Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Smell a Red Herring!

Boubouille at MMO Champion strikes again with his datamining-fu. With today's maintenance, four sets of masks were added to join the Worgen and Goblin ones. Upon hearing this news, I was somewhat despondent that all the theories I, and others of like mind, cooked up might have been dashed...until I took a closer look at the new masks.

Compared to the Worgen and Goblin masks, all the new masks, save the Vrykul, are shoddy coffee break renderings. Just look at the resolution quality and the overall shape of the graphics used in the masks. Sure, the Vrykul at least look respectable being they are a recently added race and one of the "shiniest" looking at the moment... But the color swapped murlocs? The old naga models that have been in file since vanilla WoW?

"But Moonbiter, you said that Blizzard doesn't tend to make in-game items that will never be used!" Yeah... Figures that'd come back to haunt me, however I wouldn't call these newer masks superfluous. I'm not exactly sure on Blizzard's goal regarding the addition of them, but I can say this for certain... The newer masks are fake.

If you compare the newly added masks with the original Worgen and Goblin ones, you'll see there is no comparison. The two original "new masks" are beautifully rendered, there's a female model for a creature race that did not exist up until now, and even the Goblins themselves got quite the graphical overhaul. While the Vrykul masks do look respectable, they don't hold a candle to how detailed the Worgen and Goblin masks appear. Plus the mask edges do not match those of the initially released two, being they are thinner in fold. Also, as mentioned on WoW.com...

"However, astute readers point out that the female ogre is actually a "direct copy-paste of an old drawing from one of the RPG books." Closer inspection of the female ogre mask will reveal some rendering inconsistencies compared to the other skins, which were lifted from in-game models."

But now we are all faced with three possibilities...

1) The newly added masks were a panic-rushed attempt to cover up a possible accident of putting those new Hallow's End masks into the game files.
2) The newly added masks were purposefully put in later to appear as if they were trying to squelch theorycrafting over what will be released in the expansion. However, the new masks were intentionally bad and "half-assed" to silently confirm that the previous Worgen and Goblin masks are the real-deal.
3) That these masks are, what many people have been saying in multiple forum and blog responses, just that... Masks.

While I wouldn't be surprised at #1 being the reason, I'm pretty certain that #2 is their reasoning behind this. Again, Blizzcon is only a month away and they want to have people talking and getting excited over their products. They have been dropping hints about the Greymane Wall, the Scythe of Elune, goings on in the Maelstrom, and more within their forums and various interviews with outside Warcraft-based blogs and news columns. Their treatment of those who tamed a Worgen pet not long ago, in comparison to how rare tames were dealt with before (IE: Spirit wolf and the crocoslime, just to name a few). There's even a logical explanation as to why the cursed Worgen in Silverpine (and presumably Gilneas) could be a player race in a tabletop RPG source book that has been around for years!

While the addition of the new masks have dissuaded many from thinking the originals were the real deal, their shoddy nature should prove otherwise. New masks or no, I still remain resolute in my thinking that the next two player races will be Worgen and Goblin.