Mists of Pandaria Commentary: Pandaren and You

20 Mar

In case you haven’t heard, there has been a deluge of information about Mist of Pandaria, since the NDA was lifted. Suddenly, press releases abound! (I’ve been reading (and stealing images from) the excellent information compiled at MMO Champion and Wowhead. Mmm, information).

There’s a lot of really interesting stuff about the expansion there, and I’d invite you to read it (if you haven’t already). I’ve only skimmed the content myself, but that doesn’t stop me from opining on it! Today I’d like to focus on the Pandaren, specifically the female model!

Pandaren

There has been much speculation on the female Pandaren model for many months now. It’s only ramped up since Blizz posted a teaser image last week (I know about that since my site hits shot up with search for ‘pandaren’!). But the long wait is over, for behold the Pandaren female model!

Female Pandaren!

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this design! Sure, I would’ve been happier if the model was a little more similar to the male Pandaren model, such as in the fanart I had linked to before:

Fan-made Pandaren Female Design

She’s a little bit wider and a bit shorter than the official female model, as this drawing was based on the male model (which already existed before the female ones, as Blizzard seems to like designing the males of the race first). It is fairly close to their official design, though! And I think it’s better than design in the art Samwise had done. Having a Pandaren look like a skinny red panda (or in this case, more like a fox!) would not be cool!

Although you can still give your panda some red fur:

Red Female Pandaren

That’s fine by me, as we all can’t be the awesome black and white pandas, can we? Also, this fur color supposedly gives you a tail, so there’s that.

A minor critique against the female model (besides it not being quite big enough) is the fact the faces look a little too… cute. Sure, cute faces may be preferred, but I could totally use some fierce ones too. Especially when a lot of the official art has the male Pandaren looking totally badass while the females… not quite as much. And I’m pretty sure they could kick your butt just as well as the men could.

Case in point:

Male Pandaren Horde Concept Art

Look at him — he’s all ready for battle (For the Horde!) Awesome.

Now check out this art of the female Pandaren:

Female Pandaren Concept Art

She’s, uh… probably not ready for battle.

Now I figure that drawing is mostly to pin down the anatomy for the model, but why don’t we see the concept art of a male Pandaren in some fancy skivvies? (Wait, maybe we don’t need to see that).

Oh well. I’m just going to say that this sweet-looking Pandaren art is of a woman, to even things out:

Awesome Pandaren Concept Art

Learning from Worgen?

I’m going to interrupt myself here to talk about Worgen. You remember them, right? The big hairy wolf people who came out in Cataclysm?

Well I recall that when Cata was being developed, male Worgen models were out fairly early in the process. After all, they were vaguely based off existing models/designs so I assume they were fairly easy to make. And they looked pretty impressive too, with their broad shoulders and general wolf-like physique.

Except when wearing ugly robes.

Although they look fairly ridiculous when casting spells…

Trust me, it looks much funnier when in motion.

But besides issues of them casting with long, dangly arms, the Worgen model was pretty solid.

And so we waited for them to show off the female Worgen model.

And we waited.

And waited.

Dangerously close to the release of the game*, the female Worgen model was finally finished.

*I may be exaggerating slightly, as time ruins my memory completely.

Many of us were not impressed.

Tall, spindly women with dog and/or fox-like features (with an incredibly annoying sniff noise) were Blizzard’s answer to female Worgen. They didn’t look very scary or fierce like their male counterparts.

Reby, a female Worgen

They aren’t bad models, not the worst you could get, but they most likely could have been better.

Did they lack a clear vision for what the female Worgen should look like? Did they get sidetracked on perfecting one model that they ran out of time for the second one? Did their initial design test poorly so they had to redo from scratch? Beats me.

But could some of their issues with the female Worgen model been fixed if it had been completed sooner in the process? Say… like the female Pandaren were?

Perhaps. And I think the female Pandaren model benefited from its earlier release. Perhaps Blizzard is learning.

(Now only if they start designing female models first…)

Where will these Pandaren go?

If you’re an altoholic like me, your main server’s character list is probably full… which would make it a bit difficult to roll a Pandaren there. However, there’s good and bad news on that front.

The good news: The available character slots are increasing to 11! 😀

The bad news: The available character slots are only increasing to 11. D:

There had been rumors in the past that the account limit of 50 characters would stay, while the server limits would be removed. I was really hoping that would be the case for this expansion, but alas, it is not to be.

So yes, I can have a Pandaren on my server. Just one. And if I want a Monk on my server too, well, I’d better make that Pandaren a monk! Just like everyone else! Unless I want to forget the whole thing and use that spot for a goblin!

/sigh

Luckily for me, I can use my second account to make one or two other Pandaren characters. But even that account is running low on available slots.

