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!)

New Character Models: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

With the exception of blood elf (and frankly, I care the least about her appearance), the new character models have been released for all of my main characters. Now that I have them all available for comparison, I’ve decided to evaluate each and every model based on what I think my character should look like.

draenei model
Draenei
The Good
⦁    Whole body is smoother and more realistic
⦁    Hands look like real hands!
⦁    Face stays true to spirit of the original face, but makes it look better
⦁    Horns are way better defined
The  Bad
⦁    The eyes are now blue instead of white as before
⦁    The more realistic hair does not stay true to the original styling
⦁    Hooves are lighter shade than before
The Ugly
⦁    Do not like the new lip pucker thing.  There is a reason why I find the ‘duck face’ so annoying, and the draenei models shown seem to be stuck in perpetual duck face
The Verdict
Even with the drawbacks, I really like the new draenei models.  They look smoother, more elegant, and more alien.  My only pet peeve is the ‘more realistic’ hairstyles don’t match at all with the old ones, and the duck face phenomenon.  However, the face shown in the Art Craft article was not the one I use, so I am hoping that my draenei’s face will have less pronounced lips.  I am slightly worried about how the back bend will turn out (I’m all for it, as a goat-legged creature biologically would stand differently and have a different center of balance) and also how the different skin tones and hair colors will look.  I hope they keep the darkest skin tone (the one I use) as dark as it is, and the lightest hair color (also the one I use) as light as it is.  However, a final verdict cannot be reached until my own character gets the new model.
night elf model
Night Elf
The Good
⦁    Gives off a strong Sentinel vibe that the old model was lacking
⦁    That stupid second eyebrow underneath the long one is GONE! HURRAH!
⦁    Face looks amazing and realistic
⦁    You see that hairstyle on the top middle?  That is SPECTACULAR
⦁    Hands look way more real
The Bad
⦁    Some anatomical issues with the placement of the belly button
⦁    Teeth are a little over defined
⦁    Not a huge fan of the uber dark lipstick
⦁    Thighs are utterly massive
The Ugly
⦁    While I do like the fangs, the ones proposed are entirely too large.  When I first saw that image, all I could think of was VAMPIRE, and that’s not what Night Elves are.
The Verdict
The Night Elf model is my favorite of the races shown thus far.  I think they really captured the essence of the kaldorei.  However, the fangs really turned me off.  I think the fangs should be shorter, and the teeth in general less defined.  This being said, I really love these models and am excited for what the hair will turn out like.  Like the draenei model, I cannot make a final judgement until I see my own character re-imagined.
Gnome Models
Gnome
The Good
⦁    Look like gnomes, and not squashed down humans
⦁    Expressions on face are very gnome-like and expressive
⦁    Hair is much improved (excepting the hair style my gnome wears :/ )
The Bad
⦁    Now are a little too cute looking
⦁    Not a fan of the rubber lips
⦁    Pupils on eyes should be black instead of the current dark brown
The Ugly
Oh my god, what is this?? Kill it with fire and quickly!!!
So, using the WoW Head profiler, I was able to see the new model of my gnome mage.  Unless this is just a stand in model (which I hope it is), this is the worse thing I have ever seen.  First of all, I specifically picked this face because it had turquoise eyes.  Not green, turquoise.  Secondly, I see the face I have as a neutral serious face, not as an old, happy, crazy lady.  This is the scariest and least successful new model.  Which is a real shame, because I was the most excited about how the gnomes were coming out.  Well, unless things change, I am either paying to recustomize, or to race change.

Overall, my favorite models were definitely the night elf and draenei ones.  I really love how realistic (but still Warcraft-styled) and elegant those two look.  On the other hand, I am far less excited about the gnome model.  The new gnomes are just a touch too cute, and a little creepy.  However, the game is still in alpha, so here’s to positivity, eh?