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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: The Real Money Auction House is gone forever, will you miss it?

If you haven't been marking out the hours, it's March 18. That means that today's the day that the Real Money Auction House in Diablo III closes its doors forever. It's been an interesting feature, for sure, and arguably one that did more harm than good. It's been controversial from the out, causing a rating hike in South Korea. Then there were the days of gold devaluing by the second, of duping bugs running rampage, shutdowns and resets.

It seems pretty clear that the RMAH wasn't much of a success. And the community reaction to its then-impending removal, and to loot 2.0 has been overwhelmingly positive. So, will you miss it? I know I won't. In a game like Diablo where there's so much emphasis on loot, being able to fork out real dollars to get your hands on the best bits seemed to cheapen the experience, to use a rather ill-fitting turn of phrase. Now that it's gone, and indeed in the months leading up to its departure, I've felt a sort of freedom with my loot. I'm no longer thinking in terms of trade, instead in terms of fun. And that's a good thing.

What's your take on the RMAH experiment? Will you miss it?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Where's my red Battlegear of Wrath?

Look, I'm a transmog aficionado. I have no bag space left because I collect gear constantly. So every time I go to Tempest Keep to kill Kael, I run into these guys and they irritate the heck out of me. I already have the Battlegear of Wrath, and its recolor. I prefer the classic look to the Burning Crusade green color dungeon set, but I'd very much prefer that red set above to either, and I can't get it. It doesn't drop anywhere - the only place you'll see it in game is on mobs like the guys in Tempest Keep and Ruul the Darkener, who makes it even worse by dual-wielding Thunderfury while he's at it.

This irks me. I want this set, but I can't have it. It's not a major concern - it's just irritating.

So let's make this about you - any mobs who have something you want - an item, gear, a special mount?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Transmogrification

Breakfast Topic: Do you have any MOBA experience?

For those unfamiliar, Heroes of the Storm belongs to the genre that's been referred to as MOBA -- Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. Valve calls its Dota 2 an ARTS, an Action Real Time Strategy, but since they're the only game that uses ARTS, let's stick with MOBA. I don't have much history with this genre of games and for good reason: I'm not a very competitive person. When I try to be competitive, I turn into a raging maniac and I'm not fan of being that guy. Unfortunately for me, MOBAs are an extremely competitive genre. I played two rounds in League of Legends a couple years back and decided to never touch it again. Heroes of the Storm's technical alpha has pulled me in due to its co-op mode, allowing you to play with a team of human players against a team of AI players. Having a strong co-op mode available might make me rage less when I take my chances at PVP.

I'm curious how many of you have tried a MOBA before, whether it be League of Legends, Dota 2, the original Defense of the Ancients mode in Warcraft III, or something else in the genre. Are you a MOBA veteran? Never touched one? Touched one but didn't like it? Whichever camp you fall in, are you going to try Heroes of the Storm when you get the chance?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Did you get yourself a Hearthsteed?

I really couldn't help myself. The Hearthsteed was introduced earlier this week as part of Hearthstone's official launch -- a new and particularly shiny mount for WoW as a reward for winning three games in play mode. Having played Hearthstone a bit in beta, the game wasn't really unfamiliar to me -- but I lacked the really good cards, and I hadn't actually leveled up to 10 when all the cards were reset mid-beta. Despite all of that, I pretty much threw any reservations I had out the door and went to play.

And it took a while. It took quite a while -- mostly because I'd forgotten what so many of the cards actually did. But despite the frustrating losses, I eventually got my three wins, and got my Hearthsteed in the mail. Considering the fact that Hearthstone is free to play, it's pretty easy to get this particular mount -- simply play the game, win three times against others, and you're good to go. A no-brainer, as far as I'm concerned.

Read more →

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Which WoW characters belong in Heroes of the Storm?

As you might have heard, Heroes of the Storm has landed in technical alpha. So go over to your account page and make sure you're flagged for the Heroes beta if you're interested -- once you've signed in, click on Beta Profile Settings on the summary page -- because this definitely means we'll be seeing more of Heroes sooner rather than later. Once you've done that, come back here and we'll talk.

Okay, set for getting into the beta when it arrives? Good. Now let's talk about the Warcraft heroes that grace Heroes of the Storm. Warcraft has an entire world's worth of characters begging to be added -- which begs the question of which ones ought to find their way into Heroes.

So tell us, readers: which Warcraft heroes do you most want to see in HotS? And which characters will you play when you jump into the game?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Heroes of the Storm

Breakfast Topic: Your favorite inn

Today's topic is another inspired by the fine people of /r/wow. Redditor Shaurar posted their favorite inn, located on the barge of Thousand Needles. I can see why! No other inn looks quite like it ... and you can start a bar brawl with a Bottle of Grog. I've never put much thought into my favorite until seeing this post, but I do have a favorite inn -- one I no longer use due to the sheer inconvenience of it. Dalaran's Legerdemain Lounge holds a special place in my heart. It fit the Dalaran aesthetic wonderfully. The Lounge and its immediate surrounding areas held all sorts of fun little touches, too. Jones the cat would react to being pet and Sheddle Glossgleam, just a couple of doors over, would give you a shoe shine if you sat in the chair beside him.

