WoW Insider – the Omega and the Alpha

This sucks.

Sure and nothing lasts forever, but some things should.

WoW Insider as a collective of outspoken positive voices writing about World of Warcraft is absolutely one of those things that should be eternal.

WoW Insider will be shut down by their parent company, along with all of the other websites in the Joystiq network, on Monday or Tuesday or thereabouts, February 2ndish.

It’s one of those weird things, you know? It’s a website devoted to World of Warcraft, but at the same time it’s a business to make money from ad revenue, and someone else gets to pull the plug if they decide it’s not performing well enough… and the parent company gets to decide what ‘well enough’ means.

There are so many websites out there scrambling for advertiser money, doing anything and everything to get a click from someone running a browser without an adblocker on it. Many of them, and I’ll be blunt, suck. Vultures. Clickbait artists.

WoW Insider was and is different. Yes, the writers on the website get paid for their articles. It’s a job. But all you have to do is actually read the articles and you can see the love and the positive spirits that drive those articles.

Yes, it’s a job, in the best sense of that word. As your guidance counselors like to parrot at you, “Find something you love, and then find someone willing to pay you to do it.”

The writers of WoW Insider love the game and love to write about it, and that comes through in everything they write and create. Always has, from the very beginning.

I’m really going to miss WoW Insider, for the wonderful people and the varied points of view, and always for the great writing. It’s easy to single out the Know Your Lore and Tinfoil Hat articles because of how well written and imaginative they are, but all of the articles have served to do something amazing.

WoW Insider has provided a centralized location for everything going on in the WoW community. It is where you could always go to count on finding a discussion you could join about whatever was the latest thing, and a place showcasing everything going on in the community. Fan created WoW movies, comic strips, articles, crafts and even cooking recipes were found and had the spotlight shown on them, and it did a hell of a lot more than make somebody internet famous for an hour.

What WoW Insider always did was show you that you were not alone in loving World of Warcraft. Every time you visited, the main theme was “Hey look at these cool things other people just like you that love the game did, and here we are sharing them with you, isn’t that freaking cool? Check this out, isn’t it cool? Isn’t this game special and awesome and OMG I love this place.”

It’s going to be hard to imagine the World of Warcraft game meaning as much as it does without the usual suspects.

For a very brief time, back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, I wrote a few articles that WoW Insider posted about the Druid class. Dan O’Halloran gave me a chance oh so long ago, and I will always thank him for that. I got to meet the people behind the writing (virtually, but still) and found that they really were as nice as they seemed. It’s not often you get to say that about people in the public eye, but it’s true. They’re a bunch of great people. I’m not saying they specifically hire nice people to write at WoW Insider, but hey. Maybe they do.

I’m really going to miss you folks. There is going to be a big gaping wound where the heart of the WoW community used to be, and as I said in the beginning of this, it sucks. But what can you do?

Hey. Maybe there IS something you can do!

It’s been whispered by some of the writers that come February 3rd, there just might be something coming that you can throw your support behind.

An attempt, just maybe, to keep the spirit of WoW Insider alive by forming a new name, a new brand, but having (mosty of) the same writers, and maybe they can do this by a show of crowdfunding support.

Our support.

I don’t know any specifics, but the best thing I think we can all hope for is that this isn’t just the end of something great, but the birth of something to come that will grow into something even better.

Would you support it? When you think of the role WoW Insider has played through the years in trumpeting our fandom to the heavens, is it something that you’d be willing to actually drop dime on to help keep it going?

If so… I have some folks I’d suggest you follow on Twitter so you can stay informed of what might come next.

Fare thee well, WoW Insider. I hope the winds carry your sails to new and exciting shores. Damn it, I’m going to miss you.

Shades of the greatest Lore post of all time

I’ve had a lot going on in my head about World of Warcraft lately.

I’ve taken kind of a “let’s just be friends, I’d like to see other people” break for a few weeks, while I think about our relationship.

The results of my time away, basically, is that I’ve come to a startling conclusion; World of Warcraft is the greatest game of all time. It may even be the greatest potential game of all time.

I’ll post my thoughts on that stuff later in the week. I’d like to make sure I provide some lunch time “I’m bored” reading material for you, after all.

