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Filed under: Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What won't you do for your group?

Regrets?
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

As the immortal Meat Loaf once said: "And I would do anything for love, but I won't do that!" Many of us have aspects of the game that just aren't that appealing to us. For me, that is healing. I love raiding. I really love it. I'll worm my way into a group in a variety of roles. Need a tank to get the run going? I've got all four. Need someone to kite the adds on Magmaw? I'm pro with Chilblains. You want a ranged DPS to go up against Alysrazor? I'll prove to you that despite all appearances, the boomkin is not a flightless bird.

Oh, you need a healer. Good luck with that.

For some reason, healing has never clicked with me. I've given it a few tries here and there, but it just hasn't appealed to me. My hate affair began on my very first toon. I'd been leveling my paladin as protection for a while, late in The Burning Crusade. I had just reached level 20 and was invited to come tank a Blackfathom Deeps group. The group leader was a level 31 shaman who was trying to finish up a quest that had been apparently been moldering in his quest log for a while. We made it past the first couple of bosses, when the shaman declared that he was going to tank the rest of the instance and I should heal him. Still being new to the game, I had no idea what was going on and struggled to cast healing spells with no mana, with my spellbook taking up half my UI. Since then, I've tried a few different healers, but none of them made it halfway to the level cap before becoming a DPS toon.

I love my healers. I just couldn't imagine being them. What about you?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What's your favorite 5-man instance of all time?

Shadowfang Keep
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

The first instance I ever ran was Shadowfang Keep with my brother and his friends. I was led by the nose through it and it's a good thing, because I couldn't fight to save my life -- I just wanted to look at everything! To this day, it remains the benchmark for me by which all other instances are judged. When it received its update in Cata, part of me was really disappointed. I had always looked forward to running it on fresh alts, and I never wanted it to change. For the most part, I'm OK with the changes, and it still remains my favorite instance. And now I don't have to make alts to run it.

So what has been your very favorite instance to run? Not raid, mind you -- that's a whole other Breakfast Topic. Just a regular 5-man instance. Do you prefer the old classics, or has something from Cataclysm stolen your heart? None of the Wrath or Cata instances really did it for me, but I really got a kick out of the Caverns of Time instances from The Burning Crusade.

What grabs you when you get to an instance? Is it the setting? The music? The end of a quest line? Or are you primarily concerned with what kind of loot you're going to get out of the deal?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: How and where do you prefer to level your alts?

Low-level priest
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

With all the improvements to the leveling process, you'd be hard pressed to find a player immune to the ill effects of altoholism. Everybody (and with the new free-until-level 20 system, probably their grandmothers too) is rolling that one class they've really, really wanted to try but were too put off by the leveling process to actually do so. In many cases, they are rolling several new alts. All those alts adds up to a lot of leveling -- far more leveling than the current content can support, even. Even after three alts, many find themselves having exhausted the zones currently available in the game. It can get stale very, very quickly.

To prevent the dread condition known as burnout, alt-heavy players have to mix things up as they level -- different zones, different continents, dungeons, Battlegrounds ... Anything to break up the monotony. Personally, while there are several zones I never skip -- Zangarmarsh, Netherstorm, Howling Fjord and Grizzly Hills, for instance -- I make an effort to play through the zones in a new order, hopping continents as often as possible, and never running dungeons or Battlegrounds. Sure, the story may be massively fragmented this way, but I've played through it before. I know the story; I'm there for the gaming aspects the second time through. Sure, dungeons and Battlegrounds may be fun and provide quick experience, but questing lets me go at my own speed.

When you level alts, how do you navigate the zones? Do you have a select few favorites that you always level through, or do you try to forge new adventures in new zones as you make your way to 85? Or do you bypass the zones entirely and opt for dungeon or Battleground farming?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: How did you create your first character?

Choosing a name
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

When a buddy asked me to consider coming back to Warcraft after a failed attempt shortly after the original release, I reluctantly decided to create a new account. When he asked me what faction and class I wanted to play, I settled on an Alliance paladin after researching classes online. I wasn't entirely sure what exactly a tank, healer and DPS meant in practice, but the paladin could do all three, so that's what I'd be. Plus, they sounded like defenders of all that was right and true.

It turns out, that was the easy part of creating my character. Next, I spent time agonizing over the name. I'd look for ones I liked from the randomly generated suggestions. Then I'd try combining elements of one name with another. I tried using simple words from foreign languages. Finally, I found the perfect name that would define my character for life, a Greek word representing one of the core values of a paladin: Truth.

