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Posts with tag PlayStyle

Breakfast Topic: Has Mists changed your playstyle?

Breakfast Topic Has Mists changed your playstyle
In Mists of Pandaria, the design intention for World of Warcraft is clear: Blizzard wants you playing this game at level 90 (although what you do once you get there is up for grabs). For the first time, a meaty profile of endgame activities makes it truly possible to sustain a non-raiding playstyle at level 90. How long will that be possible? We'll have to wait and see -- but for now, it means your endgame options are more varied than raiding, repeating a handful of dungeons, moving into PvP, or leveling another alt.

The whole thing comes as a great relief to me. Knowing that endgame players are smeared across the game world like grape jelly on the kitchen counter after an "I can do this myself, Mommy" sammich gives me permission to choose my own flavor of gameplay without turning my back on Mists' content and features.

Case in point: Last week, when leveling my pandaren was feeling too much like an obligation, I ambled back to a guildless, early Cataclysm-era level 85 character with the idea of focusing on the story rather than opening up content and improving my character like a proper little goal-driven player. I'd made a good running start into Pandaria before it finally occurred to me: Why not relax even more and allow her to become a pseudo-pacifist? It's not like I had to go hardcore and limit my efforts to leveling solely through exploration, herbalism, and archaeology. There's other stuff to do -- new stuff! I could weave pet battles into the mix, and I could even get my farm started right away. Oh, and I'll need some farming togs for that.

Before I knew it, I'd mixed up the perfect blend of activity for this little independent character. It's proving equally as captivating in 15-minutes bites at lunch as it is over a glass of wine and a wandering evening lost in exploration. So here I am, happily embracing an alternative character concept with a low-key playstyle -- and it's all a natural part of the current endgame. I won't be abandoning my more mainstream PvE characters or my roly-poly panda, but this is a pretty enjoyable way to kick back without recusing myself from the current era. I ... I think I'm hooked!

Plenty of players are moving the opposite direction, of course, leaping into raiding for the first time or grouping in instances and scenarios more than ever before. Are you enjoying a new-to-you playstyle in Mists? Is it an alternative to your main character, or has the fresh approach become your new take on WoW?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Blood Sport: Finding your PVP playstyle in arena

Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 Gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in Blood Sport.

I've found one of the most common excuses for not having an arena team is conflicting playstyles with past teammates. While often times these excuses are not really the problem (far too many arena players are self-centered and unreceptive to criticism), playstyle differences can be a factor in not meshing well with certain players.

I'd like to provide you with a few common playstyle differences, my take on which side of the spectrum is generally more popular, which side is generally better, and what I tend toward.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

Blood Sport: How to make a new character for PvP, part 3

Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 Gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in Blood Sport.

Please check out the last two articles on how to make a new character for PvP, part 1 and part 2. Those articles discuss trying to narrow down which class is right for you before you play it at 85. We all have that friend who levels an alt up to max level expecting to play on it forever and ever, only to abandon it two weeks later. Don't be that guy!

This week, we'll be discussing the most efficient and arguably logical ways of bringing you up to speed on a new character. Keybinds, leveling strategy, and gearing up are important aspects of any class and three of the major traps new altoholics can fall into, especially for PvP.

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Filed under: PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

Blood Sport: How to start a new character for PvP, part 2

Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 Gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in Blood Sport.

Please check out last week's article on starting a new character for PvP; we discussed different ways to analyze your own playstyle and alluded to this week's subject of strengths and shortcomings. I asked four important questions about playstyle and gave my answers to the questions; however, because some seemed to be left wanting, here is a little more information on those questions.

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Filed under: Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

Blood Sport: How to start a new character for PvP, part 1

Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 Gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in Blood Sport.

How do you know if your class is the right one for you in PvP?

One of the best ways to find out if you really want to play the class is to analyze your playstyle. What are your tendencies as a player? Do you rush in and try to battle it up, even if you're a healer? You might want to try out a warrior or death knight. Do you stay back and try to play as defensively as possible? A mage or hunter might be more suited to your tastes. Perhaps you like to annoy opponents by jumping behind pillars when they switch targets to you -- an affliction warlock or holy paladin might be right up your alley.

Arena has a flavor for almost everyone. I determined long ago that I love to rush in and play as offensively as possible. My first character I ever made in WoW was a retribution paladin! However, I shifted around a bit before discovering the power of warlocks. I stuck with warlock for the longest time because DoTs were incredibly overpowered and it felt like I couldn't die against seven monsters. Deciding to play a class because it was overpowered while leveling was probably not the best decision, and I wish I had thought about PvP more when deciding on a main character.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

Defining Playstyles: Beyond casual vs. hardcore

In a recent Totem Talk post, I made a loot list for enhancement shamans that have access to ICC but are not progression raiders, because they are either alts or they are -- drum roll, please -- casual. That's right: I used the c-word without context. Casual. There, I said it again without context. Excuse me while I duck from the rotten vegetables being thrown in my direction.