Right now, though, I’d like to talk about one of the most enduring signs of greatness; how well something stands up to the passage of time.

But I’m not talking, as you might think, about World of Warcraft itself. I’m talking about a blog post discussing the lore within it.

There was a post about the Lore of World of Warcraft that was published in January of 2010 by Shades of Grey, whom you might know better as Anne Stickney, celebrated writer of WoW Insider fame.

It was, even at the time, a legendary post. Brilliant insight, keen observations, excellent deduction and prophetic visions all tying the lore and story of World of Warcraft together in ways that were nothing short of revelatory.

The post brought things together and gave us a clear vision not just of what had come before and where it all fit together, but showed us where we might be going once the Sundering and the Cataclysm came.

The post brought Titans, Old Gods and Internet Dragons together as one cohesive ongoing story stretching across the ages… a story we were right in the middle of.

It’s been a year since that post was published. The Sundering, the Cataclysm, these events it spoke of have already come and gone.

In the wake of all these changes in the experienced content of the game, how well does Shade’s post stand the test of time?

I invite you to go, read that post in it’s entirety, and then take some time to really think about the game you’ve been playing since Cataclysm was released. With your hindsight goggles set to full power, let all those pieces fall into place, and look at the bigger picture.

While you’re there, why not express your appreciation for her writing in the form of a comment? Comments are the coin which a writer cherishes, a coin that is spent in the warmth of the heart. It’s shine never tarnishes, or loses it’s luster. Although you get some asshats every once in a while that is the proverbial wooden nickel.

It’s been a year. I think it’s time to show Shade that she may have won our hearts with Internet Dragons, but it’s her mastery of all that is Warcraft Lore that continues to win our minds.

I'm still standing

Sorry for running silent, running deep around here lately.

I’ve got the gear stuff on hold right this second, because, believe it or not, I am expecting a few more changes to itemization weighting before 3.2, things that haven’t been announced yet in their final state. So, if you’re waiting with baited breath… go brush. Whew, stinky!

If you’ve been craving more of the Bear (and after all, who doesn’t) then may I suggest you tune in this weekend (Saturday, around 3PM Eastern time) to the Insider podcast, where they are holding their 100th Anniversary podcast, and rumor has it a certain ursine individual who has a big butt and cannot lie may have been invited to attend.

You know you love hearing me chat with Mike Schramm. It’s okay, you can admit it.

In other news, I’m busier than a one pawed bear in a salmon stream. I haven’t even had much time to log in or play lately, let alone work on blog stuff, because I’m short staffed in my department (in a good way… cut out the dead wood! Woot!), interviewing applicants to fill the opening, and at the same time preparing for some incoming audits by addressing maintenance concerns that must be complete by August 7th.

No worries, just wanted to explain that things aren’t dead here, I’m just spending a lot more time at work late, and at home we’re having fun with Alex and doing more family stuff. As things get addressed, more time will become available to stay up late to write. 🙂

In the meantime… I’ve got the PBeM story churning in my head, DYING to have the next turn written, I’ve got the Ultimate Bear Drinking Storytime to write, and the evil secret project of doom to blossom… evil blossoms! Evil! Like, invasion of the body snatcher blossom flower evil, like flowers that shoot Spock in the neck and make him happy and get laid evil! These are seriously evil blossoming ideas here!

Oh, and when you DO see what the evil secret project of doom is, remember one key thing;

It’s ALL Breana’s fault. ALL of it!

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Go! Troll the thing! See if I care!

I have a new Shifting Perspectives article up.

I provide my take on the whole armor/Protector of the Pack thingie.

I anticipate the usual boring flames, since I’m either a paid schill of Blizzard, or a hopeless QQer, depending on who you ask.

Or, and these are my favorites, the comments from people that say that I’m wasting their time posting what everyone already knows if they are worth anything as a player, mixed in with comments from people saying thanks for covering some of the new stuff that’s coming out that they hadn’t heard just yet.

So go!

I send you out in your dozens to join in the fun!

Flame! Flame like you’re wearing asbestos underoos and sucking on argon fumes!

Show those tired, boring, lame ass trolls what a little ingenuity and crativity can do!

Bonus bear points for being crazy, creative and making me roflmao!

I might as well get some fun out of this gig.

