Interview Video with World of Warcraft Designers about Warlords of Draenor

Published:Apr 25. From:harriet 0
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The video above is an interview with lead encounter designer Ion Hazzikostas, lead class designer Kris Zierhut and senior game designer Brian Holinka on the upcoming player-vs-player and class changes for World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. Warlords of Draenor is the fifth expansion to the popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game. The new content takes players to Draenor, home of the orc and draenei races, in addition to raising the game's level cap and adding new content. Speaking about the game's PvP, Holinka explained that adjusting crowd control effects from the previous expansion was a "very high priority." "There's a couple of big problems that we had in PvP [inMists of Pandaria] that we really want to address," Holinka said. "Things that players complained a lot about." Crowd control effects are many in number and can be hard to understand, Holinka said. To prevent players from reaching mental fatigue or frustration about being dosed with effects over and over, the team implemented a system of diminishing returns. This means that if players are hit continually with effects, the effectiveness will decrease. Crowd control is still necessary to the game to keep it interesting, Hazzikostas added.   Another aspect the team wanted to address is PvP gear, which will now have a second level that only activates in PvP. As soon as someone is attacked by a fellow player, whether in an instance or out questing, the item in question will bump to its PvP level. The dev team also talks briefly about Ashran, an island zone that acts as a "PvP playground." The island will host different objectives and PvP battles for players to take part of, but still act as a place for exploration, Holinka said. Check out the video above for a look at the island's layout and more.  Warlords of Draenor was first unveiled at BlizzCon 2013 and is scheduled to release this fall. The alpha test for this game kicked off earlier this month. SOURCE: World of Warcraft (YouTube)VIA: Kotaku 

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The One Who Unlocks All 2057 of World of Warcraft's Achievements Appears

Published:Apr 23. From:harriet 0
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Хируко, an enthusiastic Russian player, was successful to unlock every single achievement in World of Warcraft (that’s 2057 at the moment) and an extra 205 of the approximately 300 Feats of Strengths unlocked. In theory, it means that there is no mission for him to do until the next expansion Warlords of Draenor arrives. Here’s a shot from his Battle.net profile. Yup, that’s all of the currently available 21,995 achievement points.  And here’s a shot from WowProgress, where you can see the leaderboards. There are a few other players missing one or two achievements there.  This guy even managed to snag a lot of Realm Firsts. He was able to level up every single class to max level first on his server. How’s that possible? He transferred to a low population realm with his guildmates, and while he played on multiple accounts simultaneously, his friends were busy killing everyone trying to get to level 90. Well, that’s not a nice thing to do. No surprise that Blizzard’s removing Realm First achievements from Warlords of Draenor. While some other players ever maxed out on achievements in WoW, Хируко is the first one to do it all over again with all of the additional Mists of Pandaria and endgame content. Good Job! [via MMO-Champion]  Source: kotaku.com.au

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Top 5 Greatest Moments in Warcraft Lore

