Blizzard art team decided to share something they're working on for World of Warcraft's upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion today. It's the remodel for the female Night Elf! In addition to including three visuals showing how the Night Elf female has changed from then to know, Lead Character Artist Tyson Murphy went into detail on the thought process behind the design.
In essence the team wanted to retain the personality, the signature, of the original Night Elf female while also adding a touch more realism to her. As a result her proportions, specifically her face, are quite a bit less angular. However, other areas like muscle tone and the way the night elf's ears move with the rest of the body are now much improved and make sense.
Here's a good portion of Tyson's update that provides some insight into the design process:
"Overall, we’ve made her new model a little more defined, made some of her proportions a bit more realistic, and added a bit more muscle tone. We wanted to visually communicate that she is a fully capable warrior huntress, and small details like muscle definition help highlight that. We also put additional focus on her hands and fingernails, giving a very slight point to her nails to provide just a hint of a more feral nature."
While I love the way Blizzard has added muscle tone to the Night Elf, and working to better incorporate the block years into the model is a plus, I do have some complaints. They say they wanted "realism" for the Night Elf's facial structure, but all they've done is make her face more human. The older model has sharp, angular features with a longer, thinner face. The realism I'd want would be for that facial structure to be retained, not rounded out to be more appealing to a less caring audience.
Hey, that's Blizzard now, right? World of Warcraft is still the most popular MMO in the world and creating the lease abrasive world, including in art design, they can is best for business. I like my games with more personality, but then again that's probably why I stopped playing WoW.
Warlords of Draenor, World of Warcraft's next expansion, is planned for release in fall of 2014.