BlizzCon, BlizzCon, BlizzCon! October revolved around the events and revelations of the annual Blizzard convention ... not that there were a lot of revelations this year. Oh well, we still had fun. This was another month with a ton of articles devoted to straight news reporting, but patch 4.0.1 and the annual Hallow's End holiday also went live. Unfortunately for players, so did a nasty little bug related to the holiday boss.
Otherwise, the march of Cataclysm news continued in September, and with it came a few startling announcements that didn't go over too well with players. Who knew portals would be such a hot-button topic?
Beta news started to come in at the approximate pace of an avalanche this month, so we devoted a lot of time to straight news reporting that'll probably feel a bit dated now that the expansion's gone live. We've selected the more timely bits.
Also, the news of Blizzard having to monitor Goldshire on Moon Guard (US-RP) will never not be funny.
July was defined by the latest iteration of an old meta-game, Blizzard versus Players. The community had an almost universally hostile reaction to Blizzard's announcement that the use of one's real name would be required for posting on the Battle.net forums, and the controversy raged to newspapers, magazines, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), and third-party sites very quickly. Predictably, it only took 4chan about 10 minutes to publish the names, addresses, phone numbers, profiles, blood types, and favorite movies of every prominent Blizzard employee it could find.
The sad thing is, the issue may not even be over despite Blizzard's backing down; the best that players could get from the company was language indicating it could be a temporary reprieve at best. Quoth the dime-store movie villain, this isn't over -- and it's not going to be, as long as Facebook's making serious bank.
On the lighter side, the above scene from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (NSFW due to language and violence) started circulating among several WoW communities during the controversy as proof that the loss of online privacy didn't have to be a bad thing, as long as you were the one capitalizing on it.
A Merry Christmas to all those of you who celebrate! Today we're going to tackle June 2010, which was a relatively slow month for us. The Cataclysm beta was in full swing at that point, but most of our staffers didn't yet have keys. Raid content on the live servers got a slight boost with the introduction of the Ruby Sanctum, but apart from that, this was largely a month's worth of waiting on beta news and examining what Wrath's legacy would be to the game. Incidentally, it was a great month for The Lawbringer column.
Patch 3.3.5: Changes to vote kick incoming The vote kick system for the dungeon finder was tinkered with to reward players who kick less often. I've often wondered what my own statistics on this look like; as the tank, I seem to end up with the responsibility to initiate a vote kick on disconnected or AFK players much more frequently than when I'm healing. Cataclysm beta: Cataclysm will bring dwarf and troll warlocks This was a sudden announcement that nobody really anticipated, and I've always wondered if it had anything to do with Blizzard's desire to shore up the population of pure DPS classes.
April was another busy month here. An increasing number of players finished Icecrown Citadel, and Cataclysm news sped from a trickle to ... well, I'm not sure I'd describe it as a gush, but we saw the earliest planned class changes and a series of announcements on altered mechanics. Oh, and we also briefly turned the site into Twilight Insider for April Fool's, and Blizzard debuted the famous "sparkle pony."
Eyonix leaving Blizzard A sad day for many of us who had waited religiously for his posts.
Rage normalization in Cataclysm Hot on the heels of Rossi's argument that rage was broken (see past the cut), Blizzard announced an upcoming effort to "normalize rage" again for Cataclysm. I glossed the previous effort to normalize rage (in the beginning of The Burning Crusade) as follows:
Blizzard: We're normalizing rage. Warriors: What does that mean? Blizzard: It means that normally, you won't have any. Warriors: ... oh.
No no no no no no no no! Lil' XT was plagued by a bug that vastly increased the range at which you could hear his emotes and vocalizations. Blizzard wound up having to disable them before more players threw themselves off cliffs in an effort to escape.
Blizzard bans 320,000 Warcraft 3 and Diablo 2 players Blizzard started "cleaning house" (as Gregg termed it) on Battle.net in preparation for the release of Starcraft 2.
