Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lions and Tigers and ... Bears? Oh, my!

The Cenarion Circle is going to have to relax its dress code.
Worgen druid bears look freaking weird. With the yellow eyes, wild hair and teeth going in all directions, it seems to me that they were trying to capture wild fury of the bear, but ended up with a sense of sheer, roiling insanity. This isn't a wild bear, this is a psychopathic bear. He's ready to tank a monster, or a bunny, or his healer or even a wall perhaps. Whatever catches his eye first.

And then I bumped into a Ziggy Stardust bear... er, I mean, a troll druid bear.

The first of these I saw was sorta on the edge of my screen. That one had an acid green mohawk, and ran off and at first I didn't really see it, just the flash of color, but I said, "What was that?" and followed along til I got a better look at him. It took me a few minutes to scoop my jaw off the floor after that.

I think there is a funky problem here, that um... touches on some slightly racially-tense problems of the past. I don't mean to condemn or agitate or really make any judgements, but I do want to pursue some of the logic going into this.

Troll society in game has been modeled after a variety of indiginous jungle cultures, mostly from Africa, but some South America and Oceanic cultures have been thrown into this as well. Thus we get the witch doctors and big fetish masks and stuff like that.

In real life, ornamentation for these tribes had feathers and some crazy colors. But these still actually functioned as a type of camouflage in their surroundings and came exclusively from things found in nature. Hollywood movies came along and applied technocolor to that ornamentation because if the savages are wearing feathers then bright red and yellow feathers would look that much better on screen.

WoW's picture of jungle tribalism is based more on Hollywood than reality. And there's nothing wrong with that. No one demanded an anthropologically correct interpretation for a race of video game trolls. But the technicolors of in-game trolls still went pretty well with the slightly technicolor look of WoW. WoW trolls look weird, sure, but they still look like they belong.

But now, with this bear, things have gone one step further and has all spilled into an aqua blue bear with a bright orange mohawk. That just clashes with whatever setting you put him in. Does this bear look like he belongs in the jungle? In a forest? On an island? Or in the Exodar Disco? Even running around a bunch of other trolls, this bear stands out.

BRIGHT ORANGE MOHAWK. Not even punks go for orange. Mobs will get taunted to this bear just by the sheer flamboyance of his hair design.

So, I kinda wish that Blizzard would dial this back just a little bit. This bear is a bit over the top.

Bah. But it is a game. I know that. I'm sure there were some who looked at my beloved blue draenei and said WTF?!?! When the new druid animal forms came out last year, I recall a lot of people got a look at the night elf cat forms in particular and did big double takes. And then once we got in the game, they didn't seem so bad. (Or maybe, players have just avoided the stranger color combinations).

No comments:

Post a Comment