There were three pretty obvious themes in April that got a lot of play: The game's gearing model and how it could be improved, the lack of tanks and healers in the Throne of Thunder LFR, and what on earth was going on with the Alliance and its major lore figures.
Patch 5.3 PTR notes and datamined changes As advertised. We were just about a month into patch 5.2 when the drumbeats started for patch 5.3.
Last Week on Massively: LucasArts closes, Titan rumors, and more For all those of us who grew up with LucasArts adventures games, it was a very sad day. If you haven't played Grim Fandango, you really should.
9 years later, a venerable trinket finally dies To this day, there's no explanation for why the Darkmoon Card: Blue Dragon flew under the radar as long as it did.
Blizzard purchases IGN Pro League Hmmm.
Method takes down Ra-Den for world first And in just a little over a month since the patch itself dropped. Congrats!
Developer Q&A transcript A lot of the themes you've been seeing pop up in the Best of WoW Insider 2013 series rear their heads here, including the Alliance's direction as compared to the Horde, the possible return of class quests, and the ever-popular "Buff me, nerf everyone else."
WoW's greatest mistake and greatest triumph Adam's conclusion? The greatest mistake is its model for gear progression and how players inevitably react to it: Its greatest triumph is the dungeon finder and its ability to put together a group for content so quickly and easily. Unfortunately, the gear thing has more far-reaching implications, and Adam wasn't going to let it go.
The case of the next Warchief Swing and a hit!
Are you a god? Why WoW, and every game, has to suck You know that saying that a hero is only as good as her villain? Both in and outside of games, we are at least partially defined by our limitations, our problems, and our weaknesses. When these don't exist, who are we?
What optional means in World of Warcraft Rossi makes a point here that needs to be drilled into the heads of a thousand squabbling players on the forums: Just because you're not interested in some of the game's features doesn't mean that you're not directly benefiting from them. Other people who enjoy those features will be around when you want help to do the content that you're interested in.
The Azeroth Ethicist: Is it cheating to trick the LFR loot system? Mercifully, players were allowed to designate a loot spec as something other than their current one as of patch 5.3, but until that happened, LFR saw a lot of players faking their way through their roles. Was it a rational response to abysmal queue times, or just a crappy thing to do?
We are all humans Someone asked Rossi over Twitter if he thought humans in WoW were boring. He didn't think so, and went on to observe that every race in the game is a metaphor for humanity in some sense.
Throne of Thunder easter egg Ji-Kun's eggs were replaced with a more colorful variety for Noblegarden.
WoW Moviewatch: MMO Dark Pippi does Nickelback better than Nickelback. We never expected to love this.
Around Azeroth: I'm gonna pop some tags, only got twenty dollars in my pocket Sorry, it's just funny.
These alpha screenshots aren't quite the World of Warcraft you used to know There are trips down memory lane, and then there are grant-funded expeditions into the darkest beginnings of time. This is the latter.
WoW Moviewatch: The Blingtroon 4000 song "Hey, thanks for the LEAF!"
Bill Westenhofer announced as VFX director for Warcraft movie Westenhofer's stats are +500 to optimism for all followers of the film's tortured journey through development hell.
WoW Moviewatch: Game of Gnomes In which setting things on fire becomes an issue of some personal urgency.
WoW Moviewatch: Pogo -- Roarcraft I really don't know how to describe this one. It involves a lot of baby murlocs, an earworm, and very clever use of ingame sounds.
Superman star Henry Cavill enjoys Skyrim, World of Warcraft This guy. We like this guy. Also, if an A-list Hollywood star can ignore his phone in favor of not letting a raid wipe, you have no damn excuse, Mr. Sudden and Inexplicable AFK.
Blood Pact: World of Logging warlocks, part 1 Megan walks you through how to use World of Logs as a DPS class and how to improve your performance. You'll be seeing a lot more of this series in our May installment.
