Archive for May, 2009

The Filthy Animal : Part 3

…  Continued from Part 2.

“Hey old gel! Get all the muck washed off did we?” The deep booming voice seemed to be coming from the large dark, newly shilouetted shape at the entrance to The Filthy Animal.

After a step or two more the shape resolved itself to be another Tauren, and a druid to judge by the gear. His eyes twinkled as he clopped over the floor tiles to lay a hand on Tigerfeet’s shoulder.

“Ol’ Miss Pessimistpaws ain’t jawin’ yer face off with doom ‘n gloom now is she lil’ lass?”

“Stow it Pils. Calf doesn’t have the respec-”

“A-hahahaha!” Pilsner’s deep voice drowned out any objection Tigerfeet might have had, “Oh don’t mind her ye wee Shaman. She’s jes’ surly on account of needin’ t’ be peeled off the floor of Ulduar earlier. Crazy plan that was too, eh Tiger?”

The elder druid sniffed primly, “Worked just fine if you ask me. Was faster to skip the repairs before taking on the Leviathan of Flame and it worked just great too.”

“Ha! Excepting o’ course the fact ye got a mouthful o’ dirt! Although,” And now the younger Tauren looked thoughtful, “I’ve got it on good authority that we’re the first group to ever attempt that little stunt.”

And then, with another guffaw Pilsner clapped Tigerfeet on the back, startling a bearish growl as she tried to maintin her composure.

“It’s not like we need the dwarven aid. Makes my skin crawl to work with Dwarves and Gnomes. Unnatural engineering no self-respecting Druid would-”

“Awww come now, ye know I’m a great engin-”

“Wait!” The slack-jawed Rainseeker stood in a rush, “You were assaulting Ulduar?!? That’s… that’s…”

“There is greater evil down there than you would ever know calf.” Tigerfeet whispered.

All joking was gone as both Druids regarded the young Shaman with grave expressions.

“I-” Rainseeker glanced sheepishly at her hands, clenched in her lap, “I’m sorry…. Elder.”

“Feh, all that posturin’s gonna go to her head. C’mon Tigs, I think I saw Braj gearin’ up with her lance fer joustin’. An’ look!”

Tigerfeet stood and squinted towards the doorway to The Filthy Animal. After a moment she even smiled. “It’s stopped raining.”

The End

————————————————

Parts of this were even true!

WoWScrnShot_052609_201639

That was my own dumb fault too. Motorbikes cannot solo helicopters, nor can a half-health motorbike withstand Flame Leviathan’s frontal attack.

The Filthy Animal : Part 2

Continued from Part 1

“But I just wan-”

SHhhhhhhKrrrrrrBOOOOOOOOOM!

The thunder rolled overhead, every bit as violent as the roiling black clouds would lead one to believe.

Rainseeker just sighed and stared hard at Abohba. The orc innkeeper just stood in front of the door to the bathing rooms, arms cross’d her chest, with a deceptively ignorant expression on her brown face.

“I’mma sorry shaman, but th’ bathin’ rooms be in use. Besides which,” Abohba leveled a knowing and slightly accusatory gaze at the young shaman, “Ya need ta pay to use the tubs. Be three gold pieces lass.”

“Three whole gold pieces for a measley bath?! That’s highway robbery! Why, I could go outside and get a bath for free!”

The innkeeper was quick to loose her teasing tone as she waggled a finger at the other orc, “I’ll have ye know our water be heated, and we have nice soaps and adventureres from all over Azeroth come to rest their weary bones here. And I’m thinkin,” Now the inkeeper grabbed a fistful of Rainseeker’s top-knot and pulled the orc close, “That yer not wantin’ a bath at all. Sergent Tigerfeet be a great elder, worthy of ye respect, and ye’ll not be botherin’ her when she’s takin’ her leisure. Ye want to make a fool of yeself ye can durn well wait until she’s done!”

With a rough shove Abohba released Rainseeker’s top-knot and propelled her back towards the public dining area and the laden trestle tables.

“Huh, I’d have figured another Orc would properly respect a shaman…” Rainseeker grumbled to herself as she made her way back to the abandoned plate, “S’not like I meant the old cow any harm after all. Hmph”

As Rainseeker sat at the table, absent-mindedly chewing a hunk of fat, the fury of the storm outside slowly abated. It wasn’t untill the torrential downpour, visible beyond the sheltering overhang of The Filthy Animal, had slowed to a more steady shower, that the door to the back bathing rooms opened and the Druid rejoined the inn at large.

