1. #1
    The Lightbringer Humbugged's Avatar
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    Angry Azeroth's zone transitions bug me.

    What bugs me even more is how Blizzard disregarded the great zone transitions they placed inside Northrend going forward into Cataclysm and made no effort to fix it.
    Old World Azeroth looks bad at the edges of zones, really bad.



    Flying mounts made Kalimdor and EK look even more like a carton of multi-colored Easter Eggs and as I do my trick or treating I can't help but feel queasy about how geographically impossible and inconceivable zone edgework looks. Lets look at how the actual Earth makes a gradual change into a different temperate zone.

    Ashenvale's lush, humid environment contrast to the Barrens in direct contact with eachother could have been a part of multiple real life explanations - none of which presented in-game, such as differing elevations.

    So, the question from all this is, what the heck are the environment artists doing in old world Azeroth? Why does Northrend and Pandaria smoothly transition from zone to zone almost seamlessly, yet we go from hot volcanos and lava to snowy Dun Morogh with only little cliffs seperating them? Or go from Stranglethorn Vale to Westfall crossing a little river? Did Blizzard originally design zones individually then slap them together like puzzle pieces? Even rock colors and textures just change instantly as you fly over a zone. A massive missed opportunity to fix this with Cataclysm, I'm afraid it may never be addressed.
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  2. #2
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    http://darklegacycomics.com/409.html might as well wanna check this dlc and how it addresses this issue.

  3. #3
    Scarab Lord Moon Blade's Avatar
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    OP, understand the world is condensed specifically so that you don't spend 3 years traversing Kalimdor from North to South and North again to do a quest. There is nothing seamless about Northrend nor Pandaria either. Zone transitions will be sudden due to the condensed nature of the game. They are not a reflection of mysterious natural phenomena any more than the sky having an invisible ceiling your flying mounts cannot go beyond.
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  4. #4
    The Lightbringer Humbugged's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moon Blade View Post
    OP, understand the world is condensed specifically so that you don't spend 3 years traversing Kalimdor from North to South and North again to do a quest. There is nothing seamless about Northrend nor Pandaria either. Zone transitions will be sudden due to the condensed nature of the game. They are not a reflection of mysterious natural phenomena any more than the sky having an invisible ceiling your flying mounts cannot go beyond.
    By seamless, I mean natural-looking and fluid. Go to Valley of Four Winds from Jade Forest, then go down to Krasarang. The 3 look like they could all be part of the same zone, the same location on a continent. Krasarang being forested and wet is explained as the result of having a coastal elevation and having a tributary of the Vale's water pouring into it. Jade Forest has denser foliage than Valley as a result of more sporadic elevation and rises throughout the zone instead of a rolling flat field.

    You don't see this in Kalimdor. The only thing that seperates Felwood from Winterspring is jagged, ugly little.. things that resemble some kind of strange alien outcrop of rocks. It was designed with flight not in mind, and wasn't fixed when flight happened.
    Quote Originally Posted by Manakin View Post
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  5. #5
    So, the question from all this is, what the heck are the environment artists doing in old world Azeroth?
    I think the answer is pretty obvious.

    Doing really gradual/good transitions takes more work/thought than doing it in best possible ways you described. When you have 50 or so old world zones, most of which people level through in an hour or two then leave never to come back , whats the point in doing that much extra work for something most people regard as utterly trivial and irrelevant? And something 'some' people 'might' only notice for 10 seconds as they pass through a zone to another.

    The cataclysm expansion took Blizzard way too long to get out. Remember the length of time between the ICC/Ruby Sanctum patch and Cataclysm was ages,. They clearly had a fuck ton of work to do updating the old world, maybe doing well thought out and carefully planned 'gradual zone transitions' wasnt a high priority, a non-priority, or a corner they needed to cut so they could focus on other more important things.

    This is the same question as 'Why are the 2 front doors at the Shrine of Seven Stars exactly the same?". Its because it saved a bit of artists time, which they can devote to something more important, nothing more or less.
    Last edited by TyrianFC; 2013-10-26 at 09:43 AM.

