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The Best of WoW Insider: August 2011

Candida: Knitting Grandmas would be an awesome guild name.


Money, money, money, money. Money! August saw an avalanche of money and gold-related discussion as Blizzard announced that Diablo 3 would feature a real-money Auction House. Oh, and Blizzard registered Mists of Pandaria as a trademark, spurring an endless series of fights on what the hell was going on with that. And then it announced transmogrification and void storage, and we all forgot about pandas for a bit in the interest of farming old raids for some sweet-looking gear.

And holy mother of God, Drama Mamas was on a roll this month.

News

Blizzard registers Mists of Pandaria trademark It kills me that the very first comment nails the upcoming Brewmaster. Well, sort of. People anticipated another hero class, and of course it turned out to be a spec. Then again, nobody was sure if Pandaria was an expansion, or a WoW Trading Card Game expansion pack, or a manga, or a joke, or what. Of course, that didn't prevent Tom Chilton from trolling the players about it.

Cenarion Hatchling raises over $1.9 million for Japan Earthquake relief Well done, Blizzard. Oh, and well done, obsessive pet collectors!

Blizzard drops "Glimpses" screenshot with 3 unknown NPCs -- possible patch or expansion hint? Turned out to the be the former. Transmogrification and void storage both went live in patch 4.3, and ethereals also took over the reforging business.

Zarhym muses about 15-man raids A player on the forums had suggested a move to a 15-man raiding model, and -- as Zarhym observed -- that might actually be a better deal for class representation than we've got now.

Dev Watercooler: Ghostcrawler discusses massive changes to threat The design philosophy under discussion here is something that later influenced both patch 4.3 and -- from what we're told -- Mists of Pandaria. Rossi examined the implications shortly after.

Raid Finder coming in patch 4.3 The earliest news of something that would change raids and raiding forever in WoW. However, there wasn't a lot of detail back in August, so the news kinda fell by the wayside in favor of transmogrification talk.

Hacker groups tried to take down WoW -- and failed We all kinda assumed LulzSec was the group in question, but the hell of it is, no one really knows.

Opinions and editorials

What are the implications of a real-dollar Auction House? This is an article that seems oddly prescient with the benefit of hindsight. The Guardian Cub wasn't announced until two months later, although the Lawbringer column later picked up some of the discussion surrounding the new real-money Auction House system in Diablo 3, as did Gold Capped.

The Lawbringer: WoW's immune system and the gold-selling virus McCurley wasn't done with the issue yet. As he notes, gold selling (and the hacking and botting that inevitably accompany it) is a more serious problem than people think, and we have Aion's example as proof.

Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Deepholm Deepholm gets high marks for artistry and its overall story, but the design of the zone can be tough when you just want to get your alts to friendly with Therazane.

Transmogrification and the dismissal of the silhouette theory The advent of transmogrification has much bigger implications for the game than it appears. Bonus points for calling the pandaren out as a bi-factional race two months ahead of time!

Gold Capped: Dealing with neutral Auction House sniping One of the game's more enraging practices is the habit of camping the neutral Auction House in order to swipe items that players are trying to transfer between different-faction characters. Basil explains how it happens and how best to avoid it.

Officers' Quarters: How different is too different? Scott answers a letter from a Turkish player who'd created a specialized Turkish-language PvP guild. A certain amount of specialization helps your guild to the extent that it outlines what you want and expect from your members, but sometimes it goes a little too far.

Is it time to kill tanking? An incredibly controversial editorial from Rossi on the many problems related to tanks and tanking. Regardless of what you think about the role, you've got to admit that Blizzard endlessly tinkers with something that, at its heart, may not be truly fixable. Tanks ultimately fight their groups just as much (if not more) than monsters.

Arts and entertainment

WoW Moviewatch: Goodnight Orgrimmar One of Wowcrendor's more contemplative pieces -- or at least that's the impression you have before the portrayal of the evening Orgrimmar takes a turn for the realistic.

Around Azeroth: Tame the rainbow Skittle spiders!

Ragnaros awakened in Minecraft I feel this begs a Yo dawg joke.

