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Filed under: Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What's your idea of good random in-game fun?

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

Imagine you are an elemental shaman. You notice that Arathi Basin is on Call to Arms and decide to queue up. You've got a bit of a crazy streak in you, so you decide to head up to the Lumber Mill. You're new to the path of the shaman and are still experimenting with your abilities. The battle is getting pretty overwhelming, and you know you don't have a lot of health. You really don't want that warrior getting too close. You decide to throw out a Thunderbolt in an attempt keep some distance and watch in awe as the warrior's frustrated body sails beautifully through the air and off the cliff to meet his certain demise below.

That was awesome!

You've just found your purpose in WoW. After the BG, you relate your experience to your friends. Before you know it, you've got a group of elemental shaman and boomkins queuing up for Arathi Basin and Eye of the Storm with no other purpose in mind than to knock as many people to their deaths as possible. Unfortunately for the rest of your frustrated team, you don't care about winning or losing; you are having the time of your life.

While it certainly is fun to have the best gear, down the toughest raid bosses, or reach that next Arena rating, sometimes we all need to step back from the seriousness and remind ourselves that we are playing a game. Sometimes we need to take a break from the emblem grinding and talent tweaking and just do something that makes us laugh until our sides ache.

Whether it's forming a knockback brigade, repeatedly jumping off high cliffs, or dueling while under the influence of in-game alcohol, tell us what you do when you just want to have a good time.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: How do you adapt WoW for younger players?

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

Since she was really little, my eldest cousin has been fascinated by WoW. Whenever she came over, she would watch me play. I would dutifully run around, maybe do some dailies or professions, and she would be absolutely spellbound. I couldn't wait until she was old enough to play with me.

Recently, she turned 11. She had progressed to leveling a character on my account, a hunter, and was surprisingly adept considering I flaked on turning on newbie hints. So I bought the games for her and started lobbying my aunt and uncle to let her play with me. Her parents were understandably concerned about online safety. They aren't familiar with WoW except through me, and there are a lot of safety issues with letting your kid play an interactive game online -- not to mention the $15 monthly fee!

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Which race has the best lore?

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

Every race has its own unique storyline, many of which have been played out in books, comics, and endless fanfics. Who have you enjoyed reading and acting out the most?

I'm torn. I love the orc lore -- it's so richly detailed, especially in so many of the books, that when I play an orc or head into orc territory, I really feel like I get them. I know most of the NPCs by name, and I know their backstories and their motivations. Landing on Nagrand for the first time in The Burning Crusade with an orc character was a game-changing experience.

The night elves probably have the most complete lore -- quite a feat when you consider how long their race goes back. Night elf lore imbues the game with an aura of mystery and grace that I have yet to find anywhere else. It's hard to play a night elf and not feel inclined to roleplay, at least a little bit. Playing through the quests involving Malfurion Stormrage always provides a sense of urgency, like the world actually depends on what you are doing.

Now it's your turn. Whose lore gets you really involved? Have you acted out stories involving the lore? Do you read up to get the background on your characters?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Could transmogrification save archaeology?

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

Ah, archaeology -- a secondary profession with so much potential in theory, and the mind-numbing death of many hours of playtime in reality. I was originally really excited about a global scavenger hunt as a downtime activity, but after skilling it up, I lost interest. Piecing together tons of vendor trash in the hopes of my next find's being a rare became just another grind for items.

Now that the Cataclysm expansion is winding down, I've been thinking about where archaeology could grow from here. Certainly there will be more toy-type items and account-bound epic gear to chase after, but what else could this profession bring to the game?

It occurred to me that with the coming of the transmogrification feature, digging around Azeroth could be made interesting again. Instead of adding a number of gray-quality artifacts to sell for pocket money, why not have the common finds be transmoggable art pieces? Think gray-quality versions of gear, good only for costume unlocks. What better way to bring old stuff back to the present than by having us literally dig it up? It could work as an avenue to bring back discontinued tier looks (imagine digging in Eastern Plaguelands for pieces of original Naxxramas raid gear) or even open up items that never were before available to players (like a giant totem skin for two-handed maces, so you can look like a tauren warrior from Warcraft III)!

Where else do you think archaeology could go? What do you think we could be digging up in the next expansion?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Are players becoming too entitled?