  6. #6
    Scarab Lord Moon Blade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humbugged View Post
    By seamless, I mean natural-looking and fluid. Go to Valley of Four Winds from Jade Forest, then go down to Krasarang. The 3 look like they could all be part of the same zone, the same location on a continent.
    No, they don't. One is a rainy, temperate forest full of bamboo, another is a massive grassland, and the last is a lush, tropical rainforest. The three are not similar in any way at all. One has a river, the other a cliff to delineate a boundary. Zhu's Province pretty much shows a sudden transition from a field to a rainforest.

    Krasarang being forested and wet is explained as the result of having a coastal elevation and having a tributary of the Vale's water pouring into it. Jade Forest has denser foliage than Valley as a result of more sporadic elevation and rises throughout the zone instead of a rolling flat field.
    Oh stop. You can phony up all the weather patterns you want it doesn't change the simple reality that you will not have a small area of land with a large grassland, flanked by a temperate forest and a rainforest. You could easily argue that the mountains between Ashenvale and the Barrens create a rainshadow desert, but you didn't bother to give effort there.

    You don't see this in Kalimdor. The only thing that seperates Felwood from Winterspring is jagged, ugly little.. things that resemble some kind of strange alien outcrop of rocks. It was designed with flight not in mind, and wasn't fixed when flight happened.
    What separates Winterspring from Felwood is a lot of elevation in a mountain. Why not complain about a distinct lack of seasons in places like Elwynn forest? As far as things they need to fix, something completely and entirely linked to gameplay, which are zone transitions, needs no effort at all. It'd be better spent making the Exodar not a smouldering crater, considering in the lore it's been fixed and operational since the Cataclysm.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Moon Blade View Post
    OP, understand the world is condensed specifically so that you don't spend 3 years traversing Kalimdor
    it's condensed because of technical and logistic limitations. if blizzard could make 'real', planet-size azeroth, they would. it would take an army of designers working full time for years though.

    and the transitions in outland+ really do make much more sense tbh. of course they're not perfect but, for one, those continents were designed around flying. kalimdor and EK ain't.

  8. #8
    Scarab Lord Moon Blade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyray View Post
    it's condensed because of technical and logistic limitations. if blizzard could make 'real', planet-size azeroth, they would. it would take an army of designers working full time for years though.
    It would be impractical even if they could. No one is going to play a game where they have to spend hours travelling literal miles in a virtual world just to encounter something.

    and the transitions in outland+ really do make much more sense tbh. of course they're not perfect but, for one, those continents were designed around flying. kalimdor and EK ain't.
    Outland is a heap of asteroids floating around in the twisting nether. It makes sense because it's not a planet, nor even a continent.
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  9. #9
    Herald of the Titans Flutterguy's Avatar
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    You'd think Dun Morogh would be buried in permafrost by now.

  10. #10
    The Lightbringer Humbugged's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moon Blade View Post
    No, they don't. One is a rainy, temperate forest full of bamboo, another is a massive grassland, and the last is a lush, tropical rainforest. The three are not similar in any way at all. One has a river, the other a cliff to delineate a boundary. Zhu's Province pretty much shows a sudden transition from a field to a rainforest.

    Oh stop. You can phony up all the weather patterns you want it doesn't change the simple reality that you will not have a small area of land with a large grassland, flanked by a temperate forest and a rainforest. You could easily argue that the mountains between Ashenvale and the Barrens create a rainshadow desert, but you didn't bother to give effort there.

    What separates Winterspring from Felwood is a lot of elevation in a mountain. Why not complain about a distinct lack of seasons in places like Elwynn forest? As far as things they need to fix, something completely and entirely linked to gameplay, which are zone transitions, needs no effort at all. It'd be better spent making the Exodar not a smouldering crater, considering in the lore it's been fixed and operational since the Cataclysm.

    Unnecessary to be so defensive. I wouldn't label Krasarang Wilds as a rainforest but rather a coastal jungle or forest akin to the Everglades. Its increased vegetation is the result of its location as being both at sea level and being fed by waterfalls. Journey from Valley to Krasarang, unlike old world Kalimdor or EK, you don't see a sudden change in grass color, rock color, sky color etc. its the same palette of colors for each zone. A solution for creating such an effect on the old world would be to flatten the ugly stalagmite looking mountains that seperate each zone and match the color palette of the zone its touching. It'd go a long way in making the world look nicer and more realistic.

