is too much?

So about that there ability prune - yesterday's Alpha Patch notes were not the end of that, oh my no.


If you were one of the classes who got pruned yesterday (especially druids/shaman) or if you're one of the ones still on the chopping block, the question becomes are you excited, or scared? Do you think it's gone too far, or not far enough? How much of a pruning do you think your favorite class needs? Are we done, or do you feel like more is required? The danger is that favorite abilities will be gone - I know a lot of shaman players who don't enjoy the idea of losing Water Shield, for instance, or weapon imbues. Where do you stand on it?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: What do you want to see in the alpha?

The Warlords of Draenor alpha is here, though this early version only contains a rather limited amount of content. Of course, an alpha test most definitely a testing phase, and an early one at that. Unlike the game at release where we'll have a whole expansion's worth of content ready for us the moment we log in, the alpha is both piecemeal and buggy -- since it's the alpha and other testing phases that get us to the pristine game we see at launch.

That said, we'll soon be seeing the alliance joining the fight on the alpha as Blizzard opens Shadowmoon Valley for testing in the next build. When Shadowmoon opens, however, the horde's Frostfire Ridge zone will shut down, at least for now. But with Shadowmoon and alliance content on the alpha horizon, let's talk about what you want to see next in the alpha. Are you just waiting for more garrison details -- in which case this next build will be of great interest to you -- or are you craving end-game information? Tell us about it!

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Queue: What is Atiesh doing in Draenor?


Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky (@adamholisky) will be your host today.

I give all credit of the above image to @AlternativeChat on Twitter this morning.

If anyone can answer me about what Atiesh is doing in Draenor, you'll win a prize. I don't know what prize, it might just be my gratitude or a drink at BlizzCon. But it's something.

And it's Atiesh. Just seeing it makes me stupid excited for the possibility of its return.

Pork asked:

What're our chances for a full blown troll expansion? The Zandalari have been up to no good for a while now, it seems a shame that they seemingly fizzled out as the first few bosses of ToT.

Read more →

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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