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Reader Comments (9)

Posted: Jun 4th 2009 8:58AM Debesun said

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This is the only form that I'm actually rather uneasy about getting a update.

Of all the 4 feral forms, I have always been content with how Nelf Cat Form looked through all the years. It just seemed to fit in so well with what I would expect from a feral Night Elf Druid.

Regardless, looking at the previous previews, they should look good :)

Posted: Jun 4th 2009 12:01PM Evy said

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I'm a little nervous, too. My main is a feral n'elf druid and purple is my favorite color. So, naturally, I've always been pretty pleased with n'elf cat form (and epic flight form!). My only real complaint is the weird cross-eyed thing the cats have, which I've complained about on Massively previously.

So yeah, I'm nervous. I hope they look good. *crosses fingers* My druid has been my main character for several years now, she's pretty precious to me! :)
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Posted: Jun 4th 2009 9:25AM (Unverified) said

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I know I'm defiling the sacred cow that is WoW and will most likely be flamed as a result, but between the foliage and other objects (the ropes on the zeppelins come to mind)that appear to have the density of paper, this whole game needs a graphical update that goes beyond cat forms and lighting effects. Even PS2 games don't have the "mittens for hands" thing anymore that the character models in this game still have.

I don't care if this is the look that blizzard went for or whatever else the devoted fans of this game will say - it looks terrible.

Posted: Jun 4th 2009 10:02AM Myria said

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I'm not really sure what you mean by "mittens for hands", overall character models in WoW aren't all that different, save in style, from other games I've played -- significantly better then LoTRO (the worst character models I've seen in a long time), a bit worse then CoX (and, of course, far less customizable). The only MMO (if only sort-of) I've played recently with significantly better character models is Guild Wars. The character models in GW are just stunning (my dervish with her Vabbian jewel armor should be the standard by which such things are set) , but given that a significant part of the graphics in that game are pre-rendered backgrounds and everything is instanced, Anet was blessed with more 'headroom' then most games are going to have before hitting the "have to have a top end machine to even think about it" point that is a sure sub killer.

In no case, btw, do any of these games -- WoW, CoX, LoTRO, GW -- have what I'd call well articulated hands. They're pretty much all "mitten hands", unless you mean something else by that term, but since the player will almost never be zoomed in enough to notice (or care), I doubt making fully articulated fingers is a priority on anyone's MMO 'To Do' list.

As for environments, you're right that WoW's aren't exactly... wowing. They did significantly improve things with Wrath (in fact it's kind of amusing to note the dramatic differences in framerate with the same settings between going to, say, Durotar, Zangar, and Borean) and at its highest setting it doesn't look terrible -- damning with faint praise, to be sure. To be honest, though, I doubt all that many players really care, you really kind of stop noticing pretty quickly, and it certainly isn't hurting them too much on subs.

Mind you I am displeased in the extreme with what they've done with the bear and, especially, Tauren cat models, but those were by far the worst player models in the game and most of the others (save ToL, lazer chicken, the travel forms that I don't expect Blizz will ever bother with, and, possibly ghost wolf) are just fine and, for the most part, equal or superior to their counterparts in other mainstream MMOs.
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Posted: Jun 4th 2009 1:25PM (Unverified) said

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Toons in WoW look like they are wearing flesh colored mittens.
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Posted: Jun 4th 2009 1:32PM (Unverified) said

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@ Myria:

Yeah, you got what I meant by "mitten hands"...I meant that there's only 2 parts to the hand, the palm and some mass for a thumb that's usually twice the size it should be. I guess my main gripe with so many of these games is that they concentrate so much on only a few aspects that other things fall by the wayside.

Like, I'll use Oblivion as an example...the character models look pretty darn good, or at least the detail of armor and weapons and all that. But then you get up close to the foliage, and again, it's really cheap looking and it's a couple little green sticks that look like they're pasted together. I love the look of Sholazar Basin...from afar. Just like Oblivion though, you get in close and you see that those realistic-looking palm fronds you admired from 100 yards away are totally inanimate and pixelated. The instances look pretty great though...Halls of Lightning is very easy on the eyes.

I was kind of the opposite on noticing things about the graphics and character models. I found the longer I've been playing, the more I noticed these things. I've noticed that there has been a jump in quality in the new zones over the old ones, and I appreciate that the game still runs pretty well despite the improvements and that you don't need a powerhouse machine to run it with max settings.

I don't know...just voicing my opinion. I'm not a game designer so I don't know their processes in how they do their updates or anything else...I just play games like Mass Effect and I think "look, they have fingers! and the objects in the environments aren't paper-thin!" And I know that there's a huge difference between a next-gen console's graphics and a 4 year old mmo's graphics. But, even the mmo snobs on this site that rip on consoles have to admit that the next WoW-killer with new graphics is overdue. I'm hoping SWTOR will be that but it's too early to tell.
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Posted: Jun 4th 2009 3:08PM Myria said

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@manic

I guess I'm a bit confused, then. Out of curiosity I just checked and pretty much every character I've got has distinct fingers. They're often oddly proportioned and/or sized, but the only one that's really close to "mitten hands" is my Taurens. While they have distinct fingers, they are rather gross in a hoof-like way, but that's fairly understandable. Taurens aside, Belfs seem to have about the closest to what we'd think of as a normal hand, Daenei were about the worst. In the case of my undead warlock her fingers are oddly pointed, the distal section looking like she'd shoved each finger into a pencil sharpener, but she moves each finger in rhythmic pattern pretty much continuously, so in that example there's even independent finger motion.

That's not to say the hands are particularly well done, Belfs aside, or are anything like normally articulated. In the case of my undead lock I'm sure her motion is pre-rendered and likely pretty much all her fingers can do. Things like gripping weapons and off-hands often look awkward and unnatural because the positioning is generic, there is no doubt that a lot could be done to make character's hands look more natural.

Regardless, the WoW engine could use a lot of work, no argument there. It doesn't take advantage of modern hardware, it degrades with all the grace of a gran mal seizure and scales even worse. Compared to LoTRO's much newer engine (which, terribad player models aside, degrades incredibly gracefully and scales to rather stunning heights), it's a bad joke. Unfortunately I doubt it'll get the rewrite it needs. Too much work, not enough benefit. As I said, clearly it isn't hurting their subs.

Assuming Blizz intends, as has been speculated endlessly, five expacs (BC - Wrath - Maelstrom - Emerald Dream - Sergaras, is the usual speculation) they can probably keep it creaking along by tweaking it some each expac, but it's going to look pretty geriatric by the end. If that isn't their intent, a 'new and improved' engine will be a big selling point of whatever their next MMO is, and the lack thereof probably being responsible for the lights finally going out in Azeroth.
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Posted: Jun 5th 2009 11:33AM (Unverified) said

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Cant wait, Anytime variety (be it fluff) or legitimate design options are added its a giant plus

Posted: Jul 6th 2009 8:25PM (Unverified) said

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I cant wait till these come out :) the kitty forms look pretty nice,soo im having ppl decide for me , idc who it is actually I just think all of em are pretty nice to have and bear form,already decided

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