New Lady Models

Courtesy of WoWInsider

As expected, the new female Human model was rolled out today.  I haven’t read the feedback and opinions on the matter, but I will share mine and I’ll start with the positives.  They most certainly look more up to date, particularly with cell shading on the body and in the face.  In fact, I really like what I’m seeing in the face.  Hair as well.  For the most part it looks so much better and not like a game ten years old.  I’ve always appreciated WoW’s laid back cartoonish feel and this updates without losing that.  Thumbs up.

Unfortunately, it isn’t all roses in this garden.  See the full body shot?  How in Illidan’s latrine did she actually get skinnier?!?!  It might be surprising coming from a male player, but this actually bothers me.  There have been conversations on end about sex and video games and how the latter is tailored.  The previous form was perfectly fine.  Now she’s lost weight, toned her body, and conveniently lifted (tightened?) the chest.  Let’s be honest, was any of that really necessary?  Personally I don’t think so, and I feel like it just plays off the idea of female characters as glorified eye candy and when you already have a female player base frustrated with how NPC ladies are portrayed (if at all), this isn’t going to help the matter.

Sure, most of the players are still men/boys, but I don’t think any of them would have said much if the body on the left was updated without the liposuction.  Hopefully with gear on it won’t be so bad, but this just makes me concerned overall that we’re going to see all the characters restrung as buff beasts of Adonis and Athena.  I don’t mind mixing it in a bit, but it could simply be done with the existing races that are already slender.

Rant aside, the model overall is a significant improvement.  My disappointment is what it is but I can’t argue the poly count and shading don’t make a better model.  I just wish they didn’t have to try and make a better model out of the model herself.

WoW’s Graphics Suck

GW2 on the left, WoW on the right
GW2 on the left, WoW on the right

The MMO-genre has evolved in a lot of ways and one of those is graphically.  Each game that rolls out seems to be more visually stunning than the last.  One of the biggest slights against World of Warcraft is that is one area it simply has not evolved with the times and the people that say that are absolutely right.

So what?

In my early playing days it was made clear the reason the graphics were the way they were was that it allowed pretty much any system to run the game with relative ease (obviously 40-man raids full of spells varies that idea).  That made sense to me, especially from a business model standpoint.  Why wouldn’t you want as many people playing your game as possible?  Case in point, a friend of mine can’t play Guild Wars 2 or Diablo III because of the card in his less than two year old laptop (discussion for another day).

But as WoW gets set to punch out it’s fifth expansion, the demands to run the game efficiently have increased to some degree.  Put your settings on ultra when you login just to see the difference.  My system had no problem with it until CRZ’s came into play (raiding I had to reduce to “High”) and I don’t own a top end machine.  They’ve made it an option, but still not a requirement.

Keeping the art and style of the game, I don’t know how much more I would want Blizzard to advance the graphics.  The art and style is the game for me in a lot of ways.  When I think the style of Dungeons & Dragons and fantasy…Azeroth is how it plays out in my head and how it did before I even started playing the game.  Dwarves look like they should, Orcs look like they should and by Illidan, Drakes are the model for dragons!

I learned a long time ago you don’t need visually amazing to be good.  If a game is good, it’ll stand regardless of visuals.  Don’t believe me?  Look at players in the wrestling genre of video games.  Fire Pro Wrestling is considered by many to be as good as it gets and No Mercy remains one of the most popular games of all-time.  Compare that visually to WWE ’14.  The same can be said for hockey where the standard bearer for that category is NHL 94.

The people that complain World of Warcraft drastically needs a facelift have a bit of merit to their argument.  The polygons of the original races in particular could afford to be adjusted/increased a bit to fall in line with the newer races.  Same with the old gear.  But only to a small degree.  Updating the game to look more “realistic” so to speak, such as the Rifts and the Guild Wars 2’s and what have you would ruin the character of the game.  You need look only at how beautiful Mists is (and stayed the course of Azeroth for the most part) to see that they can continue to get better while staying the same.


Save for some minor editing, I wrote this post around this time last year.  At the time, I was just posting too many other things at the time and it got lost in the shuffle.  A full year later, I still stand behind what I said.  WoW does not need to be a graphically superior game.  Some things have, indeed, improved and Warlords of Draenor is going to address the issue of the old races getting a much needed facelift -to the point all that were previewed look phenomenal.

That was the area that was lacking the most to me, and they addressed it in a way that many in the community were incredibly happy to see.  I’d put extra emphasis on those who enjoy playing a female dwarf, as that seemed to receive the most resounding approval.  So I give Blizzard credit for recognizing that as expansion five approaches, in what will be close to the game’s tenth year, an update was definitely necessary.

