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Posts with tag Retrospective

A 16th Minute of Fame: Where are they now?

From Olympic medalists and Hollywood actors to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? Where World of Warcraft and cool ideas and people meet, you'll find players who deserve 15 Minutes of Fame.

A college choir that specializes in choral arrangements of music from video games. A Hollywood horror actress. A guy known for Moonfiring targets out of the sky. We like to keep track of all the WoW-playing friends we've met through 15 Minutes of Fame. Even the stories of folks who aren't playing WoW anymore are stories many of us can relate to, offering a glimpse behind the curtain among players you and I may very well have grouped with during the past year.

Not everyone has time to respond to a year-end retrospective (we're looking at you and your Game of Thrones shooting schedule, Hodor!), but everyone still has a story to tell. Pull up a chair and our year-end gallery and sit awhile with some friends who play World of Warcraft, too.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Hunter tier 13 armor set and retrospective revealed

Blizzard has just officially revealed the hunter tier 13 armor set, and as expected, it does in fact have a dragon motif. Blizzard's continuing its tradition of making hunter sets based off of monsters the hunter might have reasonably been hunting during the patch or expansion in which the set appears. Dragons, of course, are the big thing that comes to mind when one hunts Deathwing, but in order to differentiate the set from tier 2's Dragonstalker set, Blizzard went with a skeletal look this time around. I have to admit, I'm still thinking I'll transmogrify to some Gronnstalker or Alliance PVP armor for my hunter, but judge for yourself.

Check out our gallery below for images from the hunter tier armor retrospective.

Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Review the official patch notes, and then dig into what's ahead: new item storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!

Filed under: Hunter

Patch 4.3: Official preview of priest tier 13

The recently datamined priest tier 13 set has now been officially revealed by Blizzard, and it looks gorgeous. The Vestments of Dying Light are designed in a Venetian carnival style with creepy eyes, reminiscent of the mask that Ed Norton wore as the King of Jerusalem in Kingdom of Heaven. It's a very beautiful tier set. Blizzard states that priests are one of the harder classes to design badass armor sets for, but I think with this round, the design team definitely hit the mark.

So far, tier 13 armor design has been less about the instance and the game itself and more about the free-form ideas that the class and armor designers want to play with. Artists are having a good time coming up with all sorts of crazy ideas without having to necessarily be set in any motif. I think it's a great exercise and is providing some of the coolest, potentially most iconic armor sets to date.

Check out images from the priest tier gear retrospective in our gallery.

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Filed under: Priest, Cataclysm

Blizzard 20-year anniversary retrospective video now online

Blizzard turned 20 years old this year, and we have been given a wonderful treat by Blizzard's founders -- the story straight from their mouths. Are you interested in Blizzard history? I sure am.

Mike Morhaime and Allen Adham lead us through a 20-year retrospective about the foundation and formation of the company, their trials and tribulations, and how we got to the Blizzard of today from two guys in the same computer architecture class. The video is absolutely fascinating. Check it out at the Blizzard Entertainment 20-year anniversary site.

Filed under: Blizzard

15 Minutes of Fame: A 2010 retrospective of WoW people

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

Who's really behind that stoic DPSer in your raid group? He never talks much, but he never misses a raid -- or an opportunity to snag that mob that's decided to nibble on you while you're tank healing. What about that banker you always run into in Darnassus -- and why Darnassus, anyway? And what about that level 40something night elf you keep seeing all over the place ... yet who always manages to still be 40something? Who are all these people?

With more than 12 million WoW players worldwide, you can bet that logging in means rubbing elbows with people who live and play in very different circumstances from your own. From X to Y, from X to Y, only WoW Insider's 15 Minutes of Fame brings you a complete sampler of the personalities and passions behind the avatars that shared your screen in 2010. Click into our gallery below for a fresh look at the players we profiled over the past year.

"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with these players, from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Aron "Nog" Eisenberg to an Olympic medalist and a quadriplegic raider. Know someone else we should feature? Email

Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Byron the Tauren Rogue: The cow, the legend, the gnome

When I approached the editors of to ask them if they'd be interested in letting me do some work, I was thrilled when they agreed and took me on. The creative freedom I got was incredible: "Write us an idea, and if it's all right, you can do it."

Thus, Byron the Tauren Rogue was born.

Now, the legend of the tauren rogue is just one of many jokes within the WoW universe, like the cow level, or skilled ret paladins. Even though I was told that this idea was "done to death," I really wanted to try out the lovable oaf sort of character. What I didn't expect is what it would turn into.

The general synopsis of Byron is as such:
Byron is a young, male tauren who dreams of becoming the first rogue of his kind. His friends -- skilled rogues themselves -- dare Byron to sneak into Stormwind and steal the Shield of Fordragon. If he can acquire it and safely escape the city, then he has more than proven himself.

