Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

This Tuesday is going to be a little different, in that it’s just sketches I did quickly. I was doing some idle musing the other day and I started thinking about how disappointed I was with the female worgen. I fully intended to make a worgen when Cataclysm came out. I had two names reserved for the purpose, even (one male, one female). I usually prefer to play female characters, because I just do. I wrote about what happened with my worgen.

Similarly to how I felt about being a moonkin, I just couldn’t get “into” the way the worgen looked. I think the males look pretty good (although not keen on their “running wild” animation), but the females? I started sketching to try to understand and explain what it is that bothers me about them.

Female Worgen (as in-game)

They have these large, heavily-lidded and tilted eyes. Their eyes are looking in different directions, too, much like a Simpsons character. They have a very narrow, “fox-like” face, and a pronounced forehead. Here is what the worgen actually looks like.

What follows is just a series of quick sketches as I tried to work out for myself what I would have preferred (instead of just complaining about what I didn’t like).

adfs

I really think the biggest thing is the eyes. Lose the heavy lids, make them smaller (and a bit closer to the center of the face). I am still not really happy with the face shape here and would probably keep reworking it if I were actually trying to do honest to goodness concept art.

The actual model has its lips pulled back in a permanent snarl, too. I didn't really do that, which is perhaps like cheating.

Overall, I just imagine female worgen being more…wolf-like. Their male counterparts are wholly lupine and it works for them. I feel as if maybe the art team just tried too hard to make them “feminine” looking. The thing is, they’re werewolves. I don’t think you can make them look really feminine (or perhaps you shouldn’t). In any case, their reasonably slender frames and mammalian characteristics make that much obvious. I could see them with more of a wolf’s head instead of the “foxy” look they went for. I know that female worgen gave them the most trouble, as they revamped them completely several times during the beta.

I’ll be honest; I could see female worgen overall with a bit more meat on their bones. I think they may be overly lanky? But that’s a minor gripe. I should mention that I absolutely love their hands. The in-game model has great hands, with the long, claw-like fingers and nails. I thickened her neck (and also her body, giving her a bit of curve). I still don’t know if I am happy with the face, but it was fun to mess around with. Having completed this exercise, I’m still pretty sure it’s their dead eyes that bug me the most. The dog-like muzzle might be fine if the eyes had a bit of life to them, were placed differently and had a different shape.

That’s what I think, anyhow, in my half hour of idle doodling. What do you think? Love worgen the way they are? See them a little bit differently? I have a feeling I am going to keep doing some sketches of them until I can really see them the way I imagine them being. At THAT point I can put a top hat on one.

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Comments on: "Tuesday Art Day: Female Worgen Wish" (24)

  1. Honestly, I’ve always wished WoW had more customization options beyond a few preset faces and hair. I know it’s because of the nightmare of the mix and match armor system, but plenty of other MMO’s manage to have better options under similar restraints.

    Everyone ends up looking the same.

    • I completely agree. Part of the reason I’ve been drawn to any other MMO is just to play with the character customization endlessly. I made dozens of Rift characters for that reason. :( Dwarves in Rift, particularly, vs dwarves in WoW make me sad. Especially the women have these really static, pasted-on looking faces. The ones in Rift look great!

  2. I don’t really know how I would want the female worgen to look – but I know I don’t like them the way they currently look in game. (I also go nutters from the constant sniffing!)

    Their bodies are odd as well, not only do they seem a bit disproportioned somehow (maybe the tiny waist compared to the upper chest?) but if you look at them from the side they’re very clunky. Their bottom is actually almost square if you look at it from the right (wrong?) angle.

    I love wolves, and I agree they should have gone more in that direction than the fox.

    • I haven’t really looked at them from all angles! Truthfully, I see many more male than female. It feels like half our raid group is worgen now (the half that isn’t draenei, of course…)

  3. For me it’s really the crazy bat ears and the perma-snarl that does it. :\ She looks better head-on than from the side. I really wanted to like the female worgen, but I don’t like their faces or the weird mandatory mane of hair. I still made a couple low level worgens and got them out of the starting area, but it’s hard to make one that doesn’t look a little mental.

    The sniffing, oddly enough, only drives me batty when I’m not the one playing the worgen. When it’s me I’m strangely oblivious.

    • Ah, unfortunate bat ears and perma-snarl. The sniffing drove me crazy pretty much everywhere I was. I can see where it could be selective, though. It’s actually the same thing in real life! I’m sure the person sitting two desks over doesn’t always realize they are incessantly sniffing until someone points it out to them. Worgen: should have come with a nasal spray in their inventory?!

  4. I suspect the issues with the female worgen –outside of looking like they’re about to be spayed– are with the translation from 2D to 3D. 2D head on has a certain look, but when you rotate it to 3D, you see other things that don’t seem to fit well, like the snarl.

    • Agreed, Red. Maybe the snarl was part of concept art – and I mean, hey, why not! We are werewolves, look at us snarl! But it should have been an animation that was part of an attack or something, not a default expression.

  5. Though the Worgen female model has grown on me as I played her more, I don’t think I’ll ever really love my (one) Worgen the way I enjoy my Draenei and Night-elf girls. You’ve really art-iculated (you see what I did there?) some good points about what makes their model less appealing.

    I’m not sure if it’s still around, but I think there’s an addon called “Sniff-be-Gone” that silences the snorting, for those who dislike it (I don’t usually mind, myself, except when I’m standing in the Auction House or the Bank, surrounded by snorting wolves).

