The cataclysm went live in the form of patch 4.0.3a. We thought that was pretty cool. Also, Orgrimmar got the equivalent of a raid boss. That was also pretty cool. Oddly, on top of all the news that came rushing in this November, it was another great month for the arts scene.
Ghostcrawler shares DPS spec design philosophy for Cataclysm The entire article is worth a read, but there's one particularly stand-out point here: "Players are much more tolerant of huge, sweeping changes between expansions than they are in between patches."
Ghostcrawler on the evolution of rotation complexity One of the things you start to wonder about when points like this are made is whether the bevy of fan sites out there lecturing players on spec and rotation choice is ultimately doing more harm than good for the game.
Cataclysm: Gamon, legendary villain of Orgrimmar, made even more elite The usual target of bored Hordies parked in Orgrimmar, Gamon was made a level 85 elite for Cataclysm. On my own server, a pile of skeletons testified to the number of players who thought that taking an idle swing at him was still in the cards.
Troll druids get unique bat flight form In a nod to the Darkspear culture's disdain for bird spirits, Blizzard gave troll druids bat form. And there was much rejoicing. It's still not in the game yet, but still, there was much rejoicing.
Cataclysm quest reward armor sets for 1-60 The not-so-fondly remembered clown suits from Outland leveling won't be making a reappearance.
Cataclysm beta testing is officially over Cataclysm beta testing ended, not with a bang, but with a whimper. The sudden end and lack of world-destroying fun with GMs took players by disappointed surprise.
Patch 4.0.3a kills ink trader but reinstates missing glyphs Patch 4.0.3a created a crisis of sorts for scribes, who suddenly found themselves without a convenient way to get low-level inks. As a few readers and forum-goers observed, any herbalist who could be bothered to maintain even a desultory presence on the AH suddenly got rich.
Officers' Quarters: The great raid size debate: part one, part two, and part three A great series by Scott Andrews on the history of raid size in WoW, the logistics involved in running either a 10- or 25-man raid, and why a certain size may (or may not) be better suited to certain guilds.
The evolution of zerg dungeon farming Rossi's tanked since day one and been in an unusually good position to observe how dungeon-running has developed.
Arts & Entertainment
WoW Moviewatch: Farewell, Northrend A very beautiful and contemplative look at the continent and expansion we left behind.
The Raid movie documentary examines WoW raiding Dawn reviews The Raid. Even if you're not interested in the film itself, the background on why the filmmakers made the piece is incredibly interesting.
WoW Moviewatch: Happy Place Cranius and Legs' entry to the machinima contest. Is anything this guy does badly? The specter of a Forsaken rogue who just wants to pick flowers is hilarious enough on its own.
WoW Moviewatch: How to Win at Guilds Fully as accurate, painful, and funny as Wowcrendor's piece on PUGs and Gear Score.
Premiering tonight: AFK film offers laughs, epic gaming scenes Dawn continued her look at recent WoW-related films with a funnier outing. Quit? Don't quit? Solo Onyxia? Die in a fireball-induced haze to Onyxia?
15 Minutes of Fame: Cataclysm soundtrack composer David Arkenstone Players have singled out Cataclysm's music as an incomparable addition to a game that always had great music, and it was fascinating to read about Mr. Arkenstone's creative process.
WoW Moviewatch: An Inconvenient Expansion "Don't worry, my precious loot! You'll be okay!"
Around Azeroth: Death Starry Night The best screenshot of the year, in my opinion.
WoW Moviewatch: Azerothian Super Villains Episode 8, the final /salute, Azerothian Super Villains. You may not have taken over the world, and none of your evil schemes ever came to fruition, but it's been a blast.
Classes, Raiding, and PvP
The Light and How to Swing It: The return of the shockadin The holy paladin spec was heavily overhauled for the expansion. Chase took you through the changes with an amusing look
Raid Rx: Comparing 10 and 25-man raid healing in Cataclysm Matticus falls on the Cataclysm beta healing grenade so you don't have to, and what results is both a video and extensive text guide comparing and contrasting 10- and 25-man healing, plus observations on how raid health pools are impacting healer mana.
Scattered Shots: Grandpappy Frostheim on Ghostcrawler "Don't harrass Ghostcrawler or he'll quit talking to us. Oh, wait..."
Shifting Perspectives: Why (or why not) to play a druid: night elf, tauren, worgen, or troll: Readers enjoyed this series on the strengths and weaknesses of Azeroth's four druidic races.
Encrypted Text: An interview with the ever-cautious Aldriana Chase interviews the legendary rogue theorycrafter, Aldriana. Name sound familiar? You probably saw a set of gloves (best in slot for cat druids and probably a host of physical DPS) named after him drop in Icecrown Citadel.
Know Your Lore: King Varian Wrynn King Varian Wrynn, or as we like to call him, "The Garrosh of the Alliance."
Conquer Azeroth in Civilization V The latest outing of Sid Meiers' Civilization series had been released in September, and most of our gaming friends and relatives subsequently disappeared for weeks. Matters only got worse for the WoW-playing contingent when a player named Maze designed a map pack reproducing classic Azeroth.
Know Your Lore: The origin of goblin and worgen death knights With Cataclysm approaching, lots of players were uncertain how to explain the existence of goblin and worgen death knights. Anne broke down the common assumptions (many are wrong) while bringing up a genuinely knotty time discrepancy -- how to explain the time jump from pre-Wrath (start of the death knight leveling experience) to post-Wrath (the fresh level 58 death knight being sent to a Horde newly captained by Garrosh)?
Drama Mamas: When NSFW guild chat aggros a parent One of the most interesting Drama Mamas, concerning an angry mother wanting to limit her child's exposure to inappropriate language in the game versus a guild blowing off steam late Saturday night.
All the World's a Stage: Conflict in the shadow of Cataclysm This was a great outing of All the World's a Stage, but it was also a reminder of the many players who apparently kept their sandwich signs from the elemental invasion event.
Know Your Lore: Jaina Proudmoore Jaina Proudmoore is a character at turns loved, reviled, and misunderstood.