“You had a problem, calf?” Grated a voice in Rainseeker’s ear.

She jumped and whirled to stare, wide-eyed, at the Druid.

“You never take your eyes off a feral, calf. And even then, there’s no guarantee of your safety.”

As Rainseeker watched, eyes going even wider, the ancient druid slid silently onto the bench. The three-fingered tauren hand reached, not for the salads and steamed vegetables favored by most taurens, but for the roasted meat. Yet the hand that grabbed for the haunch had five fingers, and tawny golden fur, and as Rainseeker watched with growing horror, claws the size of knives slid from the hand-turned paw to sink deep into slab of roasted boar.

“Like I said, calf, it’s best to respect your elders. Not everything is what it seems, and I’ve run these plains for a good deal longer than you.”

Rainseeker swallowed, and set her shoulders, “I’ll have you know that I myself am an accomplished warrior for the horde! Why, just earlier this week I was battling toogh and nail to halt the Alliance enchroachment into the Orcish homewo-”

“Outland?!” Tigerfeet brayed loudly, her deep laughter booming above the general din of the tavern, “Calf, I have conquered outland. I have bested the Naga in ther cavern, I have conquered the Tempest Keep. I have been to the Black Temple and paid Illidan his due. The Outlands are nothing but a training ground now for calves like you.” She turned away from the shaman, intently seeking another cut of meat.

“And so what if it is? Just because you did all those things doesn’t mean you can rest! The scourge have shown us that!” Rainseeker’s bravado had fallen away, replaced with righteous indignation at the Druid’s dismissive attitude. She leveled a hard stare at the Tauren, “I’ll even wager there are worse evils to be met than the scourge.”

Tigerfeet paused and turned one cold, feral, eye on the shaman and whispered, “Yes, calf. There are.”

…. to be continued. Part 3

Look Look!

Night Elf bears have nuts!

ss2

/immature giggling

PS – Shut up Braj!

— Differences:

  • Ears vs horns (and those ears aren’t nearly as goofy as the old ones were)
  • Bottom canines aren’t as *woah* as on the tauren model. This is a nice touch
  • Sideburns instead of chin-fuzz
  • Feathers on the arms. Tauren bears have no arm-feathers.
  • The ‘dangley bits’ now actually are nuts.
  • I thought I told you to shut up Braj?

And that’s it for the Model differences between the two updated Skins. I think the Texture differences are pretty well self-explanatory.

Now please excuse me while I go spec Pantherfeet back to feral from Balance.

Hyperventilation Time Over

Now that I’ve had a moment or two (or ten!) to recover from the sheer shock of Druids finally getting our long-awaited model updates, I’m here to offer my expert opinion!

First, let’s examine the models and textures themselves!

ss1

First we have Ye Olde Bear, next we have the New Hotness, and third we have the New Hotness now in Polar flavor!

First, a little vocabulary review.

Skin: The combination of model and texture that wraps around the bones.

Bones: Used by animators to make the model move. (we don’t see these in the game)

Model: Pure polygons built to make a shape.

Texture: An image mapped onto the model to add detail without adding extra polygons. (Think about a bearskin rug as opposed to a real bear)

Alpha Map: Same as a Texture except in black and white. The Alpha Map works in tandem with the Texture to make polygons see-through. The teeth on both the old and new bear Model is a texture with an Alpha Map. So are the dangley bits on the new Model.

Geometry! It’s fun 😀

For Example (If I haven’t completly confused you uet): Ye Olde Bear Skin has one Model and one Texture. The New Hotness Skin has one Model and five Textures.

I saw a number of people on the official forums complaining that it was jut the same old thing re-done. Nothing new, they expected more. I can sympathize with that viewpoint, but I also think what Blizzard has done (with the bears at least) is right on target.

Consider, if you will, the middle bear on my above picture. On the official screenshot this bear is in the upper-right corner.  I happen to have very few problems with the present Tauren bear form. It’s certainly more pleasant than cat form and a good deal less rediculous than Night Elf bear form. I like the horns. It’s also the form I’m used to seeing for coming up on four years. If the general concept were changed drastically (like say, bear form would now be something like the Frenzyheart) I’d be pretty upset. That’s too much change.