Heart of the Aspects
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 been around for quite a while. We've seen years of advancements and improvements to the game, from abilities and talent overhauls and quest and encounter design improvements, to vast quality-of-life improvements like the Dungeon Finder, Real ID chat and the Mobile Guild Chat and Mobile Auction House. With all these added features, more and more players seem to take them for granted.

With ongoing requests for the removal of the raid group restriction for low-level raids, suggestions of various ways and means of using the Dungeon Finder to access outleveled dungeons, and even the complaints about "easy mode" versions of raids in the upcoming Raid Finder not providing achievements and legendary weapon quest items, more and more players seem to want more from Blizzard while expending less effort on their end.

Perhaps the playerbase has undergone a major shift, just as Azeroth has in Cataclysm. Maybe I've just never fully adjusted to the new paradigm since I began to play during vanilla WoW -- or maybe you darn kids should get off of mah lawn!

Has it gone too far? Is Azeroth as a whole nothing but a staging area from which we should expect to be instantly transported to wherever we wish to go, or are we still willing to enjoy the journey to our destinations? Is a modicum of human interaction too heady a task to enjoy raid content, no matter its level?

It's hard to say. What are your thoughts?

Filed under: Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: How do you feel after spending time with archaeology?

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

Right now, I'm taking a break from archaeology. I spent the days between the U.S. holidays of Memorial Day and Labor Day digging from two to six hours, flying up and down Kalimdor, in an attempt to get the Vial of the Sands. I felt someone within my guild should have it. While I had other guild members doing archaeology, they weren't dedicated -- no, the proper term is "crazy" -- enough to spend hours doing this. By the end of August, I didn't care about the items that got me 100 or 200 gold when vendored (Cat Statue with Emerald Eyes and Silver Scroll Case). I just wanted the recipe. Finally, after my fifth canopic jar, there it was. I had all the mats ready, and the day I got it, I could become a dragon.

I almost never use the mount. If someone wants a ride, I transform and we go once or twice around town. But as my permanent ride? No. It's too big and awkward for my tastes.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Archaeology, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Design your own vanity gear

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

Blizzard has introduced a ton of items designed for no other purpose than to look cool. Almost every holiday introduces a new set of themed clothes that make you look formal, Oriental, or on fire. There are top hats, pimp hats, and chain mail bikinis. (Alarmingly, some of those bikinis give more protection than full suits of mail). Tailors can make a variety of dresses equippable by characters of all races, factions, and genders.

Most of the white or gray gear that looks good winds up on people's bank alts so they can look good while conducting business in Stormwind. But sometimes I don't want to look like I'm on my way to a wedding. Sometimes I want to look like the fearsome businessman my bank alt is named after. I want a Mad Men-style business suit, navy blue with infantry blue pinstripes and a red tie. I want my bank alt to dominate the Auction House and look like he's doing it in style. Maybe a crisp fedora to go with it, because nothing cuts a better silhouette than a man in a suit and fedora.

What sort of vanity equipment would you make for your characters if you had the opportunity?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What do you want from 5-man content?

Dungeon 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.

A good amount of the WoW population spends the majority of its endgame time in 5-man dungeons. Blizzard is acutely aware of this, and it's striven to make new and engaging 5-mans. The 5-mans were more or less left alone in The Burning Crusade, with only one new dungeon during the entire tier, and the only major innovation was the wave system used in Opening the Dark Portal, which was later mimicked in Violet Hold and The Culling of Stratholme. In Wrath, Blizzard released four new dungeons over the course of the expansion and added in vehicle-based encounters in Trial of the Champion and the Oculus (which thankfully haven't been reproduced anywhere else yet). During Cataclysm, Blizzard has already released two new instances and announced plans for three more in the upcoming 4.3 patch. It's added interactive environments, randomized bosses, and some of the most complex 5-man encounters to date.

So what is Blizzard going to add next? Since Wrath, new raid tiers are accompanied by new raid meta-achievement mounts. While raid encounters are unquestionably more difficult, it'd be a nice nod to the players who can't raid for some reason or another to have a new mount to aspire to in 5-man content. A new Glory of the Hero mount for each tier of 5-mans that come out would be a good touch and a way to make 5-man content feel a little bit more connected to the storyline. Blizzard already implemented nine achievements tied to Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub, so tying them into a meta wouldn't be much of an issue.

