Beta. Beta. Beta. And, weirdly enough, a lot of really good observational pieces on a very diverse set of subjects.
Nathanyel Warcraft: Moon Guard. Would rake in way more cash than that other Warcraft-inspired movie ...
Also, Olivia largely spent this month giving us no excuse whatsoever for ingame poverty.
Steamy Romance Novel makes a return with double the fun in Mists Yes, we thought this was newsworthy. Want to make something of it?
Mists of Pandaria Beta: Druids get new default travel form And it's full of staggy goodness! And it has its own dance!
Blizzard raises over $330,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Blizzard's auction of server blades did pretty well, to say the least. I was surprised to learn that most of them went for $300-500 each.
Mists of Pandaria Beta: 48 daily quests available on any given day Olivia caught wind of this and argued (in one of the earliest salvos over the daily issue) that maybe this wasn't such a good thing. What amuses me now is that the same commenters who disagreed with her (and sometimes quite rudely at that) were the among the first to complain when MoP hit and brought with it the near-endless march of dailies and gated content.
Lonesome George immortalized in Mists of Pandaria Blizzard honored the famous Pinta Island tortoise who had died shortly earlier.
Warcraft movie will not be directed by Sam Raimi Raimi took the job helming Oz: The Great and Powerful and had to leave the Warcraft project. It's good to hear that the project is still alive, but everyone's wondering who the replacement will be.
FarmVille in World of Wacraft? WoW Insider's first look at the Tillers Dawn wrote a comprehensive guide to what you could expect with WoW's foray into farming, and pointed out that it's Harvest Moon, and not really FarmVille, that's the best analogue to what Blizzard's doing.
Opinions and Editorials
And the dungeons keep on shrinking We'd noticed that the revamped Scarlet Monastery 5-mans on the MoP beta were, while great experiences, not quite the epic forays they'd once been. Rossi thinks there's an argument to be made for larger scale of classic 5-mans and, as he says, "(This is) my long, rambling tribute to long, rambling dungeons."
Grandpappy Frostheim on dumbing the game down "I've said it before and you can bet on the balls of the Titans that you'll hear me say it again, but kids these days don't know how good they got it. In fact, they got it so good that after years and years of complaining about every little thing, these days the kids are actually -- get this -- complaining that they have it too good."
A cautionary tale of lockouts and low-pop realms Stuff like this had already happened in the form of players with the Scepter of the Shifting Sands transferring to low-pop realms in order to steal a march on players who were struggling through the quest line. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The danger of assuming personal experience to be universal A fantastic editorial with an enormous comments section, although Rossi unintentionally tipped off some forum sniping.
Gold sinks and entitlement in WoW Olivia had wondered about players' incredulous response to the cost of the Grand Expedition Yak, and I think this thought piece on the game's "gold sinks" was what tipped her into writing the three-part series on TradeSkillMaster you'll find below.
Why World of Warcraft lore matters "Because without (it), we're just playing an incredibly elaborate version of Minesweeper."
Attunements and why they must never return Doing an attunement chain once on a character can be, if not necessarily fun, at least a rewarding experience. Doing it on multiple characters gets old fast. And heaven help the guild that has to recruit for more advanced content from the relatively small pool of people who can access it instantly. Reading this brought back very unpleasant memories of my Burning Crusade guild's nightmare of having to "key" new recruits for Mount Hyjal and the Black Temple.
WoW Moviewatch: Time A gorgeous series of snapshots on the ingame life of a character and her journey. Tough to describe, but beautiful, both to listen to and watch. Some of the best machinima we've ever seen just does a simple narrative very well, and this is among them.
WoW Moviewatch: If WoW Was Real Slightly Impressive is getting less slightly and more extremely impressive.
Around Azeroth: Hellbent for leather Sometimes it's not a good idea to pay too much attention to the small details in the game, because many of them are horrifying.
WoW Moviewatch: I Went Fire on My Mage Both a parody of Adele's Set Fire to the Rain and of mages' continuing efforts to reach the top of the meters as anything other than fire spec.