But I also want to give them credit for essentially leaving it at that.  Yes, the zones get better and better visually as the game goes on, but at no point do players need to worry about whether their computer can handle it.  Yes, if you’re a hardcore raider you are definitely going to want a video card and processor that can handle a lot of animations going off at a time.  Otherwise, the average player has nothing to worry about.  I still embrace the idea that new players to any game shouldn’t have to worry about that either.  But for us older players who’ve been around a while, many of us have come accustomed to how things look and a few of us are even attached to it.  While it would be daunting to overhaul the entirety of World of Warcraft visually, I’m rather glad there’s no need to.

Reputation Changes Are Coming

Property of BlizzPlanet

Remember a couple of months ago when I talked about the grinds for reputation, particularly as it pertained to recipe collecting on alts?  Well, it’s as if Blizzard actually read that post and decided there was some merit to it.  I was catching up on The Godmother’s latest thoughts when I came across her post about it.

Basically, once you have a character reach Revered with a faction, all toons on your account begin earning double the reputation with that faction.  So if Fireflint is Revered with the Thorium Brotherhood, all of my other characters will earn double reputation while Fireflint himself earns double the rep as he goes from Revered to Exalted.

My thoughts?  Why the heck does Blizzard have a knack for giving players a partial gift?  That’s my knee jerk reaction.  It most certainly is an improvement, but could be a lot better still.  Thinking it through, though, I’m glad they’re making some type of effort -particularly for altoholics and those with several professions.  I’m sure there’s many Mists players who will appreciate this change and I know anyone who played during Burning Crusade and Wrath wish they could’ve had this for their shoulder enchants (Cataclysm to some degree as well).   It will also help with the Guild Achievement of 55 reps (presuming your toons are in various guilds).  Get it on one toon and you can get it faster on any other, which will only help your various guilds.

There’s one other thing to consider with this announcement and that’s the fact that there’s no mention about when they’ll be implementing this system.  Could be next week, could be January.  So while I want to applaud the idea, I think I’ll wait until it’s actually in effect.  Until then you can find me in the Dance Studio.

The Road To Ruin Is Paved With Good Intentions

Another Laid Back Raid tonight.  Was finally going to take Saintvache into ICC.  More importantly I wanted to get Arvash some of those final achievements he needs for his mount, Yuush’s first 25-man LK, AND get my good friend Flagsworth his first LK kill (along with a friend of his).  You know, like back at the beginning when all the folks took me to Arthas and we got my first kill.  That night was awesome.  This night…something(s) went horribly wrong.

Coolidge was having major lag issues due to a storm, to the point where he tagged along as dps because he couldn’t do much else.  Pretty Fly Draenei was along for her first night, but she was disconnecting for half the night.  Actually, most of the night.  I should have known when we thought everything was lined up for Full House, and it didn’t go off, that the night would be…out of sorts.  Still, we made it work.  I had a bit of an open door for people to join because I wanted to help Arv get those achievements and I figured increased power meant increased chances.  It got to the point where I only knew half the raid.  It’s not a big deal, but we just had a tonne of pauses before each boss and that really slowed things down.  So several folk, including Repgrind, had to call it a night just after 10pm and we were just hitting the Vampire Council ( I think).

We pushed on, and I know for a fact the later it got, the more some folks were just hanging in there to help Arv and to get those first kills for the people that hadn’t done it.  As we closed in on 11 o’clock, we were atop the Frozen Throne.  We’re discussing the phases…and four of us are gone.  Yuush, Flagsworth, our friend, and I.

Same server and it crashes.  We log back in and we’re not grouped with the raid, despite it saying we are on their end.  They invite me back and before I can invite anyone else…it crashes again.  Eye twitch starts and I log back in.  Same thing.  So the four of us are doing this, people not on my Real ID have no idea what’s going on…and it finally seems to sort out as all four of us are reinvited.  I ponder whether I’m going to be summoned in at some point, when that thought is once again interrupted by the screen above.  It continued for half an hour and then some.  I gave up, because I couldn’t even login to a character on Blade’s Edge anymore.  I just threw up my hands.  If not for housekeeping, I probably would’ve actually just shut everything down and gone to bed.

