Character Models: Making Peace

We've come a long way

First iteration gnome

This article has been a long time coming.  I wanted to wait until more time has past before I gave final judgement, and I think it has been long enough.  So here it is.  The official.  The real deal.  The time-tested.  Fussypants’ opinion on the new character models.

*dramatic pause*

As an upgraded model of my characters, the new skins have failed.  There’s just no way around it.  This could be due to the fact that I play a female gnome and draenei, the two races that have been struggling the most to please the players.  I’ve found that my characters, especially my gnome, no longer look like my characters.  They look foreign and as a result, they feel like someone else’s characters.  And none of the other upgraded faces are any better.  I’ve lost that connection.

The Evolution of my mage, and my attempts to fix her

The Evolution of my mage, and my attempts to fix her

The Not So Little Problem

I think the biggest problem with the gnome faces is the perpetual scowls.  While I’m not advocating for huge beaming smiles on every gnome face, I wish every gnome face wasn’t stuck in perma-pissed.  My gnome looks about twenty years older and about five times more angry.  Perhaps on it’s own, the face wouldn’t look too out of place.  But when you compare to the old model, the face is nothing alike.

While this might seem silly considering I spend most of my time looking at the back of my character, I feel strange whenever I play her.  The crazy hair mixed with the irate face do not match with the cheery gnome I used to have.  And no manner of fixes has been able to recreate my old mage.  It’s simply no longer my character.

How would I fix this? Honestly, I think the gnomes need a whole face revamp.  More neutral faces and less wrinkles for one for starters.  I would stay away from the bags and heavy eyeliner that is currently plaguing us as well.  The eyebrows also need some work to be less harshly arced and more matching the hair color.  And perhaps, a few smiling faces thrown in the mix.  Gnomes are supposed to be cheery tinkers not crazy haggard axe murders, and our faces should reflect this!

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Evolution of Fussypants‘Eye’ See The Problem

My draenei, especially with patch 6.1, is in a much better state than my gnome. Even still, she still is looking a lot more dark and menacing than I’d like.  As a paladin, I made my draenei specifically with a kind but brave face to embody the defender and mender in her.  But currently, she’s looking a bit more like a death knight than a noble warrior of the light.  And just like my gnome, I’ve grown emotionally unconnected from her.

The fix for the draenei face is a lot easier however.  The biggest problem seems to be with the eyes, so removing some of that heavy eyeliner and adding back the glow effect should fix the majority of the issues.  Also, for my specific dark skin and light hair combination, I would like it if the hair was a bit more white than it is now.  Considering that Blizzard has been improving the draenei every patch, I am confident that Fussypants will soon be restored to her former glory.

If that's not adorable, I don't know what is

If that’s not adorable, I don’t know what is

It’s Not All Bad

At this point, you must be thinking that I really hate the new models.  But actually, I am quite a fan of them, but its rather complicated.  I think the models are very well done and in the proper Warcraft style, however I believe they are horrible recreations of the old.  The updated models are something entirely new and different.  So, while my old characters ‘updated’ look terrible, all the toons I’ve created post 6.0 have been spectacular.  When there is no sudden shift from the old to the new, I find myself enjoying the models way more.

For instance, take my new gnome Yogapants.  I created her after the model updates and thus the only version of ‘her’ in my head is the new one.  As such, I think she’s the most adorable gnome to ever exist in WoW.  A sharp contrast to my other gnome.  But if I were to go back and compare her to the old model, I begin to see the differences. If I had become used to that old model before switching to the new one, I’m pretty sure I would have felt the same sort of disconnect.

Looks so chipper!

Looking so chipper!

The new models are exquisitely done, but they just aren’t the same as the old ones.  In fact, comparing the two is almost unfair because of how different they are.  For some of the faces, I doubt Blizzard could have recreated the old purely because the old model was made of inferior technology.  Some of the ‘feeling’ of the old models are achieved by the low poly count, and thus are virtually unobtainable by the new.

