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Breakfast Topic: Should Blizzard brake base XP while preserving boosts for experienced players?

Breakfast Topic Should Blizzard brake base XP while preserving boosts for experienced players
We recently explored how you felt about alternate characters, whether you believe they should represent true alternatives to your first character or whether they should remain secondary to a more fully developed main. Either way, there's no stuffing rapid leveling back into the bag. WoW's current leveling design pushes players forward relentlessly, whether they're experienced gamers or not. The problem is that today's leveling pace already outstrips zone content, quest lines, gearing -- you name it. Should Blizzard apply the brakes to base XP while still permitting seasoned WoW players to choose to move more rapidly?

Consider this: What if the leveling experience weren't tuned to catapult players so quickly through and past leveling zones and dungeons? What if the pace were a little looser, giving new players more time to soak up the leveling game itself -– and then at the same time, the current XP boosts were spread across tools designed for experienced players who choose to hop, skip, and jump their way to 90?

The precedents are there -- just look at the heirloom armor system. Today, you can buy Grand Commendations to boost various reputations for your characters once you've played through them once. And remember when everyone was buying the Tome of Cold Weather Flight for their alts? The tools are already in place. From leveling XP to reputation gains to player convenience, the helping hand of a level-capped main character is key.

Do you think WoW's leveling experience should remain something to be played through quickly and efficiently, even for brand new players, or do you think there's merit to allowing that part of the game to move at a more deliberate pace? Would you support more mechanics that give experienced players a way to speed up leveling for their alts, preserving a slower pace for new players and players who enjoy slower leveling? If you like a strong emphasis on mechanics like heirlooms and commendations, should those tools be simple, affordable purchases for any level 90 player, or should they take some time, effort, or money to earn?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Should alts remain secondary to a more developed main?

Breakfast Topic Should alts be secondary to a more developed main
Ready to move all those alts through Mists of Pandaria? The XP reduction for levels 85 to 90 in patch 5.3 isn't something I'm particularly excited about. Leveling goes more than quickly enough for my taste. It's the part of the game I'm enjoying most these days, so why would I want less of it?

At its most basic, pushing players through the levels is a matter of character focus. In Mists of Pandaria, WoW turned away from spreading its affections amongst the so-called stable of alts in favor of encouraging a single main character. That's a compelling approach for players like me who enjoy running down the side streets and back alleyways of gameplay in search of every last way to improve a character. Players who leveled up during Blizzard's later era of streamlined leveling, however, are used to cutting a direct line to the finish with an expectation that they'll be able to maintain multiple characters all the way through the endgame.

What do you think about swinging the focus back to a single main character? Do you think bringing alts up to the same level of development as a main character should be easy, making them true alternatives to your primary character? Or should alts remain easy to level but harder to fully round out at 90?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: What would your character do as a WoW NPC?

Blog Azeroth Shared Topic Insert NPC here
Each week, Blog Azeroth posts a Shared Topic, and WoW bloggers link to posts on their blogs responding to the topic. This week's topic:
If Blizzard added your main as an NPC in WoW, where would they be located and what would be their function? Give us a shot illustrating the fact.
Though Roblinator isn't exactly my main and she's only level 62, she is the guild leader of WoW Insider's It came from the Blog, so I'll use her for this topic.

Roblinator the Goblinator would hang out across the way from the bar in the Goblin Slums. They have been saving a place for her, complete with libations! Please ignore the laundry. It's the neighbor's.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Are you planning a new main for Mists?

Breakfast Topic Are you planning a new main for Mists
With the new expansion imminent, are you beginning to wonder what you might be playing when it arrives? Have you grown tired of your role within the raid team? Are you fed up with all those damn totems?

I'm not sure myself just what I'm going to be calling my main in Mists. I wrote a Breakfast Topic awhile back where I confessed that when asked what my main is, my knee-jerk reaction is to say "paladin tank" -- whereas the /played, if it could be done over the last year, would tell a very different story. My paladin's fallen by the wayside in favor of my restoration shaman, and if the trend toward tanking being one of the easier jobs continues, my interest in tanking will likely continue to wane. But on the other hand, I like tanking when it's tricky. My half-hearted tanking in the beta hasn't been excessively taxing, but you never know -- I haven't attempted any pandaroics yet. I'm slightly, perversely hoping they will be similar to the Zulroics in difficulty or to the early Cataclysm heroics. I loved the way they required my full attention to tank.