Shifting Perspectives: Dude, where’s my armor?

You can check out BBB’s newest WowInsider article on feral druid armor here.   This article looks at the changes to tanking and bear armor in general, and how those changes may change the way feral druids view their class.

And if you like what you read, post a comment on WI to conteract the crankiness BBB will be feeling after the trolls get done being nasty.  Your comments will reduce the rants I will hear later about posters on WI 🙂



My favorite reply to a comment of all time!

So, I’m reading WoW Insider this morning to briefly relax. I’m writing Terin’s new PBeM post, and I think it is suckage. I always think this. I am usually correct. So, stress. Read to relax.

But enough about me.

I’m reading an article by someone who is probably my very favorite blogger in all of the intrawebs. No, as far as I know she doesn’t have a personal blog. I’ve asked her before, and she has denied it.

I am speaking of Allison Robert.

She plays a Feral Druid, along with other classes. She writes brilliant articles about all sorts of subjects, and they are always filled with keen insight, playful humor, and dead on knowledge.

So it was with joy that I saw she wrote an article today called “Tips for new Death Knights from a fellow Melee.”

The article itself was awesome. She just nailed a whole bunch of valuable tips on the basics all melee classes should be aware of, if they are playing in a party. Nothing as long winded and boring as I usually do, and no arrogance or condescension or useless math to make someone seem smart, like I sometimes see done elsewhere. She just nailed each point perfectly.

And she was trolled by a truly worthless asshat named Saiforune.

I read the guy’s comment, and I honestly went back and read the article again, trying to see if I could read the article from a different perspective, so I could see the thing the way he did.

Nope, just a guy being a flaming asshat.

And Saiforunes’ writing was so incredibly poor that I couldn’t even believe this guy was for real. But throughout his comment, one thing that did come through for me was the feeling that he was genuinely sincere. He truly gave me the impression that he believed that, at his demand, and his alone, Allison should be banned immediately from ever writing or posting anything, ever again, on WoW Insider.

And he included his email address so the WoW Insider staffers could contact him, apparently so they could ask him what other changes he wanted them to make, and to apologize to him. I guess.

And I thought about replying to him… WoW Insider doesn’t want writers to respond to flames, for obvious reasons. And I ordinarily am hesitant about giving trolls the pleasure of a response. But this guy was just begging for it.

And then I read a comment or two further down… and saw that it was taken care of. Oh boy, was it taken care of.

I hereby present to you, my wonderful readers, whom I mostly love, the greatest full on body slam of a response to a troll I have ever had the pleasure to read.

It is neither too harsh, nor too soft. It is an appropriate level of response, without outrage or counter hate. It is intelligent. It is on topic. It is very, very funny. It is clear, well written and, in all ways, it brought me great pleasure to read. Sky_Paladin, I salute you!

First, allow me to print the entire first comment by the asshat, Saiforune.

Allison Robert has just officially started her campaign of Elitest faggotry, and wining Douchebag of the Year for 08″ *This is a formal complaint as read in the last paragraph to remove Allison robert from the staff of this Glorious Website*

“Most of you are awful.”

First rule of that qualifies you as Elitest, saying you’re better than someone else, because they play differently than you.

Then the second is thinking that what ever you say holds truth and people accept it as gospel, because you are a paid staff member of a popular website that has a, for the most part, good reputation with it’s staff members.

With your last Blog post that was deemed extremely innapropriate in it’s format that it was a “QQBad Troll is Bad” post. You lashed out at the mage and hunter classes, linked something because you can and failed to provide any TRUE information what-so-ever, and even claimed false info.

For someone who is a paid staff member of WoWinsider, you should have considered your format and topic to be more appropriate.

Honestly, Comparing you to Adam Holisky is like comparing an Alter boy, to the Catholic priest with the implied rape.

You have just skyrocketed yourself past the moon that has been Adam Holisky. I hope you enjoy your new rising douche baggery.

To all WoWinsider staff Leaders and other such runners of this website that hold some form of a management position. This is a formal complaint to remove Allison Robert from your paid staff and to please find someone more worthy of your blog who is more sensitive to the readers and upholds the News and traditions of this website.

