In backchannel team discussion, Dan O'Halloran asked us to nominate our best stories for the year. "I don't mean the most popular or even the most commented on," he wrote, but "editorials, class columns, analysis, or even funny or touching posts," the ones we were happiest and/or proudest of writing. I'd like to think that our list captures (or at least tries to capture) the zeitgeist of the player community, and how things evolved from the very beginning of Wrath to the patch where players will (eventually) face the ultimate boss of the expansion.
Yesterday we realized that, as of today, there are 12 days to go until 2010, so we though what we'd do is break down our favorite posts into each month of 2009.
Today, obviously, covers January. Wrath was less than two months old when the new year rolled around. While most players were still leveling their mains, gearing them up, and taking their first steps into heroics, others were already steamrolling Tier 7 or trying to steamroll things like Glory of the Raider.
In no particular order...
The Ghostcrawler experiment: Adam's commentary on Ghostcrawler's heroic efforts on the forums seems oddly prescient given our more recent commentary.
Moviewatch: Out in the Cold: Most of the submissions we get at Moviewatch are humorous or otherwise meant purely to entertain. This one, a holdover from the 2008 holiday season, had a slightly more unsettling touch.
Why you're never going to get a blue response: More people on the official forums need to read this. Or -- with the benefit of hindsight on the intervening months -- need to have read it before proceeding to drive the developers and everyone around them crazy with "blue begging."
Running the Obsidian Sanctum death derby: Guilds that got Tier 7 content on farm often found themselves without anything to raid early in the week, which often led to using raid content in creative ways.
The role of today's priest: Raid leaders want their raiders to come in easily-defined packages, sorted according to what they do best and then deployed accordingly. Matt Low asks -- how does this work with the priest's more general-purpose approach?
On lag and communication: One of the disadvantages of raiding's newfound popularity in Wrath was the lag and instability on many overcrowded instance servers. It was this same lag that drove many a raider insane while trying for the new system of raiding achievements that, in many cases, were completely dependent on fast reactions and nobody going offline. How do you enjoy the game when it's barely playable?
The Art of War(craft): How patch 3.0.8 will change PvP: A comprehensive look by Zach Yonzon at patch 3.0.8's upcoming impact on arena, battlegrounds, and world PvP. If you never played Wintergrasp or Strand of the Ancients before that patch, you might be surprised at how much Blizzard's changed them since then.
Would you join an "anything goes" realm?: This was an unusually thoughtful Breakfast Topic with an equally thoughtful comments section. How many people would enjoy a world without rules? Answer: not that many.
Heroics as fresh 80; don't be that guy: Wrath heroics were considerably easier than their BC counterparts, and a lot of players rolled into them (or tried) shorlty after dinging 80. This article contained some sage advice from Eliah Hecht that, oddly enough, resurfaced in the programming of patch 3.3's Dungeon Finder. We're guessing Blizzard doesn't want you to be "that guy" either.
The wishing fountain: We highlighted one of the smaller, quieter touches that made Wrath such an amazing game and got people more invested in the story. Here's hoping something like the Dalaran fountain makes an appearance in Cataclysm.
Waging the war against "lorelol": As in real life, our sense of Azeroth's history is going to change a lot. Michael Sacco's suggestion? Deal with it.
Encrypted Text: Why rogues now love hunters and other HaT ironies: The new rogue talent Honor Among Thieves created some odd circumstances ingame. Nerfed? Yep.
A walking tour of roleplaying realms: You can find a lot of expertly-conducted and nuanced roleplaying on WoW's RP servers. Wowgossip also found...other things.
2009's drawing to a close, and we're wrapping up the most interesting articles we've published all year, one day at a time. Join us every day for the next twelve days with this year's best of WoW.com!