And I like raid tanking when it's tricky, and I love off-tanking with my great friend of 11 years as my main tank. He and I work really well together. But on the other hand, I PvP way more than I raid. Do I really like retribution? Not particularly.

So I'm caught in a conundrum. Which will be my first 90? Will I level a pandaren shaman? Will I really abandon my paladin? Will I keep her as my main raider? What am I going to do?

How about you? Are you sure about your Mists main? Are you confused and undecided like me? And whichever camp you fall into, tell me why!

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The alt deficiency

Image
Do alts even count as alts when half of them are the same class as your main and the other half are rarely played?

I have a troubling relationship with the concept of playing an alt. First off, I don't really get alts. I know people who have four or six or even eight level 85 characters, geared and kitted out for raiding or Arena/RBG play. One woman I know has completely filled up two servers with level 85 characters (full character window, a server she plays Horde on and a server she plays Alliance on) that can at least run a random Hour of Twilight heroic. I accept that this exists, but I can't imagine doing it.

See, I'm middling at best about my achievements in game, but there are things I've done that you can't do anymore. I mean, every time I ran the 5-man Zul'Gurub, I kept thinking about how I'm a hero of the Zandalar tribe. Shouldn't they at least try and talk me out of killing them? Shouldn't I at least have the option to say, "Hey, guys, it's me, can we chill out on this?" and then we could express our sorrow at having to come to blows?

I can't do that on an alt. Well, OK, I can do it on the other two warriors who are also heroes of the Zandalar tribe, but you get my point. An alt's not going to have all those titles I barely realized I was earning, or my Mimiron's Head, or a Sulfuras in the bank laughing at me every time I got to the trasmogrification ethereal and get a hit of sweet, sweet gear changery.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Shaman, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Death Knight

Breakfast Topic: How do you decide which is your main?

When I talk to people about my gaming (which is 99% WoW and 1% other), if they play too and we get chatting about it -- or even if they simply have an understanding of how an MMORPG works -- the question they will inevitably ask is, "What do you play as?" Or if they play WoW too, they might ask, "What is your main?" My knee-jerk reaction to this is to say "paladin tank." My tankadin was my second-ever character on WoW, the first one that was on the right server where all my friends were, and my first to hit max level.

When Cata hit, she was my first 85, and for a short while she was my only 85. I've PvPed on her as retribution (and as protection for a while, but the less said about that the better!). But since then, as I've become ever more PvP-focused, the amount of time I spend tanking has dwindled considerably. I still do it, and I still enjoy it, especially when it's really challenging, which it seems to me is sadly less and less the case for tanks right now. But the thing is, PvE is just not as exciting to me as PvP. So the character that's getting the most play is my shaman, by a pretty long way. My priest and my warlock are next in line -- and heck, even my hunter gets more playtime than my paladin these days!

And yet when someone asks me what my main is, I'll still say "paladin tank." Maybe it's because I spent such a long time getting to know her. I was too nervous to level by tanking when I first started, so the leveling process took forever. Maybe it's because I like to surprise people by saying I play a tank (see a previous Breakfast Topic for why I think they might be surprised). Maybe it's just because she was my first.

But I think the idea of a main could be something quite significant in WoW. It's how you identify yourself. It's your positioning and your role in the big machine, and it's who you feel you are online. Possibly.

So how about you? What is your main? How do you decide? Do you simply tell people that it's the character you play the most right now? Has your main changed, and if so, why? What's your WoW identity?

My name's Olivia, and I'm a paladin tank. Honest.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: What prompted your class choice?

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

You're sitting at your character creation screen, starting a brand new game, maybe with no previous gaming experience at all. Or perhaps you're well-versed in the realms of MMOs, and you have a favorite character archetype already. No matter which applies, we all started at that screen, wondering: What class should I pick? What does class choice even mean? What are tanks? How come this class's armor is so hideous? What on earth is a paladin?

