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!
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!
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:
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:
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:
Look at him — he’s all ready for battle (For the Horde!) Awesome.
Now check out this art of the female Pandaren:
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:
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.
Although they look fairly ridiculous when casting spells…
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.
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.
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!
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!
(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!