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Wowhead's 2020 Year in Review and Happy New Year
01.01.2021 um 04:18
2020 for the Wowhead team was very challenging and rewarding, and your support makes it all worthwhile. Warcraft served as a refuge for many during the pandemic, and so we welcomed more players than ever to Wowhead this past year, striving to keep the site welcoming and helpful for all. We created some of our best work this past year and celebrated our 15th year anniversary, but had our fair share of personal hardships in the background with the pandemic, not to mention complications caused by Shadowlands delays.
Here's a look back at what we're particularly proud of on our site in the past year. Happy New Year, and we look forward to another year of datamining, site features, and guides--and hopefully the return of BlizzCon--in 2021.
Curious about major in-game milestones for
? Check out
our Warcraft Year In Review Post
Shadowlands was a mammoth task for our development team, with weekly updates and constantly-changing systems. Some new features we're particularly proud of include the
Shadowlands Build Planner
, and we can't forget about our
UI revamp as well as thousands of new customization options to try out!
We've also expanded our datamining coverage, streaming our discoveries with Stevan in front of the camera which generated a ton of hype for the expansion! We've also increased our hotfix coverage, notably Race to World First boss changes so top guilds could learn about the unannounced buffs, but there were also many behind-the-scenes optimizations including the creation of an internal db2 reader.
And continuing with our revamp of the front page, we updated Today in WoW to look sleeker, allowing for more data to be presented and tabs for each expansion. If you took a break from Warcraft during BFA, you may have also encountered our new navigation menus and guide layout for the first time, which was added toward the end of 2019!
Wowhead news continued to grow in 2020 as we juggled datamining, theorycrafting, Classic updates, and Shadowlands discoveries. We continue to strive for improvement in our news section, balancing quality with quantity so you can enjoy breaking-news updates and analytical pieces side-by-side as we tried to evaluate the impact of all the datamined changes. When the pandemic started, we noticed more people were interested in reading funny and heartwarming stories from home, so we tried to showcase interesting things to celebrate the community.
Back in 2019 we were really pleased by our news traffic in the stretch between the 8.3 PTR and BlizzCon hype. But in 2020, we surpassed those records repeatedly, and news highs that previously lasted days stretched into weeks and even months as we got closer to Shadowlands' launch. We are so grateful for your support of our news over the years!
And while we didn't have any shenanigans like datamining in cars this year, we tried to keep things interesting with our weekly datamining streams led by Stevan with the rest of us chatting about our news coverage in the background. In our 2019 post we wrote "Finally, we experimented with datamining streams in 2019 and they were such a success, we're discussing how to do them more frequently with more production polish in 2020!" and we shattered that goal with frequent streams and a brand new modelviewer tool, the Wowhead Studio!
Here's some fun details on Wowhead news in 2020:
Our most-viewed news articles during the first Shadowlands alpha push were:
New Model Including Sylvanas and Bolvar
Blood Elf Customization
Shadowlands Alpha Weapon Models
Plate Maw Raid Set
Our most-viewed news articles during Shadowlands' launch week were:
Covennt Guides Now Live
What to Do Week 1 of Shadowlands
Shadowlands Covenant Armor
Three Easy Mounts
Sorrowbane is ilvl 180 Weapon
Our most-viewed articles during Season 1 launch were:
Shadowlands Raid DPS Rankings
More Class Tuning
Mythic Loot Tables
Shadowlands M+ DPS Rankings
Honorable mention also goes to these news articles people kept returning to week after week:
Full Corruption Vendor Rotation
Updated Mythic+ Loot Tables
Pre-Patch DPS Analysis
Blizzard Creating Free Mount
We also had to mention our
April 1st post
, featuring N'Zoth Pepe, tentacle customization, legendary transmog items like Jaina's necklace and...faction Surfboards. At the time, the Shadowlands alpha was looming, but we all worked hard to make elaborate-looking models as we're very proud of our April Fool's inventions!
2020 was a busy time on Wowhead for guides as we wrote, and rewrote, many guides on Shadowlands systems through their many iterations during beta:
We launched our series of
Best Covenant Guides
with specific pages for each Covenant and Conduit setup! These were a labor of love, especially with the systems going through so many changes and last-minute hotfixes.
