The Gnome and the Changeling

I know I’m terrible at dealing with change and no amount of expensive courses my employers send me on will alter that. Growing up I lacked stability, having to shift house and school far too often in the wake of my father’s job and it’s left me craving solid foundations with the bare minimum of surprises and spur of the moment changes.

On the back of this, I was always worried about my reaction to the remodeled WoW characters but now that I’ve seen my Gnomes as they might be courtesy of WoWhead, I’ve found myself desperately wishing that instead of a 90 boost, we were getting free character redesigns. I’m fine with my rarely ever played rogue (on the left hand side) because she has a decent mouth but the other two….

“It’s never my own little daughter,
It’s never my own,” she said;
“The witches have stolen my Anna,
And left me an imp instead.

    “Oh, fair and sweet was my baby,
Blue eyes, and hair of gold;
But this is ugly and wrinkled,
Cross, and cunning, and old.

From the Changeling by John Greenleaf Whittier


I tended towards the serious Gnome face, adult, mature and sensible which is not what these new images convey. In fact I’m struggling so much with this because I hate being negative. I want to be excited, to be enthusiastic about the changes but the way my characters look is important to me, especially with the long established ones. Yes, things change. I definitely don’t look the same as I did when I was four or even fourteen anymore but looking back at those photos, you can still tell it’s me. The shape of my face, the curve of my lips, the blue of my eyes and the way in which I wrinkle my nose like a cat when I yawn. I could understand it more if I could recognize my evil little ganking Gnomes in these images but I can’t.

I’ve been trying to level Dorrie the little Warlock as a side project but now I’m struggling to motivate myself because I don’t want her to go from this:

to this:


Although I she’s only got to level 13 so I suppose I could start from again from scratch.

Sproutling might have to undergo a race change because my evil little Priest does not look this, although at least she has Shadowform to hide behind.


It’s the mouth that I struggle with, reminding me as it does of an unfortunate boyfriend whose lips were equally rubbery and wide. Her hair on the other hand is fabulous. Possibly I will get used to the look but it’s left me decidedly nervous for the rest of the unveilings. I know there are plenty of you who will think I’m being ridiculous and perhaps you’re right but I’m the sort of person who has a panic attack if anyone suggests the crazy idea of going to the milk aisle before the bread aisle in the supermarket.

21 Responses

  1. I don’t think you’re at all crazy for being upset. To be candid I am both excited and terrified to see what the new male night elves and blood elves will look like. I am hoping my Night Elf will end up looking more like he does in my head, but I’m a little afraid that all of my characters will end up looking like someone else and I won’t know them any more.
    Looking at the new gnomes compared to the old ones I can tell I’d be really unhappy.with the changes if I had any. 😦

    • I haven’t minded any of the other races so far although I’m terrified about my Night Elf Priest (please don’t make the ears too silly!) but I think the Gnomes look too cartoony. Fingers crossed for the male bloodelves/nightelves for you.

  2. Ever since I heard about the new character designs I have been thinking that we should get free character redesigns when they come. They have said that they try to “keep the feel” of the faces, so far I have seen nothing of that. Everything looks like something very different. Other emotion and expressions.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love that we get new faces and graphics. I would just like to be the one to pick a face for my character.

    There are a few characters/races I am more worried for than others, gnomes is one of them. I’m sure I’ll either end up spending a lesser fortune changing my characters graphics…maybe that is what they are hoping for.

    • I think if we could pick from the new designs, I wouldn’t have an issue. There are Gnome faces I’m ok with, unfortunately though they don’t correspond with the vast majority of my Gnomes.

  3. I’m really hoping they let us re-customize our characters when the new models come out, or at least reduce the cost of paying for that.
    I created my gnome main WAY back in the day (when I was very little, and the entire game for me was designing characters), and I remember picking the face I did because she had turquoise eyes.
    Looking at the face now, I would NEVER have chosen it for it has the least expression other than vaguely annoyed. I’m the most worried about what her face will look like, and most importantly, THEY NEED TO KEEP THE TURQUOISE EYES GOSH DARN IT! I haven’t seen what they are going to do with her face, but I have the feeling its going to be a love or hate it situation. We shall see!