For me, I was devouring the manual that came with vanilla WoW as it installed, trying to find a class I'd like. When I stumbled upon druids and the fact that they could turn into bears and kitties (and moonkin, although I didn't know that yet), I was instantly hooked. Later, in the 40-49 bracket of Warsong Gulch, after getting wrecked over and over by warlock DoTs, I thought, "Hey! Warlocks seem OP! I should make one!" And thus, the warlock was born.

A guildmate of mine chose a rogue because she'd watch her husband play and he would always exclaim how annoying they were and how much he hated rogues. His anger amused her, so rogue she went!

What influenced you? Death Grip looked awesome? You wanted to dispel Hunter's Mark because you hated that graphic (my priest!)? You wanted to shoot huge balls of fire at people? Tell us about it!

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: When your alt becomes your main

You've raided Icecrown Citadel and killed Arthas. You've got a ranked arena team. Your gear score and achievement score both push 6,000. You're officially elite. Then one day that level 15 gnome rogue you rolled two years ago on a whim starts to call your name. She's got pink pig-tails and the cutest little laugh. Before you know it your little gnome is questing in Outland. Soon you're in Northrend. All of a sudden you're running heroics, and raiding. Now your little gnome is just as leet as your old main.

Back long ago I started a druid for the sole purpose of making leather kits for my guild. At the time I didn't realize that since my main was an enchanter, I made myself redundant because leather kits overwrite enchantments -- but I must have liked my druid. As I leveled that enchanter, a mage, my druid was never far behind. Now both toons are level 80, geared, and at the top of their professions. I honestly don't know which one of them is my main and which is my alt. The only difference is, as a healer, the druid has more utility in raids and heroics.

Have you ever switched mains? What would cause you to switch? Guild needs? Personal preferences? Switching classes? With paid server and faction transfers, a lot of the old reasons for switching toons have gone by the wayside. We want to hear your main switching stories.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

The cynic's guide to World of Warcraft

We tend to be very careful while composing articles here at WoW Insider. We're always mindful that not everyone plays the game in the same way, or has the same experience on different servers or factions, but every so often a certain madness seizes us and we feel the urge to ... tell the truth. In that vein, I am pleased (sort of) to present The Cynic's Guide to World of Warcraft.

This article owes a heavy debt to Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary. If you want to see a real master at work, read that.

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Filed under: Humor

WoW Moviewatch: Don't Make Me Get My Main


Cranius
is the legendary WoW musician behind Big Blue Dress and Darrowshire. If you've been following Moviewatch, then you already know he worked with equally amazing machinimator Legs to create a music video for Wrought. For BlizzCon 2009, the pair again created an astounding piece of art, titled Don't Make Me Get My Main.

The story of the video is something with which most of us can empathize. At least, you can empathize with it if you've ever tried leveling an alt up through Stranglethorn. A beleaguered low level character is just trying to get his quests done, but a vile Blood Elf repeatedly gray-ganks the poor chap. The protagonist implores the ganker to leave him alone, before he's forced to go get his accomplished, powerful main character.

I'll avoid spoilers for the ending, but trust me when I say it's probably yet another experience most of us have probably suffered through before. Congratulations to Cranius and Legs on winning a first place prize with this video.


Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an e-mail at machinima AT wow DOT com.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Moviewatch, BlizzCon

Breakfast Topic: Identity Crisis

Once upon a time, at the beginning of 2005, just a few months after WoW was released, The Spousal Unit made the switch and traded in his Dwarf Paladin for a Tauren Shaman and never looked back. He brought a couple other classes up to 70 and made lame attempts at duos with me, but Onnix the Shammy was the only character he really wanted to play.

Then Wrath of the Lich King came out. He immediately took Onnix to Northrend and started questing. But he took a brief break to make a Death Knight, so that it could sit and get rest while he leveled his main. He decided to make an Orc because they look good in plate and we picked his name from a Celtic god of death (who ended up being a goddess). He didn't spend much time on the look and didn't care too much about the name because this was just a throwaway character.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: What did you level first?

Our topic for today comes from one of our readers, Grindal. He (she? Sorry!) wrote in suggesting we ask all of you a question. What did you level first? Did you level your main right away? Did you try out an alt in Northrend? Did you roll a Death Knight? Heck, is your new Death Knight your new main?

