Marthazon: World of Warcraft is sort of like the French Foreign Legion of games when it comes to age. As long as you can do your part, it's rare for someone to ask "How old are you?"
For anyone out there who's new to the site, at the end of every year we run a retrospective series examining the last 12 months and the articles that best captured the zeitgeist of the player community. You'll find one of these published every day through the end of 2012, assuming we don't all vanish into the nether on Dec. 21 (which I am inclined to doubt, as bills are due and nobody's that lucky).
2012 felt like a very introspective year for the game. Between the lack of a 2012 BlizzCon, Cataclysm's winding down, and the 9-month wait for Mists of Pandaria, players used the extra time to argue and probe into systems that most needed improvement. January was no exception, and this was a very chatty month for our staffers.
Ol' Grumpy and the return of class-based quests An examination of why class-based quests had existed in WoW in the first place and what we had to gain from their return. This essay seems somewhat prescient given the yearlong debate on class population and how best to encourage people to return to specific classes, with frequent suggestions to return to ... well, class-based quests.
The fastest way to make 10,000 gold As Basil observes, there's a middle ground between WoW multimillionaires and players who can't scrape enough gold together for their repair bills, and a lot of it's tied up in your spending and not your earning habits. Fox ran a counterpoint a few days later.
Officers' Quarters: The plight of 25-man raiding guilds "Normally I don't like to (make my articles too personal)," Scott writes soberly, "but my guild's own experience is dovetailing too neatly with an overall trend." 25-man raiding is dying because it offers the same reward as 10-man raiding at the cost of more significantly greater administrative overheard. Even professional-caliber players have been affected. Blizzard agrees, but there's no easy answer.
7 wishes for guilds in Mists of Pandaria Scott follows up with a series of suggestions to address ongoing guild management issues. The guild hall and "rep for deposit" points get high marks with readers.
Destroying this clockwork universe Rossi's love letter to Cataclysm lore, and a probe into the nature of the Titans, who may not be as well-intentioned as we think. Hang onto that thought, folks, because you'll be seeing it again later this year.
Rotations vs. Priority Systems: The buttons you press Blizzard has increasingly favored priority systems over damage rotations because the former's just a lot more interesting to play. From a game designer's perspective, the inability to macro a priority system is also a solid win.
Shifting Perspectives: The druid of 2011 "This year, I have several bottles of a very fine '09 cough syrup produced by a family of local brewers making inroads into the artisan pseudoephedrine trade. I have some doubts as to the legitimacy of their business license, but have been reassured that state regulatory agencies do in fact sign these in crayon."
How to win at Warsong Gulch Gray schools inexperienced players in one of WoW's more despised but least avoidable battlegrounds. I admire the succinct answer given by K.B. in the comments: "Two healers and a blood DK."
The man who gave away 1,000,000 gold Fox talks to Keelhaul of Proudmoore (US), better known as The Mogfather. He made more than a million gold off the still-new transmogrification craze and then decided to give it all away via a fashion show.
2012'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!