    • I still spend far too much time designing characters 😛
      But yes, I think Blizzard might have miss calculated when it comes to how attached the player base are to their existing characters. I would imagine the turquoise eyes will have to stay, at least my green eyed gnomes are still green eyed.

  4. Only having one Gnome who’s waiting in the wings to level I hadn’t really noticed. I went to Wowhead and I really loved all the new models especially the female Orc. All except the female Gnome. You’re right. What is up when the rubbery duck lips. Should be an opt-out option.

  5. I really don’t think you’re being ridiculous. A game like WoW can be a pretty important personal investment – yes, it’s a hobby, but it’s something most of us dedicate a lot of time and often passion into.

    Our character is the embodiment of that, of us in the Warcraft world.

    I’ve thought right from the start that they will never be able to please everyone here, and changing things always leads to upset and disappointment for someone.

    I have read in a couple of different places they are at least considering allowing players to switch the new models off, to save PC performance. I know that’s more of a bandaid fix than anything, but at least if they implement it, you will have some option. Bashiok (blue) mentioned it here, of course that’s not a confirmation and I don’t know if they’ve confirmed it one way or the other yet:

    • I hope they’ll do something although having to turn off the models seems a bit drastic. I’m hoping that familiarity will fix it but will have to see. If not, I guess, I’ll just have to pay for a redesign which the cynic in me (and plenty others) wonders was the aim all along or maybe the designers just like large mouths.

  6. I think we all care a lot about our characters, and having them look different to how we created them can definitely be jarring. Some of the looks I’ve seen so far are bothering me, in the sense that they don’t quite seem to capture the essence of the original face. You can’t go from a serious looking, almost frowning face to the more bland, almost happy that you’re showing in your images. That would bug me as well.

    Blizzard said they wanted to keep the essence of the old models… and so far they seem to be failing a little. One I saw even changed eye colour. Come on, Blizzard. If I chose a blue eyed character I wanted a blue eyed character!

    That said, I’m excited for the changes. I just hope it’s done right.

    If we don’t like our new models… we can all feel happy that Blizzard just raised the prices to change it. Woohoo……. (at least if you pay in GBP)

    Like someone else said in the comments, I think they should allow everyone an optional character re-customisation. I don’t see why they can’t do it like they do on beta servers – just do it in waves over a period of time. (To keep the servers from going down then 8 million people try to customise their char at once!)

    • I had a rueful smile to myself when I saw the £ changes. Wonder if it will let me pay in Euros, I suspect not though.

      I do however think the essence is missing. Sprout has personality in her current face, serious and slightly creepy in a china doll fashion. The new model looks more like a cabbage patch kid (which fair enough is creepy in it’s own fashion) than a china doll.

      • I think they all just seem to look a tad too… blithely happy? It’s missing some of the more serious-looking faces. I had a couple of the happy, freckled ones – and they are fine with the new happy face. But anything more serious looking, and they just feel a bit wrong…

        Tried my dwarf out… and she was missing pretty much everything that I felt made her face good. There’s still time for adjustments though, and I do hope they make some..

  7. They look like housewives who’ve gotten into the rum cake. You understand my own angst about the Draenei then, too. We shall see. Maybe it’s a female model thing: my brother-in-law is a masterful artist but to date, has never once sculpted a female character. We shall see. We…shall see.

  8. I think they look very surprised or shocked because the eyes are so big 😛

  9. I get the impression that the model viewer is just using the stock standard face that Blizzard has released for each race overhaul and isn’t a true indication of what our toons’ faces will look like come WoD. Admittedly, I haven’t been following things very closely lately, but I don’t think I’ve seen different faces like what we get on the current character creation screen, just one of each race/gender that has been released.

    Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking, but it seems downright stupid to lump us all with the one face when we currently get much more variety. Hopefully my optimism isn’t misguided, otherwise I will be a very sad WoW player come expansion time :-/

  10. The female gnomes look like Chris Kattan. I’m very wary of the redo, because I happen to like my gnomes face just as it is.

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