One of the most exciting, yet overlooked, aspects of Warlords of Draenor is that the new character models will also be applied to npcs. This will give Azeroth a facelift even Cataclysm could not offer. Unfortunately, with the alpha still employees only; we had no way to see how our favorite NPCs would look with the new models, until now. Thanks to Wowhead‘s model viewer, any NPCs using finished models (male and female orc, gnome, dwarf and male tauren) can be viewed in their brand new WoD glory. I’ve put together a sampling of 12 iconic NPCs (who at least two of which will play large roles in Warlords of Draenor.
First off, some notes:
-The new foot design with separately modeled toes hasn’t been accounted for by Wowhead’s model viewer yet, so ignore that all the characters appear to be wearing extremely tight socks instead of boots. This should be fixed in-game.
-Moira Thaurissan and Gelbin Mekkatorque should be on this list, but both of their models are glitched (in Moira’s case, terrifyingly so) at the moment.
-Tauren males in general seem to be glitched. Dezco is a notable exception.
-For reasons unknown, Aggra is using a new female fel orc skin. Her appropriate Mag’har skin is being used by Dragonmaw orcs right now.
-If your favorite NPC isn’t here, you can search literally every character currently in the game on Wowhead’s model viewer.
Expect more looks into the NPC facelift in the future as more models are datamined and glitches are cleared up with current ones.
The recent datamining of the Warlords of Draenor alpha by MMO-Champion has revealed much about the upcoming expansion’s story. We’ve known from its announcement that, similar to MoP, our characters will journey into Draenor with an elite team of heroes from their respective factions, but now it has been revealed precisely who will accompany us. While we’ll be seeing plenty of characters from Warcraft’s lore on Draenor, these are the familiar faces from Azeroth. For this first article, we’ll look at the Alliance expedition.
Before hitting the jump to see them, note that is all alpha information and is highly subject to change. It’s also datamined, which means this could be left over data from already scrapped content. In other words, this is what appears to be correct at the time, but take it with a grain of salt just in case.
I’ve been waiting quite a while for the NDA to wear off on this. I am proud to announce, in a BlizzPlanet Exclusive, the next World of Warcraft novel, World of Warcraft: Yrel: Heart of Draenor! Just as World of Warcraft: Vol’jin: Shadows of the Horde had a writer new to the Warcraft franchise behind it, so will Heart of Dreanor: the famous Tara Gilesbie!
In the press details I was given by Micky Neilson, Lead Story Developer for Blizzard Entertainment, he explained this novel will bridge the gap between Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor by giving readers a look into one of the expansion’s lead characters, Yrel. The story will chronicle Yrel’s journey from a simple priestess at Karabor, to her witnessing the formation of the Iron Horde, ultimately leading to her first encounter with the player character (done similarly in Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War).
“We are incredibly excited to be working with Ms. Gilesbie,” Micky said in regards to the upcoming novel. He also mentioned we may be seeing a forbidden romance in Yrel’s adventures which will heavily affect her role in Warlords of Draenor.
He also clarified that, following another of Shadow of the Horde‘s traditions, Heart of Draenor will be a darker and more mature fare than most Warcraft novels. Due to this, I’ve had to censor the excerpt provided later on in the article slightly for the BlizzPlanet readership.
“We’ve seen how massively popular the pairing of Jaina and Kalecgos was in Tides of War, and Thrall and Aggra presented in-game is still considered one of our best works here at Blizzard. So it was natural to have another unique and well written romance. I wont’ say who catches Yrel’s eye, but I’ll give you a hint: his dad’s the leader of the Iron Horde.”
Just imagine the conflict that’s going to come from that! It looks like Yrel won’t just be Warcraft’s Joan of Arc, but perhaps their Romeo and Julliet as well?
As for our newest Warcraft author, Tara Gilesbie is a world renowned writer who, like many in today’s age, got her start on the internet. She is best known for her novella My Immortal, a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead-style take on the popular Harry Potter series of books; which chronicles Harry’s adventures through the eyes of a mentally challenged vampire student attending Hogwarts. Originally published for free, the full work can be read here if you want to get a taste of Gilesbie’s unique writing style before Heart of Draenor is out.
While I could not reach Tara herself, I was given this quote from her: “I m sooooo eksited to work on dis story! Fangz (geddit becuz Im Goffik) Blizzurd for givin me the change to work with u guys1″
I was also given a very short excerpt from Yrel: Heart of Draenor, detailing a scene between Yrel and her forbidden lover. As this is a spoiler, I’ll leave it under the read-more.
Recently, Community Manager Bashiok made a post on the official story forums, a place normally devoid of blue posts. He responded a thread called “Big Continuity Issue:Zangarmarsh,Blade’s Edge”(sic), where a poster named Gartherix brought up how Draenor as it is set to appear in Warlords of Draenor differs significantly from how it was presented it past lore, such as World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde by Christie Golden. Bashiok clarified many of these discrepancies, and explained how they will be addressed. As it’s a rather long set of posts, I’ll leave the information from the thread in that link if you wish to peruse it.
