BlizzCon 2017: World of Warcraft art panel liveblog

Remember how last year, we got an enormous amount of art discussion during a panel that really should have been about systems? Or was it the year before? These things blur together sometimes. If you spend a whole lot of time liveblogging about World of Warcraft at each installment of BlizzCon, at some point you just start letting it all push together into a melange. What stands out most are the hunted, harried looks during the Warlords of Draenor era.

Still, all of the liveblogging beats an actual west coast trip. And reading it is probably even more fun, especially when the art panel is actually labeled as the art panel! Let’s learn all about the art in the comments below, or by catching up with the recap just below. Fun for the art-focused family!

Follow all of Massively OP’s coverage of BlizzCon 2017, Blizzard’s annual fan convention highlighting World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and beyond!

Liveblog summary

First up is Kul-Tiras and its citizens. They look pretty rugged for humans, lots of nautical motifs, but super practical. Very witchy, wickery baddies.

On the Horde size, Zandalar is all about dinos, the savage matriarchal culture of the trolls, and gold. So much gold.

Quick look at some of the gear too.

Next up is the look and design of Freehold, the port city, with elite guards, rogues and pickpockets, and plenty of trading, carrying, hauling, and merchanty stuff. That’s contrasted with a look at a bloody, gruesome city – lots of animated characters that are meant to enhance the story of the setting.

The effects part is hard to snap pics of, but it’s pretty neat – it’s a quick look at how particle effects for spells and so forth are put together. Yay sparkles! Warlocks are definitely on the agenda now, as apparently there’s more manpower allotted to the effects team. There’s also an explanation of how sparkles are picked; for example, for the new evil druid mobs, pretty blue effects were rejected in favor of ashy and red effects that look a lot more scarier.

Now we’ve got a zone look at Nazmir. Lots of great biome pics.

The dungeon and city team dig into the design of Kul Tiras. It turns out there’s such a thing as too much tentacle! The region picks up a seafaring look, lots of ideas based on real ships, green vintage weathering, and so on, all to tell the virtual story.

Finally, the prop team rep shows off how props are designed, using the Zandalari culture’s influences from Mesoamerican cultures. Ending with a quick look at holidays.

Q&A time.

Q: Awesome armor for heritage of new races; will we see some for the old races?
A: No plans right now, but they’d like the idea!

Q: Can player characters get more animations?
A: Since the custom animations work, they’d like to bring them over to players in the future.

Q: Where do you get your references/inspirations?
A: Several places, to get a larger essence/fantasy and the overall cultural sweep, rather than specific cultures or real places.

Q: When are we getting Hunter quivers?
A: When we planned on that, we didn’t know about artifacts; we sort of paused there. That conversation is happening again.

Q: How do you breathe life into creatures and make them feel natural?
A: Look at similar creatures in the real world, sometimes you just have to bounce ideas off. For a murloc, for example, you want it to look playful.

Q: What slows down FX process?
A: It’s fairly complicated, especially when every class needs to look different and every school of magic needs to be different; it’s not cut-and-paste. Warlock has taken a while.

Q: When are we getting more “plate bikinis?”
A: Uh. It’s a polarizing thing; what’s appropriate for the setting, the story, etc. Not just throwing in a random bikini.

Q: Can we have hats that don’t cut off our hair completely?

Q: Since the Zandalari can stand up straight, can we get other races that stand up straight?
A: Well, we like bent spines.

Q: You added green fel flame; any more possibilities for similar variants?
A: No.

Q: New fishing poles?
A: Well, probably some…

Q: New travel forms/animal forms for subraces?
A: New druid forms are on the way. Full stop.

Q: New animations for Worgen/Goblins?
A: We hear you, but they’re not planned for BfA launch. They are being worked on, though.

Q: Will some of the model updates be applied to older zones?
A: Mumbling non-answer.

Q: New animations for Worgen/Goblins?
A: We hear you, but they’re not planned for BfA launch. They are being worked on, though.

Q: Any plans to restore old Shadow Form?
A: Not aware of plans, but if lots of people want it, it’s possible.

Q: Improvement to riding animations?
A: We’ve been researching that, it’s very challenging.

Q: More non-robes for cloth gear?
A: Up to what people want and what looks good.

Q: Dye system?
A: Probably really complicated to remake WoW’s system.

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