Love sincerly,
My $0.02

No, I know that doesn’t seem so darn bad, but if you read the article comments you’ll see he continued in this style for many, many more comments, including the one where he provided his email address. This is just his first shot. 

And now, I present to you the response that Sky_Paladin wrote, that has won my heart and earned my undying admiration;


You are an idiot. Go away, and never return.

Oh, you’re still here?

Allow me to reply to your festering cesspool of randomly strung together hate-mail that you have apparently copy pasted from different WoW forum nerd-rage spam troll-bots.

“Allison Robert has just officially started her campaign of Elitest faggotry, and wining Douchebag of the Year for 08″ *This is a formal complaint as read in the last paragraph to remove Allison robert from the staff of this Glorious Website*”

I don’t know what Allison has done to have earned such contempt. On the plus side, this is a good introduction for an essay, which seems to have been your goal here for today.

Now, for your first idiot statement:

“First rule of that qualifies you as Elitest, saying you’re better than someone else, because they play differently than you.”

No, Allison is saying “If you play in manner xyz then you are an idiot.” It is not about ‘different’ playing style. If you are in Karazhan, and you run around during flame wreath, you are an idiot. If you are in Gruul’s, and you run to give the Healer a hug during Gronn Lord’s Grasp, you are an idiot. If you are fighting Nightbane, and you remain standing in burning lava pits of doom, you are an idiot. If you stand in front of a boss while wearing cloth and are cleaved for 20,000, you are an idiot. It is not a question of elitist or bad, it is a question of “Do you have enough brainpower to follow simple guidelines, or is World of Warcraft the new frontier for the Darwin Awards?”.

Do not confuse “Was not aware of the mechanic” with “consistently refuses to learn.” An innocent mistake through misunderstanding or the wrong key pressed is easily forgiven. An idiot troll who keeps wiping the raid because they refuse to/are unable to listen is intolerable.

Idiot statement number two:

“Then the second is thinking that what ever you say holds truth and people accept it as gospel, because you are a paid staff member of a popular website that has a, for the most part, good reputation with it’s staff members.”

I am starting to see why you didn’t get the job here – a lot of comma’s in the wrong place, a few mispelled words – nothing super tragic, but bad enough that people need to re-read your sentences a few times to understand the context.

In no way did Allison say “This is the word of God. You will Obey. Disobedience will be Punished.” She just said, frankly, people who play Death Knights in her experience, are fundamentally unaware of certain liabilities their new role fulfills. This is Common Sense. Everybody knows that the vast majority of DPS are, in fact, brain-dead mouthbreathing keyboard turners. The greatest challenge for any guild is identifying the quality players from the keyboard face rollers, and politely shuffling them out of harms way. That is to say, in a place where they won’t harm others. The real reason Blizzard had to reduce raids down to 25 was due to the incredible difficulty in actually finding sufficiently large numbers of dps players who had survival tendencies slightly higher than lemmings.

See where I am going? The fact is, Allison can say whatever she damn well pleases and if it’s backed up by actual in-game mechanics (as it is here), then not only is she providing useful information to the players that need it, but she is providing a SERVICE to the players who will be affected by the players who read it. That’s a damn sight better than the pile of codswallop that you came out with just now. Maybe if you tried to lace your comments with a little humor and amusing hyperbole (as I am, of course, doing) then you could do your readers some service by granting them a small smile. Or, perhaps your hope is to anger them sufficiently that they start to have fantasies of you being hit by a bus. Yes! I see your ploy now. You want WoW Insider readers to smile in malicious glee, imagining you being hit by a large Greyhound bus (that is on fire!) and being punted in to the back of…oh, I don’t know, let’s say a cement mixer. Actually, that IS kind of funny. After your cement-coated remains are used to lay the foundation of a high-rise building, at least we can your existence finally provided some service, just not in the way you had intended. There’s a good pun involving support that could go here, but it slips my mind at the moment.

Idiot paragraph number three:
“With your last Blog post that was deemed extremely innapropriate in it’s format that it was a “QQBad Troll is Bad” post. You lashed out at the mage and hunter classes, linked something because you can and failed to provide any TRUE information what-so-ever, and even claimed false info.”

Blah blah blah blah I am sad because somebody criticised a class blah blah I shall kick a puppy to make myself feel better etc. Now we are getting to the crux of the issue. Maybe if you’d linked the original post we might get some context out of it, but given your random jump from point to point, somehow I doubt it.

