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The best of WoW Insider: March 2010

With more players reaching the Lich King and "finishing" the expansion (although I wouldn't have suggested saying that to anyone toiling on the Icecrown Citadel drakes), the community turned a little more of its attention to the future. The community's appetite for all things Cataclysm was in no way sated by the trickle of expansion information in this period, and more and more of our writers began to speculate on possible changes.

News

Cataclysm stat and system changes revealed
The first sign of things to come.

Operation Gnomeregan: Transcript and details and Operation Echo Isles: Transcripts and details The Operation: Gnomeregan and Zalazane's Fall events were datamined long before they ever went live, and Gregg did the legwork to figure out what was going on.

Goon Squad downs Tirion Fordring Really, Goon Squad? Really? Though, as Sacco observes, there's a term for this you might as well start getting used to hearing -- "emergent gameplay."

WoW Insider's guide to WoW resources We decided to put together as comprehensive a listing of fan sites and WoW blogs as we could manage.

World of Warcraft Patch 3.3.3 release notes
Patch 3.3.3 went live, and with it, the "greed only" policy on frost orbs that Mat had written about the previous month. PUG players everywhere breathed a sigh of relief.

Cataclysm earthquake mobs visible in Stormwind "Shaker" mobs were visible on several servers, a precursor to the earthquakes yet to come.

Paragon scores world-first heroic Lich King It took almost two months for a guild to get the heroic 25-man Lich King down.

Opinions & Editorials

Love, raiding, and everything in between: How women are taking charge in WoW
Traditionally a male-dominated activity, gaming is seeing more and more female players -- to what ultimate effect on the industry, nobody really knows.

Officers' Quarters: Verge of collapse
Scott's observations are dead on the money concerning the stresses guilds underwent in Wrath. Blizzard's constant experimentation with methods of slowing content -- multiple versions of the same raid, gating content, dividing achievements into heroic and non-heroic versions -- put a number of guilds through hell trying to keep members interested and active.

The case for open orders on the auction house
This was among the most fascinating gold-related articles ever published on the site, and the article's suggestion isn't more than a stone's throw from how the real world commodities market functions. A great read from Basil on how enabling open orders on the auction house could influence the game's economy for the better.

Frozen orbituary: The death of rolling greed
Mat McCurley raises the issue of the skyrocketing value of frost orbs and how easily they're ninja'd from trusting players. Blizzard would later to make them greed-only in response to concerns raised by players.

The Lawbringer: Interfering with gold farmers
Hot on the heels of an equally excellent editorial on the unlikelihood of Blizzard's getting involved in the gold trade, Amy inquires on the difficulty of axing gold farmers and sellers from the game.

Is there a place for MMO magazines? Zach had subscribed to the World of Warcraft magazine but hadn't failed to notice the constant delays in its arrival -- or the disadvantage of print media in an increasingly digital world.

What happened to Tour Guide? "There have been many addon stories that will live through World of Warcraft's history and beyond, as cautionary tales, expressions of visions or the refinement of a segment of the MMO genre that, rapidly, is becoming the norm in most games. Tekkub's TourGuide is going to be, if it is not already, one of those stories."


Arts & Entertainment

WoW Moviewatch: Gilnean Like Me
Gnomechewer's Gilnean Like Me was a big hit with the WoW community.

WoW Moviewatch: Welcome to the Deadmines
The winner of the Rise To Power contest and something that I find myself humming in the newly resurgent Deadmines these days. Who knew Edwin Van Cleef had the showmanship instincts of a Busby Berkeley?

WoW Moviewatch: Yesterday's News
A wonderful, nostalgic, but very sad piece on how much the game has changed -- and in the process, how much it's left behind.

The Queue: Mike Sacco and the Saccos
Mike Sacco and Fox Van Allen decided the time was ripe for a karaoke duo.

All the World's a Stage: Roleplaying the wolf Gray watches New Moon so you don't have to.

World of Warcrafts: Travels Through Azeroth (and art contest)
Destron Allicant's story and adventures is simply one of WoW's best fan creations, period. In hindsight, the simple genius of using a Forsaken narrator -- someone inclined toward skepticism of all he sees -- really paid off.

Classes, Raiding, and PvP

Raid Rx: A history of organizational healing Relatively new players are often unaware of the hijinks pulled in older raids that allowed healers to beat the content.

Shifting Perspectives: Tanks and the barrier to entry
An examination of why tanks queue and why they don't. I almost wish I'd saved this topic for the Cataclysm launch given the flood of complaints related to astronomical queues in the dungeon finder. "Some of the (tank shortage problems) are the result of deliberate design choices on Blizzard's part, but the larger share is the consequence of a playerbase that needs tanks but is (ironically) hostile to beginners ... Be kind to your newbie tanks, my fellow players. At some point down the line, the time you save may be your own."

The Art of War(craft): Introductory guide to fighting rogues People still hate rogues. 'nuff said.

Blood Sport: Horde racials
The counterpart to Colby's earlier article on Alliance racials. Sadly, nothing Hordeside gets close to the human racials for PvP, but at least the choices you've got here are a lot more balanced.

Blood Sport: Should racials be removed?
And on that note ...

Encrypted Text: Stealth mechanics deep-dive Quoth the Monty Python sketch, "How not to be seen."

Officers' Quarters: The A team question The advantage of allowing an A team for 10-man raid content.

Spiritual Guidance: Holy? Disc? We're all priests
Dawn remonstrates with healing priests at each others' throats over spec choice.

Totem Talk: Elemental scaling and how Cataclysm can fix it
Tyler (better known to the balance theorycraft community as the famous Murmurs) guest-starred in Totem Talk to address scaling issues on another hybrid caster.

Blood Pact: Be a raider, not a robot "If you do pull aggro and have the boss come over to you, try and shatter while stood next to a mage. It may not help prevent a wipe but nobody will really mind as the hilarity will make it all worthwhile."

Scattered Shots: Rok out with your Lhok out With the advent of Cataclysm, Rhok'delar has now passed into WoW history.

Odds & Ends

Know Your Lore: The Netherwing
With Deathwing's reemergence, it pays to know about some of his loose ends in Outland. The Netherwing have a surprisingly affecting history. If you've got one of the mounts, this will make you appreciate it all the more.

Sociologists using WoW to predict the future of human civilization William Bainbridge's The Warcraft Civilization was published by MIT Press in March. The author had an interesting interview in which he noted that the Holy Light was understood by players to be a fantasy but "necessary to appreciate the game" -- and that this may be a model for humanity in a post-religious future.

WoW Rookie: Essential WoW terminology in other languages
A fabulous idea, particularly for those of us who play on realms or battlegroups with a significant population of players speaking different languages: How do you say "Let the tank pull" in Czech, Spanish, or Korean?

Drama Mamas: Suicide threats
A very serious Drama Mamas concerning an issue only tangentially affected by the game itself. Is it fair to have to deal with life-and-death issues raised by someone you barely know? No. But is it something you should realistically expect to do at some point in your life? Yes.

15 Minutes of Fame: Beating WoW is in sight for world-class achiever
You'll be hearing from this player again in two months ...

Breakfast Topic: Suffer, mortals, as your pathetic eardrums betray you
Anne Stickney nails why Sindragosa quickly rose among the ranks of WoW boss memes, which is unusual given her capacity to betraaaAAAAaaaAAAAaaaAAAAaaaaAAAAaaaaAAAAaaaay you.


2010's drawing to a close, and we're wrapping up the most interesting articles we've published all year, one day at a time. Join us every day for the next twelve days with this year's best of WoW Insider!


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Insider Business, Humor

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