November was packed. BlizzCon is always an event big enough to blow up the site, and recapping all of it for a year-in-review piece is just an exercise in futility. Let me just direct your attention to our BlizzCon 2013 tag and I'll pick out the most high-profile stuff behind the cut.
Oh, and while this has nothing to do with WoW, I wanted to throw a shout-out to CarBot for the trailer to Heroes of the Storm at BlizzCon. If 1:22 doesn't make you burst out laughing, you have no soul.
Blizzard trademarks Warlords of Draenor Gee, we wonder why?
Please keep your clothes on at BlizzCon "Just to be clear," writes Puntable1 in the comments, "you are saying nudity at the WoW Insider party is encouraged, right?"
Oops! Warlords of Draenor in the background on the livestream Yes, this was how the expansion was technically announced. We had a good laugh about it in team chat.
A fond farewell to Polar of GuildOx Polar from GuildOx moved on to pursue new opportunities, and while the site's now in good hands with David Peterson, it was still a big loss to the WoW community. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be the only one in November, but we did get Furor back.
BlizzCon 2013: New character models in Warlords of Draenor This was among the most popular articles of the year, so we're reasonably certain that players are interested in this feature. Just maybe.
BlizzCon 2013 liveblogs We did as many as we could without setting our keyboards on fire:
- Opening Ceremony
- Ghostcrawler's infamous Systems Panel
- World of Warcraft: What's next
- Warcraft movie panel
- Open Q&A
Hands on with Warlords of Draenor Matticus and Sally got into a group for the Bloodmaul Slag Mines and played as much as they could in the limited time allowed. Olivia eventually made it to one of the computers for a write-up too.
BlizzCon 2013 costume contest winners All of the winners were very deserving and I am blown away by the amount of talent on display here, but I'd be remiss not to include this guy (pictured with Kamui, the grand prize winner).
Flying mounts may not be allowed in Draenor until patch 6.1 And once again, boom goes the comment section.
Ghostcrawler to leave Blizzard A lot of us commented in back-channel discussion that Dr. Street was curiously quiet at BlizzCon, and this may have been why. He joined WoW's design team during The Burning Crusade and we'd been with him every step of the way, so this was especially poignant. Some of us, myself included, had unwittingly been reading him during his Deathshrimp days at Ensemble Studios too. GC, we will really miss you.
Opinions and Editorials
Warlords of Draenor and the absence of Aggra It hasn't escaped anyone's attention that the overwhelming majority of lore figures are male, but there seemed to be an opportunity to redress this in WoD. Wouldn't Aggra have an obvious interest in the Draenor campaign and probably know a lot of crucial information about orcish clans and politics? Where is she?
The demise of the daily quest in Warlords of Draenor "One can only buy so many pug pirate hats."
Why I don't hate Warlords of Draenor's level 90 boost This was among the most controversial announcements at BlizzCon (and you'll see another one in Officers' Quarters below). As Alex points out, the barrier to entry for new players gets higher and higher with each new expansion, as does the time investment for each alt that experienced players would like to get to the cap. While leveling has gotten easier and faster, it's still a tall order to run every new character from 1 to 100 and make it fun each time. And, as Elizabeth Harper wrote a few days later, it's a boon to casual players who won't have such a massive gulf to overcome when they want to play with their friends, and both pieces are a nice counterpart to Adam Holisky's article about buying a level 85 wizard in EverQuest 2. Point being: This is an idea whose time has come.
The time for variant skins is now People really like Wildhammer dwarfs, Mag'har orcs, the Taunka, and the Broken, but there's no way to play them even though they share the original races' animations. Blizzard later confirmed that they'd like to do this, although it's not something that will happen quickly. Soon™.
Blizzard just saved the World of Warcraft Whether you agree or disagree, there's no denying that WoD is going to introduce three major features that players have wanted for a long time.
Warlords of Draenor: Why more diversity will be better for the expansion I particularly like the point that WoD is an opportunity to showcase orc clans as something other than a political monolith. Not all of them wanted to be part of Gul'dan's Horde, and maybe not all of them want to be part of the Iron Horde either. Flesh out the old lore and the make the new stuff more interesting!
What's going on with Karazhan? Strangely enough, we got an answer for that just today.
5 cool things you may have missed at BlizzCon 2013 We include ourselves among the people who may have missed these; you'd be surprised at how much you don't notice in one panel when you're working at breakneck pace to cover another one. Is it wrong to be really happy about getting new footstep sounds as a tauren player?
Arts and Entertainment
Exclusive first look at Christie Golden's new novel, War Crimes Golden has always been a pleasure to interview and this was no exception. We got a peek into the events immediately after the Siege of Orgrimmar here and feel an overwhelming sympathy for Baine Bloodhoof, who is apparently given the responsibility of being Garrosh's "defense attorney." Also, there's a lot going on for Sylvanas here. Stay tuned.
WoW Moviewatch: The Story of Eva Sarkhoff This would have made an excellent Halloween video if we'd had the space for it then.
WoW Moviewatch: Better Off Dead NEW SOOSDON.
