Trolls and Vine Stalkers: the same, but different
For whatever reason, throughout the history of DDO, developers and producers have mentioned several times that the hardest aspect of new development is the art. Particularly, getting new art.
This is why we see new quests created that look like pieces of older quests that were cut up and reassembled. Reusing and recycling the art is more efficient than recreating it every time from scratch.
We see this with monsters too. There are quite a few monsters that are not at all the same but look the same because they share the same basic 3D model.
The “model” is the wire frame, a skeletal structure, that contains the monster’s basic shape, and animated physical activity. The skin of the monster is laid on top of the model in the form of a series of textures. One set of textures will (when assembled) look like a Troll. Another set of textures will look like a Vine Horror. Both sets can be laid over the same model, reusing all that 3D mapping and animation
Vine Horrors and Troll Shamans are one of the more obvious pairings of dissimilar monsters that act and look the same but there are others: Shadows and Quells, cinderspawns and the Dreaming Dark, fire giants and wood woads, lions and fiendish lions and razor cats and Jarilith and Bezekira and … well you get the picture.
Sometimes, back before Free 2 Play when development resources were super scarce, we’d get updates that had no new models in them at all; every monster was a rehash and anything “new” was really just re-skinned. It was still new content, but it seemed … I don’t know, like cheating? Cheap?
Like those times when someone gives you a gift that they clearly bought at the last minute as an afterthought. Any gift is still nice, you still appreciate it, but there is a difference between a thoughtful gift acquired with you in mind and something picked up from the gas station on the way over to the party.
But I digress. The new expansion pack Shadowfell Conspiracy has at least two new models, another that is probably a new model, plus one that Turbine released early in Update 18. And they are iconic monsters too, both instantly recognizable and very welcome to any player with a Dungeons & Dragons background.
Satyrs may turn out not to be a new model, one cannot tell from the image, but Dryads did not look like obviously a new model either and yet were. So there’s that.
We’ve already seen the Lizardmen in Update 18 but I had to include them too because they are just that iconic. Variances on Lizardmen were a mainstay of my campaign back in the day when I was a D&D Dungeon Master. Some were good (Diamondback Lizardmen) some were bad (Copperhead lizardmen) and all were interesting.
I love that they are now in DDO too.
I’ve been underwhelmed by the new expansion pack; compared to last year’s Menace of the Underdark it seems smaller and less revolutionary. But I am warming up to it. Seeing the new monsters has me pretty pumped up; I love these things! That officially makes me weird, right?
Another interesting thought although I doubt it means anything … in D&D, Griffons are commonly used as mounts …
Something to think about anyway.
🙂 😀 🙂