September was pretty much all patch 4.3, all the time. The PTR didn't actually go live until close to the end of the month, but we definitely made up for lost time when it did. Transmogrification thoughts still dominated the site's more idle discussion -- who doesn't love cool-looking gear? -- but art-related talk kicked into high gear once everyone saw the visual proc off the new rogue legendary. That would go on to provide one of December's better jokes.
Curulan: Pigeon raid boss. I love it. GET ON THIS, BLIZZARD.
GuildOx finds the world's most experienced raid boss killer Of particular note here is that most raid boss kills don't come from elite or hardcore guilds, which is pretty consistent with an observation once made by Neg, one of Nihilum and then SK Gaming's resto shaman during The Burning Crusade.
Patch 4.3: Rogue legendary, new raid difficulty, and other details It turned out that tier 13's legendary was a set of rogue daggers with a rather interesting visual effect complementing the tier set. Cynical players everywhere wondered if Blizzard's most class-specific legendary had anything to do with the rogue's population nosedive.
Scott Mercer details Deathwing raid encounter Players in the comments are outraged at a dragon naysayer: "Hey, some of us like killing internet dragons!" However, the discussion did produce our quote o' the month.
Patch 4.3 PTR: Season 11 PvP sets might blow your mind If you're a paladin, at least. Not everybody was quite so enthusiastic.
Opinions and editorials
Is it time to kill pure DPS? Rossi decided he hadn't pissed off enough people with his August article on Is it time to kill tanking? and went after pure DPSers.
Officers' Quarters: Classic blunders Deciding how and when to give officership to players is always tough, particularly when you're lucky enough to have several outstanding candidates for a position. However, trying to simplify the process by just giving officership to your friends is not going to make your life any easier in the long run.
The OverAchiever: Why Icecrown was less fun than Sunwell and part 2 Achievements and raids often interact in ways that can really affect how players experience content, not always for the better. Having to keep a spreadsheet running to figure out which version of an encounter you need to do in a given week isn't really fun.
The Lawbringer: The relationship between Blizzard and PayPal Remember all that discussion in August about the Diablo 3 real-money Auction House and why it's inextricable from the issue of gold-selling? This is one more wrinkle.
Gold Capped: Warcraft needs a new gold sink, and it needs it yesterday Fox concludes that Blizzard is surrendering in the war against inflation and warns of the consequences of WoW's middle class pricing newer players out of server markets. A really excellent essay on the dangers of MMORPG inflation and how players at the low, high, and middle ends of the market all influence server economies.
Arts and entertainment
Around Azeroth: Dear hearts and gentle people Every so often, Around Azeroth gets a truly wonderful story accompanying its pictures. This is one of them.
World of WarCrafts: The fanciful cosplay of Svetlana Quindt Holy cats, she's good. As a druid player, there is so much stuff here that I would buy.
WoW Moviewatch: Epilogue, some months later The follow-up to Southshore, and a quiet, contemplative piece told simply.
WoW Insider's Weekly Webcomic: Safe Passage - The Prologue Kelly had wrapped up the original Safe Passage story line, but she and Ktok weren't finished with what had happened first.
WoW Moviewatch: How to tell if your raid will wipe Wowcrendor anticipates the group dynamics of the Raid Finder by several months. As with much of Wowcrendor's stuff, half your time will be spent laughing, and the other half will be spent watching your soul die.
WoW Moviewatch: Explorer timelapse 88 zones, seven minutes, and 100,000+ screenshots. A very simple, but simply gorgeous, film.
Classes, raiding, and PvP
Shifting Perspectives: The state of feral raid DPS in patch 4.2 Chase notices a disturbing trend about Firelands-era feral DPS. If you're at or close to the bottom of the meters on a given fight, it might just be fight mechanics or a poor rotation. If you're at or close to the bottom of the meters on all the fights -- and there are hundreds of thousands of players just like you -- that's bad.
The Light and How to Swing It: Healing by the numbers This article contains a great deal of math and is thus somewhat unglossable by yours truly. I believe Chase is trying to make a point concerning which spells are best for a given context, but again, math.
Encrypted Text: Welcome your new legendary-wielding rogue overlords And oh, how we hate them. Hate them, hate them, hate them.
Shifting Perspectives: Not seeing your gear is no excuse Letitia, the fashion consultant to the Shifting Perspectives column, descends from on high to silently judge all of you.
Scattered Shots: Hunter class feedback Blizzard had put the call-out for class feedback as it geared up for Mists of Pandaria (although nobody knew that was the expansion at the time, of course). Frostheim addressed the hunter class thread while reminding people that the opportunity to give feedback does not imply you will necessarily see your requests appear in the game.
Totem Talk: Horde races for elemental shaman "If I had my way, the Horde would be comprised of six different tribes of tauren who spent most of their days participating in competitive flower picking and saying 'Walk with the Earthmother.' Unfortunately, the Herd is not a real faction, and most people aren't tauren."
Ready Check: Dealing with a weak healer This is always a tough issue. There are a lot of things that can cause weak healing, and not all of them have much to do with the healer in question. However, there are a few ways to pinpoint what's going on when your raid has an unusually high number of deaths.
Ready Check: Dealing with a dead tank Tyler continued his series with advice that was rather more extensive than "Go through his pockets and look for loose change."
WoW Rookie: 8 things you didn't know your tank is doing Aw, Gray. I think you're giving most of us a little too much credit. Half the time I don't even know where the hell I am.
Drama Mamas: A fake romance turns real As Lisa observes, "Pretending to be something (you're) not gets folks in trouble online every time." However, there might be a happy ending here.
15 Minutes of Fame: Gaming industry insider Liz Danforth and part 2 It doesn't matter how much experience you have with games, history with various genres, or knowledge concerning the industry as a whole: Liz Danforth has done more than you.
Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The curious whispers of Tirisfal Glades Not so long before, Kelly had noticed something weird going on in Tirisfal and wondered what it was all about. Anne took a guess at what was going on.
WoW Archivist: Shadow of the Necropolis If you started in Wrath of the Lich King, you may not have any experience with the original version of Naxxramas. It was pretty badass and probably one of WoW's finest raids, although you can also argue that it was kind of representative of the game's classic raiding problems en miniature.
15 Minutes of Fame: The AFK Tavern, where everyone knows your name This is heartwarming and, as Tyler said, makes you want to book the first flight out if you're not within driving distance.
WoW Insider @ BlizzCon 2011: Mat and Fox's contract rider The site was in the middle of the pre-BlizzCon rush, so some of our more ... enterprising staffers decided to make their demands early.
Know Your Lore: The 7th Legion "We are the nameless, faceless, sons and daughters of the Alliance."
The Queue: Lodur, Herald of the Elements Joe gets a shout-out in the WoW Trading Card Game!
WoW Archivist: Recapping classic World of Warcraft Still trying to catch up on all the content that the Archivist column had examined? No worries -- Alex'll get you up to speed.
Know Your Lore: NPC evolution classic WoW to The Burning Crusade NPCs have slowly but surely become more dynamic in both their interactions with players and their idle discussions and actions, but there have always been standouts.
If you enjoyed this article, you might get a kick out of our Best of 2009 and Best of 2010 series.