Why aren't more healers queuing for the Raid Finder? and Why don't you tank or heal? I'm slapping these together because both spawned enormous comment sections on an issue that every MMO seems to face. The healer shortage in early ToT LFR was particularly noticeable, and I think Olivia has a really unfortunate point: There's no serious incentive for players to help tanks and healers rather than ignore (or even hinder) them. But if you want to help, then by all means do!
The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Theoretical limits and the DPS warrior "You might do better DPS with a spec that you're better at playing. I know this is a shocking thing to assert."
Blood Pact: Kanrethad's defeat at mortal hands Megan has lasted longer than any other writer at the
The Light and How to Swing It: No hybrid taxation without representation! I feel like this is the mirror image of the Azeroth Ethicist column. There's what you're specced to do, and then there's what you actually can do.
The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Too good and not good enough This is a difficult truth to convey to the raging forum crowd, but it is actually okay for your class not to be particularly good at some things.
Scattered Shots: Hunter music Hunters have pretty much dominated the arts scene with respect to class-specific creativity. Left to the mists of unrecorded time is who taught them to read and turn on a computer.
10 things I learned from playing WoW with my 7-year old The tenth was a very controversial one, but not (I am forced to admit) without merit. From a child's perspective, it's a lot harder to defend playing Horde than Alliance, even when you're playing a "good" race.
The easiest mounts to get your hands on This turned out to be a surprisingly popular guide on getting a mount collection started.
Know Your Lore: What is the Alliance missing? I think Anne has very adroitly pinpointed the most significant lore difference between the Alliance and Horde experiences within the game: Namely, Alliance players spent much of the early game being the heroes of their respective factions in the absence of Varian Wrynn, but that experience was quite literally erased from the game with his return. By contrast, Horde players always had a strong leader in Thrall, and then again in Garrosh (despite how widely he's despised), and were never central to their faction's storytelling in the same way. Which brings us to Alex's counterpoint --
Another take: What is the Alliance missing? Alex's essay feels a lot like a stone you drop into a very deep well, and you're peering over the side without any ability to see when or where it's going to reach the bottom, until at last you finally hear it hit something. That something is Chris Metzen's opening speech at BlizzCon.
Our favorite ways to die in World of Warcraft We conducted a staff and Twitter poll on the issue. My guild still loves telling the story about what happened when our main tank, whose X key had previously been bound to a cooldown, unbound it before tanking the adds on heroic Anub-25.
Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: What was the purpose of Uldaman? The usual Titanic practice was to seed their worlds with mortal creatures. Instead, their first creations on Azeroth were earth and stone constructs. What gives?
Massive cross-realm gathering successfully unites players from 11 realms The logistics behind this had to be crazy, but it's an extraordinary example of what good RP is all about.
The Drama Mamas drama buster guide Remember when Anne organized the entire All the World's a Stage column into a comprehensive roleplay guide? This is the equivalent, just for the poorly-behaved set.
A true World of Warcraft: 3 things to know when playing on the road Chase knows of what he speaks.
Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The curious neutrality of Anduin Wrynn Anduin doesn't seem to have inherited his father's contempt for the Horde. Is he forgiving to a fault, or is something a lot more sinister going on there?
Time zones, battle pets, and an achievement you probably don't know about "Park yourself on the beach in front of the turtle at 8:45 pm server time with a large bottle of absinthe, and put a drinking bird on your space bar in order to keep your character from going offline. Chug the absinthe. Go to sleep at your desk. If the event happens, you'll get the achievement, but you'll be too blitzed to care. If the event doesn't happen, you won't get the achievement, but you'll be too blitzed to care."
WoW Archivist: Players who went too far We occasionally get questions about what happened to that erotic role-playing guild on Ravenholdt. Needless to say, you'll find them here.
The pleasures of the empty time "I am, all these years later, still Captain Insomnia."
Know Your Lore: Is Garrosh Hellscream corrupt? "Short answer, no," writes Anne in backchannel discussion. "Long answer = this article."
If you enjoyed this article, you might get a kick out of our Best of 2009, Best of 2010, Best of 2011, and Best of 2012 series.