We had a gigantic year at WoW Insider-- from January 1st to December 31st, we've posted over 4,500 stories here on this very site, about nearly every facet of the World of Warcraft (and you guys didn't slouch, either-- we had over 150,000 comments on the site in 2007). We've reported on everything from hearthstone soaps to Norweigan mooses, and everything from Arena PvP to Zul'Aman. We've posted guides, rumors, insights, jokes, and everything else we could find connected to this game that we all play (17 hours a week on average).
And seeing as 2007 is just about to end, we figured it would be fun to take a look at the year behind us, and list the top ten stories that we reported on during that time. From comedic to controversial, these ten stories run the gamut, and they also comprise the most important news that happened in the World of Warcraft this year. As a staff, we collected all of the biggest stories of the year, and then rated them from one to ten.
So click the link below to finish out this year, and check out WoW Insider's Top Ten WoW Stories of 2007. Before the year ends, let's take a look back at what happened in Azeroth and the culture surrounding it.
10. Boy attacked by moose "feigns death," thanks WoW You knew it had to be on this list somewhere, and here it is at number 10. Yes, the story of a young Norweigian boy who fended a moose off using skills he'd learned in WoW ("just like you learn in level 30 in World of Warcraft," he said about feigning death) captured the imagination (and the laughter) of WoW players everywhere. We reported the story on December 5th, after seeing it on Terra Nova, and many many jokes were born directly after. Good on you, little unnamed Norweigian boy, for putting all that WoW knowledge to good use.
9. Nihilum beats Archimonde and the game The guild Nihilum had been on a roll of world firsts directly before this, but on June 9th (just short of six months after the in-store release of Burning Crusade), we reported that they had finished off Archimonde in Mount Hyjal, and with that, every PvE encounter in the game of World of Warcraft. Ten days later, we spoke with Awake from Nihilum, and he confirmed that they don't buy gold, they do have girlfriends, and that they planned to take a much-deserved break from raiding. Since then, Zul'Aman has been added, but being as it's a 10-man raid just above Karazhan in terms of progression, there hasn't been anything else for Nihilum or any of the other high level guilds to conquer. Until the Sunwell is released, that is.
That was the last thing we ever heard from one of the most prolific (and popular, and hated, depending on who you're talking to) Community Managers to ever grace the World of Warcraft forums. After a heavy fight with Enhancement Shamans in early May, Tseric spent the weekend of May 12 and 13th posting honestly about how frustrated he was with forum trolls and drama, and early on the morning of the 13th, he made that final post above, and then disappeared. A few days later, a player asked about his disappearance, and Eyonix then confirmed that yes, Tseric had left the building. Whether you hated him or loved him, Tseric was a huge part of the WoW forums before he left, and it's a sign of just how rough posters can be on the forums that this was how things turned out.
6. Ezra and the Phoenix Mount In late May, we reported, along with a few other sites, that Blizzard had participated in the Make-A-Wish program, and given a young WoW fan, Ezra Chatterton, his dream for a day-- he went to visit Blizzard's offices, got a ton of epic gear, got to work as a developer, and even created a character and a quest in game. But in our correspondence with Ezra and his family, we learned something else-- that Ezra had been given the very first Phoenix Mount ingame. Definitely a cool gift, especially considering that his character's name is Epheonix, and that Ezra's personal experience pointed to a phoenix as a source of inspiration. Just a few hours after that, the mount dropped from Kael'thas, but the story of Ezra and his pheonix mount was definitely one of the best of the year.
5. WoW, as seen on TV The South Park episode actually premiered last year (though it did win an Emmy in 2007), but World of Warcraft showed up on prime time television this year-- in the form of hilarious commercials. First, Toyota borrowed our game for four wheels of FURY, and then Blizzard's promotional machine rolled on with Shatner and Mr. T (!), and eventually Jean Claude Van Damme and Verne Troyer. Did anyone else hear this game described by relatives over the holidays as "that thing with Shatner and lightning bolts"? Because I did. This is what happens when your MMO goes mainstream.
4. Headless Horseman, Arena season 1 gear, and casual epics This story isn't really one story in 2007-- instead, it's a trend. For most of this year, Blizzard has been trending to give epic weapons and gear to more people, so that even casual and part-time players can experience the thrill of getting those "professor Plums." The Headless Horseman over the Hallow's End holiday (an easily farmable 5-man boss that gave out epics like Halloween candy) was probably the prime example of this, but really, it's a direction that we've been going in all year-- Burning Crusade and the daily quests made great gear easier to obtain, epics were added to even low-level instances, and Blizzard even made epic gear from Arena Season 1 to be purchasable with normal honor. The combined effect of the trend is that no matter what your playstyle, you can outfit yourself in some epic gear. And that's something new not just for WoW, but for all MMOs-- everybody wins.
3. Patch 2.3 It could be just because we had gone so long without new content (patch 2.1 hit way back in May, and the best thing patch 2.2 had to offer was voice chat, which we'd all had anyway), but patch 2.3 was like a breath of fresh air on the servers. Zul'Aman finally arrived (which served as a sequel to Karazhan, definitely Blizzard's most popular instance since the expansion), guild banks were implemented, new daily quests were added (including quests that actually encouraged players to play the game rather than just bombing kaliri eggs), and finally, we got something we'd never, ever had before: updated mid-game content, as not only did leveling get faster and easier, but Dustwallow Marsh got an infusion of quests and content. New interface changes, spell damage added to healing gear, tons of class changes-- this patch reminded us why we were all playing this game in the first place. Patch 2.4 can't come soon enough.
2. BlizzCon and Wrath of the Lich King What will surely be the biggest WoW story of 2008 (assuming Blizzard gets it out in time) fits in at number two on our top 10 stories of 2007. For three days in early August, Orange County, CA was full of Paladins, Rogues, Hunters and all the other classes as both Horde and Alliance descended on the Anaheim Convention Center to celebrate Blizzard and talk about all the brand new stuff they would introduce next, including a little game called Starcraft II and the next expansion to World of Warcraft, Wrath of the Lich King. We heard about Death Knights for the first time, learned what Blizzard plans to do with Northrend (Dalaran is coming back), and got a look at what they think about class balance and development. Over the weekend of August 2nd and 3rd, WoW Insider produced a metric ton of content, and we had a lot of fun, too. WotLK's announcement and BlizzCon itself was a huge story this year, and we've only just begun to learn about how the next expansion will change the game.
1. The Burning Crusade But 2007 belongs to the Blood Elves and the Draenei. Arena PvP. Karazhan. Flying mounts. Shattrath. Hellfire Citadel. Tempest Keep. Heroic instances. Silvermoon and Exodar. Jewelcrafting and gems. Kael and Vashj. Gruul's Lair. Illidan. Level 70. None of these things were in the game before BC released on January 16th, and yet now they define this game we're playing today. When you include Patch 2.1 (which really should be included) and daily quests, then you see the truth: we're not really playing World of Warcraft anymore. For most of this year, we've been playing a game called The Burning Crusade. That's how much of a difference this expansion has made, and that's why, bar none, the release of Burning Crusade is the biggest story in World of Warcraft this year.