    Edit: Look at how Krasarang and Valley meet. It looks natural and realistic, the way zone transitions SHOULD look (thats Zhu's province, BTW, I don't know what sudden transition you see there)

    Last edited by Humbugged; 2013-10-26 at 10:04 AM.
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Moon Blade View Post
    It would be impractical even if they could. No one is going to play a game where they have to spend hours travelling literal miles in a virtual world just to encounter something.
    i would... my brother would also, so would my friend. i would probably become so addicted to it that i would give up on real life and only play it. that's exactly what i want in a game xD

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Moon Blade View Post
    Outland is a heap of asteroids floating around in the twisting nether. It makes sense because it's not a planet, nor even a continent.
    outland, northrend and pandaria all have significantly better transitions imo. they actually put some work into transitions between cata zones and old world too (check wetlands - twiglight highlands).

    well, anyway i'm not really bothered by this, just sayin ;p

  13. #13
    Also, from a design perspective they were simply less experienced back in Vanilla when the Old World was created. You said it yourself, Northrend and Pandaria have relatively smooth zone transitions. They've simply improved their zone design.
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  14. #14
    Bloodsail Admiral The Flavour Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyray View Post
    outland, northrend and pandaria all have significantly better transitions imo. they actually put some work into transitions between cata zones and old world too (check wetlands - twiglight highlands).

    well, anyway i'm not really bothered by this, just sayin ;p
    Yeah, I like that transition from Wetlands and the Twilight Highlands, too. Especially with those quests that bring you to Dragonmaw gates is great, and reminds me of the times pre-Shattering when all those high-level, red dragons were there, almost murdering me in the process.

  15. #15
    The Lightbringer OzoAndIndi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humbugged View Post
    Old World Azeroth looks bad at the edges of zones, really bad.
    Just the nature of the design and 3D modeling/game industry... those sights weren't originally ever meant to be seen. And where I'm at.. I've seen some really rough areas, random deep holes in the middle of otherwise flat, featureless ground.. honestly I find the rough edges of Azeroth amusing. Esp the parts that looks like someone went "meh" and gave up on an area. (Places like Hyjal, pre-use, made me sad though.. it just sitting there pretty, but ignored.)

    Only thing that ever bugged me about the map was the fact that you've got a cold snowy area pretty much on the equator. Really.. I'm not sure the elevation is THAT high right there.
    Last edited by OzoAndIndi; 2013-10-26 at 11:59 AM.

  16. #16
    The Lightbringer Humbugged's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OzoAndIndi View Post
    Just the nature of the design and 3D modeling/game industry... those sights weren't originally ever meant to be seen. And where I'm at.. I've seen some really rough areas, random deep holes in the middle of otherwise flat, featureless ground.. honestly I find the rough edges of Azeroth amusing. Esp the parts that looks like someone went "meh" and gave up on an area. (Places like Hyjal, pre-use, made me sad though.. it just sitting there pretty, but ignored.)

    Only thing that ever bugged me about the map was the fact that you've got a cold snowy area pretty much on the equator. Really.. I'm not sure the elevation is THAT high right there.
    Dun Morogh? It makes sense to me. Ever fly from Dun Morogh to Wetlands? You're clearly on the peaks of a mountain.
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  17. #17
    They just should have skipped redoing the old world quests and focused all that energy on making it look better. The new quests were rather lackluster anyways.

  18. #18
    Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms were not made with flying in mind. Northrend and Pandaria were. During Cataclysm they tried to make it a little better, but since zone boundaries were already set they found themselves with significantly less room to make transitional regions.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Telomerase View Post
    They just should have skipped redoing the old world quests and focused all that energy on making it look better. The new quests were rather lackluster anyways.
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  20. #20
    The Lightbringer Humbugged's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeicideUH View Post
    Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms were not made with flying in mind. Northrend and Pandaria were. During Cataclysm they tried to make it a little better, but since zone boundaries were already set they found themselves with significantly less room to make transitional regions.
    I must just be ignorant, but simply recoloring the rocks and grass to slowly settle into eachother at the boundaries would have gone a long way. Some areas they did this, others such as between Mulgore and Desolace is just light brown to sudden grey. If someone could show me a picture where this happened on Earth I'd feel much better about all this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Manakin View Post
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