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  • Results 1 to 9 of 9
    1. #1
        byronic is offline Novice Wizard
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      The Ghost in the Machine: An Open Letter to the Artists of Kingsisle

      note: I have submitted this post to the Wizard101.com message boards as well, but I am cross-posting in the event that this is censored or unapproved.

      To the fallen artists and designers of the once-beloved game known as "Wizard101,"

      I write to you in such a state of grief that I find articulation of the matter at hand to be an excruciatingly difficult task, though I embark on it nonetheless as an act of love, an old, long-nurtured compassion for both the game which, until today, brought me such rapturous joy, and for the creators of said game, to whom I owe the aforementioned rapture. I myself am an artist and an optimist. I approach all other things through this lens; for I find this particular rose-colored glass to make all things more beautiful by virtue of its nature; for it does all in its power to emphasize the beauty in all things. Thus, I am jarred- to put matters kindly- when confronted by a thing so harsh that even all those beautiful elements in which it is cradled are not enough to soften its edges.

      Such was my experience this very morning.

      Oh, how I wish I had not, by way of habit, launched Wizard this morning, and had not, by way of vision, encountered the aesthetic monstrosity that is my faithful avatar, Anna Moonshield. Where once I met the familiar gaze of my sorcering self, I now avert mine eyes in the face of what can best be described as a discarded prototype of a would-be Barbie, scrapped for want of anything inviting, anything comfortable, anything familiar save for that terrifying effect that Freud would accurately describe as "uncanny."

      Allow me to describe to you the harshnesses entrapped in the wizard Moonshield's visage. The most glaring change is the nose, which has been repainted so as to appear sharper, creating the illusion of a considerably smaller nose by comparison to the nose pre-update. The new nose is so disproportionate to the rest of the face that it appears alien, a choice that an artist might make in order to instill terror and disgust in the player. I am an advocate for individual autonomy in nearly all things, including one's appearance and right to alter it as they so please, including by surgical means. This said, the non-consensual, botched plastic surgery that has been performed on Anna's face is both morally unacceptable and visually repugnant. I fear both for those who might encounter her in the wizard realm (lest they be turned to stone) as well as for Anna herself, who appears as though she might now find breathing an impossible task. This is not a nose that any humanoid should be so unfortunate to bear, but I cannot be brought to believe that the face of a child, wizard or otherwise, could possibly possess a nose so small and insignificant that it contradicts the biological tendency towards "cuteness" in young creatures so as to improve the want to nurture in those elder beings of the same species. Concisely, this nose is not "cute."

      Regarding the eyes: whereas before they were painted (albeit clumsily) with a subtle shadow beneath the upper lid, the whites of the eyes now stand out as being both flat on the face and in front of the eyelid. The bottom lid is yet another casualty: for in painting the bottom lash line in exactly the same manner as the lash line above, the artist at fault has destroyed all sense of softness and naturalism. They have made the most novice mistake; for any seasoned artist knows that one does not, unless the intended effect is one of discomfort, outline the eyes in one closed shape with no variation in the thickness of line.

      If it were clear that this overhaul meant to impose a more cartoonish look upon our wizard avatars, my criticism would not be so harsh. If it were clear the overhaul meant to impose a more naturalistic look, then too would I be more forgiving. Instead, the stylistic intention remains unclear; for the two elements of the face I have thus far mentioned are at odds with each other, one over-rendered so as to achieve some misguided realism, one under-rendered to resemble a shoddily-painted factory doll. The inconsistency itself is yet another point of anguish; for it is as confusing to the eye as it is unpleasant.

      If my grief were not so taxing, I might go on to describe in detail the several other mistakes that the artists at fault have made- the softening of the jaw; the addition of a crease that runs from the outer nostril, effectively aging the child-wizard Anna Moonshield some 50 years; an equally disturbing excess of detail in the neck; and so on. Yet, I confess that I have neither the strength nor the will to carry on in this manner, so I must leave my letter at this.

      Dear artists, designers, and whoever else has any sway in this matter whatsoever: do not underestimate the importance of a well-executed portrait. Do not underestimate the impact of a poorly executed one, either. It is true that the previous design was imperfect, but what you have done is as far as could be from an improvement. Until the issue has been resolved, I am afraid I will be joining those who are uninstalling the game and ceasing to play. The situation you have created is untenable.

      I hope you take these words to heart.

      In pain, in suffering, and in condemnation,
      The player formerly known as Anna Moonshield
      Last edited by byronic; 7-30-20 at 12:27:17 AM.

    2. #2
      Allison DeathWielder's Avatar
        Allison DeathWielder is offline Archmage Wizard

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        •  Death
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      Re: The Ghost in the Machine: An Open Letter to the Artists of Kingsisle

      I can't tell if this letter is serious or parody because of the way it's been written, so forgive me if I'm responding seriously to something that isn't, but I did want to add that this is definitely a matter of preference. I vastly prefer the new designs and have even made some tweaks with the Magic Mirror Shop's new options now that it costs gold instead of Crowns. It felt weird right at first, but over the weeks during Test Realm, the new faces stopped looking weird and grew on me fairly quickly. When compared to the old faces, I'll choose the new ones every time because they're so much more polished than what came before while still retaining most of the same look of the old ones.