WoW Moviewatch: Orc vs. Wild: Moon Guard I think we've found the spiritual successor to the series of roleplaying tours conducted by Wowgossip during Wrath of the Lich King.

WoW Moviewatch: Heroes A strange but wonderful series of character vignettes.

Safe Passage: There and back again Kelly concludes the Safe Passage story line with an examination of what worked, what didn't, and her artistic process. I loved Safe Passage, not just because it was a great story and comic in its own right, but because it brought the sobering and complicated lessons of the Alliance/Horde clash in The Barrens to vivid life.

Around Azeroth: Ragnaros, the musical! It does make you wonder what a musical version of World of Warcraft would look like ...

Classes, raiding, and PvP

The Light and How to Swing It: Healing is a zero-sum game Healing is unique among the game's three roles in that it genuinely is a zero-sum endeavor: Every point of damage that you heal is one that another player can't.

Totem Talk: What weapon will you wear? There are a lot of really awesome weapons out there for enhancement shaman -- well, visually speaking at least (I'm not gonna touch the theorycraft arguments with a 10-foot pole). Here's how to get them.

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: A beginner's guide to leveling as protection It amazes me how much the protection spec has changed over the last few years. Time was when you'd have to be crazy to level prot, but these days, not so much so.

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Transmogging for the warrior Rossi arrives at the following incontrovertible conclusions:

  1. Warriors have had some of the best-looking gear in the game.
  2. We're finally going to be able to use whichever pieces of gear we want.
  3. I want to talk about sweet-looking gear.
Odds and ends

Drama Mamas: It's time for That Guy again That Guy is always an entertaining person to read about (even if he's a nightmare to know in real life), but I think this particular edition of Drama Mamas also served as a disquieting reminder about the human cost of class development and the game's broader design shifts. There are some really outstanding comments as well.

WoW Insider's chronological guide to Warcraft novels, manga, comics, and short stories An excellent, comprehensive guide to where each Warcraft story falls in the overall time line, if it even exists in the overall time line, which is debateable given the array of time-travel stories, some of which did become the "A" time line according to Nozdormu -- and oh look, I've gone cross-eyed.

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Mists of Pandaria Swing and a hit!

Drama Mamas: How to rein in a rules lawyer Warning: This article contains a highly relevant TVTropes link to the Rules Lawyer. There are two stand-out observations here:
  • Robin "Every circle of gamers has one, has just gotten rid of one, or is waiting for the next one to emerge."
  • Lisa "It's never fun to ask a long-time player to move on -- but if nobody's having fun simply because he's around, what's the point?"
Know Your Lore: Anduin Lother, the Lion of Azeroth and part 2 Anduin Lothar is not only cooler than you, he's cooler than everyone else who preceded him, and everyone who will follow.

Breakfast Topic: How do you deal with self-entitled puggers? Someone who experiences WoW primarily through the Dungeon and Raid Finders could be forgiven for thinking that the game is comprised almost entirely of That Guy. While not true, you've still got to learn to deal with them. WoW Rookie tackled the issue a few days later.

WoW Archivist: The Emerald Dream, Outland, and other Z-axis secrets Alex has to save you from some "absolutely horrible" music on a video, but apart from that, this edition of Archivist is outstanding. There's a lot of hidden stuff in the game that hints at possible expansion stories, but getting to it is increasingly difficult. And as for the hidden stuff these days, Alex asks, "Did Blizzard stop using the Z-axis as a way to hide content after The Burning Crusade, or did it just get better at it?"

Drama Mamas: My guildie is a registered sex offender A very serious issue that demands a measured approach. As with all of the August Drama Mamas, a fantastic comment section.

Know Your Lore: Tyrande Whisperwind Tyrande is a tough character to gloss, but Anne does an excellent job. One of the more pointed observations here is that she and Illidan may be more like each other than either would be comfortable admitting.

WoW Archivist: Scepter of the Shifting Sands This was a guest Archivist post that dug into the now-vanished Scepter quest line, what made it special, and its lore importance within the game.

Drama Mamas: Namecalling So it turns out that a lot of people really, really hate being referred to by their class name.

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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