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Posts with tag graphics

New WoW Model Viewer available


Yes, I went out and made a screenshot of a Worgen with two wolf-headed fist weapons. I did this via the latest iteration of WoW Model Viewer, freshly updated this Saturday, September 5th to work for patch 3.2. While it has a posted warning use it at your own risk which I thought I should mention, I should also mention I've been using it for the past half an hour with no harm and no foul. I've even been able to play with Trial of the Crusader loot. Go behind the jump to see a Worgen dual-wielding a Justicebringer and Reckoning. Not that I'm obsess with Titan's Grip Worgen or anything. Okay, so I totally am. At any rate, so far as I can tell, this version of the Model Viewer is stable and working with all current models.

This update by Chuanhsing even fixed the issue I was having where all my models came out textureless. I have no idea what it was happening in the first place, but I'm glad to see it gone.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Machinima, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, News items, Add-Ons

The Queue: Nobody expects the Druid Inquisition!


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Allison Robert will be your hostess today.

Adam and Alex are busy packing for BlizzCon, so I've sneaked into the Queue offices to answer some questions this evening. There's no consistent theme here, folks; we're all over the map today with BlizzCon, lore, and player textures. If you don't see your question here, I still have a few in mind from the last post to answer tomorrow.

Smapdor asks...

There are 3 historical scenarios that can be found in Yogg-Saron's "brain room"...What is the Shadow Vault event? I would guess that it is something as important lore-wise as the (other) two, but I have no idea.


It's widely believed that the Shadow Vault "memory" depicts a very recent and very unfortunate occurrence that took place (without player knowledge) after the Wrath Gate event. The NPCs in question are thought to be the souls/spirits/incorporeal whatsamajiggies of Saurfang the Younger and Bolvar Fordragon, who perished in the fight, victim to the Lich King and the Royal Apothecary Society respectively. The Wrath Gate cinematic implies that the Arthas has at least Saurfang's soul to toy with (which would explain the Orcish Turned Champion), but the identity of the Immolated Champion is less clear. Bolvar is by far the most likely possibility -- after all, the Immolated Champion is wearing the same armor Bolvar wore going to his death -- but nothing's been confirmed. Bottom line? Expect to see both Saurfang and Bolvar show up in the Icecrown Citadel raid in some capacity.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, The Queue

Blizzard working to fix graphics issues on Macs

Reader Catsby sent along news of an issue that's apparently plaguing Mac users. Blizzard has confirmed that people using Macs with Nvidia 7300GT and 7600GT graphics cards in them (you can see what you've got by going to the Apple, "About this Mac," and then hitting more info) are having issues with framerates, especially around water and during boss fights (which is exactly when you want the graphics to mess up, right?)

Unfortunately, there's no fix yet -- Blizzard says the issue is known and reproducible, and they're working to put a fix in "the next patch" (originally they say it'll be in a PTR patch 3.2.2 build, but a hint at the end of the thread suggests we may see it even sooner than that). So if your Mac has one of those graphics cards installed and you're having this issue, just sit tight -- Blizzard is working as fast as they can to get a fix out to you.

Filed under: Patches, Bugs, Blizzard, Hardware

Fixing FPS issues with patch 3.1

A few people are experiencing slowdown issues with patch 3.1, and since our last bit of technical help went over so well, we figured we'd do a little troubleshooting for you on this one, too. If your computer is running slower since you updated into patch 3.1, the first thing to do is check your video options -- Blizzard has tweaked a few things in there, and chances are that by tweaking them again, you might be able to fix your problem (or at least make it a little better). Specifically keep an eye out for the new Video Mode Ultra setting -- that specifically is not designed to be used unless your computer is current and top-of-the-line. Shadows also are quite a drag on the video card and CPU, and turning them down won't affect gameplay that much.