      1 account, 7 Wizards. Over 10 years of adventure

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    3. #3
        unicorngirl is offline Apprentice Wizard

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      Re: The Ghost in the Machine: An Open Letter to the Artists of Kingsisle

      i liked the old ones better - they were somehow sweeter, i think. i kind of flinch when i open a friend's profile now, i don't like to look at them. but i don't mind playing - when you are playing a lot of the time you are looking at the back of your wizard's head - it's everyone else who has to see you haha. this certainly isn't enough to make me quit the game, though. and hey, they may improve them. now they've changed them once, they could do it again. i couldn't find any combo in the magic mirror i liked, so i stopped messing with them.

    4. #4
        byronic is offline Novice Wizard
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      Re: The Ghost in the Machine: An Open Letter to the Artists of Kingsisle

      Hello,

      This is 100% serious and not a parody.

      That having been said, I am pleased to hear that there are at least some fellow wizards who are not so repulsed by the new update as I (and several other wizards I have spoken with) am.

      Edit: I have reformatted the original post. It should be easier to read now.
      Last edited by byronic; 7-30-20 at 12:28:06 AM.

    5. #5
      Willowdreamer's Avatar
        Willowdreamer is online now Moderator

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      Re: The Ghost in the Machine: An Open Letter to the Artists of Kingsisle

      It is a HUGE change, and not one that is going to please everyone. I know my first thought was that the new faces are quite jarring, but I'm getting used to them.

      I would encourage everyone to at least visit the Magic Mirror shop and play around with the options before actually uninstalling the game and walking away.

      Watchtower Hall crafted 7/21/10 -- Guides: Crafting Stations, here -- Crafted Grizzleheim Housing Items here -- Mirkholm Keep Ore/Diamonds here -- Cave of Solitude Black Lotus here

    6. #6
      Jonathan Greenflame's Avatar
        Jonathan Greenflame is online now Master Wizard

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        •  Life
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      Re: The Ghost in the Machine: An Open Letter to the Artists of Kingsisle

      I'm in the minority here. I like the changes!

      I think KI did a nice job in giving the characters a subtle realistic appearance instead of looking like something off the Simpsons.
      Previously, the lips were too large, resembling fish lips and the eyes always looked like everyone was OD'ed on valium. Now at least my characters all resemble humans.

    7. #7
      DestWillow's Avatar
        DestWillow is offline Adept Wizard

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        •  Empyrea
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        •  Death
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        •  Mega Red Ghost & Deer Knight, Ianthine Hounds
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      Re: The Ghost in the Machine: An Open Letter to the Artists of Kingsisle

      After spending a small amount of gold I wound up with several pleasing wizard appearances for my girls. I couldn't come up with a good look for my boy. If I liked the eyes, the brows were wrong, or if the brows looked good, the smile was wrong, etc.
      Destiny WillowSong 125 Life~Destiny GoldenWeaver 130 Death~Destiny LightRunner 125 Ice ~ Hunter 118 Storm~Destiny LightBringer 130 Fire~Destiny DawnRunner 125 Myth~Destiny WillowGarden 83 Balance

    8. #8
      Dylan Windwalker's Avatar
        Dylan Windwalker is offline Grandmaster Wizard

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        •  Lord Lillie
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      Re: The Ghost in the Machine: An Open Letter to the Artists of Kingsisle

      The character faces were definitely in need of an update considering they had previously not changed in more than a decade. We can't overlook the fact that there is probably over a hundred different hat looks across the spiral aside from having no hat equipped and the company had to try to make a face that would look relatively decent across all of them. For the face to fit in every hat model, it has to fit a certain way.

      Keep in mind, the original coding used from the very inception of the game cannot be changed no matter what (for example, coding that recognized the character's existence such that we will not be able to walk through walls, or that we could still have the ability to run around). The Design Artists needed to carefully maneuver their character design coding in a carefully executed way so that their coding could go through and work as intended. If developing the new character faces in a certain way had a limitation, it would have been the original mainframe of coding as anything that didn't work with it, any small detail about any part of the face was not accepted resulted in the entire face not working well (this is seen as when we walk around, our faces don't get glitched or changed whatsoever). For example, notice that our wizards didn't grow in height whatsoever. This is because that specific height is from the original coding of the game and rather than doing extremely risking things to change the original coding, they had to make the faces work around a specific length/width. I think without breaking the entire game, the artist designers did the best with whatever they had to work with and their extreme limitations.

      Just a thought to consider.

      Signature created by Expelliarmus in Blue Nouveau Designs, thanks!
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    9. #9
      bigchungo's Avatar
        bigchungo is offline Novice Wizard

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      Re: The Ghost in the Machine: An Open Letter to the Artists of Kingsisle

      i saw your post on the forums & replied there, though it wont go through until tomorrow. but i just wanted to say, though some people may be distracted by the "drama" of your writing, i did understand it & i agree with the points you made. the overall problem w/ the models is definitely the unclear artstyle -- is it trying to be realistic or stay cartoony? why have the eyes & mouths retain the old 2D style in their look & proportions, yet 3D-render the face in what appears to be an attempt at realism? are the models still meant to be teenagers? i cant really tell anymore; the 3D sculpt of the girls' faces sits more around middle-aged. meanwhile, the boys have age-appropriate 3D sculpting, but their enlarged eyes & rounded jawlines now make them look prepubescent. and yes, the neck is just weird. the V-muscles are way too prominent, not fitting of a young wizard in a cartoon game. its all very confusing & certainly the reason for the uncanny vibe the models still have, though its nowhere near as bad as before. i feel the models are on the right path for sure. but i really hope KI is still refining & adjusting them based on the feedback hundreds of players gave and are still giving.

      i appreciate you sharing your thoughts, speaking as a fellow artist

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