    I totally agree with you about wishing they were a bit less slender. At least the human model has some shape. :)

    • Harr! “Sniff-be-Gone” sounds like a fantastic addon. I may have to look into it. As far as their shape goes, I can see where they might want gaunt/wiry for that kind of half-starved crazy wolf look, but I’d have preferred some more muscle/bulk. I believe they are meant to be unnaturally strong? I’d like them to look it. :D

  6. I’ve grown to love the female worgen. The only thing I wish they could have done better was the eyes. Male worgen have those feral glowing eyes, but female worgen have human eyes (and eyeshadow?!). I would not be against the meatier, wolfier lady worgen you drew, however.

    • Yeah! The male worgen eyes are great. I had time to observe this while staring at wow model-viewer yesterday. It would have been preferable to me if they’d had those as well. I should say, as a qualifier, that I quite like the melee worgen animations generally. I had intended to make a female worgen caster and I was not keen on the casting ones. The worgen feral forms are also really nice!

  7. My major gripe with worgen of both sexes are their animations, which just feel way off to me for some reason, but I also agree that the ladies could look a lot more appealing. I can’t point out one particular feature about them that bugs me more than others, but it all just seems a bit mismatched to me, as if the heavy eyelids are supposed to make them look sexy, the perma-snarl angry, the ears goofy? Like someone said in a comment that I read elsewhere recently, they look like the designers tried to please everyone at once but ended up pleasing nobody.

  8. I’ve actually made several worgen, but only one has survived — my death knight, Saeberwing. I finally decided on a death knight since it would be mostly leveled from the start.

    Things I like: Running Wild animation and melee attack animations.
    Things I dislike: Sniffing and the yelping puppy sound when hurt. That really, really, really bugs me. It’s also why I don’t play her very much, either.

    I really love the male worgen model, though. Especially death knight/warrior male worgen tanks. They just look super cool.

    BRB rerolling Saeber as male…

  9. Female worgen have 2.5 problems for me.
    I wish they were a little thicker in the middle, they look too easy to snap in half and it feels to disproportional.
    I mirror your thoughts on the eyes, too much eyelid and they way they point chameleon style. My half issue is also the eyes, and how the males have glowing gold lights for eyes, and the females have pasted on orbs.

  10. That first sketch made me say “Dental Plan!” irl.

  11. Both of my kids remark / joke constantly about the sniffing, My son always says he plays horde now because he just can’t take the sniffing in the auction house, yeah sure there is some interesting smelling stuff there but really learn to have some self control. My daughter has her own drawings of how the female worgen should look and I agree with her they should be bulkier more wolf like and have glowing eyes and the snarl, UGH! The animations just seem off to me when they jump it feels like they hit an invisible cieling and I am annoyed with the half lidded eyes.

  12. It’s the bat ears and oh-shit eyes that are the main crux about the female worgen for me personally. I am also not sure I want a female wolf/worg/werewolf to have boobs and hips like that, but then that’s the trouble with “beast” races in general. I have a hard time thinking of worgen as humanoids.

  13. I was all excited to change my night elf druid into a worgen…until I made a test character first and saw the heavy-lidded eyes with eye shadow. I could have cried. They turned what could have been a savage, powerful beast-woman into a dopey harlot. And the body…I definitely agree that they should have a lot more muscle, something like female tauren.

    Your sketch is certainly an improvement on Blizzard’s design. I had always hoped that worgen would turn out something like what Goldenwolfen draws (http://www.goldenwolfen.com/site/?page_id=4&category=1&product_id=20).

    Oh well. My druid just ended up being a tauren instead.

  14. Giltharak said:

    Take a look at the first shots of the Female Worgen model on the Web that were posted somewhere in May 2010. The face is a lot less “Simpsonesque” and, even if the model doesn’t have any hair, it looks pretty nice! It was still a work in progress back then, but I honestly think that’s how it should have looked when Cata got released…

  15. Mugician13 said:

    Actually, I kinda like the half-lidded eye thing. Gives an air of mystery, in my opinion [bear in mind, though, there’s a REASON it’s called “putting in my two cents”…]. But yeah, the lazy eye has got to go. Is she looking at the mob, or at that tree over there? [Sidebar… saw an interview with Jim Henson and others where it was mentioned that when they create the puppets, they make them slightly cross-eyed, so as to give a more focused, realistic look, especially when they “look” directly into the camera. But I digress….]

    I think the biggest problem with the female Worgen look is the snout. Ever seen a wolf? Not so different from a fox, in that respect. The female Worgens do not have a foxlike snout, they have something more akin to a Golden Retriever or a Boxer or some other large domestic canine. I see your point, in that the face itself is foxlike… but the nose is definitely dog. Maybe if the face were a little broader and flatter, a more slender snout would work well and enhance the feminine characteristics of the model, and be more wolflike, besides.

  16. Mugician13 said:

    Addendum:

    Forgot to mention that your last sketch in the post was an awful lot closer to my own vision of them. Wider face, narrower nose. Again, I like the lidded eyes… but the ones in your sketch are definitely aware, alive, and altogether wolflike. ;)

  17. The thing that bugs me the most is, without a doubt, the stupid perma-snarl. It took Blizz years to close the mouths on the damn bears, why design a brand-new race with that same “feature”? It’s pretty much the same as if they gave all humans a permanent creepy smile. It’s just weird seeing an otherwise brilliant art team come up with something so terrible like the female worgen.

    • I’m now picturing all of the humans in the entire game as an army of people with identical smiles (teeth bared). It’s freaking me out.

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