If you're headed to BlizzCon next month, will you be lucky enough to be wearing a coveted custom name badge by Noxychu? Her whimsical character portraits have become all the rage this year, and Noxychu has even turned out badges for the entire Blizzard community manager staff. As staff artist for Wowhead and well-known WoW "Twitterati," the unassuming Brit has long since had to pause taking on new commissions, and her newfound popularity promises great things post-BlizzCon.
WoW Insider: Everyone wants a Noxychu! I'm betting most readers will recognize your name from the artwork you do for Wowhead. Tell us what you do there and how you got started.
Noxychu: I'm not sure I have a proper title; I guess just "artist" covers it. I make logos for the various ZAM websites, and I illustrate the occasional contest and guide. I got started with Wowhead by volunteering, I made some badge art for them in 2008, and then after that the occasional Warcraft-themed web comic. And they were bloody awful. I really loved making them, and they were weekly for a while. Unfortunately I'm a terrible at writing scripts, and I have been unable to find a consistently funny writer that is willing to put up with me to try and get the Wowhead web comic back to regular updates.
Let's be honest with ourselves: chances are we'd all play this Warcraft fighting game mocked up by Redditor GuardianReflex. And while this game isn't a reality, we can always hope that Blizzard will one day allow us to do to participate in an epic battle in which Varian gets to punch Sylvannas in the face (or vice versa). And if this epic, Blizzard vs. Capcom style battle isn't possible, perhaps a pet battle in which we control tiny faction leaders?
But since we aren't likely to see this in actual game any time soon, GuardianReflex is making more mockups based on user requests. We have Thrall vs. Garrosh behind the cut and hope to see more soon!
Over the last few years the question of art and video games has gone in and out of hot-button topic territory. Whatever someone's opinion of the status of games as art, though, it's impossible to ignore the vast amount of art that goes into them, and the cultural consciousness surrounding art and gaming is growing all the time. Earlier this year Blizzard published The Art of Blizzard Entertainment, a volume spanning over 20 years of concept art and development, complete with commentary by Nick Carpenter, Sam Didier, and Chris Metzen. Along with the book was an exhibit of the same name at the Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, California, which ran from January 12th to February 3rd, 2013.
This is an old video by GamerHub.tv from the opening night of the exhibit back in January, but it's the first it has come to our attention at WoW Insider, and it's worth watching if you haven't already. Metzen talks about the origins and inspiration for Blizzard's art, Blizzard's feelings toward fan art, and some of his thoughts on the perception of art and games in general. Check out parts one and two on GamerHub's youtube channel.
Though we've seen a lot of fan art in our time, the retro charm of Josh Atack's Azerothian travel posters struck us. So far there are two: one for Undercity and one for Thunder Bluff, both styled after vintage rail posters. It's hard to say which of the two we like better, but fortunately we don't have to decide, because they're both for sale on his society6 page. So if you're looking to decorate your office -- or your desktop -- with something that expresses your love of WoW without being too overt about it, Josh's art may be just the thing.
And if you're not fond of Undercity or Thunder Bluff? Josh plans to keep making these as long as he's having fun with them and he's aiming to get all the faction capitals and Dalaran done, plus a few personal favorites like Zangarmarsh and Winterspring.
World of WarCrafts spotlights art and creativity by WoW players, including fan art, cooking, comics, cosplay, music, fan fiction and more. Sample the whole spectrum on WoW.com's Arts and Crafts in WoW page.
Artist Christina Marie's WoW-themed work is nothing if not saturated -- saturated with color, saturated with game references, saturated with humor. It's the kind of stuff you can toss onto your desktop and then promptly lose vast chunks of time peering and snorting in bemused delight at the details scattered across these works. (Because I whipped up the Christina Marie art gallery, below, in just minutes. Without any linking or idle chatter in the WoW.com newsroom. You believe that, right? Right?) Her talent for twisting elements together (elements of art, elements of the game ... you name it) earned her a nod from Blizzard itself with inclusion in its 2011 holiday fan art calendar (as was our own Kelly Aarons). World of WarCrafts visited with Christina Marie to find out where the deluge of color and inspiration comes from.