If your options are already low, the next thing you might do is check your videocard's make and driver version (scroll down to the "manually" section there -- you don't need to run Intel's program). Nvidia, who makes the common GeForce series of video cards just updated their drivers to version 182.50 on April 2nd, so if you have an earlier version than that, running the update will probably help. If you have an ATI card, you can find the drivers over on their site.

And of course if all of your software is set up and you're still having issues, there's always the possibility of updating your hardware. That can be quite an ordeal, though, so if you're not so sure on how to install new RAM or can't recognize the difference between SATA and IDE, you might want to enlist a friendly techie for a little help. WoW is still very forgiving, but Blizzard has been slowly adding on the graphical goodness, so if you've been playing with the same PC since launch four years ago, it might just be time for an upgrade.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Hardware

WoW in 3D doesn't work so well

3D seems to be making a reemergence lately -- there was a 3D commercial on the Super Bowl last week, I'm going to see Coraline in 3D this weekend (Neil Gaiman and stop motion for the win), and Nvidia's 3D Vision cards have recently been integrated with World of Warcraft. But not so fast there: apparently while the system does make WoW stereoscopic (sends a different picture to each eye), and while it does work for some media (apparently watching 3D HD content with the system "feels like your monitor is a window"), analyst Rob Enderle over at TG Daily says WoW in 3D isn't all that amazing.

Let's not forget, of course, that this is a game going on four years old, and while it has a terrific art style, and has recieved multiple graphic updates since then, we're still dealing with old technology in terms of a graphic engine. So Enderle says that the 3D really makes you realize that there are no real physics in the game -- "the objects," he says, "look like flat cutouts fanned out in a 3D field." The physical limitations are there, too -- you need a special monitor, apparently, and it's only 22" big, which might seem fine for most, but anyone who works all day on a computer (like yours truly), is used to a little bigger screen.

Not to mention that, as he says, any technology that requires you to wear glasses isn't quite as cool as it could be yet. But 3D is obviously making progress, and the more popular it gets, the easier it'll be to make and experience. Maybe someday we'll all see Azeroth as a 3D world around us.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Hardware

Sensory Overload


Unlike a great many of my friends and acquaintances, I'm on record as liking the graphical design of Outland and The Burning Crusade. I never had any trouble distinguishing between the Naaru and their crystal, dimensional ships and spacecraft, I absolutely love the Draenei and the Exodar, I'm a big fan of Nagrand and the stark, barren and destroyed vistas of Netherstorm and Shadowmoon Valley. So I expected that, unlike what seems to be the majority of players, I would in fact be dissatisfied with the visual design of Wrath of the Lich King.

As you can see, however, they realized some of us would be hard sells, so they let me dual wield two hand weapons from the back of a flying carpet. Blizzard, how do you know me better than I do? I didn't even know I wanted to do that!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Expansions, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask A Beta Tester: Spirit, AoE, and raid loot


I'm going to start off this AABT by stealing a question that Alex actually took last time, mostly because I started laughing when I read it yesterday. I have, oh, conservatively, billions of Wrath screenshots on my hard drive at this point, but there's one I remember all too well.

Marathan asks...

Some time ago, there was a talk about new player character models for Wrath - and even some bugged pictures. So the question is, are they going live? Are we finally going to get improved graphics on our characters?

As Alex wrote, Blizzard used one beta build to test the ease of implementing new skins and some of them...didn't turn out too well. Imagine you're me and you get a beta key. Budget a few hours of anticipatory excitement while your main copies over. She's a 70 Tauren Druid who has been with you since day one, your sole 70, and you think she's the most beautiful thing in the game even if to everyone else she's an ungainly 8-foot heifer. Now imagine booting up the Wrath beta for the first time and being horrified to see your beloved character with a Glasgow smile, like the developers had seen the Joker in The Dark Knight and thought, "Hey! We could make that work!"

Holy water did nothing. Neither did crucifixes, garlic, a wooden stake, waving the Bible in the direction of the laptop, or sobbing quietly in a corner.

