Monday, 1 September 2014

The Blood Elves, Only Fashionably Late

It seems as of late that day does not go by without learning that something else fell under the terrible Axe of Change, that another feature got lost in the Forest of Delay, or that another thing fell into the Bottomless Pit of Neverhappen. The latest on the list of delayed, are also the greatest. The new Blood Elf models will be gracing us with their presence only once the expansion is already released. Most probably during the first content patch.

Some might say that this is only understandable, that blood elves unlike the rest of the races, still stand against the test of time. Others might say, that originally they were not even considered for a facelift in the first place. To those, the only thing I have to say is that neither were draenei, and yet they will be on the repertoire from the very beginning of the Warlords of Draenor. The main reason being, that they feature heavily in the expansion, and it would look out of place if all other races looked so much better than one of the two playable races, who called Draenor a home at some point of their history. I myself tend to go with the third option. Blood Elves like to be special snowflakes, and arriving fashionably late, without sharing the attention with everyone else is right down their alley. They are the arrogant self-centred narcissists for a reason.

Instead of writing how very unfair this all is to the one of the most popular playable races in World of Warcraft, second only to humans, let us focus on what we should expect, what should, after the extra time invested in the Blood Elf models, be reasonable expectations instead of just another wishful thinking. And in the same breath, we should also take a look on what we should try to avoid.

In all this mess, there appears to be a silver lining after all. The Blood Elves are not the testing bunnies of the bunch. Everyone else is. What this means is, that we can take a look at every single of the nine failed experiments, evaluate their progress and than ascertain that the new models of the blood elves turn out a success. We have a unique opportunity to see what we are about to go through on our fellow players, who will get their models on time. We will be able to witness their content, their misery, their happiness, or their anger and frustration from first hand. We will be able to learn what Blizzard did wrong with the other models, and to what we need to pay special attention.

The fact of the matter is, that the faces of the blood elf models are not really varied. They are all meant to be beautiful, and this is where it ends. Currently they lack any variety, any real characteristics. There is the face with more pronounced nasolabial furrow, there is a face with higher cheekbones, there is a face with fuller lips, but in its essence they are all the same. Sure, I will never say that out loud. The face I chose for my Blood Elf is the best, unique, one of a kind I will always say, and as far as subjectivity goes I will be correct. But realistically speaking there is a difficult situation before Blizzard. How to bring the faces of Blood Elves to the higher standard, while still making them varied enough with the consideration that before, the differences between the faces were minimal at best?

It is like the Gordian knot. No matter how much they tinker about it, the end solution will always be to start from scratch, while still trying to stay as faithful to the old as possible. There is another thing. You know the saying that for an omelet, you need to break some eggs first. Well, the problem is we never decided we will have that omelet. We were quite satisfied with our basket of eggs. We were grunting at times, that it would be nice to have an omelet, but we still wanted for our eggs to stay as they were, maybe only to colour them.

The fact remains that no matter how hard they try, and how much better the new models will look in comparison to the old, the new models will never be our old. They will never be the same. And when it comes to something as personal as the players' character, it is the duty of the developer to ensure that they players can reconnect with their new models, without having to resort to the old and outdated. The latter is the lazy way we should all discourage.

This leads me once again to my perpetual argument that the only way of how we will have a full wolf and a whole goat is by having one-time free character recustomisation limited on the looks of the character only. The truth is, I am ever more doubtful of this option, as Blizzard stance of late indicates only that they want money. But that in itself is a topic for another time.

#WoW #BloodElves #WoD


  1. I get the 'personal' nature of characters and players wanting to relate to them, but I wish they could've broken free from that more and really given all the races a proper overhaul. My precious trolls really could use a slightly straighter spine!

    1. I think the trolls are probably the only race where I would argue in favour of their crooked back. It makes them look more in tune with the whole jungle, savage, voodoo theme they have going for them.

      On other hand, what bothers me that trolls lost a bit of their playfulness with the new models. The old trolls knew how to look goofy without loosing their edge, now they appear just very edgy. While vicious trolls are all well and fine, I want that goofiness back as well.