The use of that c-word in relation to an Icecrown Citadel loot list sparked a very interesting comment thread. Most comments were well thought-out, added value and furthered the discussion. Some were, to borrow Adam Savage's favorite term, vitriolic, because of my heinous misuse of the term "casual." I said it again without context. I'm just casually throwing around "casuals" here.

Given the reaction that post received, I started doing some research into what exactly "casual" and "hardcore" actually mean. What I found was not surprising at all: They mean completely different things to absolutely everyone. The MMO population of players, across all games, is estimated at over 61 million people. There are as many variations on play time and playstyle as there are players in the game. Do you really think we can divide this many people simply into two groups of just casuals and hardcores?

I think it's time we move beyond the polarizing definitions of casual and hardcore and come up with some definitions of our own.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Call for Submissions: What do you want from your next MMO?

The world of MMOs would be a very different place without the monumental presence of World of Warcraft. At this point, WoW has shaped an entire world full of gamers, setting expectations, conventions and precedents that other games will be struggling to meet (or dodge, or surpass) for years to come. What is WoW's legacy to you? Once you've logged out for the last time and are eagerly preparing to dive into the next big thing, what will you be looking for? is accepting article submissions on what you crave from your next big MMO experience. From playstyle to game features, community and social features to casual/hardcore balance, what do you want out of the next MMO you'll play? What has WoW whetted your appetite for that you'd like more of? What would you like to explore in areas WoW never ventured? Your article will clearly relate how Blizzard and World of Warcraft's legacy has shaped your ideas on what you'd like to play in the years to come.

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Filed under: WoW Insider Business, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: What is your leveling style?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to

Are you a loner or a social butterfly? A turtle or a race car on a demonic speedway? There are as many ways to level as there are races and classes to play. With the release of Cataclysm drawing near, I am beginning to feel that old excitement of leveling up my toons to new heights. You know that feeling, right? The excitement you feel when delving into quests never done before. The rush of seeing your XP bar move up and up. The elation of dinging a new level. I love leveling up through new content. I think we all do -- otherwise, why are we playing this game, right?

But here is the real question: How do you like leveling up? Are you a solo leveler? Do you prefer to take your time and read each quest and then carefully plot your course of action? Or, like me, do you pick up all the quests you see and then later figure out what the heck you are supposed to do? Do you like leveling with a buddy, or in a group?

My own personal style is a mirror of my personality: a bit crazy, more than a little compulsive and headstrong to the finish. I go to a new area and pick up every single quest I can find. Then I read them all and figure out where to go for each one (this last bit having been made much easier with Blizzard's implementation of "Questing for Dummies" and the placement of little markers on your map where each quest can be completed).

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

An opportunity to change Retribution

As embarrassed as I am to admit it, the truth is that Retribution has a pretty low skill cap. This is an old accusation, but one that has quite a bit of weight in it. Although it used to be primarily an auto-attack class in PvE, things changed with the introduction of Divine Storm and now Exorcism in Patch 3.1. Still, many Retribution Paladins can faceroll their way to good DPS because, well, the class design is really easy to play. There are buttons that you press to do damage, you wait until cooldowns are up... rinse, repeat.

Because you can pick up all talents that contribute to DPS even before you hit Level 80, it becomes a matter of gear scaling after that. In most cases, similarly geared Retribution Paladins in a raid will put out nearly identical numbers with few exceptions. Unlike other DPS classes where the spread can be wide owing to particular talent choices, differences in rotation, gear, and play style, Retribution Paladins have the relatively simple task of resolving priority when an ability comes off cooldown. There are no combo points, no freeze effect bonuses, no procs to wait for.

This isn't to say that Retribution is one-dimensional. It's not. Particularly in PvP, Retribution can reach deeper into its bag of tricks with stuns and incapacitate effects, instant Turn Evil, and a plethora of survivability and anti-cc abilities that you often won't bother with during raids. That said, there isn't anything particularly creative about how Retribution Paladins kill their opponents. It pours on damage. Prior to 3.1 that meant quite a lot of burst. For one glorious week, that meant ranged burst with Exorcism, too.

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Has the upcoming release of Wrath changed how you play?

We've had a lot of talk here on WoW Insider about what you can do to prepare for Wrath of the Lich King. Stocking up on consumables, clearing out your bank, stuff like that. Some people have really drastically changed their play style to prepare for the expansion which is coming in just a few days.