Instead, I tried to sort the mess out as best I could.  We made it clear we were calling it a night.  At least, I did with the raid because I had gone to another server.  The others just DC’d a final time and never came back for the evening and can’t say that I blame them.  I felt terrible on so many levels.  Arv didn’t get any of the four achievements he needed -though at least I know he’s going with a group again tomorrow.  Yuush didn’t get the 25-man, while Flagsworth and company were a fight away from completing it.  That says nothing about Cymre, Tyledres, Navimie, Draynee and the others who stuck it out just to try and help with these things as well.  It was just…deflating as hell and there was nothing we could do about it.

Aside from getting to hang with (mostly) friends for the night, the bright spot was finding out Draynee got her last achievement for Glory of the Icecrown Raider (25-man), so she can collect her new Icebound Proto…presuming her server stays up long enough to do so.  While there is no blue post that I’ve seen on the matter, the discussion in the Forums is that it’s actually a hack that is crashing the servers.   Either way, I cannot hide my overall disappointment and try to follow through on the promises for those involved tonight.

Summer Challenges???

Am I the only one who didn’t know anything about these?  Apparently they started at the beginning of the month.  Truth be told, had I known about The Temple of Ahn’Qiraj and the Karazhan challenges earlier this month, I would’ve included them in the Laid Back Raids so as to join in the fun as a group.  It was purely by fluke that I even stumbled across the discussion thread.

The current challenge is Outland Mounts.  Honestly I’ve always liked the Netherwing Drakes, but I’ve never bothered getting one for anyone.  I probably won’t indulge in this challenge, but that wasn’t the reason I posted this today.

I wanted to share it with other people and raise awareness about the challenges as I do plan to keep tabs on what they ask players to try the rest of the way.  I’ll probably take part in a few and share my details.  Hopefully others do as well!

The Plague Cometh

I think the time has almost come,
To see this sorry world undone,
Not bathed in flame or ash and smoke
Breathe in deep, try not to choke.

White they say will cleanse the soul
That it will clean off blackened coal
And polish thoughts to diamond shine
If you can survive my will this time

Strength of will is fine and nice
But it’s time you all did roll the dice
My will is done, it’s time to end
And rethink who is foe or friend.

-The Broken Doll

Whatever could be happening?  Find more questions than answers here.

Monday Money Making: Transmogrification Means Expanding Your Profession Book

We’ve talked a lot about professions in the past and how some recipes like Spidersilk Boots, the Pet Bombling, and Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon are some must haves for easily generating gold.  I’ve always said any profession can make gold, and they can all do it equally well -you simply need to determine what sells on your server.  One of the keys to that is having a diverse recipe book.  Very soon, those professions that can make various types of gear and weapons are going to have another reason.  You might have heard of that little thing called Transmogrification.

One of the biggest knocks I’ve had against craftable gear is that a lot of the items are essentially useless for their level compared to what drops or is quest rewarded even.  In some cases, that’s still going to hold true.  However, if they fit a certain look someone is trying to establish, then they’ll be sought out.  If people are looking for something to be made, they tend to tip.  Don’t you want to be the one they’re giving their gold to?

Many people aren’t going to go through the time to track down rare drops or reputation related recipes like the Flarecore Robe.  Even the ones that will use their profession to generate some gold are going to focus on end game epics.  There’s nothing wrong with that, and I’m certainly encouraging that when I say expand your book, but a key to making gold is offering something others aren’t.  Even advertising on your server’s forum can help with this.  Yes, it will encourage other people to do the same but there are a number of factors that you should consider before that deters you.  People may not have the recipes you do which means tracking them down, but also the number of players that use the forums is not as large as you might think.

If you are looking to flush out your recipes, the best thing I can suggest is to go download Ackis.  I’ve talked about it before, as it is an easy addon to use.  Once installed you merely open your profession book and run a scan, which takes seconds to complete.  It will show you what recipes you’re still missing, as well as how to obtain them.  If they’re a drop you’ll find out what mobs they drop from (unless it’s a World Drop), as well as coordinates on where they are.  Another addon to consider is MogIt.  It isn’t designed for professions, but you can make it work for you with a bit of digging.  Find a piece of gear you like the look of and see what it is.  Many have more than one skin and if someone wants the look of something like Skyshroud Leggings, you can save them farming for it by offering to make Runecloth Pants.  They’re the exact same and saving them time will result in more money for you.

So it might be a good idea to start visiting those Quartermasters, hitting some instances for those BoP recipes (that are BoE gear, of course), and keeping an eye on the auction house for folks simply looking to get rid of the recipes that you’ll end up profiting from.  But you’ll want to get a head start, as Patch 4.3 is likely less than a month away now.  People will want their transmog gear, and there’s some holiday coming where they’ll want to do some shopping for others, too.