Published:Apr 21. From:harriet 0
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It’s no doubt that the World of Warcraft is an expansive world. You know how to play the game and how to fight the bosses, but do you know why? Do you know about the story behind the game?The lore of Warcraft isn't exactly the easiest thing in the world to follow. It's not a straight line of cause and effect that you can simply trace from beginning to end. It's an endless chain of events intertwined with each other in a ball that is so tightly wound together, it's almost impossible to untangle and pick apart. This is a large part of the reason why it's so hard to answer a seemingly simple question, "I want to try and get into Warcraft lore, so where do I start?"That said, there are several standout moments in lore, moments that have influenced far more than one character's development or one chain of story progression. While the following list isn't every moment, it contains some of the most influential, those events in history that have shaped the world of Warcraft and will continue to shape it for years to come.  1.The First WarThe First War began when the Horde poured through the Dark Portal for the first time and began systematically wrecking everything in sight in a campaign of domination and destruction. It ended with a resounding Horde victory, resulting in the destruction of Stormwind, and the death of King Llane Wrynn.Why it's influential This one was really a no-brainer addition to the list. The First War was pretty much where the long saga of Alliance vs. Horde began, and that conflict has carried us all the way through every Warcraft game to date. Sure, there might be Old Gods. Certainly the Burning Legion poses a looming threat. But when it comes down to it, the destiny of Azeroth's natives was signed and sealed the moment that the orcish race decided to use Stormwind as a convenient punching bag and starting point for their campaign of global domination. Nearly every moment on the list below was spawned, in one degree or another, by the First War.Varian Wrynn would not be the man, and king, he is today if he hadn't witnessed his father's assassination at Garona's hands during the First War. Certainly the Alliance itself never would have formed -- there would have been no real reason for its conception. The Horde would also never have begun, because the Horde wouldn't have existed on Azeroth in the first place. Racial hatreds never would have escalated, future wars never would have been fought -- and the entire reason we're playing this game in the first place never would have existed. 2.Theramore's FallThe moment of Deathwing's defeat signaled the dawn of a new age -- the Age of Mortals, as so elegantly put by Alexstrasza. I don't think she intended the dawn of this new, glorious age to earmark the first real, brutal, devastating strike the Horde had delivered to the Alliance since the First War. Warchief Hellscream launched a campaign to dominate Kalimdor for the Horde, rallying his armies to attack the human port city of Theramore as a first strike. And just when the Alliance thought they'd successfully beaten back the Horde army, Garrosh pulled out his ace in the hole -- a mana bomb that wiped out the city in an instant, leaving nothing more than a crater where it used to proudly stand.Why it's influential For one thing, this marks the first time a major Alliance stronghold has been decimated by the opposing faction since the Horde destroyed Stormwind in the First War. Certainly Southshore was also destroyed, but Southshore was a much smaller town, and didn't hold quite the same importance to the Alliance as Theramore did. It was the only major human settlement on Kalimdor, and an important port town. Not only that, it was home to Lady Jaina Proudmoore -- which made this moment all the more influential.Jaina's been a proponent of peace between the two factions ever since she worked with Thrall during the Third War. She's been pretty much the only Alliance diplomat that actively tried to foster that tentative peace into something real. Because of this, Theramore was never really a giant target for the Horde, although skirmishes broke out here and there. In one fateful moment, Garrosh Hellscream managed to shatter whatever hope of peace lay between the two factions -- and unleashed the wrath of Lady Proudmoore in the process, setting off a chain reaction of events that led to the Kirin Tor, a once neutral organization, siding with the Alliance. Way to go, Garrosh.But that's not all. In the process of setting up the main attack on Theramore, Garrosh decided not to inform anyone of his real plans, save a few select people that knew about the mana bomb gambit. Why? Maybe it was a test to prove the loyalty of those that swore themselves to the Horde. In Tides of War, Garrosh was deliberate with his orders, and carefully watched the actions of his allies to determine their loyalty. Those that were deemed not quite loyal enough were swiftly taken out of the picture. Those that were smart, hid their dissatisfaction and followed orders to the letter -- no more than that -- while holding private meetings to discuss how they felt about Hellscream's "leadership." These quiet talks were the first stirrings of rebellion that would blow up in Garrosh's face in Mists. 3.The WrathgateCertainly the Lich King was the main target of the war in Northrend -- his downfall was something eagerly sought by both Alliance and Horde. Yet an attack at the Wrathgate went horribly wrong when both Alliance and Horde forces were suddenly forced to deal with the surprise treachery of Grand Apothecary Putress, and the subsequent rebellion in the Undercity led by Varimathras.Why it's influential The Wrathgate wasn't just an unfortunate attack -- the fallout from that event still affects the game today. The treacherous actions of both Putress and Varimathras came as a supposed shock to Sylvanas, who barely escaped the Undercity with her life. Both Alliance and Horde lost influential heroes in the process -- and the loss of Bolvar Fordragon stoked Varian's irritation with the Horde into a rage that escalated faction tensions to an all-time high. Thrall and Varian's confrontation in the Undercity was likely the moment Thrall's doubt in his own competence as a leader began -- a doubt that eventually led to his ultimately stepping down as Warchief.But there were far more subtle effects to this event, effects that still haven't been well and truly resolved. Because of this internal treachery, it became obvious to Garrosh Hellscream that Sylvanas had no real hold over her people -- and her worth as a Horde ally was brought into sharp question in