Me? I've actually stopped doing things on my main, more or less. I stopped farming gold, I stopped worrying about consumables and gear. Just about the only thing I do on my main is raid since we're still doing Sunwell Plateau once or twice a week hoping for some weapon drops from Kil'jaeden. What I've been doing with the rest of my time in WoW is actually power leveling a new character to 70 as quickly as I can. Why am I doing that, so close to Wrath?

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Filed under: Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Forum post of the day: Simple pleasures

I've long said that once the game becomes more like a job than a diversion, it may be time to reconsider your choice of hobbies. True, to get to the top it takes lot of work, knowledge, and time. But when it comes down to it, what is the game really about? Vagh of Kil'jaeden sent out a shout out to those who aren't the best of the best, but are still enjoying the game. He tipped his hat to:

  • A person who is happily running around a main city with greens and blues
  • A person who is so happy to kill a boss in a 5 man instance
  • A person who gets a blue off of a non-heroic mode boss for a badly needed upgrade and floods the party channel with "Woot!" or "I'm so happy!!!"
  • A person whose arena rating hovers in the 1400s but still enjoys the game
  • A person who doesn't complain endlessly on the forums about imbalance

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

To click or not to click?

Flipping through the forums I came across a post by Taithleech where he was asking why everyone seems to think clicking is bad. It's only been recently that I knew about this debate, but I can't really call it a debate if it's one sided, can I? A lot of players seem to believe that using keybindings is the only way to play. When I started playing World of Warcraft I was actually taught by a friend to use the mouse to click on my spells as a way of improving my speed in the game. Since hearing about the keybinding argument I have recently tried using them more than my mouse in instances, and I do find that my speed has greatly improved. Now, being the frost mage I find I spend a lot of time spamming Frostbolt, so that's a situation where I don't think clicking the spell with my mouse hinders me in any way. There are even fights, such as Warlord Kalithresh, where I use a combination of keyboard and mouse to maximize my speed.

Many of the posts on the forum thread made reference to something I hadn't considered. They say that in order to play WoW properly, you need to approach it like an FPS. I guess this argument is particularly valid if you spend a lot of time in the arenas. I personally have little FPS experience, and so this viewpoint makes me a bit uneasy. I see the advantage of working your keyboard to its full advantage, but I'm just not sure I've got the reflexes to play like that. In the end I will have to agree with one poster who said that clicking isn't wrong, it's just slower. Where do you side on the keybindings/clicking debate?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Certain death

I think I have an addiction to dying. Especially on characters I don't really care about. I was recently playing on the test servers and decided to run my orc all the way to Stormwind (not so bad with an epic mount!), just to see how far I could get. Mage District, in case anyone's interested.

A week later, I was passing some time fishing in pleasant solitude -- just me and the rod -- when an orc ran past me. Again, this was in Stormwind, but this time I was playing as Alliance. I admired his guts, but then moonfired him to death after a guard had softened him up a little. It's karma.

Ever since these oddly similar orc incidents, I've tried to get my alts into strange and dubious places to die. Jumping off tall rocks -- check. Seeing how many fast-running mobs I could kite before they overwhelmed me -- check. PvP flagging in Hillsbrad -- check. The unnerving thing is that the deaths of all my alts combined are outweighed by the deaths of my main character -- PvP and raiding on a new boss all combine to make so much mincemeat of me.

Have you an addiction to death? Do you enjoy death, see it as an inconvenience, or try to avoid it altogether? Are you attached to the happy smiling face of your wisp or ghost more than your flesh-and-blood character?

Filed under: Odds and ends, PvP, Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: I tank, you tank, she tanks

Quote of the evening last night: "we need war druids cant tank". (Of course, two druids proceeded to tank, presumably confusing this particular group member.)

What defines a 'good' tank? What do you look for when selecting which group member should take on the onerous duty of being hit a lot? As a tank, what do you look for in a group?

Having spent much of my time until level 60 in PuGs, I have something of a fear of tanking. Despite being a feral druid (for the most part), my experiences with random people have been universally dismal. To give you some idea, the best run I'd had for a long time was the Stockades, an instance which is loathed by many players.

From the tank's point of view, it really helps to have group members who understand -- and listen. Those who realise it takes time to build up aggro, and don't rush in immediately with killer DPS. Those who realise that sometimes the squishies shouldn't do all the pulling. Those who appreciate the problems of adds -- or too much to handle -- and yell if they're in trouble. I've encountered everything from crazy DPS shadow priests to tanking mages, and most of it puts me off tanking with strangers -- but it's a dirty job, and someone's gotta do it.

Filed under: Druid, Warrior, Odds and ends, Instances

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