Character model rework 25% complete We would see the male and female gnomes, male orc, and male dwarf at BlizzCon, with quick glimpses of the female dwarf, male undead, and male tauren. As expected, people care deeply about this issue, and you'll see a lot of it in the 600+ comments that this article attracted.
Patch 5.4 pulls WoW Insider team members into Azeroth Writes MusedMoose in the comments: Achievement unlocked: NAME DROPPED.
Pandaren levels 1-60 as neutral, not picking sides in the Alliance and Horde conflict I can't begin to imagine the amount of patience this required, but then there's the other part of me that thinks -- good for him.
Patch 5.4 PTR: Hellscream's weapon drops are 90-100 heirlooms Heirlooms? He drops heirlooms? Couldn't prove it by me (said the disgruntled raider).
Patch 5.4 Siege of Orgrimmar trailer Players approve, particularly of Garrosh being sent to the nearest burn hospital for Taran Zhu's line about his father.
Item squish extremely likely for WoW's next expansion This would later be confirmed at BlizzCon. No, it will not affect your ability to solo older raids and dungeons.
Tom Chilton talks mistakes and successes in WoW's design Chilton gave a very candid interview at Gamescon in Germany on the more problematic aspects of some of the features that WoW has added over the years. The quest tracker? A huge convenience, but one that often kills the need to explore and engage your surroundings. But pet battles? A huge success, and Blizzard had been afraid they wouldn't succeed.
Patch 5.4, flexible raids, dailies, and more with Tom Chilton We had snagged him for an interview here a few days earlier. One of the points he makes that I particularly like is that a more dynamic world means things like the Vale's corruption are going to happen for everybody and not necessarily be phased. That wasn't all for interview coups in August -- Panser got Dave Kosak later in the month.
Blizzard wins victory in legal battle over security breach However, the lawsuit concerned is still moving forward over Blizzard's alleged failure to fully disclose the importance of an authenticator to users. Commenters find it difficult to believe that anyone could possibly argue this, and the phrase "shoved down our throats" makes an appearance several times.
World of Warcraft Trading Card Game closes its doors Probably because a little game you may have heard about named Hearthstone was set to rule the turf, but a lot of players are going to miss it.
Opinions and Editorials
The hardest boss of WoW This was the result of a team discussion where everyone reminisced about the bosses that made us want to throw ourselves in front a train. As a quick gloss, the top four came in as C'thun, pre-nerf M'uru, heroic Lich King-25, and Yogg-25 with no keepers active. Runners-up were Algalon, pre-nerf heroic Mimiron, and Kael'thas. We're curious what effect mythic raids will have on boss difficulty.
Warcraft and its "Joker Problem" This reminds me a lot of an essay Daniel Whitcomb wrote in 2009. A great villain isn't a great villain if his sole purpose is to lose to the hero and see all of his wrongs be righted. Sometimes it's better and more immersive in a game to fail.
Community Blog Topic: Should all classes get a fourth spec? This sparked a lot of discussion. I agree with Scott and Robin that it's more an interesting thought exercise than a serious issue on which to campaign. One thing I will say as a druid player is that four specs happened for druids solely because the bear or the cat would have been almost impossible to balance if they hadn't been split. No other class has been in that position barring the death knight, which saw blood designated as the tanking tree in Cataclysm for just that reason.
I just play the game "A lot of people missed the point of this post, which was that as a player, I simply can't see the game in all its complexity, and how sometimes a small change I don't like looms too large for me.
The Velen problem: Why the draenei need dissent There have to be a lot of divisions in draenic society that exist but don't get discussed or even acknowledged. What if the draenei who do hate the Horde and want revenge for what was done to them got a higher profile in Warlords?
How long is too long for a raid? Some raids have a longer shelf life as progression content than others, and how much does player perception affect this? Rossi writes, "I would submit that often the community seems to reach a consensus for 'too long' based on when the most progressed guilds in the world finish with content, and ignores that the vast majority of raiders (who play in raids far, far more accessible than the vanilla or BC or even Wrath raids ever were) simply do not kill these bosses that quickly." And, as always, LFR has its own role to play, for better or worse.
Arts and Entertainment
Micky Neilson, Doug Gregory discuss The Burdens of Shaohao The tale of the last emperor of Pandaria was a lushly-illustrated, beautifully-told work of art. We hope to see a lot more like this in Warlords. As commenters observe, it would have made a wonderful prelude to Mists.
WoW Moviewatch: That's the World of Warcraft That You Play, v2 Ian Beckman returns to a classic and makes it classic-er.
WoW Moviewatch: Back in my Day I like to think Wowcrendor made this while sipping a fine brandy just to get into character.
WoW Moviewatch: Why did you join the Horde? Sometimes you just need to let the introspection slide and answer all faction-related queries with a smartass video.
Around Azeroth: Skulls for the skull throne Yes, Oondasta continued to destroy PUGs even in August. This is our surprised face.
This epic crafted Frostsaber has ridden off with our hearts One of the few times I have regretted not playing a night elf.
WoW Moviewatch: Pandaria Ember Isolte returns! Of course it'll be among the best of the year.
WoW Moviewatch: Coming Together If you've ever wondered what Elloric, the night elf in the Seat of Knowledge in the Vale is all about, this explains it.
Classes, Raiding, and PvP
Blood Pact: FinalBoss interviews Sparkuggz and Shinafae As Megan wrote in backchannel discussion, FinalBoss had just started doing video content, and she thought they deserved some recognition for doing such an excellent warlock episode.
The Care and Feeding of Warriors: The exodus "There are columns I don't like to write. This is one of them." Rossi followed up the sobering numbers in this column with All is not lost the following week, because -- numbers aside -- you should play the class you love.
World-ranked brawler shares secrets of Brawler's Guild success Personally, I'm impressed by anyone with the skill to burn through Hexos without being packed off to the nuthouse.
Your least favorite class We wanted to do a follow-up to the June Community Blog post on favorite classes and specs. Just as people have a diverse set of reasons for what they do play, they have an equally diverse set of reasons for what they don't.
Odds and Ends
WoW Archivist: When Blizzard "hated" the Horde Hoo boy, the comments on this one took off. One of the things that I think a lot of people missed in Cataclysm is that the Horde's territorial gains were more about fixing quest and content disparities that had existed since the beta, and not so much about lore. But is there a story reason now to claim that Blizzard "hates" the Alliance? Metzen's speech at BlizzCon suggests that Blizzard is certainly aware of this.
What would be enough? I get the feeling Rossi read all of the comments on Scott's article and decided to poke the bear in the zoo again just to see what would happen.
Drama Mamas: Protect the personal space in your marriage and your game I just have to quote Yoojine in the comments on this one: "Her DPS brings all the boys to the yard / And they're like "S*%&, it's better than ours" / Damn right, it's better than yours! / She could teach you- / But you'd rather be a whiny bitch about it instead of manning up and improving your gameplay."
Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The Dark Below "Because far too many people really wanted this to be A Thing," wrote Anne in team discussion. Blizzard had trademarked it earlier that week and speculation ran wild in the fan community.
Officers' Quarters: Revisiting my Mists wishlist Scott had written an edition of Officers' Quarters in January 2012 listing things he wanted to improve the guild experience in the upcoming expansion. Some were granted: Most weren't. At least all the drama over legendaries was consigned to the rubbish heap of history.
Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Where do the tauren come from? I think Rossi was still on a tauren kick since examining some oddities related to their story line in July.
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.
2013'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!