his eyes. That worth has been tested time and time again ever sinceWrath -- and the unease with Sylvanas and the Forsaken is still present in the Horde, even today.Those tests of worth have driven Sylvanas into even more activity -- assaulting Gilneas, wiping out Southshore, taking over Andorhal -- all presumed attempts to prove the worth of her people in the Horde's eyes. But it remains unclear whether Sylvanas is actually trying to prove herself to the Horde, or simply trying to carve out an acceptable amount of space for her people in the event that alliance with the Horde really does end up coming to an end. In addition to this, Sylvanas' actions have only served to fuel the fire between Horde and Alliance, escalating the tensions between the two factions and provoking even more aggression, leading into all-out war.Which leaves us with the question of whether Sylvanas is truly thinking of what's best for the Horde ... or has been quietly hoping and encouraging good old fashioned war to break out, in order to provide more corpses to bolster her people's numbers. We still don't know the answer to that. 4.MedivhRather than an event, we have a person -- a person that was delivered into a space of utmost influence, a person who, given the choice, probably never would have taken the position to begin with. Medivh may be gone in game, but his actions in the short time he was around managed to effectively set the stage for the majority of what we're seeing in Warcraft today.Why he's influential Medivh was the man responsible for the First War -- but he didn't ask for it. The son of Aegwynn, Medivh was born unknowingly carrying the dark influence of Sargeras inside of him. It wasn't until he fully came into his Guardian powers in his teens that Sargeras was unleashed. Once he was capable of action, the leader of the Burning Legion was free to use Medivh as his own personal puppet, orchestrating the creation of the Dark Portal and the beginning of the First War. Medivh was beheaded during the First War, which one would think would end any and all influence he had on Azeroth's history -- but you'd be wrong.During the Third War, Medivh reappeared again, this time without the dark influence of Sargeras. In an attempt to atone for the sins committed by Sargeras, Medivh deftly orchestrated the relocation of the new Horde and Alliance forces to Kalimdor. Once there, he managed to convince human, orc, and night elf forces to work together and put an end to Archimonde on the peaks of Hyjal. And when Archimonde was at last destroyed, Medivh supposedly faded into history, taking his place among the legends of the past.This might seem like a nice story -- sorcerer goes bad, sorcerer dies, comes back, makes up for his past sins -- but it's far more than that. Medivh set up that tentative alliance between the new Horde and the Alliance. He encouraged the ties that ultimately led to the kaldorei joining the Alliance in earnest. He fostered a sense of diplomatic peace that Thrall and Jaina Proudmoore desperately tried to keep on even while the world around them frothed in factional warfare. On top of that, he was directly responsible for the First War that brought about the need for diplomacy in the first place. 5.Siege of OrgrimmarWhen, exactly, do the bonds of an alliance reach the breaking point? We found that out this expansion, when the iron-fisted rule of Warchief Garrosh Hellscream managed to splinter the Horde, rather than bring it together into the war machine he'd hoped for. In just a few short years, Hellscream turned the Horde from motley band of outcasts to former allies openly fighting with each other in rebellion.Why it's influential Hellscream didn't sit on the Warchief's throne for long, from a timeline standpoint, but his reign managed to shake up the status quo in a major way. Prior to Garrosh's arrival as Warchief, the Horde was sitting in a fairly stale place from a story standpoint -- not quite allies of the Alliance, not quite enemies, with a Warchief that wanted nothing more than to bring the two factions together in peaceful coexistence. It's a lovely thought, an admirable ambition, but does little to push the story forward in any kind of meaningful way.Enter Garrosh Hellscream. Maybe it was due to his isolated upbringing in Outland, but Garrosh's idea of what the Horde should be definitely didn't line up with Thrall's idea -- and perhaps Thrall should have seen that coming in the first place. He didn't, Garrosh stepped in to embrace the Horde -- his vision of the Horde. A Horde with few trusted allies. The goblins were fine, because Hellscream knew they were loyal to whoever was the more profitable prospect. But by and large, Hellscream's perfect Horde was a Horde of orcs, nothing more -- other races were merely allies of convenience, there to be utilized only when they held some kind of value, otherwise tossed aside. And that took the Horde from a space of stale development and no real story to a dynamic faction that is currently in a state of unsettled upset. Sure, Vol'jin is now Warchief, but does the Darkspear leader really know how to lead a united Horde with any degree of effectiveness? Perhaps he could ask Thrall for pointers -- oh wait, Thrall's headed to Draenor. But let's face it, Thrall wasn't exactly an ideal leader anyway. However, the question of Vol'jin's competence as a leader is really only a minor part of the equation.With this shift, the Horde has suddenly entered a period in which they are not a dominant force. How can they be, when they aren't even certain what they are anymore? Thrall may have united these races under one banner, but Thrall's not around anymore -- and Vol'jin has some nice ideas, but it's going to take time to see if they'll be effective. In that time frame, the Horde is a sitting duck, and Horde leaders are fully aware of that. One wrong move, and the Alliance will close in -- and unlike the Horde, the Alliance is fully united, working as one unit, and won't hesitate to go on the offensive if the Horde dares step out of line.It's an interesting place for the Horde to be -- because they are once again outcasts. Realoutcasts, fighting to establish their place in the world, and their purpose. In a way, the events of the Siege of Orgrimmar have re-established the division between factions and placed both Horde and Alliance neatly back where they were at the beginning of WoW back in 2004 -- the Alliance stands proud, poised to strike as necessary, and the Horde is once again trying to scratch out a foothold and figure out where, exactly, on Azeroth they belong. Are there any other moments that you think impressive and influential in the World of WarCraft history? 

