Well Larisa over there at Pink Pigtail Inn has yet again inspired a post! Like last year, Larisa is putting together a "best of" list of things in WoW for the year 2009, and this year she's taking nominations and suggestions. I'll be interested to see what she comes up with as she has far more input from a ton of readers. Nevertheless, it's a good idea and I'll put my answers up with explanation for all my readers. Feel free to share your own answers and let me know where I've gone terribly wrong /smile
1. Best raid instance - Ulduar by a mile. Ulduar was visually stunning (have you ever been caught getting background screenshots while your guild was moving onto the next mob? I have in Ulduar), challenging, long, and had a great storyline for some bosses. The bosses are memorable too, as Kologarn with his big arms and Mimiron with the 4 phases of hell, and the vehicle combat that was actually well done. When placed against Naxxramas and Trial of the Champion, this is a no brainer, but Ulduar was almost as good as Karazhan.
2. Least successful raid instance - Trial of the Champion. I'm going against Naxx as a player who never saw the level 60 version, so it was new to me. Trial of the Champion is a nice way to gear up, but it does not feel very epic like a raid should. It's more like a 5-man heroic with more people. Kudos to Blizzard on the faction champions fight though, as that was an amazing change of pace I'd like to see in PvE more often. But that one fight cannot save a mediocre raid.
3. Silliest gold sink - Although it's been out there before 2009, is there a sillier gold sink now than Haris Pilton's Gigantique bag? For 1200 gold, I can get a 22 slot bag. Oh wait, I can buy glacial bags (22-slots) off the auction house from tailors for 400-500 gold. Special mention to the mechanohog drivers out there who pony up like 15,000 gold for a mount that doesn't really fit in with the fantasy world. But at least that looks cool, as nobody will ever see your Gigantique bag.
4. Most longed for instance - No doubt about it, Icecrown Citadel. One of the absolute primary storylines in the Warcraft universe is the rise and fall of Arthas, and this will be the presumable end of that epic storyline that spawned the entire expansion. People wanted Ulduar badly, but not like they've looked forward to this, especially after ToC was such a disappointment.
5. Most juicy guild drama - I don't really know much world-scale drama other than what we see on Guildwatch every week, and that's most loot ninjas. My own Horde guild AIE ran into some problems with their vent server as some alliance member got the vent info and spammed it in trade on our server, thereby leading a bunch of people to cram into AIE's vent and shut it down. Lots of drama ensued.
6. Biggest addition to the game - This is a tough choice between the new LFG interface and dual spec. I'm going to say the new LFG interface because no longer will you have to wait very long to run a random instance, and that's how this system should work. The interface is smooth, has great rewards, and works just like battlegrounds, the most successful PvP aspect of the game. LFG affects every level too, while dual spec is not really useful until Outland level. So LFG gets it by a hair over dual spec.
7. Best quest - Since not many quests were added this year, I will say the jousting quest to defeat the Black Knight. Although many hated jousting, I thought it was an interesting sidebar for the ToC stuff and downing the Black Knight was very satisfying after hearing all about him through all the Valiant quests.
8. Ugliest tabard - Wrymrest on females looks so stupid. Try it.
9. Favorite non combat pet - The demon penguin. Not only is he cool, he represents the Kaluak, which are the coolest walrus Wilford Brimleys you've ever seen. If I had Grunty I might say that as I loved Halo back in the day but for me, it's the demon penguin.
10. Most charming Blizzard employee - Ghostcrawler for eternity. Is there anyone else even in the same ballpark?
11. Best podcast - Might be a little homecooking, but the only podcasts I repeatedly go back to are those run by my Horde guild. The Instance is the best podcast in all the podcasting world right now, and the more private AIE die has been podcast for our guildies is actually decent for outsiders as well. The Instance, all the way.
12. Biggest blog facelift - Righteous Orbs, the joining of Inmysissyrobe and Ideathtard. While Tamarind is more acitve than chastity, both are high quality and their new blog looks much better than their old ones.
13. Most memorable blog post - "I'm coming out" by Arkslaw. I have never seen such a mixture of true confessions meets wow insight. It doesn't hurt that I got cited in that blog entry alongside real bloggers like Larisa, but nevertheless, this is the best piece I read all year.
14. Most noticed blogger breakthrough - Gevlon at Greedy Goblin. He might turn your screws a bit, but he does keep bringing in readers for the politics, the challenges, and the gold making skills. He is the breakthrough of 2009.
15. Most solid content provider - Honestly this would go to Worl dof Matticus, but that site has had some breaks and such which is understandable considering Matt's other responsibilities. So I think it has to go to Pink Pigtail Inn in a close battle with Greedy Goblin. Both provide very regular entries, but PPI is always substantive and always beat me and others to the blogging punch about cool issues.
16. Most hugged blogger - Well it's certainly not Gevlon. I'm going to go with Phaelia over at Resto4Life. While she stepped out of blogging near the beginning of 2009, she went out on a high note and had lots of virtual hugs on her way to becoming a mom. She also got a hug from blizzard in naming a piece of gear after her.
So that's the list. A good year I'd say, and much to look forward to in 2010 with Cataclysm dropping and the end 3 parts of Icecrown Citadel.