Warlords of Draenor: Updated Character Models

I cannot wait for Draenor to come out. Look at that Tauren! Look at it!

When the updated character models were announced to appear in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, fans everywhere screamed "finally" and then proceeded to weep with joy. With the Worgen, Goblin, and especially Pandaren models in the game, vanilla and BC races look like plain ol' kodo dookie.

Design Philosophy

Blizzard's philosophy for updating the character models for the Draenor expansion is to update the models, but have them look like the same characters. Make the package look prettier, but have it so that players will still log in and go "Yeah, this is my same character."

This seems like it would be sort of hard to do. The player models are so ugly by today's standards that it seems like it would be hard to keep up that same feeling that the models have had for the last near decade while still updating them to look as good as, if not better than, the Pandaren models.

Blizzard somehow did it.

Updated Models

There was a huge increase in the number of polygons and bones for each model. Specifically for the gnomes, they had an original polygon count of 956. They now have 5,408 polygons. They had only 130 bones before, but now they have 196. Not only that, but their textures have received a significant upgrade in resolution.

The Dwarves have an even more impressive polygon count. They originally only had 1,160. Now they have 7,821 polygons. Most of it is in their beards.

The artists really wanted to improve upon the exposed skeleton part of the Forsaken character model. They said that the spine that was there before looked like a worm. As can be seen in the pictures above, there is a definite improvement. The Forsaken look much less silly now and much more scary, rotting corpse.

The new Orc model in Warlords of Draenor looks like it takes from the Siege of Orgrimmar Garrosh model quite heavily. They added much needed weight to the way the Orcs look. This model is much more intimidating than the old one, even in its underwear.

The Tauren models are generally agreed upon to be among the worst in the game. There's just something about the way they handled the face in the old version that did not age well.

Their new look lets you see much more detail in their face. Their mouths look natural, or as natural as you would expect on a Tauren, and they don't have it weirdly open all the time. The hair also looks much more realistic.

You can see the animations for these models up above. Everything looks much more fluid, much more realistic, and just nicer overall.

Many of the models are done, but not all of them. Currently, they are working on the Dwarf female. It was not said whether or not they will be updating the Draenei or the Blood Elves, but it is assumed they will, as they said that they have no plans on updating the Goblins and Worgen until after they get through all the other models in Warlords of Draenor.

Featured Columnist

Event Coverage Specialist

Published Nov. 9th 2013
  • madethatway
    The faces and hairstyles are beyond ugly.

    I don't understand why they chose to focus on muscle definition and other insignificant details, rather than fixing the dreadfully ugly faces and hideously designed hairstyles of almost every race.

    And why did they mess with the shammy ghost wolf form? There was absolutely nothing wrong with it - and now they've made it look like a stiff, blocky joke that a 3 year old could have drawn.

    Ugh. Ever since Activision was allowed to get involved, everything has gone downhill, especially credibility and class.
  • Chris_7453
    Just awful. I logged into the game after the new patch and found that the opening video was awesome and the characters there looked fearsome and intimidating. To my horror all my Horde characters now have had face softening makeovers and run like fairies.
  • Kendrix_3995
    Dat /flex - ing gnome girl ~<3
  • White Lotus_1551
    Dwarves had finer foreheads and faces before. So what if their hands and arms weren't too clear. The forsaken look like elegant, mummified gentlemen compared to the scary people they were.
    Get that eye-shading below that jutting brow-bone back- NOW. I can't stand to see what they will do with the Elves.
    Stop Disneyifying the gnomes. They looked so much better before.
    WHAT is my computer going to do with all those extra polygons? Love you?
    Female dwarves got uglier.

    Look, more detail doesn't mean you kill the original. LEARN TO DRAW, you! Artist(s) must be ugly, plain people with no spine (Forsaken pun intended) to do this to our eyes.
    I sure as hell am not buying the Draenor expansion, tempting as garrisons are.
  • Ho_1997
    I like the changes being made, but I still think taurens should be more giant like like in the original Warcraft games. Human female looks great with the change, but more different faces that make them look pretty would be awesome, and allow slimmer, skinnier bodies. I mean add the faces of sexy women in the cosplays. I also don't like how some characters usually tilt or frown. I wish BE females wouldn't tilt, like they do, and their eyebrows makes them look like fairies or insects. ... I like what they did to the dwarf, Orc, gnome. To have trolls like voljins facial in Warcraft 3 would be cool. I really don't like how all human, night elf, blood elf, characters have similar face and stance. NEs in wow are ugly. And so were humans. They could look sympathetic now, but I also starwalt, beautiful, fit, faces.
  • Ali_Cat
    I love these updates so far. They look absolutely amazing, and I do agree that Blizzard kind of pulled a rabbit out of a hat in terms of keeping the models as close to the originals as possible. I love the detail in the expressions and the extra flourishes here and there that make them more realistic! :D I'm so excited for the BE, NE, and Troll updates, they're my favorite races. :3 Crossing my fingers for a NE model that reminds one of Ysera's elfish form. >D So freaking pretty.

