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The Best of WoW Insider: February 2011

Croe We even had a tank go to the first boss in Stonecore for farming a mount, and dropped immediately afterwards.
Snuzzle He's gonna be joining and dropping Stonecore for a while then, 'cause the mount drops from the second boss.

This was a relatively slow month for WoW Moviewatch, although there were a few sterling exceptions. I suspect most machinimators were still too busy leveling or gearing toons to crank out a lot of new material. However, that didn't stop other players from offering a wealth of opinions on how to fix an ongoing rash of issues with the Dungeon Finder, and I think February is really the month where frustration with the number of players trying to beat the system reached its peak.

And -- oops -- Blizzard finally fixed a bug that had unintentionally been adding to everyone's misery in 5-mans.



News

Luck of the Draw buff broken, getting buffed in patch 4.0.6 Due to a bug that had gone unnoticed for months, players often did Dungeon Finder groups without the Luck of the Draw buff active. While this was far from being the major cause of dungeon and heroic difficulty in early Cataclysm, it sure didn't help. Blizzard bumped the buff to the current 15% and crossed its fingers.

Patch 4.0.6a patch notes The first major patch of Cataclysm.

Patch 4.1 PTR patch notes ... which was followed shortly after by the appearance of the first major content patch on the Public Test Realm. Unsurprisingly, an avalanche of patch 4.1 news ensued, with the big news being the return of Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub as heroic 5-mans.

Datamining Cataclysm's legendary staff Patch 4.2 was still a long way off, but some poking and prodding from the forum denizens at MMO Champion had unearthed a lot of items with the term "Firelands" appended. However, the staff it turned up didn't wind up looking anything at all like the weapon we later knew as Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest.

Love is in the Air event plagued by bugs And how. Perhaps most amusingly for those of us with a twisted sense of humor, players were still being given quests to visit Cairne Bloodhoof and Magni Bronzebeard.

Dungeon Finder, vote-kicking hotfixes on the way The number of techniques that players had invented in order to circumvent routine 45-minute waits in the Dungeon Finder was seemingly endless, and more honest folks were getting sick of it. Blizzard tinkered with the vote-kick system as a result and -- again -- crossed its fingers. The topic came up for discussion in The Queue not long after, and this wasn't the last we saw of the issue.

Opinions and editorials

In defense of gear simulations "RNG happens, and RNG is what makes it so that any form of testing on target dummies is inconclusive at best ... While it's very possible that you'll see an inflated number of critical hits during your 5-minute dummy test, 5,000 hours of simmed testing will see it even out to be very close to your actual critical strike chance."

The OverAchiever: Farewell to The Exalted Blizzard decided to bump the requirements for the Exalted title to 50 exalted reputations, and then removed the title from any player who'd previously had it but no longer qualified. Cue forum explosion. Two days later, the developers backtracked.

Officers' Quarters: Be careful what you promise ... in which guild officers are held to a much higher standard than politicians, with predictably disastrous results. Don't make promises you can't keep, folks.

The Lawbringer: A world without remedy Crysis 2 had been leaked about a month before it was scheduled to hit store shelves. EA and Crytek's desperate and ultimately futile attempts at damage control prompted an extraordinary essay from Mat on why leaks in the game industry are a problem without a good solution. Oh, and the widespread (and widely hated) move to online authentication in order to play games? Count on seeing more of it.

Predicting Battle.net's social future When Blizzard later announced the annual WoW pass + Tyrael's Charger + free Diablo III package at BlizzCon, I had a sudden and unnerving flashback to this piece.

The anachronistic illogic of Battlegrounds Given the advance of WoW's storyline, do the objectives of Battlegrounds like Warsong Gulch make sense anymore?

How far have you progressed in Cataclysm? Dawn polls the readers on their level of progression, and I would argue that her essay is a required bookend to a previous article from January on GuildOx's weird-looking player statistics.

The Lawbringer: The power of licensing "Attaching a brand name like Blizzard, StarCraft, Warcraft, or Diablo to a product is like encasing it in gold and stapling on as many diamonds as you can find."