Of course this leaves me a little disappointed, but I think in the long run it will be better for the game to have the upgraded models.  While I was emotionally connected to the old models, they looked pretty shabby in comparison to other games out there.  The upgraded models will mean that WoW’s graphics will stand the test of time longer.  And this is ultimately better for the game.

Do I miss the old models? Absolutely.  But I have made my peace with the new ones.  And Blizzard has proven with the 6.1 changes and the planned 6.2 changes that they will continually tweak these new ones.  The glaring issues will get better, and time will make it easier to adjust.  And from now on, all my new characters will look totally awesome!

(Addendum: Don’t forget to enter in the contest! Just a few days more!)

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Brewmastering

Me and my bull bud

Me and my bull bud, taking awful selfies

I am not a tank.  Have I tanked before? Yes.  Do I have a general idea of what tanking is all about? Also yes.  But I am a tank? No. I don’t have the reflexes or knowledge to tank with any regularity.  The best I can do is a few leveling dungeons. Which is why the story I am about to tell is so shocking (even to me).

As I have mentioned a few times, I am currently running a Herald of the Titans achievement group.  I, Iike I always do, went healing on my monk.  However, so did the majority of the other players who are part of the achievement group.  So when it came down to putting together the 10 man groups, we had plenty of dps, a plethora of healers, and not enough tanks.  Not even remotely enough tanks.

The day of the run came, and still no tanks had appeared.  Instead of postponing the whole group, I bit the bullet and switched my offspec to tanking.  Fifteen minutes later, and we were getting set up for our first pulls.

Now I had never tanked Brewmaster before, ever.  I knew vaguely that they had some sort of stagger ability, and something to do with flying kegs.  Other than that, I was completely in the dark.  I had a decent amount of gear (since I had been gearing up Windwalker and most of the gear is easily translatable) but other than that I was thrown out in the world without a clue in the world on how to Brewmaster.

I hurriedly set up my action bars as best as I could, read the tooltips of my abilities, and mentally prepared for the fight.

A little background on the Algalon fight.  There are a few adds during the fight, but the tank doesn’t really need to handle them.  The boss is hard enough.  Algalon, it seems, was not squished properly with 6.0.  His attacks are incessant and he hits like a cement truck.  Within the space of a few seconds, Algalon is capable of throwing out 44k damage.  And considering the tanks had about 50k health, this makes Algalon extremely dangerous.  Knowing your cooldowns and abilities is a must.  And here I was, a brand new Brewmaster, going in to tank this cement truck.

Unsurprisingly, the first few pulls did not go over so well.  As soon as the tank swap came, Algalon would turn his fist of fury on me, and gnome monk would squish everywhere.  However, I am super glad to be part of a supportive and encouraging team, so we picked ourselves back up and kept at it.

I started to get smarter, building up my Brew stacks so I could pop my Elusive Brew when the boss started smashing on me.  Instead of lasting three seconds, I lasted five, then ten, then until the other tank picked the boss up again.  I was actually getting better at this!

Over the next two hours, I went from completely inexperienced and confused to ‘Hey I actually know sort of what I’m doing’!  As someone with a chronic fear of tanking raids, that was a really empowering moment.  I began to feel that I actually knew a thing or two about tanking.  I began to conquer my fear of being the punching bag.  And while we wiped a lot, I feel like I was actually accomplishing something.

Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful with our attempts to down Algalon.  As we found out later, that fight is now as hard, if not harder than it was when it was current.  We simply weren’t prepared for an encounter as bleeding edge as it was (this is not me making excuses, that fight is more wicked than many of the current encounters I have done). However, we did get it down to 19% and I have high hopes that we will be able to conquer it next weekend.

After the raid, I went and read all that I could about Brewmastering. Unsurprisingly, there were things that I had been doing wrong.  But not as many things as I feared.  As it turns out, I had actually managed to figure out a lot about brewmaster tanking in my first two hours.  Whether that it testament to the ease of the class or my skills at picking up tanking quickly, I cannot say.  But I’m still really proud of that raid.

