Saturday, 22 February 2014

What Is This?

   I was running around the Timeless Isle, as you do, and noticed that some of the ledges under the water looked like cave entrances. The vast majority of them weren't, but this one, beneath the Gulp Frogs, was. What the hell is it? To my admittedly limited knowledge, no rare or chest spawns in there. The heart is made up of glinting sand, and there are 4 chairs within in surrounding a grim campfire. I looted all the sand to see if anything happened - nothing did. Sat on each chair, nothing happened. I eventually left, and when I came back later on the sand had all respawned. Anyone know what it's a reference to? There's bound to be something.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

New Female Orc Model

   I love her. I've got a level 51 female Orc Shaman but I haven't done anything with her for about a year to be honest. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy Shaman, or that I didn't enjoy an Orc, it was just that I had other characters and other, higher content to focus on instead of levelling. Part of me has been a little bit keen to level through Kalimdor again so for a moment I considered deleting her and remaking her, but I know I'll probably get stuck further back than 51 again.
   I'm gradually learning that my initial complaints about new character models are misplaced. I had hoped they'd make whole new models, but they're only updating the originals, but honestly, that's all that's really needed, especially when those original models are the basis of the aesthetic value of each race, anyway.
   I really like that we're being shown (still keen to see female Trolls but I get the feeling I'm going to be disappointed because I'm looking forward to it so much - I hope that they can make a fierce face without making it look ugly, and perhaps liven up the cute face. At the moment it seems like there are 4 fierce but a little too ugly faces, and one cute face that couldn't harm a fly), and I like that we're being shown one gender at a time, but what I like the most is that we're being shown just one - or more or less one - face and no more. It means that there will hopefully still be surprises. I'm not 100% that that applies to the Undead since they only really have one face but then with different options of detail - missing jaw, bare jaw, rotten cheeks and so on, which we've kind of seen all of on the male Undead already.

   Her body looks amazing. She was muscular anyway, but the colours used on the body to outline those details weren't dark enough and it all kind of blended together to create a green mass. She stands a little more normally now (though I did stand like female Orcs currently do and I did feel powerful xD) and her boobs are on her chest rather than her ears, and, wow, the shaved parts of the head look amazing. I would expect to see female Trolls with the same detail on some of their 'dos so I'm quite excited about it!
   What I love the most with the new models is simply that their faces aren't as smooth anymore. Sure the skin looks soft, a little too soft for races like the Undead, but they have more shading and more lines, they're not as flat anymore.

   I love Daeaye, of course I do, but her face looks so unfinished, I've always thought that, and then when the Isle of Thunder brought out new Troll models, and I saw that female one, Daeaye has looked pretty shit. I still play her, obviously, but I think I'd be more keen if she was finally given a new face - whether that face looked like the newest Troll models we've seen, or otherwise. Obviously the model I'm talking about was a boss so it's unlikely they'll share the same model, but I can hope.

   Will anyone be making an Orc because of this? Or do you actually hate it? As with the Trolls, I hope some of the female Orc fierce faces are a little more palatable as well.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Character Level Boost - $60

   I'm not sure what to make of this. On one hand I think "you money-grabbing bastards" - but on the other I also can't help thinking that they quite simply don't want people to just buy it willy nilly and not actually play the game, and are trying to discourage people from choosing this option while still allowing an easy out from monotonous levelling. But in that case, why implement it at all?
   Character level boosting to 90 bypasses the original game and four - four - expansions. I don't enjoy levelling anymore, I've done 1-60 Cata style than I did classic, but I'm sick of it because I've done it so much. I want Vanilla back again, personally, but there's no going backwards and I get that. So this is a good option for people like me who have gone through the levelling process eight times already. I'm not going to pay it, though, partly because I like to learn my classes and actually build up a character (as in narrative, not levelling), and partly because I don't have the money to spend £45 or equivalent on such a thing in one go. Mounts are steep enough!
   The price tag is definitely discouraging, there's no doubt about that, and I'm quite sure that that's part of the point, the other part being that the $60 will evade goodness knows how much time (and may I point out gold and reputation) and that the product (an immediate level 90) is no small thing, either, and shouldn't be seen as such. It's a penalty, in a way.

   I don't think I like it. Don't get me wrong, if we still get a free 90 boost with the next expansion I'll probably use it on my rogue (I want a rogue but I just can't stand levelling anymore!!), but I wouldn't pay for it specifically. Mounts and race changes are one thing - they're mostly cosmetic, though the faction changing is a bit more serious than that - but bypassing goodness knows how much game time is another. If you don't want to level, don't play the game. Levelling a character is a pretty basic part of an MMO and I think it's a bad move. And while I'd usually say "if you don't like it, don't use it, it's not going to affect you or your game play" like I did towards pet battles and mount purchases, this doesn't apply here. This will affect our gameplay when you have kids with their parents' credit cards or people with more money than sense buy level 90 boosts and start pugging raids. Admittedly I don't think you should pug a raid if you're looking for actual progress, or pug anything really unless you're just looking for justice/valour, rep and to kill time. And maybe a drop or two. But there will still be little kids running around with one character they got to level 90 on their own and then 5 more that they payed to 90 and have no idea how to play. This is part of the reason I have never gotten a Death Knight past level 72, because I find the new abilities you're given so quickly too overwhelming to truly learn. And now you know I don't have a Death Knight...I might make one though, but I'll have to look up some guides on it and ask my boyfriend (not that he's played since 4 months into MoP) or I'm going to be completely lost.