WoW Moviewatch: Trailer for Burning Crusades 2 Ian Beckman's voice acting is enough to vault this one into the stratosphere, but it just keeps getting better: "New profession: Telemarketing. Player shacks: No housing LOL."
WoW Moviewatch: Raid Therapy The winner of the BlizzCon 2013 movie contest.
WoW Moviewatch: Just Another Morning Commenters are divided on whether this or Raid Therapy deserved the big prize. I'm not going to wade into that fight, but all I'll say is that they are very, very different. Just Another Morning makes you stop and think for a bit when you reach Garrosh in Siege.
Around Azeroth: Synergy! Synergy! Synergy! Why is there a Kerrigan picture in the new engineering mounts? Because there was a Kerrigan picture on the older goblin shredders. It's Kerrigans all the way down.
Doodlegnome answers all of your Warlords of Draenor questions I agree with sergel92 in the comments that the "Doodlegnome" is one of the best things to come out of the fan community in this expansion. You'll be in tears by the third one.
WoW Moviewatch: Just Another Summer Night The AFK Players deliver again. Easily one of the funniest videos of the year.
Around Azeroth: Tribute to a teacher (of evil) One of the many reasons why Siege is among the darkest raids in WoW.
Warcraft movie release delayed to 2016 Not too surprising, as they're only set to start filming in early 2014.
Classes, Raiding, and PvP
The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Amplify, Multistrike and Readiness We're seeing early previews of some of these stats on Siege of Orgrimmar trinkets, when we can get them to drop.
Arcane Brilliance: Talent show Tier 6 talents have plagued mages for the length of the expansion. It's not a good thing when a talent that you basically have to take makes your class less fun to play and you're always worried about your resources.
Scattered Shots: A hunter retrospective Adam has played a hunter since classic and has the screenshots to prove it. There will be a test at the end.
The Care and Feeding of Warriors: To be the gladiator More than a year into MoP, haste is still terrible for warriors. Just give up and wait for WoD.
Scattered Shots: Lone wolves Lone Wolf is one of the level 100 talents currently planned for hunters; it removes the need to use a pet and simply bakes their damage into your own abilities. For players who wanted to play a pure archer rather than a pet class, it sounds like a godsend, but as Adam wonders -- is it really as simple as just dumping the pet? Less ease while soloing is one thing, but what if your raid needs a buff that one of your pets can provide, or if Lone Wolf becomes the top DPS spec just because you don't have to wrestle with a pet's clumsy AI anymore?
Odds and Ends
The road to BlizzCon A travelogue was a novelty for WoW Insider, but we loved watching the progress over Twitter. Alex, his fiancee, and Anne drove from Colorado to California, tweeting their progress and the weird things they saw on the road.
Don't be caught being That Guy at BlizzCon Robin and Lisa disapprove of your shenanigans. In fairness, BlizzCon is definitely among the most family-friendly and well-mannered conventions we see during the year, but we all quail at the specter of That Guy.
A history of BlizzCon WoW reveals "The biggest thing revealed (at BlizzCon 2007) was death knights, the first new class to be introduced to the game since vanilla. Everyone was wondering what 'hero class' meant exactly. Blizzard quickly assuaged our concerns, letting us know that it didn't mean the death knight would be more powerful than other classes." Ahahahahahahahahahahaha. This and the WoW Archivist on BlizzCon's controversies are a great history on the event.
Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The big lie The novel Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects introduced the idea of "false timeways," the unsettling notion that we may not occupy the "real" one, and that Warlords of Draenor is another faulty thread. The inmates are running the asylum and we're stuck there. Rossi's other KYL, TFH from November gets into this as well, particularly because the naaru vessels are intended to travel through alternate realities. My head hurts.
WoW Archivist: The quest for swift flight I miss this terribly, and the night my guild banded together to help me get Swift Flight Form remains one of the best experiences I've ever had in the game. Newer druid players don't get to see this at all, and that's very sad. We would really like to see more class-specific content like this.
Know Your Lore: The history of Draenor This reads like a 101 guide to the planet we're visiting next. Revisiting, actually. Sort of. Alternate reality. Where's that Motrin? This gets worse.
Warlords of Draenor and the draenei "The only thing I want to do with orcs in Warlords of Draenor is kill them." Hey, Alliance -- here's that slogan you were looking for.
Officers' Quarters: How Blizzard can help guilds adjust to 20-man mythic raids The move to new raid models was one of the most controversial announcements at BlizzCon, not least because the 10-man heroic raiding guild will effectively cease to exist. It's not like everyone else was unscathed; as Dawn tweeted after the announcement, "The 5 worst players in your 25-man guild just freaked out." As Scott writes here, the transition to Warlords combines three big problems: The need for 10-man heroic raiders to recruit on a massive scale, no truly effective guild recruitment tools, and the need to move to a raid size with bigger administrative headaches. Something has to be done to make mythic raids worth that work.
Drama Mamas: When a friend turns into a bully Combine all the unpleasantness of dealing with a bully with the social agony of his being a friend. Robin and Lisa actually differed on this one somewhat.
Know Your Lore: The warlords of Draenor Meet the people you'll probably be killing in spades next expansion! To borrow a line from William Goldman, not your ordinary Hadassah group.
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.