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Posts with tag character-model

Vanilla alpha models vs. Warlords

Hayven Games over on Youtube posted a pretty interesting video the other day, in light of all of the new character models we're beginning to see. Players may be familiar enough with the models we use in WoW today, but very few players know what the original alpha models from World of Warcraft looked like. In some cases, there were very little changes from alpha WoW to release, and in others, the change was pretty dramatic. In the above video, those incredibly old models from alpha are highlighted -- not just the static models, but how they walk and run. Characters that have already been featured in ArtCraft segments also have their Warlords model improvements on display for a side-by-side comparison.

It's interesting to see how not just the artwork, but even the walk and run cycles for characters evolved from the original days of alpha to WoW's release back in 2004. Human characters look a little leaner with longer legs, gnomes in particular have some pretty terrifying faces, but the most striking difference has to be with the trolls. While the male trolls looked fairly close to release version, the run animation was something else entirely. As for female trolls ... well, let's just say despite the current blank, unblinking stare, today's models are a vast, vast improvement.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

Female dwarf 3D character model appears on Warlords of Draenor site

We've seen several character models appear lately with just still shots to appreciate them by, while the Warlords of Draenor official site remains forlorn with only the male orc, dwarf and gnome models visible. But now the female dwarf has been added, in all her three-dimensional glory, as Senior Art Director Chris Robinson tweeted.

Fans of Burning Crusade races the draenei and the blood elf will also no doubt be really thrilled to note that there have been sections added to the site to include the updated models for all of those. There are also several new stills for the female dwarf, showing off her emotes. I think she looks fantastic, if a little manic!

You can see all the model images released so far in the gallery below.


Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Orc female model revealed

The next installment of the Artcraft series has revealed the new Orc female model. We've previously seen pieces on Garrisons, as well as the human female model, adding to the undead male and female, as well as the gnomes, dwarves and male orcs we saw at BlizzCon.

Blizzard is again doing sterling work in staying true to the original model, and I am glad to see that her body shape has not changed dramatically. The strong, powerful-looking orc lady is by far my favorite model in the game, so I'm glad to see that her musculature remains largely unchanged. There are some minor alterations to her posture, though, and her posterior looks somewhat altered, without wishing to be unkind. I can't help thinking her head looks smaller in some of the images too.

But the face and hair look fantastic. There is some slightly odd shading where I had always assumed she was bald before, around her ponytails and the like, but I'll assume that's optional. The face is wonderfully expressive, as we've come to expect with these models, and the hair looks great.

Filed under: Blizzard, Warlords of Draenor

The time for variant skins is now

With the upcoming character model redesign for Warlords of Draenor, and with no announcement for any new races or classes, a question I've heard asked a lot is is that enough? And while I think it is enough, considering how massive a task it is and how much it will change the game for people, I do think the focus on character models means that now is absolutely the time to introduce another level of character customization. I don't expect (based on what we've seen) to see many new options like a height slider. So I think the old idea to give us variant skins based on sub-groups like the broken draenei, Mag'har orcs, Dark Iron dwarves, Grimtotem tauren and so on should finally become an option.

In some cases this would be easier than in others. Giving draenei a playable broken appearance (seen above) would require a lot of work - as you can see, the model is outdated and is even on the wrong skeleton for a draenei. (It's built on top of the current tauren skeleton.) But allowing a player to choose a Dragonmaw, Blackrock or Mag'har orc is as simple as giving them more options in skin tone.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Warlords of Draenor

What race needs new character models the most?

Breakfast Topic What race needs new character models the most
Over the weekend at Gamescom, Game Director Tom Chilton and Lead Content Designer Cory Stockton revealed that new character models for the older races are currently in development and are about 25% done. Chilton also added that he wasn't sure if all the new models would be launched at the same time, or if Blizzard would opt to release them over several patches as they are completed. I'm in favor of the latter myself, though I can see that resulting in an unbearable amount of QQ from players whose characters didn't initially receive model updates.

The whole thing makes me wonder which races are likely to get updated first. It's possible the developers will go after the most popular races first (humans and blood elves) since that will appease the largest number of people. It's also just as possible they'll work in order of which races need new models the most. That raises the question though, which race is in the most dire need of a character model update?

If I had to pick one I'd probably go with dwarf, specifically the female dwarf because so few people play it. Granted, I don't think female dwarves necessarily suffer from the worst looking model, but they're somehow still one of the least popular choices among players. That alone makes me feel like the model needs some time and attention to not only update it, but to broaden its appeal somewhat. Mind you, female dwarves don't need to have the same appeal as blood elves or humans, but they certainly should have more than they currently do.

