Saturday, 25 January 2014

Thoughts on New Human Female Model

This Thursday Blizzard released a post that featured the new human female model. You can read in detail about it here. What I have to say about the new model, is that it looks stunning. Especially once you start to compare it to the old one. Which led mo to questioning the validity of claims made by the community, myself included, that we should be able to recustomise the character for free once.

To be honest, I am not really sure any more what exactly to make of it. While I agree that the new model looks phenomenal, I would argue at the same time that it looks nothing like the old model. There are no actual similarities between the two. The new model looks just so different, in a better way. It is an improvement, I could not disagree with that. It is such a leap from the old model, that the old model looks like it wears a mask you can get from the Hallow's End instead of a face.

So, it is this dilemma that is gnawing at me. Should I just be grateful, that we are about to get the new models, that put the old ones to such shame that everyone will gladly forget with what kind of characters we played for what will soon be almost ten years? Or should I stick to my arguments, which while valid and sound, do sound pretty petty.

It is a situation of being given a hand and grabbing the arm. But then, I hear that little voice of doubt deep inside me. It is not really doubt, more a tiny little fear that refuses to leave me alone and go pester someone else. This little voice cannot but keep saying that while we are about to get new, and much better models, we all love how our characters already look.

My Blood Elf Paladin is the same from the first day I created him. I only took him to barber once, where I changed the beard into something with more facial hair than before, however little that actually is when we talk about Blood Elves. I like the way he looks, moves, and does things. And I truly understand what the developers are saying when they talk about retaining the feel or soul of the old model.

While I believe that feel will stay intact, and survive all the drastic changes, I am not so sure about the actual look of the models. Yes, there will be the same haircuts, beards, earrings, horns, and tentacles. But what will be new is the models. And the definition of them. Which is why I am inclined to admit that I would still love to have a free character recustomisation available.

And this is at the same time a good move by Blizzard as well, although it seems one they are less and less likely to make, if the recent design decisions are any indicators. Indeed, they could earn a fortune by not giving people free character recustomisation. If the in-game store is any indication already, it is a fact that players will be able and would be willing to pay for the character recustomisation.

They can already do that now. But now, this is something that they themselves choose on their own. Nobody is forcing them. They are not happy with the look they themselves chose for their characters. Thus, paying to change the appearance of said character makes all the sense. Everyone is responsible for their own mistakes after all.

This new character models on the other hand, are not something that players decided upon. True, players will be happy about the new models, and they did wish for the update on the models for years now, but at the end, this is a violent change to the characters players created. This change will not be voluntary, but just another thing that everyone is getting no matter if they want for it or not.

And this worries me, while at one hand we get much, on the other we could end up with only grief, anger, and disdain. Imagine somebody went through your room, cabinet or workplace claiming they just tidied it up and organised everything as it should be. Nobody will like that. Because even if we leave everything else aside, we are left with the fact that someone went and changed our things without our permission. And in that case, I would love the option to change things back as much as I can or want.


  1. I think you're right that there will be players who just want those old models back. There was an interview recently where Chris Robinson hinted at the possibilty of an on/off switch for old/new models. I'm doubtful Blizz would actually go through with it though. This change is coming for everyone whether we like it or not.

    I was intrigued by the implication you gave that players *should* have some choice in the matter. I read an article the other day (I think perhaps Ars Technica?) where the author argued that devs should never listen to their players. It was compelling :) I'm selfish enough that I always want to be heard when I tell a dev what I want, lol.

    I kid. I think that author may have a point though. Sometimes, players have no idea what we want.

    1. I agree with that. Devs should always do things in their own manner. Yet at the same time, it is somehow a very personal thing, when there is inevitable change to our characters waiting around the corner. In many ways we feel like Gollum, pronouncing "our preciouss" and "filthy hobbitses trying to steal our preciouss".

      This is why I think that free recustomisation could be a good solution to this particular tangle.It is a compromise between the both sides. After all, when they made major changes to the talent tree, we were able to redistribute talent points without paying extra gold.
      It would be a nice gesture as well, showing that they wish only to better the game, and that getting some extra money is not their primary goal. Or at least not a reason why they changed everyone's characters.

    2. I would be VERY surprised if free re-customization wasn't given to everyone when this releases. Just seems like the reasonable thing to do.

    3. It would be reasonable. But seeing the introduction of in-game shop is making me a bit cynical. Before the in-game shop, I would not even question if there would be free recustomisation, it would seem silly. Now, it seems as a valid concern, as it is just too easy, to just charge for it, saying that they upgraded the models, so we should either be happy, or we can pay for change.

      I know this is one of the darkest of the dark scenarios, and I really hope it does not come to it. Reading this, I realised just how much I hate the in-game shop and everything it does, and could represent. I'm short of demonising it as it is.


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