The aesthetics of WoW have fascinated our author Paul Herzog since the beginning of his WoW career. Extension by extension, the developers show which technical finesse they can tickle out of the engine again. According to Paul, Shadowlands is now crowning it again.
I remember as if it were yesterday: the green blaze of the dark portal. The ignorance of the secrets that would be hidden behind it. Which monsters do you have to hunt down? What areas would I expect? And above all: what thematic focus would they have?
When my 16-year-old stumbled through the Blizzard world shortly after the first expansion "The Burning Crusade" was first published, one thing in particular was the focus of the voyage of discovery: The anticipation of the "next area" and the answer to the never-ending one Question: What would the next zone look like?
Impressions that last
Let's be honest: My youthful WoW disposition was easy to astonish. Be it the parched dunes of Desolace 'or the lush meadows of Feralas'. Even the plaguelands had their own charm – when I thought of the morbid aura of decay, a cold shiver ran down my spine 15 years later.
But one thing I will never forget: the first fairy-like hoof print of my delighted "Oh, can I really turn into an owl shape ?!"-Druids on the red-fiery barren hills of the Hellfire Peninsula. And heaven first.
In my slightly nostalgically distorted perception of the past, I spent the first days of the encounter contemplating the cosmic careers of non-Outlandish planets. A truly epic sight.
The aesthetics of the new
Admittedly, Outland is nowhere near triggering those feelings. However, what still impresses me nowadays is the ongoing aesthetic improvements that a 15-year-old game like World of Warcraft has to offer (buy now for 14.54 €) gets. With each new expansion, the developers tickle a little more atmosphere and a bit more "boom" out of the dusty engine.
We remember: In the third WoW expansion "Catalcysm" we were able to enjoy polished graphics for the first time. Water and ground textures were refined, lighting made more realistic and clouds and billows of smoke were perceived as such for the first time.
But a lot has happened since then – a look at the current WoW expansion "Battle for Azeroth" shows how wonderfully atmospheric areas such as the Stormsong Valley or Drustvar are. In the latter area, I was personally particularly impressed by the audiovisual total work of art, as I was able to report in my musical journey.
Shadowlands shows: There is more
Now we are facing the publication of a new – the eighth – expansion. Shadowlands has now increased the graphical setting options again and can now display more realistic lighting effects thanks to ray tracing support. Even people are now "finally" beautiful.
The Bastion knows how to please – our author Philipp Sattler is completely blown away by its aura. Personally, I'm a big fan of Exile and Oribos. The cold clouds of fog and the ominous nether awaken a very oppressive feeling of tightness in me, which brings me back very close to the plaguelands experience of my youth.
Oribos sees itself here as the exact opposite. It is reminiscent of a castle that towers high above the clouds, surrounded by images of the sky in watercolor. A sight to fall in love with, because it shows what a great total work of art has been recreated here on an aesthetic level.
But one thing is missing: the music. As an avowed film and video game music lover, I listen to the sounds of Glenn Stafford and imagine again how he (and many more) will transform the upcoming expansion into a successful audiovisual spectacle, because Music and images are always beyond doubt.
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