Personally, I went straight to my main. No questions about it. I hit the Howling Fjord and started questing like crazy. Eventually I rolled my Death Knight with the name I had been reserving for months now, but I didn't really play it at all. I just wanted to start accumulating rest. That's about all I did on all of my alts, actually. I made sure my 70s were in inns. That's it. Beyond that, it's been all Shadow Priest all the time. I was lucky in that I got into Northrend a little bit ahead of the crowds, so I'm usually a zone ahead of most people. I just finished the Dragonblight last night just as the masses rolled in, and now I have the Grizzly Hills more or less to myself. Once people start flooding that zone, I'll be over in Zul'Drak.

How are things going for all of you?
What did you level first?
My main!8580 (66.1%)
An alt!2258 (17.4%)
I don't have Wrath yet and cry myself to sleep at night2143 (16.5%)

Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Leveling, Death Knight

A world full of Death Knights

This little informal survey by Ralloszek over on the WotLK forums raises a pretty good question: is anyone not planning on making a Death Knight when the next expansion hits? We're going to end up with a world full of pale people in black armor wielding gigantic frostblades-- maybe Blizzard should call it "World full of Lich Kings."

It's pretty easy to see that not everyone will switch their main (I don't ever foresee leaving my main, although I do plan to level a Death Knight as an alt), but even if people just roll them to check it out, it reminds me a lot of the Star Wars Galaxies "new game enhancements" where they made Jedi a playable class. If you can roll a Jedi as a class, why would you roll anything else?

Of course, we could give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt here-- they haven't revealed much at all about the game's first Hero Class, so maybe it'll be so hard to get one that they really will be very rare, or they'll only be allowed in certain areas (so you won't see a pack of Death Knights swarming around the mailbox in Stormwind). We already know that they'll start at a higher level, so the good news is that you won't see Elwynn Forest flooded with a bunch of level 1 Death Knights. But as for other ways to keep what is supposed to be a special class special, we'll have to see what Blizzard comes up with.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Classes, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast topic: Switching mains

Ever since I got a computer sophisticated enough to play WoW and created my own account, my main has been my troll rogue. Sure, occasionally I'd experiment with an undead warlock or night elf hunter, but my heart and gear belonged to the rogue.

But recently, I've found myself just not satisfied with my rogue -- and just not getting raid spots with her. Maybe it's the fact that my weapons suck. Maybe it's my low hit rating. Maybe it's because we have a ton of rogues. Maybe it's because a lot of fights are melee-unfriendly. Maybe it's because I wrote an article mocking the guild's second-in-command. Actually, it's probably the last one.

Instead, I've been leveling my paladin. Now that I'm in Outlands, have finally found a pleasant profession (jewelcrafting), and am getting closer and closer to that magic number of 70, I'm considering asking the officers if I can make my paladin my main and raid on her. Not only would it be better for the guild (we only have a couple of paladins) and better for me (woo hoo, an actual raid slot), I'd like to experience the healing side of the game. I've been DPSing forever and am tired of it.

I'd say about half the players I know have a different main character now than the one they started with. Have you ever switched your main? What did you start out with, and what have you ended up with? Were you happy with the change?

Filed under: Virtual selves, Guilds, Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: How did you pick your class?

When I first started playing the game, way back when, I didn't really pick a single class -- instead, I rolled one of nearly everything and played through a few levels here and a few levels there. I honestly don't recall how or why a warlock became my main character and my first class to 60 (and, yes, I was a warlock before warlocks were cool). It was picked, primarily, at random. I didn't have any detailed knowledge of any of the classes, but happened to enjoy leveling that one more than the rest. But after that first character, I picked classes with a bit more knowledge of what I was getting into -- after all, you can't level to 60 without learning at least a little something about the other classes. My next to 60 was a priest, whom I selected because I wanted something that was the polar opposite in playstyle of a warlock -- so I leveled a priest. (In hindsight, it wasn't so terribly unlike a warlock for soloing or questing: they're both classes with fear doing shadow damage. But in groups they were worlds apart.)

And now that I've started off with my story, I'd love to hear yours. how did you pick the class you're playing today? Was it the result of hours of meticulous research? Was it a random choice? The casual recommendation of a friend? Done because your group of friends needed tanking/CC/DPS/healing? Or did you just try everything until you found a good fit?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Classes

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