Having spent a great deal of time in the Underdark and especially the Drow city of Sschindylryn, I was pleasantly surprised by some of the detail I found there. Lots of detail, and all very pleasing.
I should clarify.
Menace of the Underdark was obviously a major effort, especially from an art standpoint. If you have any question about the difference between an update versus an expansion pack, just wander Eveningstar and pay attention to where you step. All (or at least many) of the terrains and textures are new, created just for the expack area. Versus new content in an update, where we generally find the same old textures and terrains (and monsters) with creative tweaks to make them look new.
The cows (or should I say oxen) are emblematic of the effort that went into making the xpack something visually different and new: an entirely new 3D model, created at (one would assume) great expense, for purely atmospheric reasons.
Bringing the conversation back to the Underdark. As the name implies, it is dark in there, very dark! Hard to see anything. Malchor’s Undersun Goggles help with the vision, but at a macro level, not a detail level.
The fact is that most detail work in this vast darkness is going to go unnoticed. This would have been an easy excuse for Turbine to skimp on artwork; I’m not sure we could have even noticed.
“Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.” — H. Jackson Browne, Jr.
But Turbine did not skimp. With the aid of the GIMP, I can crank up the brightness a little and get an impression of what we have … and it is beautiful! Look at the detail work on the portal image. Look at the tapestries. Look! Beautiful, even if impossibly difficult to see.
Beautiful. Completely worth the effort it takes to locate and view.
🙂 😀 🙂