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.
Thoughts on Icecrown Citadel and gating Not everyone was a fan of the mechanic Blizzard chose to slow raid progress through Icecrown Citadel, particularly because it vastly increased the resentment directed at players who may have cost raids an attempt for unavoidable or innocent reasons.
Pulling aggro in PUGs: Who's to blame? DPS, basically. Frostheim observed that there are a lot of mob and player abilities that play havoc with the threat a tank can produce, but "Any DPSer can always do zero threat by not attacking."
Drama Mamas: Dungeon finder loot advice With the new dungeon finder, ICC 5-mans, and new loot came increased urgency over fair distribution of drops. The Drama Mamas took the issue in stride.
Abilities I usually wish didn't exist in 5-mans This got an unexpectedly huge response from readers, perhaps because everyone has had a few runs wrecked by one or more of the abilities herein. I may have to update this given a recent heroic Erudax kill ruined by a priest's untimely use of Leap of Faith (a.k.a. Life Grip).
Arts & Entertainment
WoW Moviewatch: The Worgen One of the longest Moviewatch outings we've ever run, but it was a fabulous cinematic look at the worgen story (as players knew it) pre-Cataclysm.
WoW Moviewatch: Ninja Raiders This one's a bit of a cheat -- Ninja Raiders technically premiered on the site in December 2009. We got so much mail about it that we decided to run it again.
WoW Moviewatch: I Kissed an Orc Sharm's I Kissed An Orc was one of the community's better earworms this year.
Ask a Faction Leader: Vol'jin In which we learn that harpies aren't fond of being ridden, you go get the voodoo when the opportunity presents itself, and that certain trollish appendages are detachable: "Jes' be careful. Dem udda t'ing you might be usin' wit ya lady? Also detachable. Ya been warned, mon."
Classes, Raiding, and PvP
Drop chance probability Frostheim hauled out the proverbial adding machine and wrote a discussion of drop chance probability, how the math actually works, and even scripted a quick calculator you could use to check your odds of getting a drop within a certain number of runs.
Blood Sport: Are protection warriors overpowered? I may or may not have referred to the presence of protection warriors in arena as "a sign of the impending apocalypse" given the spec's historic aversion to PvP, but plate tanks didn't do half badly for themselves there.
Arcane Brilliance: Mistakes mages make Christian Belt takes players of his own class to task on a few issues he's been seeing while leveling a baby tank through the dungeon finder. The unerringly-accurate observation that results: "Tanking is an interesting thing. It makes you hate everyone else in the party."
Totem Talk: Elemental 101 Sacco's Elemental 101 piece was so popular, organized, and effective that all of our class columnists wound up doing versions for their own classes and specs.
Blood Pact: Mistakes other people make Hobbs schools warlocks -- and for that matter, people playing with warlocks -- on the little things that make any run more pleasant to be in.
The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Protection 101 We loved writing the 101 guides, and Rossi particularly enjoyed the ("Now obsolete," he says) protection version he wrote.
PvP resilience changes PvP in Wrath was ruled to an unfortunate degree by burst damage, and developers spent the length of the expansion trying to fix it. In the last year of Wrath, they increased the damage prevented by resilience with mixed results.
Arcane Brilliance: Why I hate DPS meters Archmage Pants tries to find a more elegant means of saying, "Don't be a douche."
Raid Rx: Don't be a hero Not long after Belt's advice not to be a douche, Matticus tells healers not to be heroes. Healing is an inherently collective activity, he argues, and one person going nuts on the meters for no other reason than ego doesn't presage anything good.
Odds & Ends
1. Local: Distracted by puppies The birth of the site's "Distracted by puppies" meme, from a recent edition of a Sacco-penned Queue.
Officers' Quarters: Ultimatum I would argue that one of the best Officers' Quarters this year was also one of its earliest. Scott Andrews gently but firmly remonstrates with a player who guilted a fellow DPS out of a fairly common drop off Marrogar-10. "Before you issue an ultimatum or gquit over loot, ask yourself if that one item is really worth it."
The OverAchiever: Straight to the poorhouse Want to be a starving, naked player reduced to dancing on mailboxes for gold? No problem! These achievements will turn you into a poverty-stricken sewer rat in no time.
WoW Rookie: The fresh 80's guide to getting started in 5-mans I would actually submit that this article has more relevancy today than it did then. A freshly-dinged 80 DPS could step into most Wrath heroics with a reasonable expectation of success (though not necessarily a reasonable expectation of remaining in the dungeon to completion, depending on the group). Trying that with Cataclysm heroics is usually asking for trouble.
Breakfast Topic: Caught between a rock and a hard place Rock collectors of Azeroth, unite! Wait -- Azeroth has rock collectors?
Trinkets: Hard to get and Blizzard likes it that way Fox notes a sad reality concerning the frustration of filling the two trinket slots with decent options (with an especially timely observation on how maddening it was to compete for things like Deathbringer's Will and Illustration of the Dragon Soul). Turns out Blizzard wants them to be rare, but developers admitted that they could probably stand to be less so.