Patch 4.1: What we know so far
As Alex later noted, basically everything we learned about patch 4.1 at BlizzCon turned out not to, um, be in patch 4.1.
Tol Barad hotfixed to reward 360 honor on offensive win
The previous reward had been 1,800 honor, which encouraged a hitherto unknown degree of inter-faction cooperation as players cheerfully traded wins. Whoops.
Cory Stockton addresses Tol Barad balance
Mr. Stockton had a frank discussion of the problems that Blizzard had encountered balancing both Wintergrasp and Tol Barad. McCurley responded
A survey of gear levels in current 10- and 25-man Cataclysm raiding GuildOx
crunched the numbers on who was raiding Cataclysm
content and in what. The results were a little odd, but commenters quickly figured out what was going on.
Blizzard working on ways to improve the Dungeon Finder
And you're going see a boatload of reasons below as to why it did.
Cataclysm sells 4.7 million copies in one month
This is our surprised face.
Don't panic about those WoW magazine subscription renewal notices
This won't be the last you'll see of problems with the magazine this year ...
Opinions and editorials
Should level-capped players be put into content they outgear?
Stonecore was probably the most widely despised dungeon
available to leveling players, with a number of punitive mechanics even on normal. Getting it twice in a row at 85 with none of the ilevel 333 upgrades needed to enter heroics pushed Fox to ask if there was something fundamentally wrong with Blizzard's approach to the normal/heroic split.
Is comparing your game to World of Warcraft really such a good idea?
In which Sacco is once again psychic: "I haven't played Rift
yet (I'll leave that to Massively
), but if its ad campaign was the only weighing factor toward my purchasing it, I would chalk it up as a Family Guy
and move on."
Officers' Quarters: Be kind to your tanks and healers
DPSers languished in Dungeon Finder queues that were often 45 minutes or more, and guild tanks and healers were badly overworked trying to keep up with the demand.
The lack of wands in Cataclysm
Alex looks at early Cataclysm
itemization and asks: Where the hell are all the wands? For non-spirit classes, there was a disturbing lack of options before heroics, and the situation's reoccurred with various slots for different classes since.
The middle of the pack is a fine place to be
Josh takes a dim view of the assertion that specs doing median DPS are somehow being ill-served.
Officers' Quarters: How a guild dies
Scott Andrews' long-running guild bit the dust, and he had observations to share with the rest of us. Perhaps most pointedly, "Even a long-established guild cannot survive without an adequate number of active and motivated officers."
Making the Dungeon Finder suck less
Heartbourne over at Lore Hound
had some interesting observations on Blizzard's choices for reducing Dungeon Finder waits. Our suggestion? Ride the social networking craze.
Arts and entertainment
WoW Moviewatch: Kung Fu Pandaren
The creators are the sort of people who, in addition to their ability to create a damn fine machinima, should probably be buying lottery tickets.
Ozruk breaks some mad beats upon his body
This made Stonecore marginally more fun. Funnier, at least.
WoW Moviewatch: The End of the World As We Know It
A surprisingly slick and funny take on the REM classic.
WoW Moviewatch: Mad World of Warcraft Cataclysm
A clever set of lyrics and great vocals got high marks from our readers.
WoW Moviewatch: Cataclysm Millionaire
This defies description. Just watch it.
Classes, raiding and PvP
Spiritual Guidance: A Monstrous Compendium for the mind-controlling shadow priest
If you're one of those people who plays a priest largely for the vindictive pleasure of mind-controlling a mob to its unsightly death, you will enjoy this disturbingly comprehensive guide. Seek help, Fox.
Raid Rx: Handling healer mana in raids
A conversation between Matt Low and Joe Perez resulted in a great article examining how healers fared under the Cataclysm
model. Paladins and priests dominated early raid healing, with shaman being dragged along primarily for Mana Tide Totem
, and druids ... well, druids weren't doing so well. A big wave of buffs had just been announced for everyone but shaman on the patch 4.0.6 PTR, and Matt wondered what was going on.
Totem Talk: It's all about the mana tide
Less than two weeks later, we found out.
Shifting Perspectives: Feral cat druid DPS 101
Chase Hasbrouck's inaugural column for WoW Insider, and a fine look at a spec that became a Battleground terror in Cataclysm
Lichborne: The great death knight Cataclysm tanking stat weight debate
Death knight tanks were in a weird place as the expansion started due to the spec's reliance on Death Strike
as a survival mechanic.
Blood Sport: Drain Mana's removal and its impact on arena
Healers thought this was the best idea ever. Christian wasn't so sure.
Scattered Shots: Understanding the PTR process
As hysteria about upcoming survival nerfs mounted, Frostheim took the time to explain the PTR process.
The Light and How to Swing It: One heal or two
Early healing wasn't all that efficient, and raiding healers were desperate to get the most from blues and early epics. Chase figured out a way to get two particular talents to play nice with each other and the paladin's new holy power resource.
Scattered Shots: Why hunters are better than every other class
Frostheim gives 50 reasons why hunters are the best class in the game. Skepticism is widespread from the rest of the staff.
Blood Sport: An early analysis of Cataclysm PvP
Christian was generally pleased with how things were turning out.
Odds and ends
Gold Capped: The effect of mega-blogs on your business
Hint: Your secret techniques aren't so secret, and the clever capitalist will always account for new entrants to his market.
Drama Mamas: Letter-writers tell what happened next
One of the problems with advice columns is that all too often you never find out what happened after the initial letter. Fortunately, we heard back from players who'd had issues with animal cruelty, fitting in as a transgender player, shyness, and hacking.
Breakfast Topic: What's the best new quest of the expansion?
One of the huge perks of Cataclysm
was a wide assortment of new quests, and many were genuinely funny and memorable. A short list of common favorites:
The educational potential of class-based achievements
High on the list of things that players would like to see back in the game are class-specific quests -- and their logical evolution, class-specific achievements.
The OverAchiever: A guide to basic archaeology and its achievements
Archaeology had just begun to drive people batty, and Blizzard started implementing a number of changes designed to make the profession less grindy -- or at least more lucrative
The Lawbringer: The lessons of globalization and gold farming
The world is getting smaller but not always in ways that are good for everybody.
The crazy, hidden critter plateau
What happens when bored programmers and flying mounts in the old world meet.
If you enjoyed this article, you might get a kick out of our Best of 2009 and Best of 2010 series.
2011'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 Insider!