Pink Pigtail Inn’s List of 2009 (WoW Version)

Larisa started a tradition back in 2008 of taking nominations for the most memorable gaming content and moments of the year. Well, it’s that time of year again, and the 2009 version is being worked on even as I speak.

This is a cleaned up and (slightly) expanded version of what I posted in comments to that thread. I wanted to share my love of Naxxramas because people don’t say ‘love’ and ‘Naxxramas’ in the same sentence often enough.

Best raid instance

Whilst I think both Ulduar and ICC are excellent, fun instances, my vote goes to Naxxramas.

Why? I know some people felt it was too easy but the smooth learning curve into raiding helped a LOT of new raiders in my guild to get the raiding bug. And it also eased my transition into running 10 mans.

I still find a lot of the bosses to be good fun and the raid where we got the 10 man achievement for downing all the 4 horsemen within 10s of each other was one of my proudest raid leading achievements in this expansion because I figured out the strategy on my own. (I’ve noticed that I was much wordier back then, I think it’s because I was still excited at the newness of it all. It’s harder to find a lot to say about familiar content than about something new.)

Also Ulduar has a strange difficulty jump in the middle, and we’ve found it just a bit too long to comfortably complete in one evening even when it is on farm. I enjoy the difficulty, but it has been a barrier to more people seeing it.

Least successful raid instance

Sartharion. Firstly, it’s a dull encounter anyway. Secondly the 3 drake version was horribly tuned in the beginning and resulted in lots of DK and druid tanks being first feted and then nerfed. Thirdly, people can now brute force the 3 drake version anyway so those titles became meaningless. Undying in Naxx still means you had some semblence of execution.

Silliest gold sink

The pets that cost real money. This is a strange category because you could argue that anything which doesn’t directly affect gameplay is a silly gold sink. But people have so much fun with the expensive motorbike and mammoth mount (where fun may or may not involve accidental boss pulls) that I struggle to see those as being sillier than anything else in the game.

I guess the silliest one to me would be anything involving buying up old reputation tokens in order to get achievements. But that’s because I don’t value achievements much.

Most longed for instance

Icecrown Citadel, and the new five man instances. I think it speaks well of them that we didn’t know how much we longed to dive into Icecrown in single groups  until Blizzard announced that they planned to implement some.

Enjoy it now before the sheen wears off.

Biggest addition to the game

The biggest one for me personally was the revamp of protection warriors just before Wrath was released. It made tanking the new heroics a pleasure rather than a headache, and I’ve loved how the spec has played all through the expansion. At the moment, it just feels perfect to me. Protection Warriors may not be the toughest tanks, or the easiest to play, or have the best buffs, but I feel totally and utterly fine with all the current PvE content. If a group passes on a warrior tank just for minmaxing purposes, then they are being silly.

No, the problem now is that after we all get overgeared and the old heroics turn into AE fests, tanking gets … rather more dull? It was more interesting at the start of the expansion when people played more carefully.

The new dungeon tool is probably the most far reaching addition to the game. It has been a game changer, and finally many more people can experience the levelling game as it was originally designed. I’m sure the core team intended everyone to intersperse instances with questing — and now they can. And we are all reminded that it’s actually a pretty good game.

I am fascinated to see where this is all going to lead. What effect will it really have on players to keep being thrown in with uber-geared raid bods who are in a desperate hurry? What happens when newer players ‘learn’ from more experienced ones that pulling everything in sight is what the pros do?

In truth, it’s only when the next set of level 80s roll out, the guys who actually did have the chance to level in instances, that we will really see what effect the dungeon tool has on the WoW player base.

Best quest

I’ve enjoyed a lot of the Wrath quests. For quality of writing, the forsaken quests in Howling Fjord leading  my character through helping to develop the new plague and then finishing with Wrathgate captured my interest instantly. Whoever writes the forsaken dialogue really has that faction nailed.

For the most fun gameplay quest, I’m going with the Sons of Hodir questline because the Drakkensryd is just that cool. It doesn’t get any more cinematic than flying in a crazy race on protodrakes, and jumping through the air from drake to drake so that you can unseat their riders. For me it marks why WoW questing is so fun at its best in the new expansion, and it’s because you can experience the crazy dragon rides, cut scenes, and phasing rather than being faced with walls of text.

Ugliest tabard

No idea, although I’ve seen some pretty revolting ones in PUGs. I think the Argent Crusade tabard is the best looking, though.

Favourite non combat pet

Calico cat!!

I also made about 2000g from selling them on the Auction House. Poor kitties, hopefully they went to good homes with lots of cash to spare on spoiling their pets.

Most charming Blizzard employee

No idea. I like Ghostcrawler a lot though.

Most noticed blogger breakthrough

Now, I started blogging in January last year (just checked, first real post was Jan 8th so I have an anniversary coming up soon :) ) so I don’t know precisely when anyone else did. I’m going with Tamarind though, of Righteous Orbs. I noticed his blog from his post on Blog Azeroth and immediately loved his writing style, so I tried to link across a few times fairly early on. I couldn’t be more thrilled to see that he’s gotten so popular. It just means people have taste.

Most solid content provider

Tricky, because I don’t really read blogs for content. I always value Veneretio’s posts at Tanking Tips, and Kadomi’s at Tank Like  A Girl (she also has great advice for beginning warrior tanks). And an honorable mention to the No Stock UI blog which has lots of addon related tips and tricks.

Most hugged blogger

I’m not a huggy person (Spinks is so boney that if she hugged anyone they’d end up with unexpected extra piercings), but I make an exception for a certain pink pigtailed gnome and  her bartender too who have both been great inspirations to me this year.

Do you have opinions about best entries in any of these categories?  Why not post about them or go reply to Larisa’s original thread.