WoW Moviewatch: The Misadventures of Rowdie's Knights This technically debuted in late 2011, but we didn't feature it on Moviewatch until July. Funny as hell with unusually good voice work. We were pleased to see this turn it into a series.
Learn how to machinima with Bloodvein As Gray notes, the techniques and technologies behind machinima have grown so complex that trying to get started can be very intimidating. Fear note -- Bloodvein has a great set of tutorials on how to do what you see on Moviewatch.
A PvP glossary of comps, cleaves, and colloquialisms A lot of people don't bother to get involved in PvP because even the lingo seems like an impenetrable wall. Reading this won't instantly make you an amazing PvPer, but you will at least understand what PvP players are talking about. (Also, the existence of the "Kanye West cleave" -- lots of interrupts -- cracks us all up.)
The Care and Feeding of Warriors: The endless rage treadmill The follow-up to Rossi's May post arguing that warriors should play like the Diablo barbarian.
Arcane Brilliance: Why I still love my mage Archmage Pants' first AB had been a column on Why we mage, and he asked -- what is it about the class that has the power to retain players, apart from a "deep and abiding loathing of warlocks?"
The best macro ever As much as I hate hunters for rolling on my agility gear, I am forced to agree that the combination of Glyph of Fetch and this macro is indeed the best ever.
Odds and Ends
Know Your Lore: Lor'themar Theron, Regent Lord of Quel'thalas Lor'themar has long been the butt of jokes in the fandom for doing ... well, nothing. Anne argues that he deserves a lot more respect than he gets.
World of Warcraft and personal revelations "I proposed to my wife during a Molten Core run we were both in. The way she tells it, I walked into the room while she was pet pulling Baron Geddon to Garr's room and said 'Hey, I think we should get married.' I'm a suave devil." One of Rossi's more personal outings, and I wonder if our staffers could be persuaded to run a series on this.
Team Matticus takes on the updated Pet Battle System Blizzard had only enabled pet battling on the beta a few days earlier, and this was among the earliest looks. It's a great article on its own merits, but I think it was mostly an opportunity for Matticus to brag about running an undefeated team.
WoW Archivist: The most painful attunement of all Two weeks after Rossi's editorial on why attunements were bad for the game, Scott decided to walk us through the Horde-side Onyxia attunement quest to show the unintiated just how bad it could really get.
What's your gold-making secret? Olivia's exploratory Breakfast Topic shortly after writing the above piece on players' resentment of "gold sinks." Fabulous comment section that led to her revisiting the topic with reader suggestions, and again, it's a prelude to Olivia's later --
Addon Spotlight: Guide to TradeSkillMaster part one, two, and three I'm cheating as the latter two were actually published in August, but this was a comprehensive guide to using a fiendishly complicated addon, and one that I'd personally avoided for that reason until reading this. So good that the TradeSkillMaster project site featured it as a beginner's guide.
Leet Noobs: An ethnographic view of WoW raiding from researcher Mark Chen Desmond reviews Chen's book with notes and criticism of its central thesis. This one's very difficult to summarize effectively, but I think this was one of the best observational articles we ran all year. WoW is ultimately about the people with whom you play.
World of Warcraft skills in the workplace IBM had once run a study on MMO players and concluded there was valuable skill transference, particularly for people in positions of leadership. A wonderful observational piece from Robin on how to build on what you learn about people and behavior (including your own) while playing. Doesn't mean we think you should put it on your résumé, though.
Know Your Lore: The mystery of Morgan's Militia While playing through the revamped Burning Steppes and Blasted Lands, Rossi noticed "a few mild discrepancies" in the timeline and started digging. His conclusion? A seemingly minor NPC may be a lot more important than she looks, or may even be dead without realizing it. (Or, as more pessimistic commenters point out, it might all be an error on Blizzard's part, but that's less fun.) This reminded me a lot of an article that Dawn wrote two years ago, The loose ends of Arko'narin, on a similar NPC whose quest line hinted at something truly creepy.
If you enjoyed this article, you might get a kick out of our Best of 2009, Best of 2010, and Best of 2011 series.