Warlords of Draenor – More Model Updates

I assume you might have noticed by now, but if you haven’t then let me point it out to you – it’s bloody summertime and as a result of that, nothing moves, everyone is on vacation (except for those few unfortunate chaps who aren’t) and not many things are happening because … reasons! Among those fellas who are still working during the scorching days of midsummer are off course the guys and girls from Blizzard who, not only managed to launch that first wing of Naxxramas on Hearthstone (that by the way totally sucks and is far too easy on simple mode, even on freakin’ heroic if you have the right strategy – except for Faerlina, to beat her you need an unbetable legendary deck or a shitload of luck on an average deck), but are also working on redesigning the characters that actually made them famous and earned them their fortune and corporation status, those characters are off course the characters of Warcraft.

Now there was a lot of talk on how will these be redesigned and how will the game change if they will modify the characters that were basically created back in 2003 when the game was first launched to be more like their little fluffy friends from latter expansions (the Worgen, Goblins and Pandarens) who are much more fitting to be part of a next-gen game that wants to stay on top in the field of paid to play MMORPG’s. I was quite surprissed to see that they sort of nailed it with the first models that they released (of which I spoke about in an earlier post, which you can find around the blog if you look carefully) and then I got immediately disappointed once they showed us the new draenei models (the alpha ones) that totally sucked. Luckily they changed those as well in the meantime and now they look a little smoother and better as well. So let me share with you some of my pics of the progress that they made so far with updating their models.

Bottoms Up (Moments after the opening cinematic)

The first one we’ll take a look at is the human model and to be honest ever since the cinematic for Mists of Pandaria (yeah and speaking of cineamtics that bar scene with the orc and human from above is totally hilarious, really nicely done) came out there was a lot of argue on how will the updated model for humans look like and it would seem that those who “took a shot in the dark” and said it will be a cross between that animated model and the king Varian mold got it right cause this is what we’ll get:

New Human Male Model

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The second model is that of the new night elves and to tell you the truth I was really curious on how will they change this one because you know … Before there were blood elves, we had the night elves and those ladies were pretty much the tall supermodels of Azeroth and their quote “Oh! I’m dancing again, I hope all your friends are enjoying the show” is most certainly quite explanatory in that sense. After reviewing a little the info the artists posted on the changes made to them I must admit that they did quite a nice job with the Huntress of Teldrassil as well:

New Night Elf Female Model

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And as I was saying after having seen the first ideas on the draenei female model I was a little annoyed by the extra hair and the odd features that actually made the old model look much more attractive, however after seeing the final model figures I was more than pleased with the finite product. The same can be said for the male model of draenei that’s almost perfect, I would only have a thing or two to complain on the bloody tentacle beards that could still use some smoothening, but hell, they should do the trick, here see for yourselves:

New Draenei Female Model

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New Draenei Male Model

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And that would be quite it with these models for now. I can honestly say that I am looking forward the updated female blood elf model, because of the same reasons I was quite excited to see how well the night elf ladies turned out to be, but in rest I believe that things went pretty well with almost everything. So to say the artists did quite an impressive job on updating all these well known characters and I have to admit that the whole concept of Artcraft does seem to take root within the Blizz community and plenty of great ideas become part of the finite game that all of us will enjoy.

Before I end my small article also allow me to point out the fact that the fellas from Zygor have been working on updating their guides with plenty of contributors from the beta testing on Warlords and have announced that their complete leveling guide from 90 to 100 covering all the features of old Draenor should be available as soon as the expansion will be launched this fall. All the same the boys from Dynasty have also stated in several posts that they too are working on enhancing and improving their addons, especially the leveling, keybinding and rotation one since their gold guide (Tycoon Gold Addon) needs little tweaking in its almost flawless present condition, but still that too will get some minor updates once the expansion comes out. But about all these and more updates made to guides and addons for WoW we’ll talk soon enough in a separate post. Till next time then, y’all take good care and keep your game up!

The Curse of Naxxramas is finally here!