Idiot random-key-bashings-between-Enter-presses group number four:
“For someone who is a paid staff member of WoWinsider, you should have considered your format and topic to be more appropriate.”

What? What? Are you saying that WoW Insider would post up articles that had not been looked over by the Editor for content, clarity and quality? I am shocked! Stunned! Flabbergasted! The very foundations of my Universe have come undone. Why, I shall strip down naked and run outside right now and proclaim the End Times have come. Just let me grab a permanent marker so I can write this travesty down on my bare flesh, “WoW Insider Has No Editor!”, and I’ll be right back.

Okay, sorry for the delay, I was gone for about an hour. In this time I managed to conduct a swift strawpoll.

Number of People who think Saiforune is an idiot = everybody.
Number of People who think Saiforune is just fine = a small child that I bribed with a lolly.
Number of People who fled in terror at my naked body = none, because I am a tremendously handsome, lean and well muscled Australian man. All the men want to be me, all the ladies want to be with me. I just thought I’d throw that in now to cut off your inevitable ‘zomg u must be a basement dwelling sun-fearing kid who has no knowledge of anything, and you play Arena 24/7, and your guild has Van Cleef on notice’ standard auto-attack troll response in advance.

Allow me to summarise this point: No.

Although a million monkeys at a million typewriters might not write a Shakespeare sonnet, they certainly could play a Warlock, or write something like this:
“Honestly, Comparing you to Adam Holisky is like comparing an Alter boy, to the Catholic priest with the implied rape.”

I think you are trying to make an analogy here, but I’m not really sure because you really mangled the grammar here. Comma placement, please! Maybe we should start requiring licenses before people are allowed on to the Internet. Anyway, I forgot my point, which is precisely what you did when you started writing.

Nowhere in your response have you refuted anything that Allison has had to say. It has just been whine whine, Allison is more socially advantaged than I am, boo-hoo, nobody likes me, gonna go eat some worms. I’d recommend night crawlers, they are high protien, low GI.

So precisely why should Allison be compared to Adam? Hmm? HMM? How does the simile of rape even BEGIN to compare? Are you implying some kind of sexual relationship between Allison and Adam? Well, their names DO both begin with A, so I can see how you might make such a connection – it is more realistic than any of the other hand-spasmings you’ve come out with so far. I mean, seriously. It’s like your not even capable of sensible thought. At least get your mother to proof read this stuff before you put it out on the ‘net. That paragraph was just plain embarassing to everybody.

Next up~
“You have just skyrocketed yourself past the moon that has been Adam Holisky. I hope you enjoy your new rising douche baggery.”

Don’t worry, Saiforune. Whatever bright and shining star Allison might have become in the douchebag Heavens, she has truly been eclipsed by your spectacularly awful…I don’t know what to call it. I’d like to say ‘trolling’, but that implies some actual effort at harassing or harming the author. All you’ve done here is paint a big “Hi, I am incapable of rational thought or sensible comment” sign on your neck. Maybe you should strip down and write on yourself with the marker pens? Somehow I think a lot more people will run screaming from you…

“To all WoWinsider staff Leaders and other such runners of this website that hold some form of a management position. This is a formal complaint to remove Allison Robert from your paid staff and to please find someone more worthy of your blog who is more sensitive to the readers and upholds the News and traditions of this website.”

Let me guess who that ‘someone more worthy of your blog who is more sensitive to the readers’ would be? You are so transparent.

“Love sincerly,
My $0.02”

There is nothing lovely or sincere about you! Here’s your two cents back. I want change.

I hope that you enjoyed this lovely reply as much as I did. It brightened my morning, and cheered me up immensely.

I do so love having a personal blog, where I can spotlight, for all time, something that brings me so much amusement. It’s like a personal bookmark to a neat place on the web, with notes on why I bookmarked it in the first place.

Surprise! Expansion releasing mid-November!

Good morning, sunshine!

You know how, when you went to bed last night, you figured it was going to be a slow news day?


In a move my more cynical and bitter readers will no doubt attribute to a sneaky ploy by Blizzards marketing team to cut Warhammer off at the knees, Blizzard has apparently set a hard release date for the Wrath of the Lich King expansion to be November 13th, 2008.

