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Posts with tag year-in-review

The Best of WoW Insider: July 2010

Two words: Real ID.

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 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.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Insider Business, Humor

The Best of WoW Insider: June 2010

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.


World of Warcraft
patch 3.3.5 notes
Patch 3.3.5 went live, and with it the Ruby Sanctum -- Wrath's last raid.

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.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Insider Business, Humor

The Best of WoW Insider: April 2010

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
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 in preparation for the release of Starcraft 2.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Insider Business, Humor

The best of WoW Insider: March 2010

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.


Cataclysm stat and system changes revealed
The first sign of things to come.

Operation Gnomeregan: Transcript and details and Operation Echo Isles: Transcripts and details The Operation: Gnomeregan and Zalazane's Fall events were datamined long before they ever went live, and Gregg did the legwork to figure out what was going on.

Goon Squad downs Tirion Fordring Really, Goon Squad? Really? Though, as Sacco observes, there's a term for this you might as well start getting used to hearing -- "emergent gameplay."

WoW Insider's guide to WoW resources We decided to put together as comprehensive a listing of fan sites and WoW blogs as we could manage.

World of Warcraft Patch 3.3.3 release notes
Patch 3.3.3 went live, and with it, the "greed only" policy on frost orbs that Mat had written about the previous month. PUG players everywhere breathed a sigh of relief.

Cataclysm earthquake mobs visible in Stormwind "Shaker" mobs were visible on several servers, a precursor to the earthquakes yet to come.

Paragon scores world-first heroic Lich King It took almost two months for a guild to get the heroic 25-man Lich King down.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Insider Business, Humor

The Best of WoW Insider: January 2010

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.


Man forced to choose between his wife and his orc Really, this is the sort of philosophical conundrum that might have occupied Aristotle in an earlier age.

Blizzard giving serious consideration to mandatory authenticators The number of hacked characters seemed to peak in late 2009/early 2010, and Blizzard had a few ways to deal with it -- including giving players the option of not actually restoring a hacked character. Alex wrote a counterpoint article with a few observations concerning the sheer scale of the problem.

Beware of WoW Armory phishing scams Robin had spent much of the previous year battling scammers and had no intention of stopping.

Bobby Kotick didn't think Blizzard was worth 7 million in 1996 Oh, how swiftly things change. Though, as commenters pointed out, he may not really have been wrong at the time.

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.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Insider Business, Humor

WoW, Casually: Looking backward and forward

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.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW, Casually

The Art of War(craft): 2009 was a banner year for the Battlegrounds

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.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Battlegrounds

Best of December 2009

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right gude-willy waught,
For auld lang syne

December brought us patch 3.3, Icecrown Citadel's new raid and 5-mans, "Rocket bare!", and the endless joy of the new Dungeon Finder. I think we can all agree that 2009's going out on a high note, and that this is one of the best patches Blizzard's ever released.

Arcane Brilliance: How to be a good PUG mage
: "It was like some kind of idiot convention, and I was the keynote speaker."

Totem Talk: On unique gearing and gear consolidation
: Rossi has mixed feelings on the benefits of gear consolidation, particularly because +spellpower mail is far better itemized for Restoration, and Enhancement shares gear with hunters, who don't want the same stats.

Official patch 3.3 confirmation and patch notes
: Patch 3.3 went live on December 8th to universal acclaim, and the enormous popularity of the Dungeon Finder took everyone by surprise.

The lore of patch 3.3
: A fantastic joint effort between Adam, Alex, and Sacco to bring you the background on how patch 3.3's story came about.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Features

Best of November 2009

November saw the celebration of WoW's fifth anniversary, the introduction of the pet store, and a steady avalanche of news from the patch 3.3 PTR.

Drama Mamas: When a partner wanders astray
: The Drama Mamas answer one of their hardest and most unsettling questions.

Cataclysm: The exhaustive list of old-world changes (so far)
: Sacco goes over all the known information concerning upcoming zone and dungeon changes in Cataclysm with a fine-tooth comb.

Blizzard: Arenas were a mistake
: Blizzard's VP of game design says that arenas as they were implemented were probably not the best idea. Let a thousand comments bloom.

Blizzard launches real-money in-game pet store
: The destination for data-mined pets we'd seen earlier that had never materialized in-game is finally revealed -- Blizzard's selling them. The march to micro-transactions continues apace, and not everyone is happy about it.