Another hot Shadowlands topic was
legendary recommendations for all specs
, which we've seen grow in popularity throughout December!
While class information related to covenants was very popular, we can't forget about covenant armor and weapon
, which also saw great success in our Dressing Room!
We worked extremely hard through buggy Shadowlands builds and character wipes to cover all aspects of the game including
, and all aspects of Covenants besides class recommendations like the
The Shadowlands pre-patch was an unexpectedly busy time for guides as well. The popularity of the Icecrown rares led our
to shine, and many players enjoyed referencing our
character customization guides
to plan out their new appearances.
And while this may be considered old content now, the start of 2020 saw many guide updates for both Classic WoW and Patch 8.3, including
As for what's next, we have some Torghast Twisting Corridor guides coming very soon (no TM) and we can't wait to write guides for 9.1!
Wowhead would not be possible without the support of our users! The staff works hard to provide unique features and guides to inspire our users to share even cooler things.
We are grateful to our users who leave helpful comments on everything from mobs in caves to buggy quests, go the extra mile writing epic stickied comments or full-blow guides, or use the Client to power Today in WoW. With Shadowlands as a brand-new expansion, all the uploads and comments are extremely valuable.
Wowhead Team Messages
We wanted to close out our year in review with messages from some of the Wowhead team!
Anshlun (News/Class Guides)
Thanks everyone for another year here at Wowhead. To me the biggest highlight of 2020 was the sheer amount of work that took for us to datamine Shadowlands. Shadowlands is a MASSIVE expansion, with so much going on that in sheer volume of content, 9.0 probably added as much or more than all of Battle for Azeroth. Even with the delay to November and with the eventual bug still found in-game every now and then, I believe Shadowlands is a great expansion.
As an avid mount collector and a bit of an altoholic, I'm having a blast going after the incredible 84 new mounts added with the expansion launch and really happy that we have an expansion that is more alt-friendly. My hopes are really high that the expansion will keep on improving as patches come by and I can't wait to see what 2021 has in store for Shadowlands!
Happy New Year! May 2021 be amazing for everyone!
Archimtiros (News/Community Features)
2020 was my busiest year at Wowhead, a true roller coaster beset by a constant stream of events simultaneously exciting, wholesome, dramatic, and sorrowful. In the face of this, we pulled together, both as a team and community to continue to provide welcome distraction from the tribulations of a global pandemic, cover a lengthy season of datamining, an expansion launch, two race to world firsts, and some of our best feature reporting ever. I've been honored to continue to bring news to the WoW community, and look forward to the surprises next year will bring.
2020 might be one year we're all more than ready to see the back of, but for me, it was also the year I started writing for Wowhead! I started with a handful of generic guides, but soon got to begin on my passion project, the "Story of" guides.
As a long-time fan of the story and lore of World of Warcraft, I've often felt frustrated at how easy it is to lose track of or sometimes completely miss the story of a zone of expansion while playing through it. I've also wished I could look up certain major story moments that happen in-game. Which questlines were they part of? How we got there? With my story guides, I'm attempting to write down the story of every zone so that they're easy to visit later. I spent many, many hours in the Shadowlands alpha and beta, trying to record the major stories of every zone and covenant - like
The Story of Ardenweald
The Story of the Night Fae Covenant
- which sometimes involved complete rewrites as the things were changed around!
Most recently, I've also begun to write my first news pieces - which is a lot of fun, especially when I get to share something wholesome or exciting like a beloved community member getting an NPC or a quick guide on how to tame a rare pet. Wowhead has always been my favorite World of Warcraft site and I couldn't be more excited to be on this team.
Erorus (Goblin Engineer)
The Wowhead team has been 100% remote working for years, so 2020 didn't slow us down too much. From the data side of things, with Shadowlands, Blizzard continues to improve their codebase, and new game features and APIs are more structured than before. That helped us when we improved dressing room customizations and item model screenshots. It also helped when exploring all the new kinds of data driving the
, which is included in the new
Shadowlands Build Planner
. Plus, I feel like there's now more we can explore with quests, storylines, and campaigns. The
Mythic+ Damage Calc
was relatively quick to put together, too.