This got me thinking, why not go through everything we know about Draenor as it will appear, and compare it with Outland today. Let’s see how the continuity between Draenor and Outland has been maintained so far.
Bashiok posted a new chapter of the ArtCraft series that aims to provide fans a glimpse into the work of the artists and the new features they are working on for the Warlords of Draenor expansion.
Just in this ArtCraft, seven developers in the Art Team offer insight into the artistic development process of the Garrison and some of the buildings, and props.
Chris Robinson (senior art director)
Cory Stockton (lead content designer)
Wendy Vetter (lead artist, dungeon team)
Eric Browning (lead prop artist)
Jordan Powers (associate artist)
Eric Braddock (associate 3D artist)
Jay Hwang (senior 3D artist)
Chris Robinson: Greetings, and welcome to another edition of Artcraft! I’m Chris Robinson, senior art director of World of Warcraft, and for this second entry I’ve gathered a group of Warlords of Draenor developers to talk a bit about Garrisons—specifically, how our artists are working closely with the game designers to ensure that the visuals we’re crafting support their design goals.
We’re not really going to get into the details of how Garrisons work here, like specific mechanics of their design. Think of this more as a behind-the-scenes glimpse into our art process with two of our groups: our dungeon art team, which is responsible for all the Garrison’s large buildings, walls, gates, and so on; and our prop art team, which is focused on the profession buildings and all of the awesome details you’ll find inside of them. — read more
Bashiok revealed there are plans to add a PvP on/off toggle in Warlords of Draenor for PvE realms. That means flagged players can no longer mount up and stand on an NPC to force players to get PvP flagged accidentally; and can PvP only if the player wishes to participate. In some cases, the PvP system would flag a player out of the blue.
The new PvP on/off toggle system is quite a load of work — it’s basically rewriting the PvP systems from scratch.
Bashiok: Well, I understand where you’re coming from, but flagging as a PvE character is based on a player’s action to flag themselves (even if it’s on accident), so I’m not sure it’s us making you PvP. The systems that can cause someone to flag can absolutely at times be involuntary, which is notably frustrating.
In any case we are continuing toward a goal of a PvP on/off toggle for players on PvE realms to be added in Warlords of Draenor, which would absolutely and in all situations allow someone to refrain from becoming flagged regardless of their actions. Heals toward flagged players would fail, coalescing to PvP realms wouldn’t be possible, misclicks and AoE’s would never damage a flagged opponent, etc. It’s actually quite a bit of work because of all the systems involved, but it’s still something we think PvE players should have, and how the game should work for them.
Blizzard Entertainment revealed the new Human female model, and plans to reveal new models in upcoming weeks through the new blog “ArtCraft” at the World of Warcraft website.
Read what senior art director Chris Robinson said concerning this new model.
“Hi, I’m Chris Robinson, senior art director of World of Warcraft, and this is the first in a series of articles we’re creating to bring you all closer to the development of the player character model revamps we announced at BlizzCon. In this series, we’ll give you an inside look at the process we go through to do one of these revamps, discuss the kinds of art issues we’re addressing with the new models, and provide a bit of insight our future plans for their continued polish.”
Senior character artist Joe Keller also said:
“Everyone is pretty familiar with the Human character models in WoW, but working on these updates gives us a chance to embellish and fill in the blanks. For the Human female this meant we could give her more muscle definition and personality in the face while still staying true to the overall look and spirit of the original. Hopefully this will also help show her as more of the capable fighter that she is.”
Blizzard Entertainment posted a glimpse of a upcoming new mount — which gives me a serious Arakkoa-vibe. Will it be a new Blizzard Store mount? — some past mounts have been announced to be for charity purposes (aka St. Jude’s Children hospital/Make-A-Wish). Will it be the Warlords of Draenor version of the Recruit-A-Friend reward?
Blizzard Entertainment is preparing to launch Warlords of Draenor Beta Servers very-soon!
In addition, when you pre-order the Digital download of World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, you gain the ability to boost a character to level 90 at the moment of purchase (before the expansion’s release date) when Blizzard enables digital presales (soon) — includes Standard Digital and Digital Deluxe pre-purchase versions. Check out the details here.
Blizzard recommends players to go to their Battle.net account page. Visit the Beta Profile page by clicking this area:
In the next page, make sure you have opt-in to all Blizzard games including World of Warcraft.
The best venue to get into Warlords of Draenor beta is to enable opt-in within your Battle.net Account Page. However, it is by far the only option to get a beta key. Fansites and Gaming networks usually giveaway beta keys provided by Blizzard Entertainment.
Keep an eye on Blizzplanet and fellow fansites over the next few weeks or months.
The Iron Skyreaver mount is now available through the World of Warcraft in-game store. This mount is inspired by the Warlords of Draenor expansion and wears Iron Armor and a dual goblin-rocket engine. During its flying animations it will randomly rotate in the air and accelerate its engine leaving a visible fiery trail.