Having picked a class and name, it was finally time to tinker with the races that could be paladins and see which ones fit the new name. After probably about 100 permutations across classes, from random appearances to manually matching features, I settled on a human, and my journey began.

How did you create your first character? Did someone recommend a class for you? Did the flavor text on the creation screen influence you? Or have you always known what you'd be?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: How's the Guild Finder working for you?

Make the most of the Guild Finder
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

When Blizzard first proposed the Looking for Guild tab, I remember talking with my officers about whether we'd have a presence on it. The stated reason for the tab was to help people looking for a guild find one without having to stand in Stormwind or Orgrimmar and hollering, "Level 85 tank LFGuild!" My guild is rather specific in what we do and to whom we would appeal. Our recruiting is generally word of mouth and, I admit, winning one of the last WoW Insider Guilds of the Month titles helped, a lot. But we came to the conclusion that we should have a presence in the Guild Finder interface. You never know who is out there looking for a guild like us.

So I drew up a sales pitch and opened up the interface the first day it was available. Honestly, it's a pretty generic format. We run all content and raid pretty much any day. We don't have class restrictions so if we have more hunters than anything else, well, we have more hunters than anything else and hunters are still welcome to join. The only way to really distinguish yourself was your carefully worded sales pitch at the bottom. Would that be enough for people to find us?

Read more →

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Do you enjoy using vanity items?

Vanity item
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

People have been complaining about the lack of character customization in WoW for a long time now. I agree that the character creation screen in WoW does seem a bit limited when the customization options in other games can generate thousands of permutations, but for now, I'm content with the way things are. Why? Because a lot of the time, my character doesn't even look like himself.

I have some 30 vanity items that transform the appearance of my main character or the world around him, and I put them to good use. Whether it's clucking my way through city streets as an Arakkoa (via my Time-Lost Figurine), or popping my Iron Boot Flask and making everyone in the Auction House dance with me (via my Piccolo of the Flaming Fire, I love being able to change the way I look when I get sick of the same old character model. I've learned that dropping my Tol Barad Searchlight in a capital city almost always generates a party out of thin air as passersby use their Mylune's Call, throw down their Haunted War Drums, set out their Romantic Picnic Baskets, and decorate with their Guild Battle Standards.

But while I use them to escape the tedium of limited character customization, vanity items for some players serve loftier purposes. Back in Wrath, a guildie of mine would always use a Gordok Ogre Suit when he thought the next attempt would be the one in which we'd finally down the progression boss we had been working on all night. Whenever we saw that ogre, we knew things were getting serious and that a boss kill was imminent.

So how do you use vanity items? Which is your item of choice when transforming the appearance of your character?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What moments in WoW would you like to relive?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

Nostalgia is a very strong thing. Even in the short lifespan of World of Warcraft, we often look back to better times or particular events with much pleasure and longing. For some, it may be the good old days of 40-man raiding, when every boss downed seemed a great triumph. For others, it may be a particularly hard-won Battleground fight, where, at the end, you knew you gave it your all. But it doesn't have to be that particular. Maybe you miss a certain guild or a group of friends who are no longer in the game. Maybe it was more about the time and the place ... a certain expansion and questing zone. Some of the best times may not involve fighting at all ... just sitting on Vent and laughing with friends.

While I'm enjoying all the friends I have now and like the current expansion, I do long for certain times from the past. I miss the wonder I had when I first stepped through the dark portal and slowly learning just how my class worked (and that it could actually be quite powerful) as I picked up some great questing gear. I miss the group of friends who all played together in Wrath. Some play less now; one has gone off to school and hasn't played on WoW since, one has gone off to another server, and one just hasn't shown up in months. I miss the lighthearted banter, the constant playful insults amongst them, and a lot of laughing I heard over Vent.

Sometimes, I would love to go back to those days and relive them. I would also love to go back to the first very moment I stepped from the relative greyness of Auberdine into Ashenvale -- the colors brightened, the music becoming beautiful and ethereal. I felt like I was truly in a magical place.

Do you have a particular time in WoW that you would love to relive? What makes that moment in time so special for you?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What was your most memorable noob moment?

Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

Everyone began this game with very little idea of what they wanted to do. We all had even less of an idea of how we were going to do things. One byproduct of this fact is that it engenders a cheerful nostalgia, an aura of innocence that plays across our memories in the finest rose tints. Things seemed simpler back then; the community seemed nicer and the game more original. While I don't actually believe that WoW was significantly better back in its earlier encounters, I do look back fondly on killing murlocs in Elwynn Forest, while I find current chores (despite their similarity) to be somewhat odious in their tediousness.

The other byproduct of our naïveté in our early days in Azeroth is the noob moment. These are the events we look back on and say, "I can't believe I was that bad!" Those of us with more fragile egos repress those moments entirely.

For me, the noob moment that remains burned in my memory was a Gnomeregan run. I've been tanking since level 10 on my first character, and it was on that first character that I found myself tanking for a group that was chock-full of clothies. The run went fairly well, and despite a couple wipes here and there, we managed to down Thermaplugg. He dropped the Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator, which had significantly more armor than the Hallowed Helm I had equipped at the moment. So I rolled need and won the item over the priest, mage, and warlock. My attempts to explain about the armor were shouted down, and I slinked away wondering what I did wrong.

It wasn't until I was around level 50 that I realized why that group was so angry at me. Looking back, it's one of my secret shames.

Have you ever suffered a noob moment?

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Breakfast Topic: Have you ever rage quit?

Ragequit
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

I've been sorely tempted. You know the days I'm talking about. Nothing is going right. Your own faction is mining the nodes right out from under you. You just got ganked by a rogue for the fifth time, and now the jerk is corpse camping you. You queued up for an instance and managed to wind up with the leetest tank on the server and three of his guildies who proceed to talk smack about your DPS until the timer runs out and they are able to boot you. You wind up back where you started, and that stupid rogue ganks you one more time for good measure.

Screaming every curse word in the book, you yank your headphones off and throw them across your room, sign off, and storm away from the computer, vowing to never play this stupid game again. Of course, in the end, we always come creeping back, don't we? Oh sure, there are a few who don't, but I strongly suspect they aren't reading these words right now.

So what's your story? What was the last situation that made you quit WoW in a fit of pique? How long did you stay away? Why did you finally come back? Did you think for sure you were gone for good that time? How many times has this happened to you?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What keeps you playing?

Fail Squad
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

I've known people who played this game for many reasons. Some were in it just to kill time, some wanted to get the best gear, and many wanted to beat the game in the manner of their choice. Ultimately, for those of us who have stuck around for more than a content cycle, there's something that keeps us here rather than moving on to the next flavor of the month game.

The reason I play this game isn't really for the raiding or the prestige, and it sure isn't for the gear. In the end, I'm playing this game because I've got a good group of friends who play with me. There are about 22 of us, and while there are only 15 or so playing at any given time, it's made raiding a ton of fun and recruiting this expansion a breeze. When someone needs some time away from the game, another friend is coming back and looking to raid. While it took me about a year to cultivate all these friendships, it's paid off well in Cataclysm. I don't think I'd still be playing if it weren't for them. Thank you, guys and gals.

So what keeps you logging on? What drives you in this game?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Which storyline do you want more of?

What's the end of the story?
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

WoW has so many ongoing storylines that it's hard to keep track of them all. Occasionally, they blend and merge, and sometimes they simply drift off without any sort of resolution. Sometimes we can get all caught up in the story and then abruptly it's gone. Sometimes storylines are resolved in books and unless you make a point of reading the novels or the comics you have no way of knowing what eventually happened, unless you can find some random NPC who will drop hints.

I've never managed to pull off Loremaster, so I've missed the ends of lots of storylines. I do always perk up a bit when I hear bits about the Old Gods. This particular storyline is fascinating to me, and it always just seems to show up in hints and winks, with occasionally an Old God turning up as a big boss. I know I would like to see more happening with these guys, like the sneaky little voice that show up sometimes with archaeology.

What about you? Are there any stories that petered out that you want to hear the end of? Do you like catching the beginning of the story and filling in the blanks in the Caverns of Time? Do you hope other old stories get revived?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What was your turning point in WoW?

Mimiron
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

Everyone took a path to get where they are in the today, both in life and in Azeroth. Whether you're a heroic raider, an Auction House kingpin, a rabid collector, or even an ex-WoW player, at some point you stood at the crossroads and chose the path that got you where you are. Likewise, there is often a moment that crystallizes your desires and sends you decisively down the road. That moment is the turning point.

