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WoW Graphics Reboot Coming?

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Q&A on Eurogamer discusses the upcoming expansion for Blizzard's MMORPG with Jeff Kaplan, Tom Chilton, and J. Allen Brack, with J. revealing along the way that they are probably going to start looking at rebooting the game's graphics with the expansion after Wrath of the Lich King, while acknowledging such a move has not gone perfectly when tried in other games in the past:

That's actually something we talk about every expansion. It's interesting, two games have really tried that before, Ultima Online tried it and EverQuest tried it as well, and in each case it was only somewhat successful. In each case a lot of people continued to play with the original client, because it was faster, or they preferred it, or were just used to it or whatever. And so for me as a game developer, the idea that we would spend so much time and energy on something and have people go, "meh, that's not really for me," that's not very exciting.

So I don't think there's really a clear model as to how to do that successfully. The model we have with Wrath of the Lich King allows people with high-end machines some additional graphical effects, and then we'll have some kind of fallback for the people who don't. Will we need a graphical update from the ground up at some point? Yep, probably. And I'm positive we'll talk about it next expansion.

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25. WoW Graphics Reboot Coming? May 16, 2008, 14:19 Aero
 
It seems to me you could take the graphics just as they are now, bung some fancier lighting/shadowing, some pretty shaders, and some post processing on it and it would look pretty good. Maybe some higher-res textures too--


I too am sick of the gaming industry putting more effort into technical bling than hiring some good artists and making better use of what we've got now.

This is the dark side of continuously progressing processing power and a hugely variable platform. The console games that come out towards the end of the life-cycle usually look significantly better than those that were available at release. We ought to be advancing graphics that way rather than just throwing more transistors at it.

 
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