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The Best of WoW Insider: May 2011

Does WoW ever creep you out?
NoYou Read trade for more than 20 seconds and you can make a strong case against evolution.
CloakedDrifter The Goldshire inn on Moon Guard. *shudder*
MattKrotzer It creeps me out that one of the quest writers has such a fascination with poop, and making us sift through it.

This was a news-heavy month due to patch 4.1's dropping in late April and the quick arrival of patch 4.2 on the Public Test Realm. However, it was also a vibrant month for the arts scene, and WoW Archivist was en fuego in May. Did you know that Molten Core shipped with a third legendary? Don't lie.

News

World of Warcraft patch 4.2 patch notes Patch 4.2 went live on the PTR shortly after patch 4.1 hit player servers, and both kept us busy for a while.

Dungeon Journal FAQ Among the new features introduced on said PTR was the Dungeon Journal. Blizzard's talked earlier about players' uncomfortable reliance on third-party websites to tackle gear, dungeons, and raids, and the Dungeon Journal's a way to provide some of that information within the game itself.

Zarhym talks premium WoW services And here's that "Does your avatar have rights or simply expectations?" argument from April again. Whatever you see in the game cost Blizzard money to produce, and we start getting into murkier territory over what should and shouldn't be part of the monthly subscription fee once we're talking about services that you don't really need in order to enjoy the game.

Blizzard improves the WoW community site (again) We gave high marks to the new community site when it debuted in 2010, and it just keeps getting better. Seriously, that place is kind of addictively good now.

Patch 4.2: The keyring is gone; Gozer is saddened As are we all.

World of Warcraft dips to a mere 11.4 million subscribers Cue much doom-laden talk from the more pessimistic among the player base, but as Mike Morhaime observed, subscriber numbers tend to fluctuate due to a variety of factors. Then again, WoW saw another subscriber dip before the end of the year.

Chinese prisoners forced to farm gold Not the happiest news we've ever gotten, and a vicious reminder not to buy gold. Seriously, WoW population, how hard is this? Don't freaking buy gold!

Opinions and editorials

On the subject of blues and their forum communication, with love from Zarhym Zarhym posted from home one evening in service to the cause of ending stupidity on the forums (now there's the kind of battle that's lost before it's even fought) and reminds us that, yes, the Community team is reading. That the Community team is reading does not imply that everything you want will be implemented in the game, however.

The Lawbringer: A good cause Blizzard had just announced that 50% of the proceeds from the Cenarion Hatchling's sale on the Pet Store would go to tsunami relief in Japan.

Officers' Quarters: When raiders hold your guild hostage This is an unpleasant but sadly not-unfamiliar story: Raider gets subbed into a raid and all is well, raider gets subbed out and all hell breaks loose.

Ol' Grumpy's guide to outdated content and you Rossi: "The column that got a British man I don't know to call me names." While the earlier Ol' Grumpy's first week with Patch 4.1 doesn't have that going for it, I liked that one, too.

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: One warrior's view of the Call to Arms Longtime tank Rossi lays it out: While Call to Arms might fix the worst of the queue problems, it doesn't fix why tanks hated the early Cataclysm Dungeon Finder. The issues described here and in Tanks, bribes, and player behavior may be among the reasons that Blizzard is returning to a model of easier heroics in Mists of Pandaria. Harder heroics aren't bad per se, but people don't necessarily want to risk them through the Dungeon Finder.

Arts and entertainment

WoW Moviewatch: Murloc A short, but stunning bit of original animation that had commenters yelling for Blizzard to hire the filmmakers involved.

Around Azeroth: Night time is the right time An overview of the lighting in Stormwind with the WoW Machinima Tool.

World of WarCrafts: Moonkin taxidermy Now why didn't I think of stuffing and mounting a moonkin head on the wall when Tyler and I were having that fight about druid spec supremacy?

What happened to Ozumat and Neptulon? In which Fox and Mat sketch a debatably plausible set of scenarios for what happened between a certain elemental lord and a certain giant squid. Don't think the WoW community's forgotten about these two, either -- they turn up as late as October during the #OccupyGregStreet fiasco.

What's your dream cast for the Warcraft movie? So it turns out that people care deeply about the cast of the Warcraft film, howsoever deep in Development Hell it might be.