I’m always looking to improve and expand my interests and abilities in WoW.  Tanking was a huge area of the game that I had barely touched up until now.  After playing for a large portion of my life, its pretty thrilling to discover parts of WoW that I don’t know yet.  Tanking world, here I come!

 

Addendum: Remember to go enter in the contest!

100th Blog Post Contest!

My photoshop skills are improving!

My photoshop skills are improving!

One hundred.  That’s a pretty big number.  And especially for blogging, one hundred posts is a lot of blog posts! Today, as of this post, Growing Up in Azeroth will hit this big milestone!

In order to celebrate this milestone, Yotaan and I have decided to throw a little contest for you guys! The theme is “Who is your Main Character?”

How does one participate?
The idea of the contest is for you guys to tell us about your main character.  Why did you make them? Why are they still your main? What is your headcannons/RP? In order to tell us this, you can submit an entry two different ways. (Note: If you do not have a main character, you can still join in! Just tell us about your favorite character.)
Option one: Write about it! Write up a blog post or an email explaining your character, or telling your character’s RP story.  The more creative the explanation, the better!
Option two: Take a screenshot of said character that best represents them.  It can be an action shot or a still shot and again, creativity is king.  Also, artwork of your character is more than welcome!

How does one submit entries?
You can either blog your entry or email us at thefussypants(at)hotmail(dot)com .  If you do a blog post, please let us know!  Please make sure to include a method of contact (email, twitter, etc).

You said contest, so what are the prizes?
There will be two winners, a written and a screenshot.  The winning entries will get a choice of prize: either a Blizzard Store Pet of their choice worth $10 or custom artwork of their character done by Fussypants (digitally sent).  The winners (and perhaps the runners up) will be displayed on the blog as well!

How are the winners selected?
The day that the contest ends, Yotaan and I will round up all the entries and pick which ones we like best.  Yotaan and I are the sole judges of this contest.

When does the contest end?
The contest ends Sunday, April 26th and winners will be contacted shortly after.

And the contest starts right now! Good luck everyone!

Get Off My Virtual Lawn!

Yotaan in NagrandFussypants wrote a post about what she learned from playing WoW. Essentially, she wrote about the skills she needed to acquire to manage other people, respond to trolls, and such. She is figuring herself out.

 

It’s a bit different being an adult (and not a young one at that.) Not to say that I am not learning, but it is certainly not as broad as Fussypant’s experience. What I have learned is that WoW, for me, allows me to be a curmudgeon.

 

Sounds terrible, doesn’t it!

 

I’ve happily watched Fussypants expand her borders. She’s made many many friends in and around the game. She went from being a lurker in The Queue in WoWInsider to a contributing member in BlizzardWatch. I’ve watched her organize raids, set up special events, and chat endlessly. That is awesome and wonderful. And, I have no desire to do the same.

 

My daily life includes dozens of interactions with people all the time. I need to be positive, helpful, and caring. I love my job, and am excited to go to work. I love my family and also want to be a positive force for them. But, when I decide to play and escape, I am interested in having fun on my terms.

 

When I play WoW, chatting is not my thing. I want to read the quests and explore the world. When I am particularly annoyed with life, I love to pvp (even when my toon is underpowered), this gets my aggression out. The social part of the game is the least interesting to me.

 

I should say that I am not totally antisocial. I throw in a comment in guildchat now and then. I’ll answer a question when I know the answer. But mostly I’m quiet in the chat. Group activities are fine, but often I’ll choose the random ones. Currently, I’m working on expanding my mount collection via the Stables questing – a totally solitary activity.

 

Honestly, I was hesitant to write this article, but Fussypants correctly pointed out that I need to write what I learned in WoW. So, I have learned that I like to be a grumpy old man when I play my game. Actually, this is very strange, as this is pretty much the opposite of who I am!

 

In WoW, I have learned to play as I want to play. Currently, I’m a curmudgeon, but maybe I need to learn a little bit more from Fussypants…