The World of Warcraft has always had amazing fan art. Looking through the fan art gallery, it's hard not to get blown away by the talent the community has and their passion for drawing Blizzard properties. This year, the folks in Irvine decided to celebrate all that talent and passion by holding a contest for the artistically-inclined. Zarhym invites artists over at the official forums to contribute to the Holiday Fan Art Calendar Contest.
One grand prize winner will also get to take home a Wacom Cintiq 12WX, the pen-on-screen drawing tool that some of Blizzard's own artists use. Additionally, the grand prize winner will also have his or her work featured in the official World of Warcraft magazine. Deadline for submissions is on February 8, 2010. As always, be sure to read the fine print if you're eligible!
World of WarCrafts spotlights art and creativity by WoW players, including fan art, cooking, comics, cosplay, music and fan fiction. Show us how you express yourself; contact our tips line (attention: World of WarCrafts) with your not-for-profit, WoW-inspired creations.
We followed up with artist Jennifer Jean Lee, who's long since retired from playing WoW. "Back in the day when I did the chalk painting, I was a dedicated player," she wrote us. "I might go back one day, once I've accomplished some goals such as making iPhone apps and posting comics regularly." In the meantime, Jennifer's not completely given up on WarCrafting. She's currently at work on a number of WoW-related items for her Etsy shop, in preparation for the holidays.
Attention aspiring artist, songwriters, and machinimators: want to win an awesome Alienware laptop? Sure you do. Well, here's your chance. Blizzard is holding three creative contests at BlizzCon this summer: best fan art, best original song, and best movie using WoW footage (i.e. machinima).
Entrants in each category have until July 31 to submit their best work. Various countries and localities around the world are eligible, although not all; this is due to legal issues, and not Blizzard hating Italians and residents of Vermont (which Alex claims are called "Vermites").
Movies must be under three minutes and 100 MB, and should be WMVs, AVIs, or MOVs. Music must be either by the entrant or by Blizzard.
Songs must be MP3s under 2 minute and 5 MB. Lyrics (if any) should be without profanity, in English, Spanish, French, German, Korean, or Chinese, and if not in English, must come with a written English translation.
For second place in each category, Blizzard will be awarding some Razer equipment, and third place will get an unspecified NVIDIA video card. The top two winners in the Movie contest also each get a copy of Adobe CS4, which is pretty sweet. So get creating!
Blizzard has opened up registration for their Movie, Original Song, and Fan Art contests, and you can register for those along all over on their registration page (the Costume, Sound-alike, and Dance contests are also there, but it looks like they're not up for registration yet). These things are always a lot of fun, and it seems like every year, the bar goes even higher -- there's always a costume that just really impresses with the amount of work that went into it. Of course, don't let that stop you from entering: Sound-Alikes are always really funny and pretty easy to do, and I believe Original Song is a new category this year, so it's probably wide open in terms of what people will come up with. Come to think of it, we've actually got a song that might go in there...
Registration ends on the 24th of July for the current contests, so make sure to get your entries in now if you've got a movie, song, or a piece of fan art you think Blizzard might like. And there are some nice prizes -- looks like the grand prize in each contest is an Alienware laptop, with Razer and Nvidia gear and Adobe software filling out the rest of the places. Sign up now -- we can't wait to see what you guys bring to show off at the convention in August.
You probably remember that a few weeks ago, WoW Insider ran a fan art contest with some pretty sweet SteelSeries items as prizes. We said we were going to show off the winners, and we will! We wanted to contact the winners before we told you who they were, and these things take awhile sometimes. We've now spoken to every single one of them, and it's time to show things off!
Remember, winners were chosen by the editorial staff, taking the theme of the contest into consideration along with the scoring system detailed in the official rules. You can check out all of the winners and submissions in the gallery below.
Obviously, since the comics are offline, we have no idea what material Blizzard objected to -- you could argue that depictions of certain gear created by Blizzard artists in the game or specific names are under trademark and thus could be protected under copyright law. But even then, Shakes and Fidget is oneof many, manyfan-madewebcomics to obviously depict World of Warcraft and Blizzard-designed items specific to the game, and we haven't yet heard of any other webcomics that have been approached in this way.