It certainly took them long enough, but they finally did it and the first so-called expansion, Curse of Naxxramas(that’s actually only 180 mb in size) for Hearthstone was launched a couple of hours ago (in Europe that is). As it usually happens with any launch of this sort, the servers got overloaded and as a result people can’t play right now (at the moment when this was written), up until they will resolve the issue because no one saw this coming, right? I mean how hard could it be to just simply increase the capacity because usually during launch events everyone wants to be the first to check out the action and even players who haven’t logged in for months might just want to get a piece of the solo play before anyone else (because apparently it’s better to know that you were beaten by a computer than another human being who is better than you). But enough with the ranting, let me just say a couple more things and then check back to see if they fixed the bloody servers and connectivity issues.

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As the official posts have been saying it for well over a month now, the first stage of the game, The Arachnid Quarter, will be free to play for anyone who gives it a try this month during the launch event that will probably last up until the beginning of Septmeber, during this time the other wings will be released as well, with the amazing speed of one per week. If you played classic WoW then you most certainly know all the details about the bosses and their stories and all that, but truth be told because Hearthstone is actually a less serious version of a card game which you are supposed to play while taking a break from Warcraft (in the Inn that is) they obviously enjoyed making a lot of fun and devoiding the entire Necropolis from its sinister and evil aura and added a much more relaxing and childish flavor to it as they did with the whole game actually. Now I don’t have anything against people not taking themselves to seriously, but I do hope that at least the challenges they pose will be worth it, because it’s really boring to fool around when you have the legend rank. If you somehow haven’t played the original Naxxramas storyline and have no idea what on earth all the fuss is about please do yourself a favor and go play it!

Curse of Naxxramas: A Hearthstone Adventure – Cinematic

Since I was speaking of a more serious challenge, for those of you who still haven’t obtained a legendary, now is your time to add one to your collection as well by defeating Maexxna the last boss of this first wing of Naxxramas. This final victory will reward you with a nice legendary version of the giant spider which you’ll be able to add to you deck and enjoy throwing into battle anytime from here onwards. On the way to obtaining the legendary you should also get a nice pair of extra cards from the other two bosses as well, the Grand Widow Fearlina and the other Crypt Lord Anub’Rekhan. Once the easy basic challenge (that actually rewards you with a legendary card) is out the way we should get ready for the heroic version (which apparently does nothing else but reward us with a messed up card back once we finish all five wings on … bloody heroic, I mean how hard can it be if it only gives a new color?) And off course let us not forget the class challenges where we are given the opportunity to kick some ass with all the heroes we don’t like to play, but we’ll manage somehow, we always did and we always will!

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With these being told allow me to wish you all happy spider hunting for this week and good undead hacking for the weeks to come, but before I leave do allow me to point you towards those much needed strategy guides which you need to actually be able to finish off the damn wing in time before the coming of the next one. For those of you who will actually do things the right way and unlock the wings using Gold, you should know that all the tips you need to bring down the wall of the necropolis can be found over at hearthhead (given by random average/good players) and for those who have money to spend and will buy right away (that is off course if you haven’t already bought) all the wings in the cheap discount bundle with cash I warmly recommend you check out hearthable because they most certainly have some of the cleanest and easiest ways of learning you how to build those successful decks and how to use them. Also it wouldn’t surprise me if they will add soon enough complete guides on how to dominate the Solo Adventure mode of the game as well, but about that we’ll speak later on, for now do feel free to check out either of these and enjoy all that the new version of the game has to offer.

Strategy Channel Recommendation: Creative Monkeyz

I was thinking of doing this a long time ago, but as it usually is, time seemed to be a problematic issue and other more important aticles and topics had to be tackled in a much more urgent situation (given my current 1 article per week speed), so this rather interesting recommendation I had in mind was postponed over and over again. Now however, since I almost exhausted most of those of “urgent topics” I had to discuss there is finally room for other more experimental articles (if we may call them as such, cause if you ask me every article is a new experience in a way). Hopefully by the end of it, you will find it interesting and depending on the statistics I get with it, there might just be more of this kind.

