Patch 4.3 went live on Nov. 29 to much rejoicing (well, from everyone barring a very unhappy legion of restoration druids smarting over the Wild Growth nerf), and Blizzard saw it, and said that it was good, and rested on Sunday, and then went back to nerfing everything on Monday.
Silversol: You cast symbiosis on a warlock. You get soul swap. They get symbiosis. Combat log divides by zero. Your computer gets sucked into a black hole.
Also, Skyrim was released around the middle of the month, and we didn't hear from several of our staffers for weeks.
GuildOx shares the most popular WoW character names by class There are actually some pretty clever names here: Backstabbeth for rogues, Deepfriar for priests, Taterdotz for warlocks, and more. WoW Rookie followed this up with some timely advice on how to pick a name when all the good ones are taken, and then GuildOx started looking at the most popular names between the Alliance and the Horde.
Guardian Cub taking a bite out of third-party gold sales We'd been following (and talking -- a lot -- about) the Guardian Cub brouhaha for a while, and were pleased to see that gold sellers had dropped their prices in an effort to compete with the newly available pet. However, prices by server fluctuated wildly.
Ghostcrawler details potential solutions for gear inflation The numbers in WoW, while not yet truly ridiculous, are starting to get within shouting distance of it. Ghostcrawler detailed how Blizzard was thinking through the problem. Not long after, Rossi dealt with the issue in an Ol' Grumpy column and noted: Something is clearly wrong with how quickly things are scaling.
Rumored "mass layoffs" at Blizzard never happened Apparently, most of the people meant to have been "fired" were actually at work when the rumor started spreading. That had to be a weird feeling.
WoW subscriber numbers down to 10.3 million players Hmm. By the way, you may find a chart that our commenter Pyromelter posted to be of interest. Something else that interested us was a report that WoW's profits were on the rise in China, despite the fact that that's apparently where most of the subscriber losses are coming from. And we say again, hmm.
Class Balance and Design Q&A transcript Blizzard answered a lot of questions about players' favorite subject in WoW -- namely, when their class is going to get buffed and when everyone else is going to get nerfed.
WoW Insider's Guide to Patch 4.3 Here's everything you need to know about the patch, and what's that? You want the trailer? We've got that too.
WoW Insider's first World of Warcraft memories Our staffers share their memories on how they started out in WoW as the game reached another anniversary.
Officers' Quarters: In the wake of drama, tragedy A very difficult question that spawned a great comment thread. So what do you do when something happens to That Guy™?
The Lawbringer: Gotta sue 'em all over the Pet Battle system? No idea is original, folks, and WoW isn't "stealing" from Pokemon any more than Pokemon was "stealing" from other games.
Arcane Brilliance: Adventures with and observations on the Raid Finder Archmage Pants had had some experience with the Raid Finder on the patch 4.3 PTR and accurately nailed a lot of stuff that players later complained about when the system finally went live. However, overall he thought it was a pretty positive experience, if you could get past "the well-meaning people who appear to lack the ability or motivation to be led."
Survey reveals player wealth disparity We're not completely sold on the accuracy of the survey conducted, but if it's in the ballpark, then the distribution of wealth in WoW is more than a bit (shall we say) lumpy. However, I really liked Arkonrubrik's suggestion for fighting inflation in the game. Hell, it might even work.
6 reasons you should care about patch 4.3, even if you don't raid Gray nailed just about everything that players wound up genuinely liking about the patch.
Arts and entertainment
Around Azeroth: I have trained you well, young one Aww. Even if you aren't a sucker for druid pictures, you have to admit this is pretty cute.
WoW Moviewatch: How to not be bored in WoW Wowcrendor turns his attention to the legion of bored players making pests of themselves in city and trade chat. I have to say that his suggestion concerning UI updates is essentially a minigame in itself.
WoW Moviewatch: Wowcrendor's compilation of amazing Wowcrendor reached his three-year anniversary on YouTube and decided to release his first compilation video. Our hat is off to you, sir. Thank you for making us laugh ... or, alternatively, weep bitterly.