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Filed under: WoW Insider's Weekly Comic

Wrath Retrospective: What we learned from death knights

With the final content patch of this expansion on our doorstep and Cataclysm following close behind, we'll be taking the next several weeks to look back on Wrath of the Lich King and everything that made it what it is, for better or for worse, in Wrath Retrospective.

Wrath of the Lich King
is coming to an end, and with it one of the largest experiments that Blizzard has ever done in the history of WoW. At the onset of this expansion, we were all introduced to a new class; the death knight. The addition of a new class has major complications on the game as a whole: how they fit into PvE, how they work in PvP, what buffs and debuffs they bring, what roles they fill, what unique utility that they provide. All of these things have changed the face of the game as we know it. though fairly new arrivals, death knights have been integrated into the game almost seamlessly; the craters that they made when they first arrived, however, are still highly visible to those that know where to look.

There were a lot of misconceptions about death knights when they were first released. Once they were announced, Blizzard classified them as being a hero class, not to be confused with your ordinary, run-of-the-mill class. To many people, this caused worry that death knights would be grossly overpowered and far superior to all of the others. Blizzard was quick to point out that this was not the case, but it did little to assuage many of the fears that players had. Still, death knights have had their ups and their downs all throughout this expansion, and if that is not a case for removing then from hero status then I don't know what is.

What can we learn from death knights? What has all of the work done with the significant re-balancing changes and the major talent changes taught us about WoW in general? How can we apply that knowledge to all of the other classes in the game? That is what I wish to explore to day, and I hope that you will join me.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath Retrospective: Ulduar and Trial of the Crusader, part two

Trial of the Crusader was, for all intents and purposes, an experiment. The world part of raiding, from suppressor rooms to the Twin Emperors and beyond, has always been the stifling mechanic of trash. "The real meat of the dungeon's content should be the boss fights," the masses cried! And for the most part, they are right. Trash serves many purposes, from creating artificial time sinks and flavor, to teaching players mechanics that they would then need to hone, skill wise, against a boss. Trial of the Crusader paved a very different path, succeeding in many areas, but ultimately failing in many others. ToC was uneven at best, soul-destroying at worst.

Let's look back!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath Retrospective: Ulduar and Trial of the Crusader, part one

Ulduar and Trial of the Crusader/Grand Crusader (collectively "ToC") were the middle children of the Wrath raiding family. And like many middle children, they both turned out wildly different from the children before and after them. Ulduar and ToC could not have been farther apart in design, structure, implementation, and style. I would love to share with you my experiences in both raids as a business-casual raider and my own thoughts looking back on these two distinct experiences.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath Retrospective: Ulduar

With the final content patch of this expansion on our doorstep and Cataclysm following close behind, we'll be taking the next several weeks to look back on Wrath of the Lich King and everything that made it what it is, for better or for worse, in Wrath Retrospective.

Ulduar was released with patch 3.1 in April of 2009. Until the release of patch 3.2 in August 2009, Ulduar was the highest level 10- and 25-man raid content in World of Warcraft. It's fair to say that Ulduar was at best tangential to the overarching story of Wrath of the Lich King that concluded in Icecrown Citadel, but I also think it's fair to say that Ulduar took everything that had gone before it in Naxxramas, the Eye of Eternity and Obsidian Sanctum and distilled down to a refined, satisfying raid experience.

Ulduar took the vehicle fight mechanic of EoE and managed to make it fun, interesting and variable, incorporating the hard mode mechanic first developed in Obsidian Sanctum and then expanding on it in several different ways. It allowed for optional bosses that could be killed if a raid was gearing up or skipped once you were ready to move on to the end of the instance. It took the various teleport mechanics first seen in Karazhan and Black Temple in BC and made them part of the instance. It even had a "hard mode only" fight with a limited duration that could only be attempted for one hour every raid week from the first time it was started.

It's no secret that Ulduar is one of many people's favorite raids for this expansion (it's personally #2 for me, as I'm a much bigger fan of ICC than most), and there are quite a few reasons for that popularity.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath Retrospective: Raiding Naxxramas, Malygos and Sartharion

With the final content patch of this expansion on our doorstep and Cataclysm following close behind, we'll be taking the next several weeks to look back on Wrath of the Lich King and everything that made it what it is, for better or for worse, in Wrath Retrospective.

Raiding has been the generic end game for massively multiplayer online games for the past 10 years. Originally comprised of hard-to-kill, non-instanced world and dungeon bosses, end-game raiding tested players' coordination, skill, communication and tenacity. World of Warcraft pioneered the accessible raid -- instanced dungeons that guaranteed loot drops. Many people forget that guaranteed loot drops was a huge deal, right along with no failures during crafting.

