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World of Warcraft Column: Arenas, New Models and Garrison Buildings

By Reza Lackey on February 24, 2014

This week on the WoW Factor we take a look at upcoming changes to Arenas, two updated player models and what Alliance players can look forward to in their Garrisons.

But First…

One of my favorite new features that was introduced with Mists of Pandaria is the Challenge Mode and Blizzard recently announced that this “season” will be ending with an upcoming pre-expansion patch. The Challenge Mode offered players an opportunity to test their PvE skills in tightly balanced five-player dungeons where gear is scaled down to an item level of 463. The idea is to complete the dungeon as fast as possible to earn a bronze, silver or gold medal. In addition to earning Valor players players could also earn special transmog gear only available in this mode should they earn enough gold medals.

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Because of the way stats will be shifting in Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard will be ending the current Challenge Mode in preparation for a new set of Challenge Mode dungeons that will be offered in the new expansion. So what does this mean? First, all of the the achievements tied to the Challenge Mode will be converted to Feats of Strength and will not be available to earn after this “season” ends. The current transmog gear that is available will continue to be purchasable by players who have already earned it prior to the end of the current season but new players will not be able to obtain it going forward - if you haven’t already earned the gear and are hoping to, the clock is running!

Unfortunately we don’t know when this patch is coming or if it will even be the last pre-expansion patch. If it is the last patch of the Mists expansion however, there’s a good chance we have several weeks ahead of us.

Female Orc and Dwarf Update

Continuing their preview of the new player models that will debut in Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard is showing off the current state of the updated female Orc and Dwarf models. In the two images below, the Orc model on the left is the current form while the others offer an idea of what the new model will look like.

  

The official Warlords of Draenor site was also recently updated with images of the female Dwarf model. Here they are:

  

Obviously the models look much better but as I have mentioned previously in other posts, it’s the animation that really knocks these new models out of the park. Take note of the facial expressions we’re seeing here - the subtlety and amount of articulation these models offer is fantastic and that’s based off my playtime with the BlizzCon build we saw months ago. I can’t wait to see how far things have come since then.

Garrison Art Preview

Over on the official blog, Blizzard also gave us a preview of some of the Alliance buildings players will be able to construct in their Garrisons. As you probably know, each building will be upgradable and the art assets will reflect these increases in power. The philosophy has been to create buildings that loosely reflect the existing architecture in the game yet at the same time allow the buildings to grow into something fresh and new. Below is an example of a professions building in various upgrade states:

  

The whole concept of Garrisons has me extremely excited and is possibly my most anticipated feature of the upcoming expansion. This preview of what things will look like isn’t making the wait any easier. Head over to the official blog for the full preview!

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