WoW Moviewatch: Alliance recruitment PSA Short, sweet, and a cute parody of the old World War II news reels exhorting citizens to join the armed forces. Granted, here the enemy is a giant angry dragon and a politically inept immigrant orc, but still.
Chuck Norris plays a melee hunter in latest WoW commercial Of interest here is also that WoW's newest commercial shows a kicked-up male human model as well. A sign of things to come, or just a one-off from Blizzard's artists?
Parks and Rec's Aubrey Plaza stars in latest WoW commercial "I just hope this commercial isn't Parks and Rec canon though, because April and Andy are the cutest couple."
WoW Moviewatch: Jaina's Clover Story Holy mother of God, just watch it.
It Came From the Blog: Deathwing joins the candy run We're never too sure if or when game masters are watching our events, but you had to wonder about the timing and placement of Deathwing's little jaunt here.
Classes, raiding, and PvP
Readers ask Ask Mr. Robot about optimizing their gear Ask Mr. Robot is perhaps the single most useful tool for anyone interested in pushing his character's performance to the hilt, and it looks like they'll be getting in on the Pet Battles system in Mists of Pandaria too.
Shifting Perspectives: In which Allison makes a stupid prediction I'll be honest: I don't have the foggiest idea whether Blizzard plans to reintroduce tanking leather, but I'm very nervous about two tank specs (the guardian druid and the upcoming brewmaster monk) having a lot more gear competition than their cousins in plate.
Blizzard unveils Mists of Pandaria talent calculator Let a thousand comments bloom! "But isn't this a little too early?" you might ask. "Not really," said Blizzard.
Blood Sport: How will patch 4.3 impact PvP? Olivia's debut column for the site, and a fine examination of how the upcoming changes were likely to play with each class and spec.
Shifting Perspectives: Symbiosis speculation The new druid talent for MoP, Symbiosis, may cause endless balance problems. Chase walks you through it. The comments section birthed our quote at the top of the article.
The Light and How to Swing It: 4 trends for tanks apparent in the new MoP talent calculator There's still an awful lot that we don't know about how this stuff'll play out in the MoP beta, but it's not hard to see where Blizzard's heading.
Patch 4.3 5-man bosses in 5 seconds or less Yep, I think this is the type of feature we'll be revisiting in the future.
Odds and ends
About the bloggers We restarted our About the Bloggers series this year and finished up with Kelly Aarons' profile early in the month. No, I haven't done mine yet. No, there is absolutely nothing of interest about me.
Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The genesis of Azeroth Thrall's balls, this article got linked everywhere. I feel like I'm doing Anne's piece a huge disservice here by attempting to summarize a set of very thought-provoking points, but Azeroth? Not just a planet. And the pandaren? Not a "joke race."
17 Blizzard employees to follow on Twitter It occurred to us not long after the hilarity of the #OccupyGregStreet incident that a lot of people don't know which Blizzard employees are on Twitter. Here's how to find them.
Be thankful you don't have to play these rejected Darkmoon Faire minigames Oh, WoW Twitter hashtags. So brilliant, and yet so disturbing.
Breakfast Topic: How do you feel after spending time with archaeology? I think I can summarize the general comment thread with, "annoyed."
Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Infinite paths and the rise of Murozond The upcoming End Time heroic has a few head-scratching implications that Rossi discusses here in detail.
Know Your Lore: Story development and why Theramore should burn There probably hasn't been a more controversial lore-related announcement than the one that promises to condemn Theramore to ashes and dust. Here's why it makes sense, and why it's not necessarily a sign of any bias on Blizzard's part.
Gold Capped: Gold making resources for auctioneers If you're serious about making cash, this is what your competition is guaranteed to be using.
Know Your Lore: Queen Azshara, Light of Lights Azshara is one of the most influential figures in WoW lore, much to the consternation of all those of us who like our planets unexploded and demon-free.
WRUP: WoW Insider's first children's book Oh, Fox.
If you enjoyed this article, you might get a kick out of our Best of 2009 and Best of 2010 series.