    And I don't want to beat a dead horse, but while I love the goblin (both sexes) and the male worgen (and they are certainly still lovely with these model updates), I do wish they would go back and tweak the female worgen, or at least make the option available for a version more like the Alpha they had shown off. I mean, even Blizzard had commented afterward that they had dropped the ball with the Worgen female, so I hope they fix that at some point. :3
  • Sianii_1462
    This is something on the Worgen model. The males look fine in my opinion. I love the fangs, the fierce eyes that glow. They're fabulous. But blizz needs to adress the Female model. When I look at it I think about chihuahuas. It's forehead is shaped that way. It also needs to get rid of that perminant snarl thing. It is in no way sexy when matched to the doll eyes that it has. I think they should lose the doll eyes, get rid of the perma-snarl, and maybe give them something close to the alpha female worgen. Make it's eyes a little bit further down though. We would love to have the glowing eyes back, and see some real wolf action. Less human would be nice. Last time the only problem was that the females had human hair. If you were a girl turned into a werewolf, don't you think your hair would be a bit more furry and wild? Otherwise the worgen was fine in Alpha.

    So basically, lose the perma-snarl, give it wolf eyes that glow with different colors, make the forehead less like a chihuahua, and make its run cycle less like it's about to fall on it's face. thank you.
  • Hexers5
    They are not coming out with new worgen and goblin models, they have said this countless times. Blizzard already has the Goblin and Worgen models where they want them, since they have more expressions, same with the pandaren. So why change what does not need to be changed? In my opinion the Worgen and Goblin models already look up to par with the pandaren models in texture, etc...
  • Freemind_3317
    Da fuq did they do with the female gnome eyes, when he said "they had a lil fun with gnome females." Ye i can see they had shit ton of fucking up the eyes. To big pupils and to big eyes, looks like a really happy anime face.
  • Kerry_8026
    I am so eager to see the rendering on my female Tauren. She currently has to always hide her face behind her helmet.
    I would definitely support a Worgen rework. I know I'd start playing mine again. Right know she just looks like my neighbor's hysteric little dog. Not so frightening, if you ask me.
    Also, I always wanted a Night Elf, because I find their Lore awesome, but the models just were too ugly for the beautiful creatures they were supposed to be.
  • Joseph Rowe
    Featured Columnist
    Tauren are one of my favorite races, definitely, but, boy, do their models look awful.

    Also, yeah, the Worgen female models look really silly. Many of the older female models in general, back in alpha Vanilla even, looked more like their tough looking male counterparts, but were changed to look ~prettier~. Female trolls and tauren looked more like the males.
  • James_9317
    I quited wow before cata. Now I might return. damn you gnome females. I want a little daughter.
  • Bob Nat
    A most needed overhaul. I am glad to see it. I am new to WOW I am rolling a Pandarian. A big reason I did so was the fact that the models looked better. It's a testament to the breath of this game, giving older playable characters a change like this. Most games just come out with a new addition; Call of Duty I'm looking at you.

    Love the post, thanks for sharing those screen shots.
  • Joseph Rowe
    Featured Columnist
    No problem whatsoever. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

    Also, good choice on Pandaren. They're one of my all time favorite races in the game. Their models are just so beautiful and they have some pretty awesome lore.

    Good luck getting started with the game. It's always good to see new blood. Hope you have fun!
  • Joe_6105
    If and when Blizzard does get to revamping the Worgen models, I think they seriously need to address the female Worgen. Goofy eyes, dreadlocks, bat ears and a perma-snarle? Seriously? I think most of us can agree they should go back to something similar to the alpha models blizzard had used, or at least provide us with the option. Here's a detailed post with examples: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/8756445604
  • Joseph Rowe
    Featured Columnist
    I definitely agree with that. Was talking to my girlfriend about it yesterday, actually. Supposedly, we'll be getting brown orcs and dark iron dwarf options for character customization with the new models. If that's the case, then I think giving players the option to choose between the two for Worgen females is quite possible.

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