On the plus side, here was finally something in the game to which Tauren cat form was an actual graphical improvement.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Priest, Shaman, Mining, Tailoring, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Features, Wrath of the Lich King

Troubleshooting dynamic shadows on OS X and Windows

This forum thread, about the new shadow technology appearing on the Mac in 3.0.2, is confusing. There are four Blue responses in the first 10 posts, and at the end of it, I still don't have a clear idea of whether shadows work on the Mac or not. The issue seems to be this: shadows do work on the Mac, but not the highest quality shadows. Why? Because while Windows uses DirectX to do its 3D processing, OS X still uses OpenGL. And while shadows do work in OpenGL (and eventually can work just as well in OpenGL), Blizzard needs Apple to put some extensions in which aren't there yet, so the highest quality shadows aren't yet possible.

Did your eyes glaze over from all that tech talk? Let's make it simple: if you're on Windows or OS X and you don't see shadows, odds are that your settings are wrong. Open up Video settings in game, and slide the Shadows slider all the way to the right as far as it will go, and then escape out and see if Shadows appear. Note, however, that this will slow your computer down, and as we said earlier today, older computers might have trouble doing this. If you're running an older PC or Mac, you may have to forget about the dynamic shadows completely.

That said, according to the Blues, with the shadow slider flipped all the way up on a PC and a Mac, the PC's shadows will look a little better. That's not a limitation of your computer (or of Blizzard's designers), it's a limitation of the technologies that Blizzard is using to make the game. When OpenGL (the code that allows game makers like Blizzard to draw 3D graphics within OS X) gets updated, then we'll see some higher quality shadows.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Guides

System requirements posted for WotLK

Blizzard has been putting off posting system requirements for Wrath of the Lich King for a while, but they've finally made a commitment, posted on the official forums. As one might expect, they're fairly forgiving given modern hardware, but they are significantly bumped from the BC requirements (which were not updated from classic WoW, aside from nominally requiring a broadband connection). Here are the minimum and recommended requirements for Wrath:

  • PC:
    • Windows XP SP3 or Vista SP1 (Windows 2000 no longer supported)
    • Pentium 4 1.3 GHz or AMD Athlon XP 1.5 GHz (up from 800 MHz Intel/AMD). Dual-core recommended.
    • RAM: 512 MB/1 GB for Vista, doubled from same as previous. 1 GB/2 GB recommended.
    • Video: GPU with hardware transform and lighting and 32 MB VRAM, same as before. Recommended 128 MB VRAM.
  • Mac:
    • Mac OS X 10.4.11 (10.3 no longer supported)
    • PowerPC G5 1.6 GHz or Intel Core Duo. Big change here: G4s are no longer supported. This one actually affects me, since I do have some G4 machines hanging around the house. Intel 1.8 GHz recommended.
    • RAM: 1 GB, up from 512 MB. 2 GB recommended.
    • Video: Hardware transform and lighting, 64 MB VRAM. On the face of it, this rules out the integrated graphics found on MacBooks and Mac Minis, but there's been no official word on it yet. 128 MB VRAM recommended.

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Filed under: Wrath of the Lich King, Hardware

Model changes for Varimathras and Alexstrasza


We certainly enjoyed the model changes to Varian Wrynn and Sylvanas Windrunner, and now Blizzard's finished the unique models for Alexstrasza (human form, that is; you can see her dragon model update here) and Varimathras, as befits their key roles in the storyline for Wrath. I'm a tiny bit disappointed with Alexstrasza's model; her armor is mostly a red copy of Sylvanas' new threads, which are admittedly all sorts of awesome but makes me wonder if there's some kind of Armor Barn in Azeroth for hipster bosses. Alexstrasza does, however, show even more skin than Sylvanas does, so from some peoples' perspectives this might be a feature rather than a bug.