Hey, I was figuring that was when we were going to see it, I think I even went so far as to say so on a WoW Insider podcast months ago…

I just didn’t expect to see that in the news at WoW Insider first thing this morning.

After all, Blizzard is famous for the “We ship it when it’s done, and we ain’t saying when that will be until we are SURE” philosophy, and I for one love them for that.

But if they are going to buy ad space at WoWhead trumpeting it, I figure they must have some firm plans in place… either that, or their marketing team is still high from snorting lithium after the massive success of the “Recruit a Friend/Multibox a Zhevra” program.

So, eight and a half weeks from now. Two months. PLENTY of time for more adjusting of Talents.

Yes, I counted. Two months. Plenty of time.

A WoW topic near and dear to my heart

I have an article going live, probably in about 2 minutes (Noon Eastern time on Tuesday) on WoW Insider that concerns something I feel fairly strongly about.

Correction: Someone apparently moved it to 2 PM Eastern time. Don’t ask me why.

Correction to my correction: because Noon is WoW Moviewatch time. I knew that. 

I’d originally written most of it for the blog last week, and then realized it was going to be a loooong topic, with many parts, so I should try and do it more in depth… and geez, where have I been posting big things lately?

So it’s on WoW Insider.

The subject comes down to how we think about preparing to move from five man content, soloing and questing, and into early raiding.

All of us know how much fun it is to play solo through quest chains, most of us have enjoyed getting together with four other people and playing in an instance (at whatever level), and we know how widely our specs, gear and playstyle can vary from others during that kind of play.

There is very little pressure to have certain specs, or knowledge, or unique class skills or gear levels for most of the game.

Once you reach the last few levels, whether it be 68-70 like now, or 78-80 in the future, expectations change… but sometimes it seems the players don’t realize it, especially for their first level 70 character.

And if you are relatively new to the game, why would you be expected to know any of this?

Let me be specific.

As a druid, if I had purchased this game just 4 months ago, had started playing and leveled and had fun, once I reached level 65+ I would know certain things about how I have played while soloing.

If I was adventurous, it’s reasonable to assume that I’d found some people in LFG or the trade channel to join me in occasional instance runs.

But for the most part, the majority of people currently playing the game have been playing for a year or more, even if they started after Burning Crusade was released.

And there are certain assumptions that are made about what people know now, because ‘everyone knows that, duh’.

Can you imagine the fun I’d have trying to join a guild full of know-it-alls now?

It’s as if we are all expected to know everything when we ding 70, and it’s just not true. new players pick up the game all the time, but compared to when I started playing, lower level zones are a wasteland, barren of players except those powerleveling yet another alt to rush to 70.

Yes, there are exceptions, but for the most part, the game now belongs to the 70s, and those trying to hurry up and get there.

And people see this, and, excited to join other people and finally play with the community, they get up to 68+ and look to join an active guild that does lots of neat stuff.

And the people in that guild, having been there for a while, have certain expectations of how you can play your own class that you just might not be aware of.

Like how to manage aggro. Or what neat little abilites your class has that you haven’t needed to use (like me and Mind Control on my priest), Or what you should do to prepare yourself before expecting to go on raids with your guild. 

Or how to be part of a team, and let everyone have a chance to use their abilites to help everything run smoothly, rather than be a hot dog wonderboy.

I’ve had quite a few new feral druids email me various questions, and I make a note of the things people are curious about.

Questions from people that are eager to get in and play a feral Druid in Karazhan, but are afraid of making a mistake, or don’t understand how to be a useful part of a team if they don’t have great gear yet, or simply wonder how they are to get into a Kara group as a feral druid if the party already has a good tank.

And once they’re in there, what should they do?

I’m hoping to answer a lot of these kind of questions, by writing a series of articles dealing specifically with tips and advice I would have to give a newly rising feral druid that wants to be ready to go into Karazhan, and wants to know what different things he has to offer the group besides just tank and spank once in there.

I hope you enjoy the first part, which covers everything prior to going in, and I invite your suggestions for your own tips and tricks for specific bosses and trash mobs, in the hopes that the final articles will be as complete as I can make them.