What would you like to see in the future of 5 man content?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What's your armor design style philosophy?

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

It's safe to say that gear appearance is one of the most important (and most debated) topics in the World of Warcraft. Every major content patch, one class (or many) claim to have gotten the short end of the stick in terms of design. From paladin skirts to fish-headed hunters, everything is a matter of personal opinion when it comes to finding something that best suits your character.

What sort of gear do you think best represents your character or class? Does your shaman look best in glowing orange Earthshatter gear, or would you prefer something humbler, like the hooded, bead-bedecked garb that Go'el/Thrall now wears? Does your rogue strike a pose in the Al'Akir-esque turban of phosphorescence, or a more utilitarian concept such as the Assassination Armor?

What would you like to see for classes other than the one you most identify with? A gleaming set of pristine armor for the paladins? A razor-edged, dingy, but deadly-looking set of plate for warriors? Perhaps something a bit more traditional and humble for priests? Perhaps you think that the designs have become over-ornate, eschewing substance for frills.

Are some classes more suited to something a bit plain, while others should have over-the-top with effects? Does there need to be parity in special effects within a tier, or would you prefer armor that makes sense for each class, rather than being visually comparable?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What's your character's job?

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

No no, this isn't about roleplay. You've got gold in your pockets, but it didn't just magically end up there. You've done something to earn it (unless you've, you know, bought it -- for shame!).

In-game gold's always been easy for me, but I think it's partially because I love gathering. Yeah, you heard me. I'm the guy who has a bank character, bank, and mailbox full of ore, leather, gems, and odds and ends. Sure, I do my share of adventuring, getting dailies done while I search for blood and glory -- but you better believe that if I find someone messing with my Azshara's Veil when I'm trying to do an escort, there will be blood. I'm a farmer, plain and simple.

It wasn't always this way, though. There have been times where I offered my services for a significantly reduced fee so that people would buy from me instead of the Auction House. I'd gather loads of ore and gems, find the AH prices of them, and offer them at a much lower price than what was on the AH (but still at a profit compared to the cost of crafting). It got to the point where I didn't even need to use trade chat to get customers -- they'd PM me while I was gathering resources. My ignore list was filled with names of my AH-PVP victims who wanted to make higher profits with less effort. I was a jewelcrafter for hire.

What is your character's job? Do you make money by teaming up with lesser-skilled PVPers for Arena ratings? Maybe you lead raids for cash? Or perhaps you run a shady tavern in Elwynn Forest doing odd jobs for people?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What's your motivation to perform?

Firelands DPS chart
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 raid is falling apart. You're on a boss you've downed before, but now it seems impossible to make it out of phase 1 because people keep failing on mechanics they should already have mastered. Ranged DPSers are standing in fire. Healers aren't popping CDs when the boss smacks the tank with its hard-hitting ability. Melee DPSers aren't switching to the adds in time, so they wipe the raid. Tanks can't seem to position the boss correctly. The raid is falling apart.

So what is it that will motivate your group to pick up the pieces, stop failing, and win?

Some group or raid leaders seem to think anger is the best motivator. They get stern, raise their voices, and threaten to kick the next person who fails, hoping their severity will prod everyone to victory. Some take a sarcastic tone, mocking group members until they clean up their act. "Wow, what a pro-mage move -- you Blinked right into that explosion. You should really think about doing this for a living." Others seek to break the tension and frustration by giving everyone a short break. Perhaps a reminder of the rewards works best, since shiny new loot is a great incentive for most. Sometimes even humor does the trick; it's just a matter of getting people to LOL at how pathetic that last attempt was or how ridiculous their character looks while riding Magmaw.

Since people are different, though. Sometimes one method of motivation doesn't work for everyone in the group. The angry lecture approach can backfire when group members get so worried about failing that they freeze up and stand still instead of doing their jobs. Taking a break or laughing for a few minutes can have the unintended result of breaking the raiders' concentration, at which point their loss of focus causes even more fail.

So what is the best motivation for you to overcome obstacles, perform at the highest level, and succeed?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Choose your own adventure

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

In many games, plot outcomes are affected by choices the player makes throughout the course of the game. This is obviously not the case in WoW -- but what if it were?

