That quote'll come in handy for understanding May. The Cataclysm alpha was released and stayed private for all of about five minutes before appearing online, leading to a flurry of cease-and-desist letters (we assume) and probably some angst on Blizzard's end on the odds of keeping anything secret anymore. On the other hand, if you were looking for amazing new art, peeks at the soon-to-be-revamped-again talent trees, or Garrosh's new model, May was a great month for you.The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it. -- John Gilmore
Hunter beats Wrath of the Lich King I didn't think it was possible for someone to get every achievement point in the game, though Basil insisted, "This just proves the superiority of the hunter class."
Patch 3.3.5: PTR Battle.net Real ID system This was the first any of us had seen of the soon-to-come Real ID feature, and we thought it was a nifty feature as long as you knew a person in real life. "(Obviously), this is not something you want to do with someone you've only ever known in game," Gregg observed. Famous last words.
Battle.net will integrate with Facebook Maybe we should've seen this fiasco coming.
Jace Hall tackles media coverage of WoW addiction The frequent but often unacknowledged bugaboo of the WoW subculture -- the specter of addiction -- isn't always treated fairly or accurately by the media. Jace Hall took a frank look.
Blizzard to break the AVR mod in patch 3.3.5 AVR had popped up on the scene not long before, and most players only thought of it as a funny little mod that let you draw penises on the game world. More enterprising players quickly figured out that it could also be used to pinpoint the exact damage area of Malleable Goo on Putricide, and things snowballed from there. Developers cried foul.
The failure of secrecy: The alpha leaks and the WoW community The Cataclysm alpha was leaked to the internet and, as with all things that become available on the internet, there was no chance whatsoever of its disappearing. Adam observed, "This leak will go down in history as one of the largest and most complete game leaks ever."
Know Your Lore, TFH Edition: Elune is a naaru As Rossi and Anne say, anything titled "TFH" -- Tin Foil Hat -- might be a little out there, but this was an incredibly well-reasoned look at some of the interesting (and in some cases, uncanny) intersections between the night elf belief structure and the Light.
The Lawbringer: License v. Purchase, Sgt. Joe Friday Edition Amy took readers through three recent cases to explain the distinction between a license and a purchase and how all this applies to WoW.
Officers' Quarters: The benefits of Cataclysm raiding A lot of people were unhappy about the raid lockout announcement, but Scott Andrews maintained that guild and raid leaders had cause to celebrate.
Ready Check: AVR is dead. What did we learn? Hot on the heels of AVR's cancellation, Gray had a few observations related to why the mod became popular, what it said about raiding, and where you draw the line between individual skill and non-intuitive raid mechanics.
Insider Trader: Selling arrows in singles for the price of a stack "I'm going to come right out and say it: Don't do this."
Arts and Entertainment
Choose My Adventure: There's a new lock in town The fact that readers chose a warlock character for Christian Belt (who promptly named the toon Selfloathius) is no end of funny.
WoW Moviewatch: How to win at PUGs and Gear Score Arguably the funniest MovieWatch of the year and certainly one of the most popular, Wowcrendor's How to Win at PUGs and Gear Score became a classic in short order. If you've played WoW for any length of times, this film will ring painfully true.
15 Minutes of Fame: Deep Space Nine's Nog gets his BG on and 15 Minutes of Fame: Star Trek's Nog talks with WoW Insider, part 2 Turns out Aron Eisenberg -- better known to gamer geeks as Nog from Deep Space Nine -- is a WoW player and a kickass battleground stomper. Much to our delight, he later came to the WoW Insider reader meetup at BlizzCon!
WoW Moviewatch: Wardens of Azeroth Erunno's wonderful prequel to The White Drake, which made our Best of 2009 list.
Cataclysm Screenshot of the Day The screenshot of the day began to whet players' appetites for the new expansion with a series of beautiful pictures -- including one that everyone thought was Gilneas. "Nope," said Blizzard. "Blasted Lands."
WoW Moviewatch: WoW Celestial Steed public service announcement The popularity of the Celestial Steed led to some backlash from players (and even Blizzard itself, if you count a certain hilarious quest in the revamped Hillsbrad Foothills).
The Light and How to Swing It: Why is the mana gone? Chase made it to the beta only to discover that holy paladin mana regeneration had been gutted. He consoled himself by ganking players at teleport NPCs.
Addon Spotlight: Power Auras Power Auras was/is a hugely useful addition to the game (particularly for those of us with laptops, cursed to play with very limited screen real estate) but difficult to configure. Mat McCurley walked you through it an easy-to-understand manner. Blizzard liked the functionality of the mod so much that it added a simple version to Cataclysm.
Raid Rx: Are we focused on the right things? Are we too focused on the numbers side of WoW just because numbers are easier to evaluate than intangibles? How often are you going to wipe because of one wrong gem choice?
The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Mastery, CC, and other dispatches Warriors didn't get any real crowd control in the Cataclysm class announcements, and Rossi's had some history with that. But it wasn't all bad news, as mastery information had rolled in as well.
Spiritual Guidance: Priesting the Lich King A comprehensive guide to healing the Lich King encounter as either a holy or discipline priest. Bubble spam: it causes cancer. "Everything causes cancer these days, after all."
Blood Sport: Fun things to do in arena A reminder that, as with everything in life, things get interesting quickly once you're naked. In-game, we mean. Don't be a pervert.
Spiritual Guidance: Troubleshooting your DPS Fox downloads Police Academy 3, forces the game into screaming fits of latency, and hits the training dummies.
Gold Capped: Casual auctioneering Players sometimes complain that they don't have the time or investment capital to make serious money in the game. Basil begs to differ.
The OverAchiever: The 25 most evil achievements "What are evil achievements? They're the soul-killing rep grinds, the raiding milestones that required sacrificing a farm animal to get, and even fun pastimes like battlegrounds into which a sizable dose of misery has been added. Eventually you just want to grab the nearest developer and shake him back and forth, screaming, 'What the hell were you thinking?'"
An analysis of all the food and drink in WoW Dawn's curiosity over in-game comestibles was piqued when a vegan friend made a comment on the lack of vegetables in WoW. Her conclusion? There does seem to be a huge overabundance of protein in WoW, as the game's mechanics lend themselves to hunting and fishing far more than farming. Then again, as our commenter Mahgo notes, "As we've seen in Arathi Basin, farms (also) change hands very quickly."
Drama Mamas: Divorce drama One of the problems of playing with people you know and like in real life is that real-life drama has a habit of becoming WoW drama very quickly.
The cynic's guide to World of Warcraft Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary revisited for the modern age.
All the World's a Stage: Odd man out Robin has a quiet word with roleplayers whose characters are legends in their own minds.