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The Best of WoW Insider: April 2010

April was another busy month here. An increasing number of players finished Icecrown Citadel, and Cataclysm news sped from a trickle to ... well, I'm not sure I'd describe it as a gush, but we saw the earliest planned class changes and a series of announcements on altered mechanics. Oh, and we also briefly turned the site into Twilight Insider for April Fool's, and Blizzard debuted the famous "sparkle pony."

News


Eyonix leaving Blizzard
A sad day for many of us who had waited religiously for his posts.

Rage normalization in
Cataclysm
Hot on the heels of Rossi's argument that rage was broken (see past the cut), Blizzard announced an upcoming effort to "normalize rage" again for Cataclysm. I glossed the previous effort to normalize rage (in the beginning of The Burning Crusade) as follows:
Blizzard: We're normalizing rage.
Warriors: What does that mean?
Blizzard: It means that normally, you won't have any.
Warriors: ... oh.
No no no no no no no no! Lil' XT was plagued by a bug that vastly increased the range at which you could hear his emotes and vocalizations. Blizzard wound up having to disable them before more players threw themselves off cliffs in an effort to escape.

Blizzard bans 320,000 Warcraft 3 and Diablo 2 players
Blizzard started "cleaning house" (as Gregg termed it) on Battle.net in preparation for the release of Starcraft 2.

Opinions and editorials

Thoughts on the death knight tanking change
Dan's had a history of accurate or close speculation on upcoming game changes, and he anticipated the death knight's restriction to the blood tree for tanking purposes a month prior.

Breakfast Topic: I just bought a $25 imaginary horse Great Breakfast Topic on the new "sparkle pony" and the possible future of microtransactions in WoW. Also notable for the couplet, "I do not regret my horse purchase. I do not have horse remorse."

WoW Insider reacts to the Cataclysm raid changes
After common lockouts for 10- and 25-man raids were announced for Cataclysm, the team weighed in on the likely fallout.

Know Your Lore: Current Horde politics: The blood elves
Anne's series on current Horde politics is very much worth your time, but I think the blood elf article marks the beginning of the "Oh wait" meme.

Officers' Quarters: A friendly loot system
"Friendly" loot systems are often anything but. What happens when someone who's salivating over a drop loses it to someone who wins it fair and square? "I apologize in advance if this column reads like a rant ..."

Arts and entertainment

Around Forks: OMG, the best pizza EVER! We let Fox out of his cage for April Fool's Day.

Twilight Insider reviews Stephenie Meyer's Twilight graphic novel
Not to be outdone, Joe embedded the first "I <3 Sparkly Vampires" GIF this site has ever seen.

WoW Moviewatch:
Emerald Dream
A fantastic collaborative effort by multiple machinimators arranged to Tchaikovsky's Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies.

WoW Moviewatch: The Fall of the Lich King by Onix A wonderful raid video that reminded me a little of Jack's Burning Crusade: The Movie.

WoW Moviewatch: The Grind, Episode 3 Anything from the folks behind The Grind will instantly make my Best Of the Year list. These people should be doing film or television professionally, if they're not already. Razor-sharp wit, an extraordinary sense of comic timing, perfect voice acting -- and someone there's got amazing taste in music.

Ask a Faction Leader: The brothers Bronzebeard
Not content with one faction leader, Sacco "interviews" all three Bronzebeards at once.

Classes, raiding and PvP

Cataclysm class skills previewed in Icecrown CItadel
Alex noticed something interesting in Icecrown Citadel -- the mobs "cloned" by Val'kyr Heralds from friendly players had a number of skills that turned up eight months later in the expansion. A death knight player at the class Q&A at BlizzCon would later ask if this meant they could borrow Defile from the Lich King.

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Terror, fear, loathing, and rage
Why rage had to be normalized -- and this was an argument coming from Rossi, who lived through the rage normalization fiasco of early The Burning Crusade.

Spiritual Guidance: A new look
A fascinating article on the priest class -- what it was, what it is, and with Cataclysm announcements then starting to pour in -- what it was likely to become.

Scattered Shots: Grandpappy Frostheim on Cataclysm changes "At a time when the hunter community was saying that Cataclysm hunter changes would ruin the class, I was saying, 'Hey, calm down, Blizzard has a good history of making a great game, and hunters will work out.' And they did."

Arcane Brilliance: The end of an era and Blood Pact: Little-known warlock facts Dominic Hobbs and Christian Belt traded columns for a week. Hobbs accused mages of being so useless as to be worth folding into another ranged DPS class. Belt accused warlocks of being inconsistent from the free throw line and driving down nearby property values.

Shifting Perspectives: The forest and the trees A sizable portion of the druid community blew a gasket over the Tree of Life form's upcoming disappearance. They weren't wrong about missing a "fun part" of the class -- but Blizzard wasn't necessarily wrong to get rid of it.

Raid Rx: Striving for healer parity Matticus -- a superbly geared discipline priest rocking a Val'anyr -- got shot down from participating in a routine Trial of the Crusader PUG.

Scattered Shots: Frostheim faux interviews Ghostcrawler In which Frostheim's psychic bond with Ghostcrawler allowed him to completely make up an interview.

Spiritual Guidance: The Gear Score is a lie
Fox goes after the GearScore enthusiasts with a few pointed observations on the damage you can lose with "better gear."

Shifting Perspectives: Moonkin, a history
Tyler examines a spec long believed to be Blizzard's red-headed stepchild. It's almost painful to be reminded that this caster spec once had a talent increasing weapon damage by 10 percent.

Odds and ends

Ghostcrawler explains just WTF this is, plus a drinking story
The WoW community is educated on giant isopods.

WoW Insider's "I'm waiting for the priest info to drop" open thread
Cataclysm class changes were announced in early April, but Blizzard took a while to get the priest version up. While people were idling in the wee hours of the morning on April 8, Adam decided an open comment thread was the way to go.

Raid Rx: Tank and healer disagreements
Matticus always comes out of PUGs with great stories. I think he should do it more often.

The loose ends of Arkonarin The article itself -- concerning an NPC in one of Azeroth's better classic escort quests -- was lovely, but a comment made it especially memorable. Zeplar observed that the NPC's disappearance post-quest, reappearance in the cage, and inability to realize you're there afterwards may actually mean that "she and Trey (another quest NPC) were both corrupted spirits, trapped in the caves and forced to forever relive their escape." Creepy.

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 12 days with this year's best of WoW Insider!


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

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