Currently there are actually a few decisions for players to make in the game. For instance, a quest in Eastern Plaguelands gives players the option of adding varying amounts of a solution to a plague cauldron, with different results depending on the player's choice. The option to associate with either the Aldor or the Scryers was a key dilemma players faced in The Burning Crusade. Similarly, in Wrath, players had to decide whether they would assist the Oracles or the Frenzyheart tribe, with each faction offering different rewards.

None of these choices influenced the unfolding story, however. So imagine how much more compelling it would be if the decision to support the Oracles or Frenzyheart tribe had some effect on, say, the Icecrown raid. What if the Oracles showed up and played a song on their instruments to paralyze the Lich King for a short time? And what if the Frenzyheart charged in and set traps that made him take more damage when triggered? Raids groups would then need to have at least one player supporting each faction in order to have them both show up.

Which storylines and events would you want to influence if player decisions really mattered? Would you have voted for someone besides Garrosh to become the new Warchief? Would you try to promote peace and cooperation between the Horde and the Alliance? Or would you pledge allegiance to the Old Gods and stymie the efforts made by other players to stop Deathwing and his ilk?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Should PVP and PVE gear be so different from each other?

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

What is the purpose for PVP and PVE gear being mostly useless in the opposite grouping? At one time, raiders would own the Battlegrounds having the top gear in the game. In The Burning Crusade, subtlety rogues did the same in Arena with the tier 6 set bonus combined with Illidan's blades. But that was then, this is now.

Currently, I hate the fact that I have to grind two separate sets of gear to do the same exact role. My paladin is holy. Whether I PVP or PVE, I heal with her. The problem is that my resilience healing gear hinders me while running heroics, and my ilevel 346 gear hinders me in Arena and Battlegrounds. Some of those in my guild do not mind dying a few more times because my gear is not optimal, but let's face it, they would rather not die because of my gear.

I do remember how tough the grind for gear used to be. I do know that it is easier than ever to grind out two separate sets of gear. At the same time, I would like it to be more effective to wear a full 359 PVE set than 358 PVP set of gear.

What do you think? Should PVE and PVP gear be that so different from each other?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What WoW holidays need to be improved?

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

World of Warcraft has a lot of holidays, but some are rather ... bland. Take the Harvest Festival, for example. No, really, take it back in its current form. I did it back when it was first released on several alts, and I don't think I've noticed any real changes since then. Let us do more Peacebloom vs. Ghouls to save the harvest, or let us go to Caverns of Time to meet the fallen ... um, heroes we're celebrating. Give us a new mini-feast perma-item to lay out for the event, similar to the celebration mug that Brewfest almost always got.

What about Day of the Dead? It's got a few fun things in there, but remember when we first heard about it via datamining and thought it was the return of the zombie apocalypse? What if Blizzard actually brought that back, just for a few days a year? I know people who don't play WoW anymore who'd resub just to get in on that.

Hallow's End got a facelift, so which other events should be considered? Is New Year's not new enough? Does Love is in the Air need some more love? Is there not enough "Yarr" in Pirate Day?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Do you read or write WoW fanfic?

Gnome scribe
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 creative community surrounding World of Warcraft is a varied one. No matter what genre of art you look into, you will find a WoW geek making something amazing somewhere. If you search hard enough, you can find everything from fan-made jewelry to cosplay, digital art to sculpture, machinima to comic strips, and so much more. Also included in this world of WoW-based arts is the writing community.

The topics covered in the writing community are as different and vast as the playerbase itself. You have your eclectic WoW blogs, the number-crunching, class-based fan sites, and everything in between. The one area of the writing community that has been getting my interest lately though has been the fanfic section. I'm an absolute sucker for a great story.

Do you write fan fiction? Do you use a blogging platform to showcase your work, or do you use a site like Fanfiction.net? If you write your own fanfic, what sort of characters do you write about? Do you write about well-known characters, or do you prefer to tell the story of some unknown face who just so happens to live in Azeroth? Do you tell the stories of your characters that you play in game, or do you tell the tale of the mysterious bread lady of Ironforge? If you don't write fanfic (either because you don't feel like you could ever do such a thing, which everyone should at least try, in my honest opinion), what is the story you wish you could tell, or what is a story that you would love to see told?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

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