Of course, there's always some insanity in the datamining, which may never go away. In 2020 I wondered which old gods inspired item bonus effects vs spell scaling and spell description conditionals. Putting "item levels" on
soulbind conduit spells
rubs me the wrong way, too. I finally got a decent handle on item contexts and modifiers, though, which helps us support the new optional reagent stats. Always more to learn.
Finally, this year we improved a lot of our automated tooling with regards to datamining stuff sent to us via the Wowhead Client, so keep running that addon and submitting your dataz, it helps us now more than ever.
2020 was quite a mess in the real world, but on Wowhead we've continued to do some of our best work, and things keep getting better.
Jaydaa (Guides and Reviews)
Despite all the hardships of 2020, I consider myself quite fortunate this year to be given the opportunity to work more extensively alongside all the amazing staff of Wowhead to bring quality content to a amazing community that I truly treasure.
As a life-long healer and long-term guide writer, I've tried throughout the last year to highlight
World of Warcraft
news and information that's relevant to the sometimes overlooked role of healing. From our 'State of Healers' content series to the raid predictions and post-mortems, I want to continue to make Wowhead a destination for healer news and analysis in 2021 and beyond.
Throughout 2020, I was allowed to expand my horizons and take on news and guides for Wowhead for other Blizzard games including
Warcraft III: Reforged
. While Wowhead has traditionally focused on
World of Warcraft
, these ventures have allowed us to engage the community in new ways and be a source information for a variety of Blizzard news. I'm grateful to have had a hand in pushing Wowhead beyond it's normal limits in covering these IPs.
Finally as we approached the launch of Shadowlands, I've taken a more active role in our Class Guides to help ensure that we're continuing to raise the bar in terms of the quality of our guides. While it's an arduous and constantly evolving process, we're trying to ensure that players that visit our guide content feel supported with quality information no matter your class, covenant, or role.
Thank you all again so much for your constant support for Wowhead. I'm humbled to even be the smallest cog in the content machine that is Wowhead.
For 2021, I can't wait to continue to see what
has in store for us, and I can't wait to see what might be revealed at Blizzconline. I'm crossing my fingers for a new Diablo IV class but wait and see!
Ketsuki (Assistant Site Producer)
This year has been quite the year.
I'd like to first start off by thanking those of the community who continue to support and cheer for us, appreciate and acknowledge our hard work and efforts to bring you the very best. Everyone on the Wowhead team works hard and is constantly thinking and searching for things we feel the community would like and improve upon things.
Since joining Wowhead I have seen nothing but growth in not only us but also the World of Warcraft community as a whole. I can only hope we all continue to support and cheer for each other, especially after such a strange year.
Having no Blizzcon this year was something I personally am not used to, as Blizzcon is a time I get to see people that I consider as close to me as my immediate family, and not having it left not only me but many others feeling like something was missing.
Shadowlands release was a whirlwind but in a good way. It was nice for me at least to see so many people return to the game with that spark again and have stuck with it and are still playing.
My hope for the new year is usually the same as every year, be healthy, be happy, and enjoy the time we have with all our friends.
Neryssa (News and Guides)
2020 was quite a year, wasn't it? I would like to thank the Wowhead readers from the bottom of my heart for joining us on yet another year full of Warcraft news! We made it!
The best part of 2020 for me, personally, was covering all of Shadowlands beta! This was a quite different beta experience compared to ones covered in the past, and a special part of this was the datamining streams. It was really nice showing the dataming process a bit more in-depth, and even more fun to see viewers reacting to discoveries together with us! I hope we can have similar experiences in 2021.
Not a day goes by that I am not eternally grateful to be able to work on something that has been my passion for 15 years now. Working alongside the community and bringing discoveries to the spotlight has made this year that much better.
I can't wait to see what 2021 brings to Wowhead and Warcraft as a whole! There are a lot of things to be discovered in the Shadowlands, as well as future expansions. I hope to see all of you together with us on this journey, and let's hope 2021 is a much better year for all of us!
