July was a very busy month for the site. Patch 4.2 hit in late June and with it, the Molten Front, Firelands, and a slew of mechanics and policy changes for the game. The latter is something you'll see pop up in our news coverage quite a bit -- but for my money, the best news item from July 2011 concerned a theme park in China that was just too troublesome to license.
Rekon13: To make you look at other gearing options, we've decided to remove other gearing options.
Vengeance of the Void leak is a fake A big rumor had started about an internal memo at Blizzard concerning the next expansion -- Vengeance of the Void. Cool, right? Except there was no such memo. Adam did some investigation, shot the rumor down, and then followed up with a Queue edition titled No really, it's a fake.
Want spirit cloth gear from Firelands? Bad news ... Honestly, I still don't understand the reasoning behind this decision, but Rekon13's pithy take on it (quoted at the beginning of this article) is pretty awesome all the same.
Blizzard explains, apologizes for PvP season 10 gear debacle A lot of players were caught out by a sudden shift in Blizzard's policy concerning honor PvP gear and found themselves wearing already-outdated gear a week later when season 10 started. Much to its credit, Blizzard did the best it could to fix things up.
Blizzard responds to Swifty ban incident Blizzard acts hastily, the community jumps to conclusions, Blizzard reevaluates the situation, the community jumps to more conclusions ... It's another day that ends in Y.
Unlicensed World of Warcraft theme park opens in China We couldn't make this stuff up. Coming next, as commenter WoWie Zowie says: "Dasneyworld!"
The Lawbringer: Supreme Court decides Brown v. EMA The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of being considered the most awesome court ever by a legion of gamers.
Officers' Quarters: Prodigal Raiders Sometimes the best thing you can do is just let people learn from their mistakes. Then again, the possibility of a returning raider's being up for a Dragonwrath does muddy the issue, doesn't it?
What's happening in the Whispering Forest? Kelly had heard about an area in Tirisfal with a strange Easter egg and decided to investigate. Now that I think about it -- did we ever get an explanation from Blizzard on what happens here? Or was Kelly's suggestion for why it's in the game in the first place actually the correct one all along?
World of WarCrafts: WoW, Eh? and Safe Passage artist Kelly Aarons Summarizing Kelly's episodic comics over the year deeply frustrates me, so I usually settle for listing it as it concludes (or as she begins another). However, this was a wonderful look at her history with webcomics, her process as an artist, and "sexy, sexy inking." That totally makes sense in context, I promise.
WoW Moviewatch: Epic Eats: Cataclysm As our taurenish Alton Brown doppelganger concludes, just because the world's been destroyed doesn't mean you can't look on the bright side.
WoW Moviewatch: How to tell if your PUG will fail "While the title makes the video sound like a guide to the success or failure of your PUG, it actually feels more like the comprehensive guide to the first five minutes of any given PUG."
WoW Moviewatch: Battle of the blues Myndflame hits on a way to make reading blue posts more entertaining -- bring in voice actors!
World of WarCrafts: The musical stylings of Ember Isolte I don't know whether this is something that should concern me or not, but every time Beyoncé starts belting out Single Ladies over the radio, I'm hearing Ember.
WoW Moviewatch: My baby's a quest NPC Greyfoo has a somewhat comical problem.
Lichborne: How to kill a death knight in PvP This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart, as I usually play a resto druid in PvP and just fantasize about killing everyone who's trying to kill me.
Spiritual Guidance: What's the best race for a Horde shadow priest? The follow-up to Fox's equally brilliant article on Alliance shadow priests. My vote is for tauren shadow priests -- or, as certain portions of the WoW community have termed them, the dark side of the moo.
Encrypted Text: How to run the Molten Front Quite possibly the most controversial class column of the year, for a reason that should become obvious as soon as you hit the second paragraph.
Scattered Shots: The DPS value of skill Optimization is a good thing, as Frostheim says, but, "Let me assure you something: If you're underperforming by thousands of DPS and can't make it to the top of the meters, 95% of the time it's a skill issue."
Shifting Perspectives: The druid personality test In which the phrase, "Necrophilia is a victimless crime" actually makes contextual sense.
Arcane Brilliance: The two-button mage myth I considered not including this, as Archmage Pants spoils what later turned out to be a brilliant joke in November, but it was just too good to pass up.
Odds and ends
Breakfast Topic: What class should a brand new player pick? A surprisingly thoughtful Breakfast Topic with a great comments section. I'm not sure that readers ever really settled on one pick, though paladins seem to be the most popular suggestion overall.
Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The "death" of the Old Gods See those quotation marks? Punctuation is important, kids!
WoW Archivist: Patch 1.7, Rise of the Blood God This was a particularly interesting Archivist column given the recent return of Zul'Gurub, but ZG definitely was far from being the only big feature of patch 1.7.
The OverAchiever: The copper, silver, and gold coins of the Dalaran fountain The little Eventide fountain in Dalaran is one of the game's most underrated sources of lore, in-jokes, and (at least for a few major characters) little bits of sadness as well.
Drama Mamas: The case of the guild bank thief This is another Drama Mamas that might well have slotted into an Officers' Quarters with no one being the wiser. You might be in an awkward situation when your friend wants something that clashes with your guild's established policies, but those policies usually exist for a reason.
WoW Archivist: The Corrupted Blood plague This was brilliant. If you weren't around for the Corrupted Blood incident, Alex'll take you through how it happened, what it did to players, its surprising effect on the game, and how it caught the interest of scientists who realized that MMOs could be used to model human behavior for epidemics.
Know Your Lore: Arch Druid Hamuul Runetotem One of the really interesting points that Rossi makes here while discussing Hamuul's perspective on life is how the tauren are disposed to approach druidism somewhat differently than the night elves.
Know Your Lore: The shu'halo Rossi, as he acknowledges, went on a huge tauren kick between July and September.
Know Your Lore: Lore 101: How to fold a tinfoil hat Anne insists that even crazy theories should have some basis in the Warcraft universe's established lore. Nuts to that!
If you enjoyed this article, you might get a kick out of our Best of 2009 and Best of 2010 series.