Which race do you think needs a character model update the most? Tell us why.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Character model rework 25% complete

Character model rework 25% complete
Speaking to Tom Chilton and Cory Stockton this morning, the question came up of the character model rework. Unusually, these guys actually seemed happy to give us quite a lot of information about where they were going with the character models. Most notably, when pushed, they let us know that the percentage completion of the new character models was as follows:
TC: "Um, 20% maybe?"
CS: "Yeah 25%, maybe 25. That could be a safe number."
TC: "But yeah, there's a long way to go. And I also don't know that, when we launch the new character models, I don't know that they'll all be done at the same time. We'll probably have a good number of them done, and we'll launch those, and we'll continue to update more throughout the patch cycle. We figure players would rather have some earlier than wait forever until they're all done. Not forever but, a longer time. Might feel forever. Blizzard soon."
Tom and Cory also went into quite some detail about the reasons why the process took so long, and brought up the importance of maintaining a character's identity while also updating the models. They recognized how important that was to players, and how many players identified heavily with the look of their characters' models.

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Filed under: News items

The aesthetic consequences of new character models

This is neither a post excoriating nor exulting but rather simply contemplating the process of updating character models in World of Warcraft. I got to thinking about this when I realized that I'm always happiest when I get Well of Eternity because I like the night elf model. Tall, spare, muscular, it looks excellent in plate. There are certainly flaws to the model, but they're concealed entirely by my gear. Night elf males have large hands, but those hands look just fine curled around a weapon, and the faces are entirely concealed behind my helmet. As you can see above, the night elf male does an excellent job of showing off the textures and details of my armor set, especially the plated legs.

Redesigning these models will have a variety of effects. As a long-time player, I have my own stylistic loves and hates. Human females look astonishingly vapid and nigh-idiotic, and their animations in melee look ludicrous to the point that I expect them to fall over every weapon swing, while gnomes and blood elves have excellent combat flow. Female undead melee are awesome to watch, but I can't stand the bones poking through my gear. That's part of the complication here. The models you love, someone else hates, and the models you hate, someone else loves. That's often viewed as a cop-out -- but man, if you screw up my tauren, I will burn your world. (Note: Will not actually burn your world ... too lazy.)

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Amazing player-animated and -rendered WoW avatar

Mother of sweet things! I saw this on Reddit's /r/wow community a few days ago and realized that I'm kind of a slacker when it comes to my own forum signatures (which is apparently the whole purpose of the project). Thovald, the player responsible for the video, wrote that he did it in 3D Studio Max and didn't actually change the female troll model itself. The big difference is an increased polygon count for the robes and (I would assume) the graphics of the fire spell being cast. It reminded me more than a bit of the perennial favorite Blind, and it's all the more amazing that Thovald is apparently self-taught.

We know that Blizzard is working on an update for character models, but it's pretty cool to see what players can do with them in the meantime. They might be old, but as Thovald noted, they're still a surprisingly expressive bunch.

Filed under: Arts and Crafts

New character models are in the works

One of the most interesting tidbits dropped during the World of Warcraft Open Q&A is a note concerning new character models for the game's older races. If you've played the game for any length of time, it's instantly obvious that not all character models are created equal, and the game's earliest races are in a pretty sorry state in comparison to their later counterparts. As we learned in the art panel, the male pandaren has 10 times the number of digital "bones" possessed by the game's older races, allowing them an unprecedented number of fluid and dynamic animations. As Milka, one of our commenters, just noted, "I heard that they're creating animated belts. My troll woman still can't blink. Result: My belt will be more expressive than my face."

Players have been asking for updates to older races as a result, and developers have confirmed that they are in the works and being actively designed by the character artists. However, they don't want to put something in the game that feels like a betrayal to a character that you've had for years, so they're proceeding carefully. There's no word yet on when we can expect to see them, but it's good news for everyone who'd like their older toons to look as good as their newer ones!

Edit: Zarhym has just posted on the forums clarifying the information given at BlizzCon, although there's no new information to share.

The news is out -- we'll be playing Mists of Pandaria! Find out what's in store with an all-new talent system, peek over our shoulder at our Pandaren hands-on, and get ready to battle your companion pets against others. It's all here right at WoW Insider!

Filed under: BlizzCon

Shifting Perspectives: Fun with race choice

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, we have absolutely no excuse for the column we've written.

I'll be honest; I wrote this week's column purely for brainless fun. You won't learn anything (not that you do normally), there are no insights to be gained (not that there are normally) and I don't have any new Cataclysm alpha information. I am very sorry to anyone who came here looking for a solid, informative column, and if you wish to excoriate me in the comments then I encourage you to do so.

Anyway. When it comes to druids, the deal with race choice is that you don't really have any. If you play Alliance, you have to play a night elf; if you play Horde, you have to play a tauren. We're the most race-restricted class in the game, and even in Cataclysm, that's not really going to change.

Some of you might recall a bug from a little while back that allowed you to model-swap between characters on the same realm by "choosing" two of them at once. I'm pretty sure it's been fixed now, so I wouldn't bother trying it if I were you, but I had lot of fun swapping non-druid races into our various tier sets and wondering what it might have been like to play them. I screenshotted like a maniac while doing so and then set them aside for a future column whenever I felt like doing something just for fun. That would be today.

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Filed under: Druid, Humor, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

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