Thursday, 22 August 2013

New WoW Character Models Update

Update 3: Blizz have announced that the new character models will be released with the next expansion, Warlords of Draenor. See more info here.

Update 2: Blizz have announced that the new models have been shelved - this does not mean that they have been cancelled, it simply means they're on hold while they focus on other things. Blizzard does not have an infinite number of employees, so people have to be pulled off of smaller projects in order to complete bigger ones. A new expansion, patch, pre-expansion event is bigger than new models, no matter how much individuals might disagree. I agree with Blizzard's move. Just because work isn't actively being done on them does not mean we won't see them for 5 years. The project may only be shelved for a few months, it could be longer.

Update: Blizzard have revealed at Gamescom that the new models are 25% complete. They've been at it for some time, and given that they're only 25% through, it's going to take some time. They've also said that they may not even release them all at the same time. 4 races might be updated in one patch, and then two patches later, about 3 might be. This, I assume, is to satisfy our impatience, and I, for one, fully support releasing them like this, even if it will result in whining players.

   Blizzard have talked about creating new character models for some time, and lately it seems to be rising closer to the surface. Let me start, however, by stating that all the info I've got I got through websites and forums, and Blizzard have not confirmed anything. In fact, they've barely said anything.

   Speculation has claimed that new character models would be purchased rather than forced. Blizzard did state some time ago that they were hesitant to create new models because some people might prefer their current ones. But, the thing is, you can't please everyone, and I think the ration of people who want new models, or don't really care one way or the other, outweigh people who want to keep old models.
   But some people have claimed that it's "not a matter of graphic card processing, it's about character model inventory indexing. The models would need to completely replace the existing model wires/textures, and it would not be possible to maintain the existing models existing simultaneously with the old." [source] whether this is true or not is beyond me, but it could well be the case. And, as another player pointed out, "having a bunch of old type humans and new type humans (and repeat for dwarves, gnomes and Night Elves, and perhaps other races) standing around Stormwind (or their opposite number standing around Orgrimmar) will look absolutely terrible. And even those who bought it would be saying "I paid for new character models, yet I'm still seeing old ones standing around. WTH?!"" [source].
   These models would likely need to replace the existing ones. And despite what a lot of people seem to think, creating new character models is more than just repainting a canvas. They need new skeletons, new emotes, the gear matrix thingies need to be adjusted to fit them all, emotes need to be reworked and clipping issues resolved, not to mention the coding side of things. Blizzard, unfortunately, has to remind us almost constantly that they don't have droves of artists on hand to do everything we want them to and finish it all within a day.

   I wouldn't be happy if these models were purchased instead of implemented, but I would probably buy them anyway. I am very keen to see the new Trolls and particularly the Undead.
   Though Blizzard haven't suggested that new character models are around the corner, they are working on them. But I think the reason we're speculating that they're not far away is because of the updated models important figures are getting. Garrosh has been reworked, as has Vol'jin, and they both look incredible. These two models hint at the changes our characters may undergo. Don't get me wrong, however: these are unique and important figures, and our new character models may not resemble them too closely, but they serve, at the very least, as a hint of what is surely to come. The texture, particularly the skin, is amazing, and more detail is apparent. Their movements are more fluid and they generally look awesome. And if the female Trolls look anything like High Priestess Mar'li I will be very, very happy. 

New Garrosh v pre-MoP Garrosh
High Priestess Mar'li

   More recent speculation has the idea that they'll be announced during Blizzcon along with the next expansion, and we can expect the two to come together. I'm not 100% convinced on this, as it is a bigger job than creating a single new race, so if this is the case, we're not likely to see a new race or a new class if the new models come out then.
   It was also confirmed that it's only the Vanilla models that will be revisited. While Burning Crusade's models could use more work, as they're certainly almost as outdated, they won't be revisited yet, but they surely will eventually. I gave it some thought, and realised that there are only two Vanilla races I play anyway: Troll and Undead. I have an Orc but I've not logged into the level 50 for months. Otherwise I have 2 Blood Elves that I play frequently, a Worgen and a Pandaren. And the Troll and Undead are the two that I feel need the most work. As I said in another post, female Trolls seem unfinished, and I cannot stand the rotting symmetry of the Undead.

When do you think we're likely to see them?


  1. The Mar'li model is nice! Hopefully they do nice things to the female Orc.

  2. I don't play my female Orc much, so I don't really have any kind of opinion on them. I'm pleased that female Orcs aren't generically pretty, at least, but I'm really interested in what the new models will look like. You never know - I might end up rerolling! :P But I'm especially excited about the Undead. I wonder how the gnomes will look! Maybe even more kickable!

  3. Could gnomes be more kickable?!

    I wonder what the changes will do to the characters we have already made? What if we hate the models we get based on what we already chose!

  4. That's something I'm worried about, and I think Blizz probably are, too. They said that that was their biggest concern when the plans for new models came into place. All I can think is that we might be given a complimentary character rework - just be able to change our faces and skin colour. I think it would be a bit poo if we weren't given that option.

    And yes, they could be more kickable. They could have a great big red target painted on their bums.

  5. Astounding. It looks like gnomes WILL be more kickable!


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