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The Best of WoW Insider: April 2011

Allison Robert

Afrozombie: At least we know why it took so long for them to release (the new version of Zul'Gurub). They were stuck waiting for (Bloodlord Mandokir) to finally find and solve his sword, Zin'rokh, Destroyer of Worlds.

You know all that editorializing and back-and-forth discussion you saw in January and February over the Dungeon Finder and how much work Blizzard did to improve a slow-moving DPS queue? Things came to a head in April with the announcement of the Call to Arms system, a still-controversial decision that provoked wide-ranging debate. Are tanking and healing just too difficult and stressful for PUGs these days? Is it really fair to functionally deny DPS a shot at the Satchel of Exotic Mysteries? And why haven't I gotten any rare pets or mounts out of it yet?

Weirdly, the other issue that kept cropping up in April discussion was that of Horde leadership and whether Garrosh was fit to be within 50 miles of it. Part of me wonders if it's simply because new raid content wasn't on the horizon for a few months, and lore concerns tend to be popular topics whenever that's the case. The other part of me points out that Portal 2 went live on April 19, and it's kind of a miracle that anything got written at all on this site afterwards.


Blizzard's April fools introduces you to Crabby the dungeon helper and more This was definitely among Blizzard's funniest efforts for April Fool's, and unless I'm mistaken, it served as the inspiration for a machinima you'll see in December.

Patch 4.1: Blizzard unveils Dungeon Finder Call to Arms Let a thousand comments bloom! We weren't too sure what to make of the proposed system at first, and various points were argued back and forth while Blizzard issued some clarifications. Tanks and healers generally thought it was a pretty good idea. DPS ran the gamut from cautious optimism over a potential reduction to astronomical queue times to irritation at being left out in the cold on the BoE satchels.

Patch 4.2 Preview: Regrowth and Molten Front quest hubs An early look at an area that players would wind up spending a lot of time in.

Warlocks getting male and female versions of all demons Not gonna lie: I included this solely because of the image above.

Patch 4.1: Rise of the Zandalari features and official patch notes Patch 4.1 hit on April 26, and with it, two rather familiar-looking dungeons with a host of murderous new mechanics.

Scott Mercer talks redesigning Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman As Mercer notes, Blizzard's been examining ways to bring older raid and dungeon content back to relevance as modern heroics, but there are some obvious issues when you shrink content designed for a lot of players down to five. Side note: The thought of heroic Blackrock Depths gives me hives.

Opinions and editorials

Gold Capped: How much should you undercut? One of the things that has never ceased to amaze me about the Gold Capped column is how frequently it's kind of an Economics 101 class en miniature. This is another stellar outing in that vein.

A parent's guide to World of Warcraft with kids A compendium of all the resources and article WoW Insider's ever written on the issue, or anything that might affect the ability to keep your kids safe and happy in Azeroth. As Lisa noted, it's not as simple as setting the chat filter to on and then turning the munchkins loose.

The Lawbringer: A prelude to avatar rights Now here's an interesting question -- should digital avatars, which are representations of real people in a not-so-real space, have a "bill of rights?" Raph Koster, the lead developer of Ultima Online, maintains that they should. McCurley followed that piece up with The Lawbringer: Avatar rights as expectations and argued that player expectations of a game might realistically be construed as rights, and that this might actually be a reason why so many MMOs after WoW have gone bust.

Officers' Quarters: How to replace an absentee guild leader It wasn't until the patch 4.3 PTR that Blizzard got around to programming a way to formally replace absent guild leaders, but the problem's certainly been around for a while. These days, the stakes are even higher with the array of perks granted to older and more established guilds. Scott Andrews walks you how to handle this rather delicate process with minimal drama.

Shifting Perspectives: Tanks, bribes, and player behavior and part 2 While technically written for a class column, this was a pretty general-purpose look at the proposed Call to Arms system, the origins of the nightmare DPS queues through the Dungeon Finder, and whether the Call to Arms would do what Blizzard wanted it to do.