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World of Warcraft Azeroth Choppers Episode 1 Arrives

Published:Apr 18. From:harriet 0
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Have you been well prepared to ride through Azeroth and Draenor in style? Because that’s what we want to get from the new web series fusing American Chopper and World of Warcraft. The first episode is out now, and you can guess the heart of it just from the premise. Two bikes will be designed -- one for the Horde, one for the Alliance -- and fans will vote on which bike winds up in the game as a mount.The first episode, of course, is very much the proof of concept; it features a very early glance at the starting point for both bikes as well as a discussion of Horde and Alliance aesthetics. You can watch the whole episode just past the cut. It's going to be running at least through the end of May, so you'll get a front-row seat to see both choppers brought from concept into execution. Below is the video of the first episode. Check it out.  

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Latest Official Warlords of Draenor Screenshot

Published:Apr 16. From:harriet 0
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Blizzard just announced a screenshot of the Warlords of Draenor. See the official post below: With development on World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor well underway, the Screenshot of the Day section on the World of Warcraft community site will now feature unique Warlords of Draenor images every day, showcasing a variety of new creatures, characters, and environments from the upcoming expansion. Be sure to stop by daily for the latest look at what’s waiting within Draenor.     

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How will You Be Brought Back to WarCraft by Warlords of Draenor?