Since the end of Wrath of the Lich King, my hearth has been set in the Dwarven District of Stormwind. I'm no fan of the shrines in Pandaria, and with the Pandaria portal directly behind the Dwarven District, getting where I need to go is no big deal. It's purely convenience, though. The place has no real flavor. The Shrines are chock full of flavor, but not my kind of flavor. Such is personal preference.

What's your favorite in? Do you have one? Do you still use it, or is it a distant memory? Are you a poor soul that loved Stormwind's Park before Deathwing ate it?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: What's your take on Warlords of Draenor pricing?

Warlords of Draenor became available for pre-order this week, surprising players with its price increase over previous expansions. The standard edition is now $49.99 USD. Reactions to the price have covered both extremes and everything in between. Some don't care at all -- what's an extra $10? To others, that $10 is a big deal.

Personally, I'm in the fortunate position where $10 won't break me, but I'm not exactly thrilled with the increase, either. In the last few years, it's been mentioned more than once by individuals within the game industry that making games has become increasingly expensive over the years. Generally speaking, prices for the games themselves haven't changed much, or in some cases, gone down. Ignoring issues of inflation, you might have paid more for an NES cartridge in 1987 than you do for a big-title game today in 2014. It might be reasonable to expect a price increase, but Warlords of Draenor is among the first to make it so obvious.

Am I going to buy Warlords of Draenor? Yeah. Of course. WoW is what I do. But the price tag wants me to look at it like a brand new standalone game, not an expansion pack. Will I get more enjoyment out of Warlords of Draenor or some other big new release? Probably Warlords. A new WoW expansion is likely to last longer than, for example, Watch Dogs, even though I would enjoy both. Then again, Watch Dogs isn't asking me for a subscription fee.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: WoW needs timed events

Okay, not to get too into the whole 'WoW should steal every Diablo III mechanic and idea' bandwagon, but have you played a timed event in Diablo III? They're similar to the treasure room from Throne of Thunder, but they're randomized so you sometimes get a random dungeon to explore on a timer, sometimes you have to kill endless waves of stuff to get an extra treasure chest, some times it's a special monster trapped in an urn but it's always awesome. It's fun when you get it done, and even when you don't get it done it's awesome just because you immediately start planning out how to do it better. I actually have specific talent choices just for the timed events.

It's a mechanic I absolutely love, and I want to see it in WoW so bad. We've had escort quests before, and a few world events, but this particular mechanic I think is just awesome. So please please please World of Warcraft masters, steal from your own company.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Can't see the forest with all these trees

The other day I rolled a monk, leveled him to 15, then deleted him. I didn't do it because I didn't like him, or monks in general - I did it because the only reason I rolled and leveled him in the first place was to experience the Wandering Isle experience again.

Sometimes I get mono-focused on the endgame. It's understandable that it would happen - I like to raid, I'm in a raiding guild, it's what I do. But it misses that there's more to the game than raiding, more than the level 90 experience of getting ready to do stuff. You're always gearing at 90 - getting better gear to run content to get better gear to run other content until you eventually kill the hardest content you possibly can. There's something to be said for the simplicity of leveling - sure, there's gear, but you get it and get rid of it at the drop of a hat (sometimes literally, hats do drop and you do put them on and then get a new hat to drop and put that one on) - it's less important. Or at least it feels less all-important.

So sometimes I roll an alt of a class I'd never play, take it for a 10 to 20 level spin, then delete it. It's fun. It reminds me of how uncomplicated the game can be, if you let it.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Achievements -- Threat or Menace?

I don't even understand why, but I really really hate achievements. Or more accurately, I hate doing them in raids. I was so happy when they announced that you could do all Siege of Orgrimmar achievements in flex, I can't even tell you, because I still have nightmares about trying to get Neck Deep In Vile while doing 25 man Lich King Heroic. It simply made a difficult task almost impossible.

This is not to say that I ever like doing them. I don't. Most of the ones I have were accidents or from helping someone else get them. All the raid ones including the ones that give mounts, I got because I was there, not because I particularly wanted them - I even skipped the flex runs necessary to get the Spawn of Galakras. I'll admit to doing Gamon Will Save Us! because, well, I like the guy. He was totally cheated out of his rightful position as warchief and he deserved better.

But yeah, there it is, I hate achievements. I hate the crazy stupid hard ones like School of Hard Knocks, I hate the easy ones. Who's with me? Who also loathes our nerd points?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: I did not farm, but I will garrison

Look, farming isn't Warcraft, okay? It just doesn't fit the fantasy of a grim conflict, of a war between ideologies, of a setting divided and defined by conflict for me. I just couldn't make that mental leap - I felt stupid running around killing weeds once, much less doing it over and over again so someone I didn't even particularly like would like me. Not even the dog could motivate me to do it.