Varimathras is a nice update although he retains his old animations and emotes (you can't really see it from the perspective of the screenshot above, but I think his legs and hooves are a significant improvement on the shaky anatomy of the current dreadlord model). Both he and Alexstrasza's changes are somewhat less shocking than the complete overhaul to Wrynn and Sylvanas, but we're still pleased to see Blizzard taking an interest in the visual badassery of major faction leaders and NPC's. I would tend to agree with Zach Yonzon's contention that it would be amazing to see an update to all the faction leaders if Blizzard could swing it at some point, although I have the sneaking suspicion, judging from what CM's have said about the difficulty of programming in new Druid forms, that this is a fairly lengthy process. However, after seeing the model changes in the beta, I don't think anyone's going to argue it's not worth it, and a number of people have argued for player model changes as well. The extraordinary design work in Northrend will probably add fuel to that fire.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Lore, Bosses, Factions, NPCs, Wrath of the Lich King

Boss models updated in Wrath Beta


A nice surprise awaited the citizens of Stormwind and the Undercity when the new Beta build went live earlier. New, unique models for King Varian Wrynn and Lady Sylvanas Windrunner debuted in their respective cities, looking every bit as awesome as faction leaders should be. Although Lady Sylvanas received a makeover over a month ago -- changed from the erroneous Night Elf model into the proper High or Blood Elf model -- this newest iteration is more regal, more intimidating, and just more badass. Taking a screenshot proved difficult as throngs of admirers threw all sorts of emotes at the new Dark Lady from /cowers to /kisses.

King Varian Wrynn in Stormwind also received a graphic overhaul, upgrading from pre-TBC PvP Honor gear to a unique armor set with an eagle and lion motif. He also no longer dual-wields Jade Serpentblades but more appropriately what looks like Quel'serrar. So Wrynn has apparently taken care of the Onyxia problem. Twice. Alex Ziebart points out that he also seems to be wearing Anduin Lothar's belt (always thank your lore nerds!). It's a cool model except that he always seems to be scowling and occasionally yawns. But the details matter -- Varian's face is also battle-scarred -- and I want to seriously give props to the Blizzard artists behind these new models. They're just completely fantastic.

[EDIT: I probably should have mentioned this, too, since I'd already checked it out but reader RogueJedi86 called me on it -- they also updated the dragon model for Alexstraza, and can be viewed on World of Raids. She really likes her trinkets and baubles like the sophisticated lady that she is...]

In other news, this Beta build also saw the traitorious Varimathras converted into a duotone Rubik's Cube. Maybe a placeholder for better graphics or punishment for being such an arrogant lackey? If anything, however, with all these unique models coming out, perhaps it's a good time to update the other boss models in the game. Thrall, the baddest of all badasses, still looks like he's in Level 40 greens [NOTE: Reader Skeeran correctly reminds me that Thrall's armor is Orgrim Doomhammer's armor as seen in Warcraft III... but it still looks like Level 40 greens.]. Even worse off is Cairne Bloodhoof, who looks like he got all his gear from the Wailing Caverns. Since these bosses are soon going receive a lot of visitors, it's probably a good time to dress them up properly to receive them. I mean, Tyrande Whisperwind is still wearing a nightdress...

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King

New facial models in latest beta build aren't quite done


Banana Shoulders has a pretty in-depth look at a graphical update we weren't expecting at all: Blizzard has, in the latest beta build, decided to update the facial textures of some player models, including Gnomes, Human females, and Tauren. And unfortunately, the updates aren't necessarily for the better -- while the models do look a little clearer and more well-defined, they definitely aren't done yet, as the eyes are eerily in the wrong place inside the head, and some of the models are just plain uglier than they used to be.

More realism and detail is always a good thing, and it's important to remember that we're still in beta -- there's no way those Gnome eyes will go live. Blizzard may even be updating the way the heads are put together as well, in order to make sure the new hairstyles all work the way they're meant to. The real challenge, however, will be making sure that the characters come out of this process looking the same way they did before -- if the textures look extremely different, you may end up logging into Wrath with a character you don't recognize.