Still, as they might say in Germany, wir riechen eine ratte. Without knowing the exact nature of the comics that Blizzard had an issue with, this seems like a complete overreach on their part, especially considering that it's some of their biggest fans who are making these comics, and that many artists have portrayed many videogames in webcomics without anyone confusing the issue of whether they were official or not. We'll keep an eye out for more information (and we've also contacted Blizzard for comment) -- if you know of any other webcomics or fan artists who've been approached by Blizzard in this way, definitely let us know.
It's Saturday afternoon! What are you doing? I have no idea! I know what you should be doing, though. You should be finishing up your submissions to our Fan Art Contest! You only have a couple of days left, the contest ends the evening of April 20th.
Again, submissions are judged based on artistic skill, presentation, and creativity. Creativity is weighed much more heavily than the two. If you can make us smile with a crayon doodle, you probably still have a chance to win. Plus, it'll get you featured on our front page even if you don't win, so that's pretty cool. Right?
Our friends at The Guild made an ingame appearance the other day, but not in our game -- they showed up as avatars in Second Life as part of a talk show called the Copper Robot. Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh (Zaboo), and Jeff Lewis (Vork) all stopped by to talk to journalist Mitch Wagner (whom I met on the TUAW Talkcast last night), and you can watch video of the proceedings over on their blog, or just listen in to the audio if you'd like. And there's news about season 3 in the interview -- it should be happening, though Felicia says they haven't gotten "an official pickup" yet, and she hasn't started writing yet. The season 2 DVD is also coming soon.
What's perhaps most interesting about this interview is that the Guildies all used custom-made avatars to appear in the game. Second Life, if you've never played it, is more of a sandbox MMO than the strict rules and design of World of Warcraft, and players have mostly complete freedom to make themselves look like whatever they want. And so a few fans from a site called World2Worlds actually made some avatars for the Guild folks, and they based them off of the (also fan-made) art of the characters. We've never seen footage of "the game," as the characters in The Guild call it, so this is the first time we've seen these avatars represented in any game. Very interesting. The show has a Flickr group, so if you want to check out more shots of what they looked like in-game (including some nutty Vork antics), check that out as well.
A good time was had as always on last weekend's WoW Insider Show -- Adam Holisky kindly stepped into the broadcasting booth with Turpster and I, and we answered some emails (including whether it's OK to give cloth drops to leather wearers, as long as it's an upgrade, and more on which tanking class is the best to take with you), and talked turkey on the biggest stories in the World of Warcraft. We chatted about what might be in store for the next content patch and expansion, what's up with WoW's numbers still going up, and what's new with Wintergrasp in 3.1. We also had a straight-from-the-scene report about the PETA event -- stay tuned for more about that later today.
And we got some interesting Ret Monkey pictures -- the one to the right is by Hydralol of EU Magtheridon, and the other one in the gallery below is by Abbort from Hellscream. Both of these, and any other pictures that you can come up with of the Ret Monkey or any of us who work on the show can be eligible for our Fan Art contest, so enter that if you'd like.
Finally, we have rounded 6,000 followers on our Twitter account, and we're headed to 9,000 -- as we say on the show, it would be great if we could hit that by our 100th show, and combine everything into one big party-down spectacular. So tell your twitterfriends, especially those interested in WoW, to give us a follow. They (and you) won't regret it.
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Yo dawg, we heard you like Arenas, so we put an Arena in your Arena! Behold, WoW's Circle of Blood Arena map, transformed into a Team Fortress 2 map. Sure, it might not have the subtlety of Dustbowl or Well, but as a reproduction, it looks terrific. They even got the starting areas working right. And look at that sky!
You can download this map for TF2 and a very similar one for Counter-Strike: Source over at the creator's blog. I doubt it'll jump to the top of any major playlists any time soon, but if your usual group of TF2 friends also have spent some time in the Arenas, they'll probably get a kick out of it.