With more players reaching the Lich King and "finishing" the expansion (although I wouldn't have suggested saying that to anyone toiling on the Icecrown Citadel drakes), the community turned a little more of its attention to the future. The community's appetite for all things Cataclysm was in no way sated by the trickle of expansion information in this period, and more and more of our writers began to speculate on possible changes.
As with last year, our editors have asked us to put together a list of what we considered the year's best stories. As of now, there are 12 days until the end of the year, so we thought it'd be fun to do another end-of-year countdown showcasing a different month each day. We hope you'll enjoy a selection of WoW Insider's best and most insightful, funny, and thoughtful stories from 2010. We also took the liberty of including articles that best captured the zeitgeist of Wrath of the Lich King in its waning arc.
January 2010 wasn't a quiet month for us. Players were just about a month into Icecrown Citadel, and the still-new dungeon finder was keeping even non-raiders thoroughly occupied. Patch 3.3 had been enthusiastically received ("Great patch or greatest patch?" as we asked at the time), but we were seeing the first glimmer of social changes wrought by the dungeon finder and continuing problems with account security.
Help! My account has been hacked We received so many complaints about hacking, phishing, and scamming that Robin wrote a straightforward article on how to handle it if you were among the unfortunate victims. In 8 months, Blizzard wound up automating the process.
Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.
The problem with writing these year end posts for WoW is the tendency for Blizzard to make huge changes at the end of the year, altering everything. Whether it's a new expansion like Wrath of the Lich King or Patch 3.3, it's hard to remember what the game was like the previous 3/4 of the year. It's not that we didn't have a good time before the big year end events, but the game becomes so different, what we did before is irrelevant.
This year, hopefully by or during the summer, we'll be getting another expansion -- only this will literally change everything. It's like we'll be getting WoW II, only without having to give up our stuff/contacts/accounts and start fresh in a new game. So let's take a look backward and forward at some of the main aspects of the game as it affects those of us with limited playtime, like we were the two-faced god this month is named after.
Zach is a Battlegrounds junkie. Even when he's hocking up asthma-generated globules of radioactive phlegm, he still manages to squeeze in a little slaughtering time.
Happy New Year, folks. I hope all of you had a good 2009 and are reading this without a lingering hangover or, like me, some form of bronchial complication stemming from the smog generated by all the festivities' firecrackers. We're kicking off 2010 with a quick look at the year that just passed, and boy, was it ever a good one.
More than any other year in the World of Warcraft, 2009 was a fantastic year for the Battlegrounds. Some very significant changes implemented that year renewed their relevance; furthermore, Battleground enthusiasts also received a verbal commitment from Blizzard developers that that aspect of the game would receive more focus and attention. The year began with the effects of Wrath spilling over from 2008, with the new and exciting Wintergrasp giving new life (and lag) to the world PvP experience. The first important change, however, was to come later with patch 3.1 in April 2009.
One of the things that jumps out at me while reviewing September is that it was a fantastic month for Moviewatch. Apart from that players were occupied with the new version of Onyxia, the Argent Coliseum, still discussing some questions raised by BlizzCon, and arguing over whether Garrosh was a jerk or what.
WoW Moviewatch: Warrior's Dream: My nomination for the best Moviewatch of the year. A lovely film, well-made, beautifully scored, and it crammed a thoughtful story (and insight concerning the sometimes-uncomfortable perspective on ourselves granted by nightmares) into 5 minutes.
Faction change service now available: A feature players had been wondering about getting for years suddenly went live. Did things go crazy? Maybe a little.
A critical examination of Garrosh Hellscream: Garrosh, as we'd previously observed, is not among the more well-received NPCs these days. Rossi asks -- how did this guy go from the demoralized Orc we see in Nagrand to the arrogant jerk we find in Northrend?
Ask a Faction Leader: Garrosh Hellscream: On the subject of Garrosh, personally I found this AAFL to be among the funniest in the series. If that whole Warchief bid doesn't work out for him, Garrosh has a bright future as an interior designer.