Is the water wet enough now?

So, one of the most interesting things that have popped up lately are the daily cataclysm screenshots on WoW’s website. Since they are officially released info, I thought I would take a moment to talk about water in World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings online – the two games that suck up all my free time (okay, WoW sucks up pretty much all of my free time, and I don’t have any max level characters in LotRO).

Today, I wanted to put three screenshots side by side. One is WoW’s old water. One is LotRO’s water. One is the new Cata water screenshot.

You can click on each to expand the screenshot. First, you can look at WoW’s current water (in Northrend), and see that it’s not very detailed, and doesn’t really look that much like what water should look like. In action, it’s just kinda… blah. It’s really just a 5+ year old outdated graphic. WoW’s water has always had kind of a funny texture, which we live with because that’s just what water looks like to us.

Next, with the LotRO water, it’s really unfortunate that I took the picture when it was raining, since it makes the water a little harder to see clearly. However, in action, I really like LotRO’s water effects. It just looks more natural, and has a cleaner-feeling texture, and is just much more realistic-feeling overall. I should try to dig up a better water screenshot for LotRO, but I don’t have time to run all over the game looking for the perfect water picture, so you are just going to have to trust me that it’s better than WoW’s current water graphics. :)

Then, the third (right) screenshot is the new Cataclysm WoW water, which more closely resembles LotRO water than either resemble the original WoW water. The more realistic-looking LotRO water was one of the features I liked more about that game (which just hit it’s 3 year anniversary).

So, one of the more unspoken features in Cataclysm that I can’t wait to see is the water effects. It’s hard to tell what full ripple-action will look like in motion, since all we’ve seen at this point is screenshots. However, lets just say that if WoW’s are even better than LotRO’s water effects, that we’re going to enjoy staring out into the seas & kicking our feet up on Azeroth’s new beach-front property!

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14 Comments

  1. buff
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    LoTRO’s water does look fantastic but you can’t really compare games.

    WoW has a very vivid under water realm with plants and fish and monsters and sunken ships all full of life. not to mention you can actually swim down into the water

    LoTRO’s water might look better on the surface, but there is zero underwater life or decorations and you can’t swim down. after leveling 4 chars through Evendim water was the thing I wanted to see lol

  2. Lissanna
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I know, but can you imagine combining wow’s underwater world with the better surface-texture? Going to be so much fun in WoW Cata! The post was supposed to be a happy Cata post!

  3. Kyanr
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    When I first saw that cataclysm screen shot I didn’t even think it was Wow.

    Honestly the textures they are adding make me really happy. Even that bridge doesn’t look like normal Wow bridges you would find in the barrens and such.

    Underwater stuff in Wow has always been a problem for me. Navigation is clunky and the slower swim speed just sucks (even though I think they shouldnt remove that aspect of it). If you do any of the underwater quests you are at an extreme disadvantage if youre not a warlock, druid or shaman. The graphics down there are also not that great (go to stranglethorn and do the murloc quest…lol). The way that the game camera interacts with the water surface has also always bugged me.

    Im really hoping they add some functionality or items that improve the underwater experience, especially when theyre adding whole raids that will be in underwater enviroments. I also hope they improve the camera aspect of it that i mentioned. It would help immenselly if the water surface was mostly or semi transparent.

    just my 2 cents

  4. Posted May 5, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    It’s a small change but it’s going to make a big difference. Little improvements like this add a lot of value especially for re-rolls. For those of us planning on leveling a new character it will take some of the tedium out of the old zones we have seen countless times. “Ooooh looky new water!”

  5. Felín
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    The water will be nice, I promise you that! I got to try out goblin & worgen starting zone at Dreamhack (in sweden) and both places looked awasome and the water was just… Amazing. Both over and under water

  6. Brent
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Two issues I see:

    1) Wow has never been ‘real-to-life’ graphics. They maintain a certain amount of simplifcation and cartoonish-ness so that they can keep the right parental ratings etc, since its not ‘real blood’ etc.

    2) The minimalistic graphics engine has always catered to the lower end casual players who don’t have a souped up PC to run it on. The more that you make ‘realistic’ graphics, the less likely those players are to be able to run the game smoothly. And for all the “you can turn down the settings” that concept certainly didn’t work for Wrath.

  7. Lissanna
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, but the new water is prettier!

    The min system requirements go up every expansion. The crappy computer I first played on couldn’t run WotLK at all today (if you take out the fact that the hard drive totally died & I threw it out years ago, lol).

  8. Posted May 5, 2010 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    It does look gorgeous. I am soooo looking forward to seeing it move.

  9. Kanubis
    Posted May 6, 2010 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    All we need is an equally good looking new aquatic form to swim around in it with ;) It does look great though.

    Incidentally, I appreciate your stance on not commenting on Alpha leaks, and hope you do the same sterling job of speaking for us moonkin as you did in the last couple of betas.

  10. Lissanna
    Posted May 6, 2010 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I will be all over beta, but until then, nothing is in a finalized state for leaks to be worth getting people upset over. Everything will change between now & Beta regardless. ;)

  11. dennis
    Posted May 7, 2010 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    it looks nice, but i makes my video card tremble in fear.

  12. Posted May 7, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Since I recently got this new puter I’ve had the graphics turned up on bust. I found the World of Warcraft definitely came to life. To see such details was foreign to me. I can’t imagine it much better.

    The picture on the far right is my favorite. Very creepy looking yet peaceful. I love it.

  13. Posted May 7, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    The new water effects have made me begin to look into getting new graphic card(s) to turn up all settings to 11. Can’t wait for more changes

  14. Lissanna
    Posted May 7, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Well, I mostly expected the re-skinning of Azeroth to come with actual improvements to the graphics that they are using, so I may even need to replace my video card for Cata. Fortunately, desktops make it pretty easy to swap out cards.