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So there is this channel that I basically visit quite often and enjoy telling people about that is called Creative Monkeyz Army. It was created by a bunch of  students from Romania and it focuses on providing high quality content on almost everything that can be related one way or another to entertainment (from movies and animations to video games), plus it also has an educational side to it, filled with tutorials, but that’s not really my field, so I’ll leave that for all of you to discover if your own if you are into Photoshop or any other digital art creators. My main concern with their channel is obviously the gaming side, of which we’ll speak presently, but not before I point you towards the section of their website that contains one of the best selection of high quality Youtube videos on a myriad of different topics, feel free to check it out over at the Recomand page of their official website, also if you think you can help out by submitting good videos you might as well consider signing up.

Now back to the games … I’m not sure if anyone still remembers, but some time ago I made a small featurette on Outlast and there I recommended a gameplay video for the final section of the game. That video was made by these guys, more precisely by the Iobagg character created by the team (the name actually means “I play Games!” in a rather vulgar Romanian). That was one of the first series of satirical and critical gameplay created by the Creative Monekeyz, since then quite a lot of interesting games have been subject to the extensive gameplay of the so-called “transylavian peasant stereotype” (since the other true, dictionary given meaning of the word “iobag” means that as well). But even if you don’t understand a bit of the language, the walkthrough is still one of the best you’ll find out there for any of the games that they played or are in the course of playing, so do feel free to check out a few videos and decide wether it’s worth your time or not. Now before I finish let me recommend you some of the my favorite gaming playlists of the ones they have created so far.

Dead Space 2 – Iobagg Games (Playlist)

So that is the video walkthrough for Dead Space 2 that features one of the most complete gameplay experiences that one can ask from any serious gamer. Certainly there are quite a lot of interesting things to be said about the game and even about this specific type of game mode that this dude is using, but we’ll leave all this for another post that should only be dealing with this matter and nothing else, for this is supposed to be just a simple pointy recommendation, right? So to summarize it all in few words we could simply say that Dead Space is a shooter with monsters (in space!) period.

Gaming Moments (CoD: Black Ops 2/ Chivalry / LoL)

This small playlist contains a nice selection of epic moments from a bunch of online competive games such as Black Ops 2 or League of Legends. Among other extraordinary things we name only a couple pentakills, some quadrakills, plenty of Black Ops badges and a lot of 1st place trophies, but do feel free to check them all out for yourselves and maybe even learn a thing or two on how to improve your strategies while playing any of the games mentioned.

Hearthstone – Presentation, Games and Features (40 Packs)

And finally one last recommendation that’s worth mentinoing are the few videos the team made on Hearthstone. I recon that this selection of videos are also quite welcome given the current expansionist status of the game and also it would be good to know how other people seem to be having so much fun when playing the game, while others just simply get a serious headache with every quest or ranked match they have to do (maybe it’s because of the guides and the 40 pack sets? I’m just saying … ) Anyways it’s awesome!

That’s it for my small presentation /channel recommendation for today, I do hope you will enjoy at least parts of their channel / website because most certainly there is a little something there for everyone. So that was it for me, till next time, have fun and enjoy your game to the max and maybe even step it up a level or two!

The Babes of Warcraft (III)

Quite a lot of time passed since the last post on the girls of Warcraft, and I don’t know if you recall but, when I started the series I promised I will be reviewing most of the azerothian babes that had or will be having an important role in the lore of the game (more or less) and so far we only spoke about the dragon ladies and a couple draenei chicks, so we still have enough names left on the list. This time, within our third post we’ll be focusing on the most important elf ladies from the story, starting with the Windrunner Sisters and ending with Lady Liadrin.

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Off course we could talk and discuss a lot about the sad and happy moments from the history of the high elves and blood elves as we’ve experienced it when we first played the Burning Crusade, however for the sake of continuity I’ll only say that their story is a sad one, but at the same time holds the promise of a very bright future and nowhere else is this better seen than in the indivudial stories of these lovely lasses.