Arts and entertainment

Around Azeroth: Out of the game and into the streets A development named the Alliance Center put up an advertisement. Horde defacement was perhaps inevitable.

WoW Moviewatch: What Happens During Server Maintenance The WoW community's "sultan of sarcasm," Wowcrendor, returns with a video on Blizzard's custodial efforts each Tuesday. Who knew it involved shaking down NPCs for rent?

WoW Moviewatch: Murder on the Booty Bay Express The mother and son team at Swathe Productions produced a genuinely funny parody of Murder on the Orient Express. The opening lines of the film corrupt Hercules Poirot to "Hairless Parrot" and then skewers the number of unscrupulous players who got rich off single Iceblade Arrow sales. It just gets better from there.

WoW Moviewatch: Baron Soosdon's 1.12.1/4.03/2019 Soosdon described this as a return to form, "creating something incoherent and hardly (if barely) understandable." But that's OK -- we loved it anyway.

Classes, raiding, and PvP

Scattered Shots: What other classes should know about hunters Left unanswered -- "Why should we care?" Although that might just be the resentful druid in me speaking.

Blood Sport: How to cultivate successful PvP attitudes and part 2 Successful PvPers aren't first distinguished by superior strategies or gear -- everyone starts out with an ungeared character who will die in seconds to a determined assault. So what's the difference between players who continue to struggle and players who go on to win? The attitude they have going in.

Shifting Perspectives: The druid of 2010 ... in which Allison's Snark Passenger makes a reappearance, a sommelier is hired by the local pharmacy, and we are reminded that no one gives a damn about your origin story unless you're a shirtless Christian Bale.

Arcane Brilliance: The mage survival guide and part 2 Death is bad. This is how you avoid it. Usually. Sometimes. Mostly. Wait, did the tank just drop group?

Raid Rx: What druid and shaman cooldowns would you like to see? Blizzard developers were publicly considering the possibility of giving druid and shaman healers cooldowns in order to compete with paladins and priests. Both of them wound up getting cooldowns ... sort of.

Blood Pact: The failure of soul shards Tyler comprehensively evaluates both the history of soul shards, how Blizzard sought to improve the mechanic in Cataclysm, what worked, and what didn't. The comments section here is equally good, particularly as readers debated the merit of Soulburn in relation to other class cooldowns and whether the comparison was even fair to begin with.

Odds and ends

Heart Story: One player's quest for iconic affection Dawn wrote a deceptively simple story in honor of Valentine's Day that's pretty tough for me to summarize without spoiling it completely. All I can say is, read it.

Gold Capped: Ore-splosion As the expansion advanced, dedicated gold makers couldn't help but notice that the amount of inexpensive ore on the Auction House was oddly high. As Basil notes, everyone loves cheap Cataclysm ore, but not everyone takes full advantage of it -- and, incidentally, there's a damn good reason that Blizzard aggressively bans miner bots.

The Undermine Journal reboots with AH sales profiles The Undermine Journal had been among the most useful resources for anyone interested in server economies, and it was a huge blow when it shut down in December 2010. Auction House mavens and number junkies everywhere were ecstatic to see it back.

Breakfast Topic: Do you save stuff for nostalgic reasons? Turns out a lot of players are the digital equivalent of hoarders. Blizzard would later reward this behavior with transmogrification, reassuring us that at least some pathological behavior ends in triumph.

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Silence of the Titans For omnipotent beings that have such a passion for creation and life (or so we think), the titans are an oddly absent faction in Azeroth. Anne started digging into why.

Drama Mamas: The case of the underage scammer As Robin observed, it's rare for the Mamas to disagree strenuously about anything, but this was one of those rare cases. How does one best deal with a kiddie scammer, and should you feel guilty about trying to address the problem more proactively?

The Queue: In which Adam proposes to Katie Achievement unlocked!

WoW Rookie: Know your interrupts The piqued tank within me wishes to convert this article into pamphlet form and start passing it out in the middle of Orgrimmar. Perhaps not surprisingly, Daniel Whitcomb followed it up less than a week later with his own lecture to death knights on the issue.

If you enjoyed this article, you might get a kick out of our Best of 2009 and Best of 2010 series.

2011'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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