Published:Apr 14. From:harriet 0
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I think Blizzard probably hopes that people will be attracted by one of the many new additions they’re introducing in the upcoming expansion Warlords of Draenor. If all the new features fail to grab people’s interest, there’s still one other thing they can hopefully fall back on: peer pressure.  Peer pressure only works, of course, if enough of your friends are also into the same thing. This seems to be one of the major reasons why Warlords of Draenor allows you to jump one character straight to level 90. Blizzard’s senior game designer Steve Burke, speaking to GameSpot at PAX East 2014, said the ability to jump to the highest starting cap allows groups of friends to start the new expansion at the same point.  "As the game has gone on and we’ve created more content, the delta between the player who’s been playing for a long time and someone who’s coming back into the game is becoming bigger and bigger. It just felt that this was the right time to bring people back to the same point," he said."Expansions are big events, people come back to the game for expansions because they want to play with their friends. And people who are still playing want their friends to come back. But there’s always this problem of 'well, I'm still level 85, or 80.' Some people just take an expansion off. (But now) everybody is at the same point, everybody is at the same content, so let's just started." Jumping to level 90 is, of course, a very handy thing if you don’t have the time to spend leveling up a character. But it also has drawbacks. Getting to a high level without gaining the experience, skill, and nous that develops from playing a character for hundreds of hours means that the newly playable land of Draenor could fill up with players with poor skills (but excellent gear). So how does the experienced player looking for good team members for a high-level raid sort the wheat from the chaff? Blizzard PvP designer Brian Holinka says Blizzard has a solution for that problem--requiring players to earn a silver ranking in specific roles in Proving Grounds before they can join Heroic-level dungeon raids. "You’ll still be able to get into dungeons with others, it’s not going to be a stiff arm to the content, but it’s going to make it so that those veteran players aren’t inundated with people they feel they have to retrain, and it’s not going to dumb down the game too much for them. But also for the new players they’re not going to be intimidated by these veteran players who’ll just be shouting at them the whole time," Holinka said. With Warlords of Draenor, returning players will also see something that hasn’t been seen in any of Warcraft’s previous expansions--a significant visual upgrade. The visual bump is readily apparent. Characters--both players and NPCs--feature much more detail and animation, with a dwarf character I saw sporting actual, moving fingers, as opposed to the oven mitt-like movement in previous expansions. Burke, half-jokingly, points out the new details in character facial hair, praising Warlord of Draenor's beard technology. "We keep saying we have awesome new beard technology," he says smiling. "But seriously, the beards are awesome." "We just felt that this (introducing a significant visual upgrade) was the right time to do it. Mists of Pandaria, the worg and the goblins, those were times we introduced races. And we were kind of developing our technology and making it better. And the panda was our test case for getting this new thing up and going. And once we got it going for one race, well then we decided to propagate it for the rest." "You can actually see the evolution of getting to this point from the worg, goblins, to pandas, to now spreading it out to all races. It’s not as if we woke up yesterday and decided to do this, it's actually been a long process getting to here." As for how this upgraded visual fidelity will affect the game's recommended specs, Burke says he has no specific information yet on what those specs will be. But he does insist that the game will still perform well for lower-end systems. "We have some low-res versions of the character models, so there's the ability for players to have lower performance requirements for the characters. We’re very conscious of the fact that players can play this on almost any computer out there, so we want to preserve that. But at the same time we felt it’s time to provide some higher fidelity," he said. Warlords, of course, isn’t all about looks and skipping to level 90. There are numerous changes and additions--big and small--planned for Warcraft’s fifth expansion. One of the biggest is the concept of garrisons, which has players build and maintain their own home base in Draenor. This base will be a way to farm resources, as well as be a “home” for certain NPCs that will become your allies. Expansions are big events, people come back to the game for expansions because they want to play with their friends. And people who are still playing want their friends to come back. Blizzard's Steve Burke "One of the cool things about garrisons first of is that you’ll have a mine, you’ll have a barn, and a farm you can start with straight away. All of these are going to do, sort of what the farm did for you in Pandaria, but blown out. Those are going to be producing resources for you even when you’re logged off," Holinka said. "You’ll always have more buildings than plots in your garrison, so you’ll have to make some tangible choices. Each one of those buildings will have specific benefits." "But also as you’re leveling up you’re going to encounter a lot of NPCs that are recruitable and that you can send back to your garrison. And they can do a few things--you can plug them into your crafting--a blacksmith can hammer away, and he’ll level up his blacksmithing skills, he’ll discover new recipes for you. You will also be able to open up missions, and these are basically quests for your minions." World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor is set to hit PC and Mac in fall 2014.  Source: gamespot.com

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Dev’s Blog on Redesigning Daughter of Argus