Lady Sylvanas Windrunner

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One of the most awesome characters who was around since the good old days of Warcraft III is Sylvanas. Her peculiar storyline is a very interesting one that goes from her role as the Ranger-General of Silvermoon (in the first part of WC3) up until her new status as the Banshee Queen of the Forsaken that continues to the latest expansion. Without any doubt her role in almost any kind of important event ever since she freed herself from the Lich King’s grasp was most noted and in a rather grim, but at the same time very convicted manner she ruled her people well through some very harsh times in a world that fears and hates them (a subtle references to Caligula’s infamous motto). All this complexity plus a very badass look (that evolved from expansion to expansion until it finally reached its final state) combined with a trace of undeath upon her make this pretty lady a figure to be remembered and one that will most certainly still play an important role in the development of one of the greatest gaming stories ever told.

Alleria Windrunner

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The older sister of Sylvanas was first seen in Warcraft II and we have lost any trace of her ever since she went through the Dark Portal and experienced first hand all the dreadful events that took place on Draenor (our version of the planet, not the one from Warlords, just to be clear). She made a few appeareces here and there in a couple of specials, but overall to quote the login screen tip “No one has seen Alleria of Turalyon in years”, so clearly Blizzard has quite a nice surpise comeback for these two (Alleria and her lover) and it should be quite soon, maybe even during some of the events that will happen prior or during the Warlords of Draenor expansion … Who knows … I for one would truly enjoy to see all three sisters reunited after all this time in a nice disfunctional family.

Vereesa Windrunner

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The youngest of the sisters was finally given a small role in Wrath of the Lich King where she appeared as the wife of Ronin, the Leader of Dalaran and representing the Silver Covenant (Alliance Side). She also had a small encounter that unfortunely didn’t go all that well when she met with Sylvanas and almost managed to return her “humanity” (as humane as an elf can be) however in the end her present nature was the one that truly got the best of her as she admitted to Vereesa that the Sylvanas she knew died a long time ago. Still who knows maybe she still won’t give up on her and perhaps when Alleria will return as well they might just manage to touch that sensitive cord in the heart of the Forsaken Queen. But all this remains to be seen as the story progresses.

Valeera Sanguinar

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Although Valeera still wasn’t given any important role in the overall game storyline of Warcraft she probably had some of the most cameo appearances of all the characters that Blizzard has ever created, thus making her one of the most important characters that doesn’t actually have a place of her own in their biggest game. Sure thing they partly made up for that mistake when they chose her as the rogue figure in Hearthstone, and you’ve probably also noticed her at the assault on Undercity event if you played that on the Alliance side while she was standing next to King Varian, but apart from that nothing. Now many have speculated that she will be given a much more important role in the following expansion and if you ask me that would be only fitting after all the background building that was done on her beautiful  and complex story.

Lady Liadrin

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And last but not least, Lady Liadrin, the leader of the Blood Knights had quite an important role during the events of the Burning Crusade from the very beginning all the way till the ending that culminated with the assault on the Sunwell Plateau. She stands as a beautiful example of leadership alongside Voren’thal who did all they could to secure a place for their people in this new world and renounce the legacy of Kael’thas who betrayed them and forsake all that he once stood for. Honestly I really loved her her speech addressed to A’dal  and afterwards the ending of the Sunwell when she again reapears and finally manages to free the Blood Elves of their addiction by having found another source of unending light energy … Quite an end that was!

And so this was it for now, our petite list of babes from the world of video games has received yet another five names added to it. I do hope you’ve enjoyed this small look at the lovely elven ladies and I leave you with the promise that this series of posts shouldn’t end all that quickly because clearly the chaps from Blizzard can be many things, but misogynists isn’t one of them, so clearly we’ll be having plenty of girls in high places to deal with during our stay in Azeroth. Till next time then …