Also, the news of Blizzard having to monitor Goldshire on Moon Guard (US-RP) will never not be funny.
Cataclysm beta: Thrall receives a new model Mirroring similar updates to high-profile faction leaders during the Wrath beta, Thrall finally got a makeover and shed Orgrim Doomhammer's armor in favor of more shamanistic regalia. He also looks quite a bit older, but as our commenter Shiro_Shishi wrote, "If I had to deal with Garrosh every day for weeks, I would age faster too."
Blizzard to patrol Moon Guard's Goldshire for harassment, erotic role playing Words fail me.
China is finally getting Wrath of the Lich King It took absolute ages for Wrath of the Lich King to reach Chinese players. If you're curious about why the process was so arduous, Sacco broke it down.
Cataclysm beta: Login screen music The Cataclysm login music is greeted by widespread approval, though players worried about the possible return of the "login dragon."
Opinions and editorials
Know Your Lore TFH edition: The Deathwing conspiracy A "Tin Foil Hat" edition, as Anne and Rossi like to call it, digging into exactly what Deathwing could be up to. This is not only fabulous back story for Cataclysm, but it's also a pointed reminder that the former Aspect of Earth knows very well how far a world can bend before it breaks.
Officers' Quarters: March of the freeloaders With rewards from guild achievements come the inevitable leeching from players who don't do much to earn them -- and, from another perspective, guilt from players who aren't in a position to contribute as much as they'd like.
WoW Insider's weekly comic: Byron the Tauren Rogue Kelly Aarons' Byron the Tauren Rogue ended just as August did. It was a huge hit with staffers and readers, and one of the site's most consistently popular features. Due to the difficulty of picking out a favorite page from a serial work, Kelly's given her blessing for me to link the final page here, as it also provides a link to the full comic. Fortunately for us, Safe Passage began not long after.
All the World's a Stage: Sound bites and one-liners for worgen and goblins A hugely enjoyable read. Goblin and worgen philosophy distilled to their purest essence.
WoW Moviewatch: Perception Ian Beckman's parody of the Inception trailer.
WoW Moviewatch: ROFLbear, episode one -- ROFLbox You have to be crazy to do a daily machinima series, and Myndflame is our kind of crazy.
WoW Moviewatch: How to Win at Cataclysm Beta Wowcrendor, the community's "Sultan of Sarcasm," got a Cataclysm beta key and noted a few distinguishing characteristics among the players there.
World of Warcrafts: The symphonic sounds of Taylor Goodson You think you're dedicated to your guild? This guy composes music for his.
The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Warriors in lore "I like warriors. Here are three reasons why."
Blood Sport: Becomes a 5v5 master series: Part one, two, three, four, and five Colby, a multi-season Gladiator, devoted his August Blood Sports columns toward educating readers on the idiosyncrasies of 5v5 arena, what works, and what doesn't.
Raid Rx: 5 reasons why you're not getting healed Healers are usually irritated by constant requests to be healed, and Matticus lays out five reasons why you may not be a priority at a given moment.
Shifting Perspectives: The sun and the moon Eclipse has been a problematic mechanic for balance druids since day one and was the major contributor to the spec's inconsistent DPS over Wrath. Tyler, a perennial Eclipse-watcher, rounded up all the changes made to it, explained how it worked, and explored its likely effect on the spec.
Arcane Brilliance: These are a few of my favorite things "This is going to be slightly shorter and even more rushed than usual, guys, because new baby. I'd post pictures, but this is the internet. I'll wait till he's a bit older and can ruin his own life."
Spiritual Guidance: In defense (or condemnation) of Dispersion Dispersion has never been a universally popular talent with shadow priests, and with the switch to the 31-point talent system making it all but mandatory, it became even more controversial. Fox laid out the arguments for and against it, compared it to other 31-point talents, and asked how it might be changed.
Totem Talk: Elemental spells in Cataclysm Matt Sampson -- better known to the shaman community as Binkenstein -- looks to the future of the elemental shaman and what turned out to be a surprisingly useful spell in Bind Elemental.
The Care and Feeding of Warriors: A farewell to armor penetration Bye-bye, armor penetration! Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!
Shifting Perspectives: Answers to questions nobody asked Readers had questions concerning how druids were doing on the beta and the impact of new talents and skills on the class. Allie answered none of them.
15 Minutes of Fame: Anthropologist Bonnie Nardi on WoW culture and art August was a great month for 15 Minutes, and this was a fascinating interview. An anthropologist named Bonnie Nardi learned WoW from the ground up and took a macro-level view of the game, Blizzard, and art as something you do in real life rather than slouch past in museums. Particularly cogent, I thought, was her critique of Roger Ebert's assertion that video games could not be art. It went past the knee-jerk reaction commonly seen on gamer forums and deserves to be read by more people. Possibly the best and most insightful 15 Minutes of the year, although I have a difficult time deciding between this one, the Cory Doctorow interview (below), a September 15 Minutes on religion (you'll see that tomorrow), and Nick Yee's recent 15 Minutes.
Drama Mamas: Tank entitlement There were two tank-related Drama Mamas in August, and both got significant responses from the readers. The first, chronicling a situation with which many DPS and healers are doubtless familiar, concerns TE -- Tank Entitlement.
15 Minutes of Fame: Cory Doctorow on gold farming Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing sheds some light on gold-farming practices, which he researched extensively for his second novel. A truly thought-provoking account of why players buy gold, who provides it for them, and its effect on the in-game economy. The interview ended with a few notes concerning the dungeon finder and -- as Lisa glosses it -- why it's so much like Wikipedia: it's "'collaboration' with less overhead, with less and less necessity to get to know each other." I think he's also got a very good point there about the dungeon finder becoming substantially less anonymous if you had a means of finding good players on other servers again.
The OverAchiever: The 25 most entertaining achievements We finished the series on the game's most engaging and diverting achievements
Drama Mamas: Tank frustration The flip side of Tank Entitlement -- being the person undergoing the most scrutiny in an instance with the most responsibility over its outcome.
15 Minutes of Fame: Raiding on 8 hours a week Yet another fabulous 15 Minutes from August. Some people manage to extract the maximum amount of reward from the most difficult raid content with a minimum time investment. If this sort of thing can be taught, it should be.