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New Character Model Previews!

Female Human Model preview

This evening Blizzard came out with a new blogpost giving some insight on how the new character models are being developed. They also released a character preview model of the Female Human model. Check out the screenshots and blizzard article below.

Quote from: Blizzard
Hi, I’m Chris Robinson, senior art director of World of Warcraft, and this is the first in a series of articles we’re creating to bring you all closer to the development of the player character model revamps we announced at BlizzCon. In this series, we’ll give you an inside look at the process we go through to do one of these revamps, discuss the kinds of art issues we’re addressing with the new models, and provide a bit of insight our future plans for their continued polish.We’re happy to begin our series by sharing a first look at where we’re at with the Human female. While future articles won’t always be about revealing a new model, we thought this would be a great introduction to the approach we take for every one of these redesigns.

We’re looking at these model revamps as a sort of “spiritual update” to the art content that currently exists in-game—except we’re completely redoing them from scratch. That includes the base model, skin tone variations, customization options (e.g. wrinkles, scars, moles, earrings, etc.), hairstyles, and any skin variations for NPCs you see out in the world, like Iron Dwarves or Leper Gnomes. We’re pretty excited about some of the ideas you’ve given us for new customization and skin options you’d like to see, but our first goal—which is already a monumental endeavor—is to make sure that the visual content that currently exists is brought up to or surpasses the level of quality you see in current boss models, the Pandaren, and central NPCs like the new Vol’jin model.

With the revamp, we’re completely overhauling every aspect of the player models, but our goal is to do so while retaining the core look and feel that has always made them your character. We’ll feel like we’ve succeeded if you see the updated version of your character and it still feels like you’re looking at the character you’ve been playing for the past however many years—only someone has finally focused a lens.

To achieve this, we’re increasing the polygon count significantly (in some cases going from less than 1,000 to over 5,000), more than doubling the texture resolution, increasing bone count significantly to support updated animation and facial expression, and retouching nearly every animation for all of the characters. For animation alone, that’s roughly 180 animations per character, times 10 races in both male and female variants, equaling approximately 3,600 animations. We’re also incorporating the rigging technology we introduced with the Pandaren into every character to provide better posing, smoother animation, and the ability to pull off some fantastic facial expressions. In the weeks and months ahead, we’re going to be bringing you in for a closer look at some of the processes, challenges, and results of this revamp process.

“When developing the base model we keep the expression on the face as devoid of emotion or expression as possible”

What you’re looking at here for the Human female is a single face option and a single skin tone on the base model without any animation or posing. When developing the base model we keep the expression on the face as devoid of emotion or expression as possible, as that allows our animators a greater range of motion when they start posing and morphing the face into different expressions. If we were to put any amount of expression—even a slight smile or mildly angry eyebrows—in the base model, that would carry through to every animation, and we’d end up with some very confused-looking characters.

Joe Keller is a senior character artist on our team and was responsible for the lion’s share of modeling and texturing the Human female. Here’s what he had this to say about this challenge:

“Everyone is pretty familiar with the Human character models in WoW, but working on these updates gives us a chance to embellish and fill in the blanks. For the Human female this meant we could give her more muscle definition and personality in the face while still staying true to the overall look and spirit of the original. Hopefully this will also help show her as more of the capable fighter that she is.”
This process has been a welcome challenge for all of us on the World of Warcraft art team. We’ve all wanted to address the player models and bring them up to a more current fidelity for some time now, and we’re as excited as you are to get these models into the game. We hope you’ll enjoy this series as we invite you to meet the team and see more on our development process.

Thanks so much, and see you next time.

New Mount Preview!

Late last night blizzard shared a new image on their social media, of a new flying mount. It looks like a flying version of the Raven Lord Anzu (and his mount) possibly indicating that this might be the mount you’ll get if you pre-order the digital deluxe edition of Warlords of Draenor. Check the mount down below or here on WoW’s facebook page.

Recap Warcraft News Jan 13th – 19th

As we’re still working on the website we haven’t been able to get out articles as new news comes out so here’s a recap of the last week’s Warcraft related news!

Greg Street(Ghostcrawler)’s new job!

We found out on monday what new opportunity ghostcrawler left blizzard for. He’s now a lead game designer at Riot Games, the folks who developed League of Legends.

Targeted SoO raid nerfs

Next up, starting the upcoming raid reset, some targeted nerfs will effect the Siege of Orgrimmar raid.

Quote from: Blizzard

Galakras

We will be reducing the health of the Kor’kron troops in 10-player Normal and Flexible difficulty, because smaller raid groups have fewer tools to deal with the various enemies, and are further impacted when a portion of the raid must break off to deal with towers. No changes to Heroic difficulty at this time.

Thok the Bloodthirsty

We will reduce Thok’s unavoidable Fearsome Roar and Shock Blast damage in 10-player Normal, Heroic, and Flexible mode – again, smaller raid groups have fewer raid cooldowns to handle the increasing damage as Acceleration ramps, and we’re seeing 10-player groups and smaller Flex groups having much more difficulty with this encounter than their 25-player counterparts.

Siegecrafter Blackfuse

This encounter’s Heroic mode is a huge step up in difficulty from the preceding 11 bosses. We’re looking to smooth out that spike somewhat, while still keeping the fight quite challenging. The following changes apply only to Heroic difficulty: We are reducing the unavoidable raidwide damage inflicted by Magnetic Crush and Shredders’ Overload, as well as the damage from Superheated (to make belt groups’ lives a bit less painful when an Overcharged Laser is active). We’re also reducing Disassembled Turret health. Finally, on 10-player Heroic only, we’re reducing the health of Crawler Mines, since 10-player raids have fewer available tools to keep them controlled.

Paragons of the Klaxxi

Moving on to Heroic Paragons, we’d like them to continue a steady increase in difficulty that culminates with Garrosh. They’re already pretty close to that, so we’re just making a couple of tweaks here, reducing the damage of Multi-Shot and Fiery Edge on Heroic difficulty. This should keep most of the coordination difficulty of the fight, but reduce some frustrating deaths due to burst damage interactions between different abilities.

Warlords of Draenor Scouting Report

Furthermore blizzard came out with a Warlords of Draenor Scouting report indicating a few things.

  • If you want to opt in for the beta, now is the time to do so
  • Digital versions of Warlords of Draenor will be available for pre-purchase soon(tm)
  • Players will get an instant lvl 90 character at the moment they buy Warlords of Draenor
  • Blizzard will be testing out buying extra instant lvl 90 characters on the PTR
  • Players who buy the Digital Deluxe edition will instantly get the exclusive pet and mount

A new beast takes to the skies!

The Iron Skyreaver mount was put on the ingame blizzard store this week. Blizzard put together a nice little video showing off the new mount.

Podcast Episode 18 and website/social media changes

On this week’s podcast we talk about the recent announcements concerning the pre-ordering of Warlords of Draenor and the targetted nerfs that will hit Siege of Orgrimmar next raid reset, as well as what they could possibly mean for the Warlords of Draenor release date!

Furthermore we’ve built up the site more meaning you should check back! As we work out the kinks we will keep you up to date to the latest news in Warcraft and Blizzard Entertainment! You can also expect guides as they have been on our youtube channel for a good few months now.

Some social media changes
Our facebook has been updated to www.facebook.com/wowweekly .
Please follow us on Google+.
Sadly the twitter handle wowweekly has already been taken so it will stay www.twitter.com/bbmezzy for now.
Finally, as youtube channel links cannot be changed it will also stay www.youtube.com/bbmezzy .