Appearance Musings

It’s going to take a little while to get the balance right on how frequently I should post here vs. what I have to say. Right now I don’t feel like I have anything substantive to discuss, especially given that I really should be hacking up the site with those new creatures. But I did implicitly promise content by starting this blog. But my local Perforce connection is down and I’m waiting for my husband to reboot the server. So it’s not like I could be working on the site anyway.

Yes, I run Perforce at home. How geeky is that? :>

I did think it was interesting, however, that Blizzard changed the lion model. If that happened in a game I was responsible for it would be a bug — one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t go changing the look of the character (and that includes weapons, armor, and pets) after players have gotten invested in it. But this isn’t a game that I am responsible for, and Blizzard has often changed appearances well after the fact. I remember when half the golden scorpids in Silithus became silver, for instance. Or there was the time that a bunch of moonstalkers changed from stripes to dark stripes … or was it from spots to stripes? At any rate, there were an awful lot of mortally offended night elves until it was changed back. That change was apparently a bug, though, whereas the scorpids were not — so we will just have to wait and see what happens with the lions.

(And the crabs. Poor crabs. Although to be honest that change I think has the highest likelihood of being a simple bug. The crabs lost the “hairy” spines down their backs and under their swimming legs, which is the sort of detail that artists can’t resist and rarely remove.)

Regardless, this opens up one of my favorite questions: how important are the little touches — like respecting players’ investment in their characters’ appearance — in the long run success of a game? WoW does just fine (to say the least!) even though they continue to break most of my cardinal rules of MMO development. But would they do even better if they were a tad more respectful?

Or if, for instance, they developed a fully-functional pet skill system full of meaningful choices? Ah, well … an orc can dream …

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3 Responses to “Appearance Musings”

  1. lure Says:

    I see from the lovely pic of Cloud, you are on the twilight runner ;-) I used to be there myself, mostly because of the above average attack and pursuit speed. I have no patience…

    But after the 1.9 patch, I began looking for my “dream pet”. After some time of looking, and an expansion, I fell absolutely and utterly in love with the Springpaw look, the red lynx from Eversong Woods. This, ofc, was rather annoying, being a lvl 70 NE, and the springpaws being lvl 5-7 or so… It has taken forever to train it. but I have gotten it from lvl 6 to lvl 68 now.

    This little story of mine is really meant as an answer to your question. The looks matter, and I will be very, very annoyed, if I find my lovely red lynx turned brown like the “normal”, or if it becomes more lion-like. On the other hand, with every change in looks Blizz makes, someone out there will be happy, beacuse now it is their perfect look that has been reached.

  2. ralcyon Says:

    I’m a bit of an OCD science guy, so I can’t stop myself. The swimming legs on crabs are called swimmerets. Petty, yes, and I apologize. But it would have driven me crazy all day, so best to get it out.

    I would also like to through in my two cents at my irritation at the lack of high level pet skins. I know several hunters that had to abandon long time companions to learn the new skills with no hope now at 70 or retaming something even remotely similar. My poor Scarlet Tracking Hound, Rufus, was released to the wild and I don’t know if I’m brave enough to tame another one. (Leveling my 65 cat to 70 is becoming a nightmare!)

  3. Mania Says:

    Thank you for supplying the right word, ralcyon! I should have looked that up myself. I get the same way about reptiles. (It’s not too bad in WoW, but you should have heard my lecture about tail length differences vs, gender in Iksar and Tumerok.)

    On high-level skins: sometimes it goes the other way also. I was surprised to see so many level 70s running around with Twilight Runners — until I found out about Sable Jaguars.

    But in the end, I still have my feeling of “this is my special pet that I have leveled from 23” and other people now get the feeling of “this is exactly the skin I’ve wanted since 50 but missed my chance at earlier”, and so yes — I think it’s an overall win.

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