But somehow dress up much of the same kind of gameplay behind stone walls and describe it as me constructing a fortified base on an alien planet and suddenly I am there. It all comes down to trappings - the garrison concept works with what I think of as Warcraft. It seems like bringing the RTS's whole 'construct a base, generate resources, use them for battle' gameplay into the MMO, and it works for me in a way the farm never could. So I'm down for it, ludicrously so.

How about you? Did you farm? Are you looking forward to garrisons?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Garrisons throughout the world

We know that in Warlords of Draenor, we'll only be able to establish our garrisons on Draenor itself. However, let's play pretend on this fine morning. If your character was given command of a defensive garrison in any zone in WoW to maintain the peace, where would you set up shop? Azeroth proper? Somewhere over in Kalimdor? The Outland we know and love? Remain in Pandaria, maybe?

Personally, I think I would look toward Northrend. Northrend isn't central to anything, so it wouldn't be the most convenient location ever, but I can't think of a cooler place than Dragonblight, Grizzly Hills, or the Howling Fjord to have a command post. They aren't my favorite zones in the game, Zagarmarsh claims that title, but they have exactly the right vibe for that kind of thing. A dangerous, imposing frontier? A possible location for future, civilized settlement by the Horde and the Alliance? It would give a sense of having a purpose in the overall scheme of things beyond the current war effort on the latest front, which is pretty cool. What about you?

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

Breakfast Topic: Music to play by

I've been listening to this song a lot while playing World of Warcraft this weekend. I'm not going to stand here and pretend it's some kind of masterpiece -- it's nü-metal, not Holst. But one of the things it does very well is get me hyped to hit buttons. Like, you have no idea how much faster I can spam buttons with this thing going. Does that produce any real, measurable result? Absolutely it does not. And yet, running WSG or Alterac Valley or Strand of the Ancients is just more fun for me with this playing. Every ridiculous pitched battle over a flag, every mass of bodies trying to capture a tower, every running fight over whether or not a demolisher will get to a gate is more fun for me with this hyperkinetic thing playing in the background.

Usually I just listen to the in-game music, too. So I'm wondering -- which works better for you? Which feels better? Do you have song lists? Do you listen to in-game music, turn all sound off, or blast your favorite tunes while you play? Do you listen to music only when you PvP, like I do? What're you doing with your ears while you play?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Looking back at pet battles

The pet battle system was one of Mists of Pandaria's wild cards. While some had long hoped for a system like it in World of Warcraft to put their vast pet collection to good use, few expected it. Once announced, many wondered the point, and whether it would see any success. Given the popularity we've seen in our coverage of the feature, as well as comments from the developers themselves, it's safe to say pet battles have been a hit. Personally, I loved the feature -- to a point.

Given its status as a side activity in WoW, I approached it in a casual manner. I had a great time exploring the world, catching every new critter I saw. I loved chasing down as many rares as possible. I enjoyed most of the trainer battles, too. However, there came a point where it felt like a casual approach was no longer sufficient. The elemental trainers in Pandaria were difficult, but doable without too much effort. Past that, with things such as the Celestial Tournament, I lost interest. It's possible, in my casual approach, I totally missed simple ways to clear the tournament, but it seemed to me it was aimed toward players with a far more hardcore approach to their pet lineup. I decided to give the Tournament a pass and hang up my battler hat until Warlords.

I don't take any real issue with pet battles getting harder as an expansion draws on. That's the nature of game progression. I just made a personal choice not to delve too deep, because I knew the feature would lose its charm for me if I did. What about you? Did you participate in pet battles? What was your approach? Was the Celestial Tournament right up your alley? Did you take part in any PVP? PVP, not for me!

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Oh, the places we've gone

Back in Vanilla WoW, I played a human warrior that I imagined was a survivor of Lordaeron. He'd actually been in the group that left with Jaina for Kalimdor - he'd seen Arthas preparing to purge Stratholme and he wanted no part of it. Killing them after they turned was regrettable but necessary - killing them before just seemed like madness, the kind of madness that eventually destroyed the entire nation. First you tried to cure it, and if that didn't work, then you did what had to be done. As a result of my little experiment in backstory, my character had been all over Azeroth by the time Wrath of the Lich King was announced, and had even traveled through the Dark Portal to an entirely alien world. He was rootless, because his home was effectively gone forever.

Since then I've switched to a draenei, so I've actually been ever more places. Just counting from when he woke up on Azuremyst Isle, I've been up and down Kalimdor, the Eastern Kingdoms, Northrend, Outland, the Elemental Planes of Deepholm, Skywall, the Abyssal Maw and the Firelands and now Pandaria, and soon I'll be going to another reality altogether. I've logged a lot of travel miles, I've been a lot of places. I often wonder what it's like when he goes back to the Exodar - does he ever consider settling down there? Or does his wanderlust motivate him to ever explore, ever head over the next hill, to see what's out there?

Okay, it may also be the loot. It's probably mostly the loot. But what about you? Why does your character keep going over the horizon, and how does she or he feel about where they came from?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

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