I really hope the reason why they only increased the character slots by one was a technical limitation (too much effort to code, server space issues, etc). Otherwise, I’m liable to think it’s motivated by greed. What’s a better selling point to an altoholic than saying you get a new character slot every expansion (as long as you buy it)? Or encouraging you to race change to Pandaren if you want more of them on your main server? Cha-ching!

Ysera Character List

Any of you want to be a Pandaren? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

(Yes, I know some of you would race change a toon anyway. I personally have only race-changed once, renaming the character, and then re-rolled the old character. Yeah, I’m crazy like that.)

If they ever do bump the character slots up to 50, I assure you I would definitely keep two accounts going (100 characters, 1 server!). Not only that, I’m pretty sure I would start racking up character transfer costs as I moved old alts onto servers I currently use.

But alas, that plan is for another day…

Your thoughts on Pandaren?

What are your thoughts on the Pandaren models? Awesome? Not awesome? Just okay? And how about the rest of the announcements that came out? Let me know in the comments!

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7 Responses to “Mists of Pandaria Commentary: Pandaren and You”

  1. tomeoftheancient March 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    I wish Blizzard would read this. I never thought of it but if they had kept the 50 characters limit but no server limit, I would definitely have spent a fortune transferring characters to my server. At least the rich ones!

    • Mishaweha March 20, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

      Haha, yeah! I figure I would do it staggered, ’cause quite a few of the toons I want to move aren’t that high in level. (And no, I try not to delete toons. XD) Once I get them up high enough? Transfers away!

      In fact, some of them may still be transferred this way, but certainly not until after MoP is out and the Panda dust has settled.

    • Cymre March 20, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

      I don’t really see an issue for having more than 11 slots. At the moment I do have 10 slots used (one is a name save for the panda) and some are just play toons.

      The pandas ARE cutesy but you’re playing a game that is more cartoony than others who offer all the violence and realistic terrains and gore. I think that’s a big reason why I’ve stayed with this game so long. The graphics are a HUGE part of why I still love this game after 7 years.

      • Mishaweha March 20, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

        Here’s to hoping for some cutesy boy panda faces too, then! :3 And I agree, the graphics are just the right balance of cartoony and not. One of my friends who went to school for 3D art/modeling kept on going ‘argh, the pixels, they be everywhere!’ or something but it looks nice! And at least WoW won’t shut my computer(s) down with super hard graphic requirements like a lot of other MMOs do. Not to say that other MMOs art styles are bad or not distinctive. WoW certainly got it right.

  2. Rhi March 21, 2012 at 3:04 am #

    I feel you. 😦 On the character slots thing, I really do feel you. I woulda killed for more. I had plans! We were going places! I wanted to have two of every class at max level with ALL of the specs and I wanted to give horde a roll and.. we were GOING places. D: Now I have to make the choice between looking awesome and black and white or having an apparently “expressive” tail. That is going to kill me.

    Red pandas are also adorable. That imagery doesn’t help. It’s going to kill me!

    Honestly, though, I’m a bit worried about people asking for Pandaren females to have fierce expressions. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened to worgen females. They released a model, people were like “WHADDAFAK IS DIS I WANNA BE FIERCE NOT A CUTE PUPPY-DOG” and blizzard sort of short-circuited. I’ve tried drawing a fierce worgen myself. It didn’t work. She looked more elegant and wise. I tried again, she looked insane. Tried again, masculine.

    Blizzard probably did the same thing and somewhere between insane and lol-I-give-up pictures with faces resembling angry wombats, they found an overly sexed-up model with bedroom eyes and a snarl and thought “… The eyes make them look mature and kind-of-still-in-control-of-their-minds. the snarl makes them look fierce. BINGO.”

    I hope Blizzard learns from this though. I can live with the cute face better than I can live with another attempt at adding maturity without masculinity using sex appeal and a snarl. If they’re going to make attempts at fiercin’ it up, then they’d better make sure to keep the OPTION of the cute face. I’d like to see some old, wisened faces like human females have, some angry faces like orc females, some younger intellectual faces and some cute faces like we see now. They can add in an “I’m sexy an’ I know it ;D” face like .. a certain night elf one too, just for the variety. That would be good. I would be happy. …Please don’t kill our options, blizzard. Give us different faces, not different furr patterns. 😦

    • Mishaweha March 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

      Yes! You are saying all the things I wanted to say only better! XD

      I agree with you that we don’t want the face to be just ‘fierce’ but to have a wide variety of options like other races do (older, angry, happy, etc). Even Tauren have a few different faces that aren’t just different fur colorings.

      But alas, it’s easier to recolor fur, I think, than to add a whole new face texture.

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