I spent a good amount of my time in WoW raiding. I eventually wound up as the GM of a raiding guild during patch 3.1. We were previously a fairly casual guild, but a few of us wanted to try our hands at hard modes. I found the prospect intriguing, so we went into Ulduar and began knocking down four-tower Flame Leviathan, Heartbreaker, and I Choose You Steelbreaker and pushed into the Keepers of Ulduar. This was fairly late in the Ulduar cycle, so we had the best gear we could get from normal mode content. We tore through the content at a rapid pace, with none of the encounters taking more than a raid night to knock down.

Then came Firefighter; for those who never had the privilege of attempting this encounter at level, Mimiron hard mode takes what was already the most difficult of the keepers and cranks it up beyond 11. It had massive tank damage, obscene raid damage, hunter tanking, and DPS coordination. Oh, and the floor is covered in fire that chases you the whole time. It was our first real challenge in progression raiding. We wiped to it for a month, and over 220 attempts later, we got our last sigil to unlock Algalon. We rose to the occasion, and from that point on, we were heroic progression raiders.

What was your turning point?

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Breakfast Topic: Have WoW and your tabletop gaming influenced each other?

Dice
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

A lot of us come from a pen-and-paper background when it comes to roleplaying games. Many of us have even tried our hands at running a game back in the day when gaming meant crowding around a table with books, dice, pencils and paper. We pretended to be someone else from another world, swinging swords and flinging fireballs using the world's most powerful graphics chip, the imagination.

Not everyone is a great storyteller, and many of us that took up that role may have ended up with less than spectacular results. Then, after having played computer roleplaying games like Final Fantasy, EverQuest, or even World of Warcraft, you may have been introduced to a style of storytelling that may or may not have been completely different from anything you've experienced in the past.

After partaking of this new experience, has your own personal storytelling in your pen-and-paper games changed much? Are there game mechanics that you've altered in your game because you think it works better the way World of Warcraft does it? What elements from World of Warcraft (or other games) have inspired your creative bug to tell your epic and not-so-epic stories? Do you find yourself more inspired by the storytelling in single-player or massively multiplayer types of roleplaying games?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What will you do over the holiday season?

Winter Veil
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

I'm sure we've all heard or seen by now that summer and holiday breaks can be hard on the WoW playerbase. With school semesters wrapping up, many of us are returning back to our homes, jobs, and less World of Warcraft. I know some people will stick around and raid or hit up Rated Battlegrounds till their eyes bleed, but some people are heading off to other things.

I've had several guildies take breaks for a week or two with some pretty fun stories. Someone took part in a bass fishing tournament and did quite well, but sadly the tournament is for catch and release, so no one got to taste the winners. One of my guildmates returned to Korea for a bit and came back quite refreshed, ready to jump back into raiding and world PvP. Another guildmate came back from a rather short trip with an epic story involving alcohol, fireworks, and getting banned from a campsite.

Will you be doing anything interesting while away from WoW this holiday season? Will you meet a guildmate? Have a fling with another game? Maybe got some extra work done so you can pitch in more when people came back from their school breaks?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Do you have any characters that've slipped off your radar?

Character selection screen
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

Sometimes we lose track of things.

As I was working through my third Mass Effect 2 campaign the other day, I was reminded of my first play through Mass Effect 1 in which I had painstakingly developed the perfect version of Commander Shepard. I lost that first save game file, unfortunately, and had to play through ME1 again in order to set myself up for a character import into the sequel. Alas, for some reason, I have never been able to recreate perfectly the masterpiece that was my first Shepard.

I also have a character on WoW that I no longer play, the loss of which distresses me greatly. I created this character, a blood elf gunter, shortly after The Burning Crusade came out. I loved my hunter's name scheme, as he and all his pets had the word "Blood-" prefixed to their names. At that time, I had just begun to play with a group of RL friends who attended the same college I did. The five of us would all bring our laptops to one guy's room and play late into the night. We leveled quickly, each filling one of the roles necessary for running 5-man content. It was a blast, but unfortunately it ended when they graduated.

Eventually I began to play with new people who were committed to the opposite faction. They were already active on a different realm, so I switched and left my beloved hunter behind. I've missed him ever since. Sometimes I think about transferring him to my new realm, but all my characters are Alliance and I don't know anyone on the Horde side. And how could I change him into a night elf or some other race when he is perfect just the way he is?

Do you have any characters that have slipped away? Do you ever think about what could have been if they hadn't?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

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