Around Azeroth: We're whalers on the moon The Outland sky is an endless source of badass screenshots.

WoW Moviewatch: Nyangnomes Baron Soosdon celebrated his 100-video milestone with:

A deep and philosophical video which questions the moral essence and dilemma of ones existence in everchanging world while introducing the setting in a controversial and edgy roleplayer environment.

"Alternatively," Gray observes, "this could be 13 minutes of gnomes set to Nyancat."

WoW Moviewatch: Maiev, Life After the Betrayer Maiev Shadowsong disappeared from view after Illidan's death, and everyone kinda assumed it was to brood over her life's lack of purpose with nothing and no one to hunt. Turns out it was a little less angst and a little more getting a dog and finding a boyfriend and participating in Orcah's Book Club.

Travels through Azeroth and Outland comes to a close and part 2 A player-penned travelogue spanning five years, countless thousands of words, and every zone in the pre-Cataclysm game, Travels through Azeroth and Outland captured player imagination and even got a stamp of approval from Blizzard. We interviewed its author again and got his take on racial characteristics, good and evil in the Warcraft mythology, and why player characters are kind of pawns in the great scheme.

Classes, raiding, and PvP

Spiritual Guidance: The mechanics of shadow priest haste This involves both math and a diagram, so even though I don't understand it (and have in fact hurriedly excused myself in favor of non-math pursuits elsewhere), I think it's probably good.

Scattered Shots: 10 things hunters should get in patch 4.3 I was on board with Frostheim's series of suggestions for the hunter class until #7. Might I suggest another? "A mauling."

Addon Spotlight: Better PUGs with RobBossMods Given how many people recommended RobBossMods in order to simplify boss explanations in 4.3, I think it's safe to say that the mod has started to leave its mark.

Totem Talk: Why enhancement AoE doesn't work Blizzard has been trying to fix shaman AoE, and especially enhancement AoE, forever and a day. A somewhat weary Josh details why the spec just isn't getting what it needs.

Shifting Perspectives: Revisiting the disappearance of the bear I took a look at an issue that had been haunting the bear spec for a while -- namely, where did all the bears from The Burning Crusade go? It might be time to accept that the bear's BC popularity was the result of its status as the game's only dedicated off tank, and not the attractiveness of the spec itself. Context is everything, folks.

Raid Rx: How to prioritize combat resurrections This is a much less straightforward issue than you'd think if you have multiple options in a raid.

Odds and ends

Breakfast Topic: What's the saddest quest in WoW? A surprisingly popular Breakfast Topic about the quests that lend WoW its emotional weight.

Know Your Lore: Vol'jin vs. the Zandalar This was an excellent edition of KYL -- and a timely one, given the recent release of patch 4.1. Vol'jin's decision to throw his lot (and that of the Darkspear) in with the Horde over the Zandalari has more complex motivations than simply loyalty. Rossi digs into the political calculus behind it and reminds us: Never forget that Vol'jin is a master of the long game. The historical survey of Zul'Gurub was equally good.

WoW Archivist: Talisman of Binding Shard, the lost legendary In addition to Sulfuras and Thunderfury, Molten Core had a third legendary associated with it. It dropped for a single player in the world and then never dropped again. This is what we know about it. Take note of the guild tag on the guy who got it, because you'll be seeing it again soon.

WoW Archivist: Indalamar the Warrior The story of how one warrior (from the same guild as the guy who nabbed the Talisman!) proved a legion of QQers dead, dead, dead wrong (and also, incidentally, how the fury spec got nerfed away from a passive 35% haste buff).

WoW Fashionista: Creating that "super" summer look Blizzard introduced transmogrification six months later -- Dawn was just ahead of the curve.

Drama Mamas: What happens when we don't see eye to eye One of the Drama Mamas' picks for their best of the year was the underage scammer piece we featured in February, in which Robin and Lisa went in opposite directions on their advice. Readers then wondered -- does that happen often?

WRUP: Meanwhile, in the other universe Fox's tribute to Fringe, and "the WoW Insider that exists in an alternate universe." I don't make this stuff up, folks; I just report it.

Gold Capped: How to profit from every single new patch Basil netted 500,000 gold in three days after patch 4.3 hit using the strategies described in this post.

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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