What they’ve done with the Model, is updated it, fixed some of the outstanding architectural problems (see the back leg on images above) and just generally cleaned it up. Another reason why the bears have the same Shilouette as before is most likely a combination of art direction and expediency. The bears need to not look out of place in the game they’re in. WoW has a very stylistic approach and anything too complicated would just look out of place.

Don’t expect the bear animations to change.

Apart from fixing our terrible habit of mouth-breathing, I will lay money that the animation (how the character moves) will not change. Because the bear has the same amount of mass in the same places, the same shilouette, the bones from the previous model (and the animations that came with them) can (and will!) be re-used. There’s nothing wrong with the animations, and no reason for Blizzard to re-do them. (apart from fixing mouth-breathing.

For variety, they’ve added different Textures. War paint, markings, everything is the same across all the Skins, but the color combinations differ. The different textures are done in such a way that it’s possible they’ll be expanded on in the future. Not likely, but possible.

On the Mechanics of the thing ~

I love it.

I won’t, however, be surprised if it changes so that the forms are no longer linked to fur/hair color.

When I read the way things would work I saw added depth to the game. I imagined what it was like as a new Druid, and the excitement of getting my bear form, my cat form, then my Dire Bear form! What will I look like?

The amazement that a new player can have the first time they shift into form and see what they become, the amazement when they see another druid and they look different.

How now brown cow? Brown bear? Cat? Yes, please. I don’t like all the bear forms. I’m also hoping desperately that one of the cat forms comes with tiger stripes. If I have to choose a skin color to get tiger stripes that gives me a bear form I don’t like well then, I’ll get used to it.

Why?

Because as Tigerfeet, that’s who she is. Her color is such that when she shifts to cat, the markings are thus, and that other is her bear form. It’s who she is.

Can you imagine the turmoil that this would cause if these Skin updates came before the barbershop, or if Blizzard were not giving Taurens the option of changing their fur color?

Pandemonioum!

As for me, I’m a fan of Ye Olde Bear. Because of that, my favorite is the ‘generic’ brown bear. I don’t feel like I identify with the white one, and the grey one (the one I suspect Tiger will turn into when this is implemented and before I go buck-wild in the salon) doesn’t do much to tickle my fancy either.

I know a lot of people desperately want something different, and I love the variety, but I’m also glad that at least one of the Skins is an echo of the bear that I have always been.

All Together Now…

Or Not?

I don’t know, ask Maerrakech.

WoWScrnShot_052609_224646

Boy’s got a problem with Authority.

fo’realsies.

*as a side-note, that snazzy line-up was done on a complete whim with no co-ordination what-so-ever. Maer has obviously not learned how to tune in on the Unemployed Druidic telepathic band.

Oh yeah, we killed a new boss.

I had lots of fun.

DKs are also OP, but that’s ok.

BETTER News Flash!

ah052609druidartbigI….

I……

/dissolve into tears

of JOY.

Here… just….

just GO.

PS – yeah, I’ve already picked out the one I want.

News Flash!

Raid leading takes up a whole hell of a lot of time.

It’s a lot more than just logging on and getting the raid going and convincing a gaggle of cats that they’re actually ducks and should stay nicely in a row.

Now my day goes something like this:

  • Log onto guild website
  • Putter about, check for PMs, check for updated availability posts on our forums.
  • Log into G-mail and mosey on over to google docs
  • Open roster spreadsheet
  • Either a) start plugging in names, or b) lounge about until Pilsner logs on to help me plug in names
  • Eventually Pilsner logs on and we work together to agonize about who gets to go and who doesn’t. She proceeds to have an obscene amount of fun re-name class roles (Bear tank = Bare, cat dps = lolCat, Frost DK tank = Frosted Flake, etc)
  • With roster assembled, we decide what bosses we want to go harass (or be harassed by) and what strategies to use.
  • Sometimes I go look up strategies.

And, unfortunately, all that careful time and preparation used to be time I put into writing this blog.

I am, however, by NO MEANS implying that I’m shutting down. No way josé! Writing to me has become a bit of an addiction. It’s just not something I’ll be able to indulge in on a daily basis anymore. Or, not until I get more settled into this role.

In other news, Rainseeker dinged 60 last night. She dinged 60 as Mr Tigerfeet stood over my shoulder with his arms crossed tapping his foot because it was time and more than time that I get to bed. He’s very insistent about my bed-time because he’s the one that has to wake my groggy ass up in the morning (crazy man only needs 5 hours of sleep).