Published:Apr 10. From:harriet 0
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Guys, it’s not an April Fools’ joke! Blizzard is now redesigning the female Draenei. Get details from the dev’s blog below: “Hello again! I’m Senior Art Director Chris Robinson, and today we wanted to give you a super quick look at our current progress with the new female Draenei.After the April Fools’ joke we wanted to ensure you weren’t waiting too long to see where we’re at with her actual character model update. Keep in mind that she’s still in-progress, and doesn’t have any animation to pose her body or face.  Animation is a big factor for the female Draenei specifically, so it’s important to keep it in mind when comparing the two. The original female Draenei has some fairly extreme posing that happens when she’s animated. If you were to see the static model of the original without any posing you’d see that it looks very similar to the new one. With her pose applied her shoulders stretch backward, her pelvis rotates forward, and her chin lowers—causing her head to angle downwards. The curvature in her lower back, and why the head shape looks slightly different, are also due to the new model not having the same posing applied yet. She also looks a lot taller! Ultimately all of those things will be addressed when we animate the new model, they just don’t take place until she’s rigged and sent on to the animation team.  We hope you enjoyed this super quick look at where we’re at right now, and we’ll continuing sharing more in-progress art as we go forward. The next article in the Artcraft series we’re planning is a look at the creation of the Spires of Arak, a new zone coming in Warlords of Draenor. Thanks for stopping by!”

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World of WarCraft Male Tauren Redesigned

