I actually hate that song, by the way:
One of the most common complaints leveled against World of Warcraft is the quality of its graphics. It’s understandable. The game is seven years old, and it can’t compete with the gorgeous graphics of games like Aion or Rift.
But Blizzard was smart when they designed WoW’s graphics. They gave it a unique, cartoony style that ages gracefully. I know the graphics are out of date, but they don’t look that way to me. They just look stylized — they look like WoW. So I think the graphics complaints are somewhat overblown.
But yet they persist. And one area of the graphics that receives a special level of hate is character models. People are constantly begging for them to be updated, and now, Blizzard has caved. We now know that they are working on new character models. It’s no longer a question of if we will get new models; it’s a question of when.
Common rumor has it that the new character graphics will be required to work in the new monk animations and will thus launch with Mists of Pandaria, but if that were the case, I would think Blizzard would have just come right out and said it, so I somewhat doubt the validity of this assumption.
Although then again, there is that new Chuck Norris commercial featuring a new human model with some very monk-like moves…
My only question about these revamped models is, “Why?” Maybe I just need to get my eyes checked, but I think the current models look fine. Okay, human and Orc males are definitely showing their age, and I could see arguments being made for Night Elf males and Tauren females needing a facelift, but the others look okay to me.
It seems even less necessary in the case of the Burning Crusade races. Can you improve on the perfection that is the Blood Elves? Of course not.
I question whether this is a worthwhile use of Blizzard’s time. New character models will consume a huge amount of resources, and I can think of many things I’d rather have, even just in regards to graphics updates. I’d much rather have better spell effects or more realistic trees. I mean, have you been to Eversong lately?
Dear god, my eyes.
Furthermore, some people, including yours truly, get very attached to the appearance of their characters, warts and all. They may not like a character they’ve played with for years turning into something unrecognizable overnight.
Now, to be fair, I do trust Blizzard to do a good job in most things, and odds are that I will like the new models. But there will always be some people who liked the original better, and what if I’m one of them? There are some very fine details of my characters I like, and it wouldn’t take much change to ruin them.
Take, for example, my rogue, a human female. I don’t like the human female face choices. They’re all far too innocent and cheerful-looking. Except one, the one I picked for my rogue. She has a sort of permanent glare, and her eyes shift back and forth as if seeking a target. It’s the perfect face for a rogue, and it’s one of the first things that got me interested in the character, even before I hit “Enter World” and killed my first kobold.
But what if the new models don’t have an equivalent “srs” face? What if all we’re left with is the placid, soccer mom faces? I may have to race change to a Night Elf or Worgen just to avoid the indignity.
My father, who also plays WoW, has a similar feeling towards his rogue, an Undead female. In his case, he’s mildly obsessed with her hair. But what if the new Undead females don’t come with a blonde pixie cut? I’m sure he’d be devastated.
There’s also the risk of more advanced models causing lag on lower end computers. Probably wouldn’t affect me, but it’s still a concern that needs to be raised. Is it worth crippling someone else’s ability to play just to make your toon a little more polished?
Now, with all that being said, I’m not necessarily opposed to the introduction of new models — as long as we have the option to keep the old ones if we prefer. Once the new models go live, I think everyone should be given the option on each character to upgrade or not. There are some characters I probably would like to upgrade — I would be overjoyed if my Orc learned to stand up straight — but I can still keep the old ones if I prefer. Then, everyone’s happy.
So what do you think? Do you think the models need an update? Are you fine with how things are now? How would you feel if you logged in one day to find a new character staring you in the face?