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The Queue: New character models

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky (@adamholisky) will be your host today.

Happy Thanksgiving, 'murrica.

I'm thankful for all of you. Without this community I wouldn't have an awesome job, and I would get to talk with everyone about video games every day.

So thanks!

Go eat some turkey now, but save the cranberries for me. Really, I'm at your door. Knock knock. Land shark.

Ian asked:

What the heck is up with new character models? Why haven't we seen them yet???

Okay, so... we haven't gotten the new models in patch 5.1. But that doesn't mean they're not coming in the future. Blizzard has been hard at work on them, and they're something they absolutely must get right. If Blizzard screws up on the character models, creating a disconnect between ourselves and our virtual avatars, the game's core psychological drive will be severely hampered.

I'm not saying that releasing bad character models will kill WoW, but I think it would significantly harm it; and thus could easily be a contributing factor to the game's downfall.

Now with that said, Blizzard knows this. They might not agree with my analysis exactly, but they've stated time and time again that this is something that must be done exactly right. They've expressed interest in incremental releases of the models, and that might still happen. Patch 5.2 isn't terribly far off, and it's not going to be long until we have the announcement for the next expansion (if history holds) at August/October 2013's BlizzCon. At this point I could see Blizzard withholding the models reveal for BlizzCon, and making a big deal out of it.

And infact, it would be a big deal.

A good point was brought up in Tuesday's Queue that WoW's graphics are quickly reaching the point where aesthetically the newer generation of GPUs won't be adding a ton of base functionality to the core look and feel. WoW is meant to look a certain way, and it always will. Just as The Simpsons will always look at it's core like The Simpsons, and South Park will always look like it was somehow cut out of magical paper (at least, sorta). WoW too will always look a bit cartoony, never quite realistic. There will no doubt be advances in graphics and technology that allow further definition to be added to the world, but WoW will never aim for the realism that's present in other games.

My point in all this is that it's perfectly reasonable to expect some news on this soon™, and therein expect new models that are going to last for ten years. These new models should, indeed must, uphold WoW's graphics standards yet push the envelope a little bit. Expect something great, but don't expect anything near photorealism.

Walkerspace asked:

In the quest The Emperor, Chen Stormstout says he's the best brewer on three continents. Which three do you think he means?

I agree with the comments: Northrend, Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms. I doubt he's been to Outlands (and those Orcs are pretty damn good brewers as well).

Vocenoctum commented:

"If you were sitting next to Chris Metzen on a plane..."

How many folks would actually recognize the guy without some other clue? Nothing against him, I've seen the blizzcon feed and such, but I don't really pay attention to what folks look like.


I think you're underestimating Blizzard's overall reach, and WoW's in particular. While I mainly hang out in circles of people that are full of artists and nerds, and thus are drawn to Blizzard's games, a lot of other people have played these games at one point, and a significant number have followed more closely. I don't think Metzen would have instant recognition, but I do think that given the right people it'd be entirely possible someone would pick up on it.

JonathanToney commented:

If you enjoy warcraft novels, then you enjoy terrible literature. I dont know what happened to knaak after he stopped writing Dragonlance ( uhhh Legend of Huma ), but he got terrible...and Golden's prose is unbearable.

One thing I'm not thankful for is comments like this. In particular relating to the WoW literature, why can't everyone just let people enjoy what they enjoy? Knaak isn't your cup of tea? Ok, no need to rip on others about it. Move on.

I see this way too much about the stories, and I wish people would understand that the authors are good peeps. They get that certain folks don't like them (yet they still but their books, which is kinda odd...). But you know why they keep writing? Because they love the universe, and they love the community. That deserves a lot of respect.

I know this is a minor rant on my part, but it's been something that's been sitting in my head of a while.

Butts and butts asked:

Are current challenge modes going to remain challenging when we're all level 95?

We have no way of knowing, but it's possible they will be from a gearing perspective at least. Right now the item levels are decreased to even everything out, and that certainly would work no matter what level you are. However where it wouldn't work is the spells and talents that are associated with the current iteration of the game. Remember that each expansion has thus far brought us new waves of talents and overall paradigms (whether that's in new tress or new core spell groupings across all classes -- like stuns, cc, etc...). Such an addition could render the current challenge modes trivial. There'd have to be some serious modifications and logical evaluation of the challenge modes before they were available at 95; and the time investment therein might make the level bump prohibitive.

But at the end of the day, we don't know, and we'll have to wait and see.


Have questions about the World of Warcraft? The WoW Insider crew is here with The Queue, our daily Q&A column. Leave your questions in the comments, and we'll do our best to answer 'em!

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