Published:Apr 8. From:harriet 0
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Blizzard has announced the new model of male Tauren in the expansion Warlords of Draenor. You can know how the model is created from the dev’s blog below:  “Hey there everyone, I’m Steve Aguilar, lead animator for the World of Warcraft animation team. Today we’re showing off the male Tauren, and with some help from the rest of the animation team, we’re going to give you a look at the animation processes we use to bring this big guy to life.  Before we even started animating him, we already knew the Tauren was going to be a blast to work on based on all of the detail the character art team added.As we begin applying animations, we’re extra careful not to stray too far from the original. It’s important to us to retain the essence of the original animations, because how a characters walk, move, and carry themselves help to define their personality. We use all of the original animations as a starting point, and then go through the process of cleaning them up and adding additional articulation. Let’s delve into what that process looks like.The Re-AnimatorSteve Aguilar The normal “stand” animation is one of the most important animations because this is what you, the player, see the majority of the time. When you stop moving or walk up to an NPC, the stand is the key pose that is being used. A huge chunk of animations also rely on this pose so they can easily transition into and out of it.When we import the original stand animation onto the new model, we then look to see if there are any weight shifts, odd rotations, or hitches that we need to fix. After we’ve cleaned up the pose, it goes through another sanity check to see if other animations will still be able to transition into and out of this new stand pose. If we happen to change the pose too much, it can cause a domino effect and possibly harm all the existing animations. After touching up the pose, we move on to re-animating the standard idle motion. Slight changes on how muscles move, limbs are carried, or feet hit the ground can get across a better sense of weight for whatever creature it is we’re animating. Tweaking the male Tauren was a lot of fun because we were able to add a lot more weight than the previous model had and make the Tauren feel bigger and beefier. Another thing that stood out was the lack of motion on the nose ring, braids, and especially the face. With the addition of a facial rig, we were able to get his brows, nostrils, ears, and cheeks to react with his breathing motion. Getting these subtle motions to work added so much to the simple standing pose, I imagined the Tauren looking up at me and saying "thank you."Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the old and new models.  Next up is Kevin to talk about the face rig and what that process entails. Face OffKevin “Snap ‘n’ Point” Rucker Since the facial animation system worked so well with the Pandaren in Mists of Pandaria, with the updated models we wanted to add the same life and emotion they deserved. In the past the character models only had a jaw bone that could be animated, but now we’re able to add movement to the brows, eyes, cheeks and mouth. We’re able to properly make them smile, look angry, and talk.We start with a base mesh and add joints to specific spots that will allow us to mold the face. We then add influence, or “skin” the mesh to those joints and shape them into poses: jaw open, eyebrows down or furrowed, for example. We hook up those poses to main controls to make the process of animating the face faster and more cohesive between several animators. For instance, instead of having to move 9 individual joints to shape the eyebrows, we just need to touch 2 controls which include a sub-set of attributes for more detailed shaping. After that if we still need to tweak the poses, we can always go back to the original sub controls for additive fine tuning.  We also create a “face file” with several preset expressions the animators can use while working. It’s a lot faster than creating a new pose from scratch. If they need a sad or angry face, they can start from the preset ones, and then adjust from there to make it more unique. We also create several mouth shapes, or phonemes, for use in talking animations. Again, posing the face is time consuming, so having a jump start is extremely helpful. It also makes the character feel like it was animated by one person, when there’s actually a big group of us working on them at one time.  Body Movin’Jeremy “Goonies never say die” Collins On a certain level, how you move in the game is one of the most important things you experience as a player. It’s your main interaction with the world around you. For Warlords of Draenor, we wanted to improve the locomotion of WoW’s player characters with brand new rigs. These new rigs are capable of doing so much more in terms of fidelity of motion for our characters, and we wanted to showcase that as much as possible Everyone who plays WoW is familiar with their character’s idle and run animations—those are the two you see the most. We wanted to really take a look at what made the old player model animations successful, and what made them so iconic. Our job was to then retain the spirit of the old animations, but clean them up so they would look epic on the new rigs. That proved to be a really fun task. Part of the joy of cleaning up an animation like the Dwarf male’s run is going back and seeing what the original animators were thinking about when they first worked on these characters. Some of these runs and walks were animated over 10 years ago!The first thing we did when we cleaned up an animation was ask ourselves a series of questions. What are some of the areas that could use touching up? Does the center of gravity on the character feel skewed? Is the character leaning appropriately when moving in a direction? How can we shift the timing to give this animation a greater sense of weight?All of our rigs are manipulated with the use of controllers. Controllers are curves that drive the joints the tech artists have placed that ultimately deform deform the model you see. When we open an older animation, we’re manipulating what is called "baked data." Baked animations havekeys on every attribute on every frame. In some cases, it’s necessary for us to delete some keys to make the animation curves easier to manipulate. Here’s what we see inside of Maya. Every one of those colored curves represents rotation or translation of that foot controller.  Once we had identified what needed polishing we went straight into Maya and got to work. A popular method of cleaning up locomotion animations would be saving the contact poses, major breakdowns, deleting the in-betweens, and smoothing out the motion from there. Emotes were also super fun to work on. We would often times shoot video footage of ourselves acting out emote animations for reference—and no you don’t get to see them. We’d then use that reference as a jumping off point for setting key frames in Maya.  Glass Case of Emotion: Part ICarman“Boba Muscles” Cheung For the majority of the character cleanup phase, the team focuses on three main things: cloth, hair and the face. Cloth includes a front and back tabard and a cape. Hair can be anything from a back ponytail, a front ponytail, pig tails, beards of varying sizes and shapes, or a combination of all of these. We also add facial animation, which adds a lot of character and life to the model. Occasionally, we will also fix minor posing issues or any errors, like jittering.  All of our character animations are hand keyed, and not dynamically simulated within the game engine or created through motion capture. This allows us to have complete control in shaping the movement and style for each character, and it adds a unique life to the characters you can’t really get any other way. Glass Case of Emotion: Part IIDavid “Coffee Corn” Edwards My favorite part of the entire process is adding the facial expressions, or fixing up the timing or posing of a character. It is astounding how adding a simple facial expression can instantly bring a character to life. It’s always incredibly rewarding to take an old animation and see what even small changes can do to vastly improve it.As a contrast, the most difficult part of the process, at least for me, is having to hold myself back from wanting to fix or adjust every little thing for every single animation. Due to the sheer volume of animations that exist for player characters, our goal of having updated models in time for Warlords of Draenor, and the need to animate all the new creatures and objects going into the expansion, we have to prioritize our time. We’ve broken the cleanup passes on character revamp animations up into phases. Phase 1 has all of the locomotion animations (walk, run, etc.) as well as all the emotes and spell casts. Phase 2 deals with the combat animations (attacks, stuns, etc.), and phase 3 is a catch-all for the remaining animations (swimming, fishing, etc.). Regardless of the phase, every animation is touched in some form or fashion, but phase 1 gets the most love since those are the animations are seen the most.At the start of each animation we always focus on cleaning up the body first, since this motion drives all of the secondary animation. Below is a video showing the finished product after it has gone through the cleanup process.”