Paryah (Retail Guides)
It has been my great honor this year to join the Wowhead team as a freelancer writing guides, news features, and doing odd jobs around the place. I have written and edited and rewritten countless Shadowlands guides, leading to this being the expansion that I have known the most going in. Perhaps ironically, some of my most recent pieces have required ignoring everything I have written and looking at WoW from the perspective of someone who knows nothing going in. I have written some fun news pieces about our greater WoW community, as well as analysis and feature pieces. I have learned so much about the game that we all love so passionately and the incredible community that orbits it. You are all amazing, from the artists, to the writers, to the players, every one of you is special.
This year I have so much to be thankful for. Thank you to the readers and commenters for being so kind, helpful, and welcoming. Yes, even those of you who employ "mean" love! I mean love you too.
I would like to thank the Wowhead team for being incredibly welcoming and helpful as I stumbled through figuring out how it is all done and, perhaps more importantly, not done.
As some of you know, I come from the Ravenholdt rogue community. I'd like to thank Ravenholt for being so patient with me as I slack off over there. I'll get updates done soon, I promise!
I'd like to thank my guild, Malice Aforethought, for putting up with my endless questions in pursuit of accuracy, and my endless "Go to Wowhead, I wrote a guide for that" responses to their questions in turn. You guys rock, every one of you.
Special thanks, of course, goes to Perc for doing an amazing job of heading up this extremely large and complex site, and for allowing me to be a part of it all. You are the best!
Happy 2021 everyone, may your boss kills be swift and your loot drops BiS!
Disclaimer: BiS for you. Sim yourself!
Perculia (Site Director)
2020 was an interesting time managing Wowhead, with unique challenges I haven't faced in my long time here. I'm very proud of my staff for creating top-notch work in spite of the pandemic.
While we're used to working remote, the pandemic still added challenges--many of us had families affected by COVID, any IRL issues encountered were complicated by pandemic restrictions, unplugging and going out to relax after a busy day was near-impossible, and with renewed interest in WoW, every day felt like expansion launch. Knowing we helped so many people is humbling, but every day dialed up to 11 under intense scrutiny is challenging to handle when you can't go outside! I've hired more writers than ever before to ensure the quality of our work remains high without overburdening everyone, and really tried hard to avoid crunch culture exacerbated by everyone working from home with game studios scheduling holiday releases.
That said, the Wowhead team did an excellent job providing an impressive amount of BFA, Classic, and Shadowlands content throughout 2020 and we hoped we helped you find some joy this past year.
I'm particularly proud of our Shadowlands datamining streams, where thousands of players watched us discover models, watch Stevan piece together armor sets, and hear the rest of the team discuss our news coverage. Wowhead is a team effort and it was very satisfying to bring our chaotic joyful vibe to Twitch. Without BlizzCon this year, I missed seeing the community but hopefully these streams helped you feel closer to our team.
I can't wait to see what's next in 9.1 and BlizzConline, Brightpaw misses the excitement in the air that accompanies a datamining drop. Speaking of Brightpaw, he stepped up in a big way this past year serving as our merchandise ambassador, wiggling his way into every photoshoot whether it be for a microphone or chair.
I hope 2021 brings good health and happiness to you all. Hopefully we can say hello at BlizzCon this year!
PigeonD (Datamining Team)
2020 has been an interesting year. Since the Shadowlands 9.0 beta there had been new builds almost every week so there were always something new to work on. For me along with all these builds, it was also pretty exciting to be able to join the datamining live stream every now and then with the content team and to witness all the cool and new discovery in real time, which made all the 3am wake-up calls worthwhile ;)
As I say this every year, it's been an absolute pleasure to work with everyone on the Wowhead team. We had a pretty smooth launch with the Shadowlands release. I'd also like to thank the community for all the feedbacks and bug reports, which really helped us to make Wowhead better.
Can't wait to see what's coming in 9.1, BlizzConline, and all the new Shadowlands secrets in 2021! Wishing everyone a wonderful new year. Stay safe!
RenataKane (Retail and Classic Guides)
2020 has been a difficult year for all of us on a personal level, but it's also been an exceptionally rewarding one for me. This marks my first full year as a member of the Wowhead content development team, and what a year it's been!