Arts and entertainment

Tuesday (is Raid Night) Francis' spoof of Rebecca Black's Friday has to be seen to be believed.

WoW Moviewatch: The truth about murlocs A pretty credible imitation of Kermit the Frog and some cute lyrics turn this into a surprisingly endearing piece -- not endearing enough to keep me from curb-stomping every murloc in the game, but still.

WoW Moviewatch: The fall of Cairne This actually reminded me a lot of a much older Moviewatch feature, Netherwing -- The Movie, which dramatized the Netherwing reputation quest line and tried to flesh them into a fuller story. While we never got to see Cairne's duel with Garrosh in game, this does a great job of relating the events and giving equal opportunity to the competing perspectives on Cairne's death. A Know Your Lore on Horde politics later in April touched on the issue as well, as did another on the Southern Barrens.

WoW Moviewatch: How to win at achievements Wowcrendor adds the "Grats! Cow" to his stable of characters and starts to question the meaning of it all. Funnily enough, the Ask the Devs round on player achievements went live a few days later.

WoW Moviewatch: Warcraft Wisdom This was an audience favorite, asking a fairly simple question -- why do you play? The very well-edited and -scored machinima that follows will provide you with your pick of reasons.

Classes, raiding, and PvP

Spiritual Guidance: A bitter priest's guide to Lightwell Lightwell has been the butt of player jokes since ... ever. We ran an article all the way back in May 2007 where it became apparent from Armory data that Lightwell was the most unpopular 31-point talent in the game. It's been hugely improved since then -- and yet priests still can't get players to use it. Dawn examines Lightwell's mechanics, discusses how best to place it, and then adopts a fairly fatalistic approach to the odds of its ever being clicked at all. A highlight:

First, it's true that you should not expect a tank to click on a Lightwell. This is because tanks often have difficulty seeing Lightwells through the massive bodies of their own egos. Being the compassionate priest that you are, you should heal the blind oaf and take no offense from his incompetence.

Ouch, baby. Very ouch.

Ready Check: The morning after a bad raid I think just about every WoW player who's raided on a regular to semi-regular basis has had the experience described in this article. Here's how to deal with it constructively.

Shifting Perspectives: A history of feral weapons "This was before the dark times. Before gear consolidation. Before every two-bit jackass with a hard-on for agility thought himself entitled to the armory of the game's noblest class. They were elegant weapons for a more civilized age."

Odds and ends

WoW Archivist: The Karazhan Crypt One of the creepiest and most genuinely disturbing areas in WoW, and still one that we get a lot of questions about. To the best of my knowledge, Blizzard's never really discussed the area. It's no longer accessible in the game, anyway, but it's still there ... under you, while you're wandering around Deadwind Pass or Karazhan ... /shudder

Breakfast Topic: Design your fantasy vanity loot There were a lot of great suggestions here, but my favorite was the "Mage in a box."

15 Minutes of Fame: Azeroth to Westoros with Game of Thrones' Kristian Nairn and part two While this comment has absolutely nothing to do with what turned out to be a very fine and engaging interview, the next staffer in work chat or Twitter who can't shut up about Game of Thrones is going to get an axe to the knee.

Drama Mamas: Raiding while deaf So it turns out Robin and Lisa have a rage mode. How do you trigger it? Harassing someone out of a guild over a disability.

15 Minutes of Fame: Fishin' for insights with El's Extreme Anglin' How Tim Howego managed to create one of the most ridiculously addictive websites about fishing in an MMORPG is a mystery still lost to the ages, but this was an incredibly fun read.

Breakfast Topic: Behavior unbecoming a player Don't get me wrong, this was a fine BT with a lot of great comments from players who confessed to things they wish they hadn't done, but Alysandir's comment concerning healer priorities really vaults it into the Halls of Serious Win.

WRUP: WoW Insider's night at Video Game Orchestra The WRUP template is pretty static, and Fox enjoys experimenting with it. Extensively, might I add.

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!

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