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World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor alpha testing in progress

Published:Apr 4. From:harriet 0
wow

Blizzard has started the alpha test for World of Warcraft’s Warlords of Draenor expansion. It stands for that those of you on the list could be checking out the new content right now. We’re certain the timing has nothing to do with the launch of a competing major subscription MMORPG today. Hem hem. In a Battle.net post, Blizzard described the test as being at a “very early stage”, and the developer is currently testing new technology with “friends and family”. However, it anticipates data-mining leaks to begin detailing the new content. “The expansion content available during this first phase will be quite limited—many of the expansion’s major features, such as Garrisons, won’t be available until a later point in the testing process. This early phase of testing will help us ramp up for our larger beta phase later on, when we’ll be inviting more players,” Blizzard said. One of the major back-end changes brought by the expansion is a change in file format from Mo’PaQ to CASC, and Blizzard expects to roll out the change to all players in a patch before Warlords of Draenor launches.  The new format should help prevent errors during installation, increase game performance, quicker patching, hotfixing of clients, better streaming data support and future-proofing. Register a beta profile if you want to join the Warlords of Draenor’s testing. Thanks, Massively. Source: vg247.com

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Developer’s Discussion on Revamping the Female Draenei

Published:Apr 2. From:harriet 0
wow

Blizzard is considering how to revamp the female Draenei model in World of WarCraft. The developer’s discussion is available below. Take a closer look to get details. Welcome to Artcraft! I’m Chris Robinson, senior art director for World of Warcraft, and today we’ll be discussing the revamp of the female Draenei model. In this blog, we'll touch on how we approached this redesign, show before and after images, and talk about our art process with this particular model.  When we first discussed throwing away the old model and making a new female Draenei from scratch, one topic that kept coming up was the connection between the Lost Ones and the Draenei;  visually, there wasn’t one. We wanted to help a player understand, more viscerally, the connection between the Lost Ones, and their seemingly perfect cousins—the Draenei. Ready to challenge long-standing design conceits, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.Lead Character artist Tyson Murphy explains: “The original model was never very popular among players, and while certainly there are the few who dearly love playing a female Draenei, we felt like we needed to start over. The best way for us to do that was pretty clear from the start: rely on the lore. I wanted to create a new face that got across the idea that this was someone you know, the proverbial “blue space demon next-door”, while playing up her connection to the Lost Ones. We brought out her eyes, created a more natural “Lost Ones” jaw line, brought her waistline in to more realistic proportions, and took the hairline up to create some visual parity with the male designs.”  Lead Animator Steve Aguilar:“A lot of what we try to accomplish with art in the game is to tell a visual story through the textures, props, and animation, giving you a sense of what something is without having to outright explain it through text or voice. Most people forget that the original Draenei survivors on the Exodar came from one specific mountain family clan, and the Draenei female you know and love was actually conceived en route to Azeroth. We wanted to rough up her edges a bit, and tell a story that has been told many times before—the story of a rebellious young girl cooped up on her family’s floating crystal ship that’s just crashed on a fantastical planet. When you get your hands on Warlords of Draenor, be sure to take a look at some of the unique emotes the animation team has created for her. Some of my favorites are: /twerk, /ew, /chewgum, and /whatever. Also keep in mind that the models shown here are using a temporary pose, which may make her appear more animated and lively than she will in the final product.”  Character Artist Dusty Nolting adds:“The Draenei, like all of the game’s races except the humans, are essentially anthropomorphic representations of animals, so a lot of care went into conveying that. Playing up the capra-like slender reverse-ankle and hoof, and adding tasteful amounts of fur, were both changes players have been asking for since Burning Crusade. We also know a lot of you have been requesting full “back side” shots to properly compare the before and after. Hopefully this helps!”That’s all we have for the female Draenei right now. We hope you continue to enjoy this series as we invite you to meet the team, get insight into our development process, and sneak early looks at some of the art we’re creating for Warlords of Draenor.See you next time!

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