I joined in 2019 for writing Classic guides, but Shadowlands has been my "trial by fire", with a challenging ramp-up and launch of the latest expansion. It's been a rush, a whirlwind, and a totally amazing experience. I'd like to thank everyone who have answered my questions, supported me, gotten me up to speed, and made me feel like part of the team. Writing for Wowhead is just getting more exciting as time passes, and it's the passion and commitment of this truly wonderful group of people that make it a great place to work and play.
But I also couldn't do what I do without the fabulous community of people who send me ideas, feedback, and tips. Gamers in general get a bad rap, and I am happy to say that the vast majority of my own experiences have been positive. Thanks to all of you for sticking with us through some wild rides of changes in the past year! Special shoutout to the the
World of Warcast
podcast community for all their help, love, and support.
For me, the most rewarding part is doing what I love best: get under the hood to study the game indepth, and then think about the best way to share this information with the WoW community.The very best guides are where I learn something new writing them. The most fun for me has been diving into the
, even though they seemed to change almost minute to minute during Beta!
I hope next year I'll be able to meet folks in person at Blizzcon, but we'll have to see whether
Hakkar der Seelenschinder
will let up on the
. Til then, Happy New Year from me and my supervisor, Clive!
Rokman (Classic News/Guides)
Writing for Wowhead during Classic WoW’s launch and through all six phases has been an absolutely amazing experience. I’ve had the pleasure of helping out so many players, and even after a year and a half of Classic, I still run into people in Battlegrounds messaging me about the guides I’ve published. It brings a huge smile on my face knowing that I’ve been a small contributor to this incredible World of Warcraft community! None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for the insanely dedicated team at Wowhead led by the impeccable Perculia!
As for 2021, the rumors are certainly heating up about Classic Burning Crusade and potentially a Classic
F R E S H
launch! Whatever happens, I am excited to be a part of it! See you on the other side, Azerothians!
Squishei (News and Guides)
2020 was an exciting year for Wowhead and
World of Warcraft
from the release of Patch 8.3 and the Ny'alotha raid to the release of the Shadowlands expansion later in the year.
This year was awesome, continuing the trend of completing the raid as soon as servers were live, showing off the
Nya'lotha Ending Cinematic
and the short
Castle Nathria Cinematic
in Shadowlands, streaming these cinematics for the first time alongside many Twitch viewers.
From Patch 8.3 to Shadowlands, I helped organize many in-depth community articles on classes, systems and content for BFA and Shadowlands which many readers seemed to enjoy. I helped to report on both the good changes like the Great Vault and the removal of the Teeming Affix to the... not good like the changes to
Mythic+ Item level in Shadowlands
. I also helped maintain the daily "Today in Uldum and Vale" posts to help you find the daily quests quickly, and tips and tricks for Horrific Visions.
From the beginning of the Shadowlands Alpha, I worked alongside the team to constantly update players with class changes, spell reworks and tuning hotfixes, to help keep you guys informed all the way up to the morning before Shadowlands launched when one last set of Covenant hotfixes was applied. Even after Shadowlands launched, I helped report on more spell, dungeon and even raid tuning hotfixes that affected the Race to World First and I hope to continue reporting on tuning hotfixes going forward.
I hope you have all enjoyed the content that I've been a part of, and look forward to more World of Warcraft in 2021!
Stiven (Datamining Team)
Citizens of Wowhead! Raise your eyes to the skies and observe! We have defeated this year, and we are finally moved to 2021! Shadowlands 9.0 datamining has been defeated, and I am to be judged in next year of datamining. We already have a lot of data from Diablo Immortal to show soon(tm), while expecting 9.1 content as well, and I just can't wait to be back to live stream again!
But not everything has gone according to plan. 2020 was hard for everyone, we learn to look at the world in different ways...that the living room can become a home gym, a dining room a work room, and in the kitchen we have even started to cook. We have learned some new skills like doing a haircut, and that the sea can be whatever u can think of. And that everything can stop for a moment. With all these changes, we have all been heroes and manage to move forward to enter in the New Year that is a blank book, but with pen in our hands we can write a beautiful story!
May the New Year bring you happiness, peace, and prosperity.
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