Update: Don't panic -- Tigole says the facial model texture changes were "a development experiment," and these funny faces will never make the live realms.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW Insider Show live Saturday afternoon at 3:30pm Eastern


Yes, our world famous world class worldwide podcast goes live yet again tomorrow afternoon at WoW Radio, and even though every week in this space, I usually say, "it's going to be a good one," trust me, it always is. Turpster and I will be on as usual, and we'll also welcome blogger Michael Gray from right here at WoW Insider on with us. On the plate you'll find lots of talk about Wrath and the expansion patch, including the new tech and graphics Blizzard is bringing to bear, the scariest raid boss in the game since Hogger, and all the other most popular stories from the World of Warcraft in the past week. And since Mr. Gray will be on (Turpster has to be "Mr. Pink"), we'll also chat about his work here at WI, and his popular Arena interview column.

If you've got something you want us to talk about on the show, the email address is theshow@wow.com, and of course we'll be live chatting on IRC during the broadcast at irc.mmoirc.com in the #wowradio channel (or if that means nothing to you, you can just click "Chat" on the WoW Radio homepage).

I can guarantee you that if you listen to the show for the first time, two things will happen: 1) you will smile at least once, if not laugh outright, and 2) you will hear something about the World of Warcraft that you didn't know before. Of course, that thing you learn may be something personal about Turpster and what he thinks of Lady Vashj, but hey, we never said we were "world class."

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Podcasting, Odds and ends, PvP, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King, WoW Insider Show

Brack clarifies graphical update plans

We heard just last week that J. Allen Brack said Blizzard was definitely considering a graphical overhaul for WoW in the future (something players have been asking about for a while), and now WorldofWar has asked Brack to clarify exactly what's going on with the game's graphics. And he's answered. He says that Blizzard's approach to updating the game's graphics will likely be very different than other games' attempts -- they want to do it organically and iteratively rather than all in one go.

Which follows with what's happened already -- Burning Crusade got a few tweaks and upgrades, and Wrath has its own. Not only will they implement that shader system we heard about way back, but the shadows for each model ingame will be updated (and real-time, very cool), and Blizzard is increasing the view distance (to help out with vehicular combat, we hope?). But other changes, Brack says, will come in waves, not all at once.

He does mention an upgrade of how the water in the game looks, though of course he doesn't say when that might happen, only that Blizzard is looking at it. But it seems like a pretty sure bet not to expect an upcoming content patch to be "the graphical update patch." Blizzard is improving the way the world looks, but they're doing it one step at a time.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Screenshots

Brack: Will Blizzard consider a graphical overhaul? "Yep, probably."

Chilton and Brack are just all kinds of talkative at the Leipzig Games Convention this year -- in addition to chatting with the buffed.de folks, they also sat down with Jeff Kaplan and Eurogamer, and the results of that conversation are now up on their site.

They start out by talking about the changes with 10 and 25 man raiding, and Kaplan says plainly that the Burning Crusade endgame was just too plain hard: "We just had: 'OK, welcome to level 70, here's a brick wall. Maybe you can climb it.'" There will still be a hardcore endgame in Wrath, but it'll be later on, near the very end of the raiding ladder. They also describe Wrath as a "coming home" moment -- after an "exploratory" period in Outland, Wrath will be a return to Warcraft's tradition and lore. And perhaps most surprising, Brack actually lends a lot of credence to a question about a graphical overhaul "from the ground up." He says that by the next expansion they'll "probably" have to look at updating the graphics system completely.

And finally, Blizzard believes that yes, even though it doesn't seem like it now, eventually there'll be something bigger than World of Warcraft. Brack's last word is an interesting look at the future: "Something will come along and WoW will be like EverQuest: a great game I played back in the day."

[via WorldofWar.net]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Expansions, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King

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