Patch 3.3 PTR: Get a pug when you PUG
: The destination for the Perky Pug is also revealed, and players are somewhat happier about that, particularly after finding some of the pug's more interesting animations.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Features

The best of October 2009

October, as with August, was mostly a lot of news reporting. The patch 3.3 PTR dropped on October 1st and everyone went nuts for the last (we think) major content patch of Wrath of the Lich King. Next up? The content patch heralding the approach of Cataclysm, but with a lot of gated content between ourselves and that, we've got a ways to go.

Ask a Faction Leader: Cairne Bloodhoof
: Among all the AAFL columns he's done so far, Sacco's personal favorite is Cairne.

Spiritual Guidance: Don't be that priest: Matt Low not-so-gently lectures his fellow priests on the failings to which the class is prone while not paying attention or entering an encounter unprepared.

Searching for the most popular server
: Schramm takes a look at some data and wonders -- what's the busiest and/or most crowded server out there?

Patch 3.3 PTR: New Tauren skins found
: So what are those things anyway? A new set of NPCs for Icecrown? A new barbershop option? Tribal markings for the Grimtotem?

Chill of the Throne: Dodge nerfed 20% in Icecrown Citadel
: The debuff is quickly termed "Icewell Radiance" by disgruntled tanks everywhere.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Features

The best of September 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.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Features

The best of August 2009

BlizzCon, BlizzCon, BlizzCon! That's pretty much what August was all about -- well, that and patch 3.2. Because this month was mostly crammed full of pure, unadulterated news about the upcoming convention and Cataclysm, there weren't quite as many one-off features this time around.

All the World's a Stage: Reflections on the passing of a roleplayer's mom
: This isn't a very easy article to summarize. All I can say is -- please read it. One of David Bowers' most elegant and introspective pieces: "WoW is not an escape from life, it is a reflection of it."'s Patch 3.2 Guide and content for the day
: Patch 3.2 went live on August 4th and was (oddly enough) one of the top stories for the year. In hindsight, it probably wasn't that surprising -- it had been a while since Ulduar had gone live, and the Argent Tournament patch heralded the introduction of a slew of new pets, mounts, titles, and new druid forms. Huzzah!

Playing WoW for charity: Interview with the WoWathon team
: Three college students managed to raise $5,000 for Child's Play with a marathon WoW session coupled with "dramatic readings of bad fanfiction."

Researchers study WoW to see how gangs form and fade
: A UC-Irvine team has been studying guild and group formation ingame for data on "group ecology." As Schramm observed, "Listen, guys, all you have to do to break up gangs is ensure there's not enough loot to go around."

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Features

The best of July 2009

July 2009 was defined by two dominant trends -- waiting for patch 3.2 to hit, and an increasing amount of information starting to flow that would be confirmed one month later at BlizzCon.

Blizzard files trademark for
: Gee, we wonder why?

Arcane Brilliance: Five things every mage should do before they ding 80
: Archmage Pants guides you through some things that should be on every leveling mage's checklist before the endgame.

Encrypted Text: Fan of Knives mechanics deep-dive
: Chase Christian runs across a rogue on his server who's able to kill people in an interesting manner, and goes on the theorycrafting warpath to figure out how he's doing it.

Worgen Garwal hotfixed, now untameable
: Worgen pets were, for a brief period, universally agreed to be the coolest thing in the game before being hotfixed into oblivion. Reason given? Something vague concerning why Blizzard doesn't want hunters to have humanoid pets. Yes. Yes, that must be it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Features

The Light and How to Swing It: The Paladin of 2009

With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and helps with the puppet shows at the Argent Ren Faire up in Icecrown. This week we're taking a look back at 2009 and the ups and downs we've felt as paladins.

Well, it's after Christmas and another year is almost behind us. Two-double-zero-nine was a particularly frustrating year for paladins, because we felt we were either at the top of the pile or the bottom and it changed from day to day. The development team has even been quoted as saying that paladins have been the hardest class in Wrath to balance even when taking death knights into consideration. Let's walk down memory lane and see where we were and where we're going.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The best of June 2009

Raids were still rolling through Ulduar and experimenting with hard modes, and we were waiting for patch 3.2 to hit the PTR, but the most interesting thing about this month was definitely the increased notice we started taking of account security.

Patch 3.2:
Argent Coliseum 5-man and raid story/encounters: Sacco ventures deep into the wilds of the PTR, and an insane amount of work on his part produced a comprehensive guide to what happened in the Coliseum, the accompanying lore, and the boss abilities you needed to plan for.

New Tauren cat forms and new Night Elf cat forms revealed: Allison cries harder. I wasn't initially warm to the new Tauren cat form, but it grew on me as soon as I saw it in motion on the PTR.

WoW, Casually: What is casual?: The $64,000 question -- what does it even mean to be a casual player these days? Robin weighs in.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Features

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