Azeroth, is a beautiful place. Sure it's a subjective point of view, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder but honestly, it really is beautiful. I've been sat here taking screenshot after screenshot like an Orc on holiday in the Bahamas. This is fine for landscapes but I don't know whether you've ever tried to get a bunch of marauding demons who want nothing more than to eat your liver, to stop chasing you and pose for an 'action' shot. Since the days of Warcraft II Blizzard have always used a style that's worked well. There are some who aren't fans of this style of course, which has sometimes prompted Blizzard to, respond... But it's a style that I personally really like and fits the tone and humour of the Warcraft universe. It has charm, and its style is such that it doesn't need to be 'realistic' or wow its audience with high polygon counts, photorealistic textures and tesselation, because to be honest a lot of that stuff is smoke and mirrors to hide bad artwork in some games. The world of Warcraft is a piece of art with its own style that manages to often immerse me more than some games that try to look realistic. Its components are coherent, consistent and everything about its art makes sense. There are no photos of brick walls that have been sloppily pasted to the side of a building, it has been carefully hand-crafted and without the use of high polygon counts. It's these achievements that make Blizzard's artists stand out as incredibly skillful and it's a testament to its art that it hasn't changed too much since WoW's release; that is until now.
In preparation for the upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion, they've updated character models for most of the races in the game with others to be updated soon. They have higher polygon counts and higher texture resolutions but they still retain all the charm and style of the original artwork. Due to the added polygon count, the updated characters now have a lot more expression in their animations. Hair now animates and bounces much more than it previously did, and faces are much more expressive. There is a lot more content that will be included once Warlords of Draenor is released obviously (assuming that you buy it) like the garrison system and of course all the new quests, dungeons and raids, but for now the new art is a nice little taster. Check the screenshots below for how it looks now.
Images used under Blizzard Entertainment's copyright policy
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