Vanilla WoW raiding was an evolution on the EverQuest system, naturally, due to the prevalence of EverQuest players' not only designing and producing World of Warcraft but also their prevalence in the installed player base. Raiding had a language all its own. The first expansion to World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, attempted to stretch the bounds of raiding by scaling down player numbers and, at the same time, creating new and unique challenges in an attempt to make content more accessible. EverQuest routinely failed to make content accessible, and WoW was determined to turn the tides with the introduction of the 10-man raiding tier comprised of Karazhan and Zul'Aman. The popularity of 10-man raiding soared more than Blizzard could have ever imagined.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath of the Lich King Retrospective: Naxxramas

With the final content patch of this expansion on our doorstep and Cataclysm following close behind, we'll be taking the next several weeks to look back on Wrath of the Lich King and everything that made it what it is, for better or for worse, in WotLK Retrospective.

When people talk about raiding in Wrath of the Lich King, a lot of the complaints often boil down to Naxxramas. It was out too long before a new tier of raid content, the fights were too dumbed down from the original raid's difficulty and it was too easy. It was an unimaginative way for Blizzard to cut corners and save time developing Wrath. While I'm personally critical of Naxxramas as a raid instance in its current implementation, let's look at these points and discuss their validity.
  • Naxxramas was out too long before a new tier of raid content. This one's pretty subjective, but we can consider two factors. First, Naxx went live with Wrath's release in November 2008, alongside Malygos (Eye of Eternity) and Sartharion (Obsidian Sanctum). Malygos' itemization was half a tier superior to that of Naxx itself, so that items that dropped in the 10-man version of Eye of Eternity were equivalent to those that dropped in 25-man Naxx. Malygos-25 drops were superior to anything that dropped in Naxxramas off anyone but Kel'Thuzad himself. So while we could say that this entire tier of raiding lasted from launch until the release of Ulduar in April 2009, it's unfair to single out Naxxramas as the sole offender. Furthermore, Trial of the Crusader launched in August 2009, meaning that Ulduar's duration as the top tier of raiding was only a month shorter than that of Naxxramas/EoE/OS. Are we really arguing that the 20 bosses of those combined three raids had so much less raiding potential that an extra month or so wasn't at least subjectively justifiable?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Take a wander down memory lane with the History of Warcraft

Just in time for the inevitable announcement of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, IGN have decided to turn in the opposite direction and take a peek at this history of this momumental franchise. They've posted an epic five-page retrospective feature on the entire Warcraft franchise as part of the run up to BlizzCon.

It looks at everything from the original game, Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, to the failed Thrall-centric loregasm that was Warcraft Adventures right on through to Warcraft II and III. Of course, they also look in detail at World of Warcraft and its two expansions, The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King.

If you only discovered the Warcraft franchise with WoW, as I did, it's a fascinating glimpse into one of gaming's biggest franchises. World of Warcraft is not just a game or a single mythology, it's the culmination of a decade of gaming history. So if you've got an hour to kill before the fun and games today, you might want to check this out.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, Expansions, Features, The Burning Crusade, Lore, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

WoW Moviewatch: Warcraft Retrospective, pt III

There could be few other videos as meaningful today as GameTrailers' Warcraft Retrospective, Part III. We're only twelve hours away before we can attend Wrath opening parties, get our grubby hands on a copy, and rush home to install it. It's not like I have a stopwatch on my desk, with the "tick tick tick" counting down until I can make a purchase.

This isn't machinima. And if you're a regular reader of WoW Insider, there's not a lot of information here that's going to blow your socks off. (Except, maybe, the reminder that the Honor system has had some painful, painful changes.) But that's not the point of the retrospective -- the point is to take a moment and look back at the history of Warcraft.

Viewed through that light, I enjoyed the retrospective. I had the good fortune to be playing even in the original beta, and right up to now, to be able to enjoy the release of Wrath tonight. There's a few things I might have liked to see mentioned that didn't make the cut, like good ol' Captain Placeholder. But they only had so much time, and I enjoyed the nostalgia for its own sake. Additionally, it'd make a great "introduction" to any luddites who haven't already heard of WoW, so the video's got a little utility in that regard also.

If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.

Previously on Moviewatch ...

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, WoW Moviewatch, Wrath of the Lich King

The Colosseum: Retrospective and Analysis, pt. I

The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the Gladiator (Brutal, Vengeful, Merciless, and otherwise), to interview some of the top Arena fighters in the battlegroups. Our goal is to bring a better understanding of the strategy, makeup, and work that goes into dueling it out for fame, fortune, and Netherdrakes.

Season 4 ended some time ago, and Wrath is only a few weeks away. While we don't have official word about when Season 5 will start, it probably won't be until Blizzard's finished balancing the classes. Right now, the Arena is a sort of blasted land, filled with teams taking advantage of the relatively unrated play to experiment with new compositions, new talents, and new strategies.

We're going to take advantage of the break ourselves, by looking at the collective of interviews we've gathered in our three months of the Colosseum. There are definitely common themes across what each Arena fighter had to say, and it'd be helpful to take some time and understand what those common themes are, and what they say about the Arena.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Interviews, Arena, The Colosseum

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