   I don't know. I suppose I'm ranting. This is the first payed service that will actually affect other people, and the first service that the idea of "don't like it, don't use it" isn't applicable to. In my opinion, at least.
   What do you all think? Will you be using the service? I figure if you have the money, still enjoy the game and you've levelled enough characters then there's not really any problem with it. I just worry about new or inexperienced players (I consider myself one of the latter despite 5 years of playing), what it will do to their perception of the game, and what it will do to the rest of us who end up with them in groups and guilds.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

WCC: World of Warcraft Valentine Cards

   HELLO! Yes, I'm back! And what's more I've got a few WoW Crafting Challenge posts to put up over the next few weeks. I've been trying my best to make as much as I can, but at this point in the challenge, while I am posting number 11 today (remember that I'm not allowed to repeat a crafting medium throughout this challenge), it's getting quite difficult to come up with any new crafts to try. I've got a few random ones, and a few ideas thanks to some artist friends, but I still only have 3 completed pieces, including this one, to go up, and another in progress. It's getting really quite difficult.
   I did say, though, that 15 would be a good place to call it quits, but I don't think I'm going to do that. I have lots of ideas it's just that a lot of them aren't doable without practise, research, or spending lots of money. But I'll see what I can manage!
   This week I've got some World of Warcraft Valentine cards. Now, I'll admit that some of them aren't all that Valentine's-y. I drew them all out with Valentine intentions but some of them...well it's hard to see the festivity, some of them just look like drawings. I didn't add any text to them and in hindsight I think perhaps I should have, it may have helped, but I've put weeks into these - digital art is not a skill I possess - and I don't really want to go back now that I said 'I've finished', you know?

   I made four different ones, two Horde and two Alliance. I had wanted to get them finished a few weeks ago and attempt to sell them but...well I literally only finished them today. That's a little bit too late really.
   For the Horde (get it?) I've made a Troll and a Blood Elf. These are the two that, in my opinion, are the least Valentine's-y. The Troll has a little baby raptor she was given as a present, and while I had drawn the remains of the box it had been in, I just couldn't find anywhere in the image to put it where it would look natural.
   The Blood Elf is sat beside a picnic basket - no, this wasn't in relation to the Romantic Picnic Basket, in fact that had never occurred to me, instead it is just simply a lovely romantic picnic. I'd love one with my boyfriend but we'd have to do it on a boat. The flooding around here is getting simply ridiculous. But look at the water! I really think it looks freaking amazing for my first attempt at digital water. Seriously! Yay! I couldn't repeat that if I wanted to.

   For the Alliance I've made a Dwarf and a Night Elf. Yes, that is a Dwarf. I really struggled to draw her - not only is the pose one I had never once even attempted to draw before, but she's not broad enough. I tried, honest I did! I kept her as short and as wide as I could. Well, sod it, regardless I think she looks awesome. She's a Wildhammer Dwarf; I figured I could make her look more Dwarvish if I gave her Wildhammer tattoos. Did I manage?
   The Night Elf was the first one I drew, and I think she came out nicely. I struggled with the cat, and I'm not 100% happy with it, but I was keen to move onto the Troll. She's clutching a heart - I had some kind of whimsical love theme in mind when I started, but it all sort of fell apart once I'd finished her. The Dwarf is releasing hearts so that's still pretty whimsical, but it's a shame I couldn't keep ahold of that theme for the other two.

   Backgrounds have absolutely always been my weakness, I have never been able to draw, shade, paint or do anything with backgrounds. You'll see that in another WCC piece where I cheated and just printed a screen shot instead of painting it, but I promise you I did try to paint it first!
   In order to attempt to avoid the problem of backgrounds, I opted to grab a screenshot relevant to the race in question and mosaic it in GIMP. The results are pretty good I think, but I let the lines get a little too dark in all but the Night Elf (like I said, she was done first).
   The backgrounds are: a tree in Darnassus for the Night Elf (I had toyed with the inside of the Temple but it didn't work out); a shot of the Isle of Giants for the Troll (I had tried the Lost Isles and Stranglethorn Vale but neither worked); a shot of Thundermar for the Dwarf (this wasn't easy because it ended up being a tall, narrow shot rather than a wide one. I just this second thought that perhaps Aerie Peak would have been better. Bums); and a tree from Eversong Forest for the Blood Elf, which was easy because I decided I'd just go back to the roots (get it? I'm on a roll today) of the Night Elf image and see if there was anything similar in Quel'Thalas.