Blizzard is updating World of Warcraft character models for the game's upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion, but how will the significant rise in polygon counts and animation effects affect system requirements? "We don't know yet," World of Warcraft community manager "Bashiok" explained in a forum post this week.
"We tend not to have updated system requirements/recommendations until most content is in, most big changes and engineering are done, and we're looking like there isn't going to be anything else that would greatly affect performance," Bashiok said.
"So we won't really know absolutely until some point through the beta. We're keenly aware of the system requirements the new character models may require, and how that could impact client performance. No further details yet on how they'll be supported on lower end systems, if at all."
Bashiok also pointed out that World of Warcraft still supports processors and graphics cards that were released over eight years ago.
"To put that in other terms, modern day systems are in some cases 50x more powerful than the lowest end systems the game still supports," he said. "Moving us forward graphically in such a dramatic way with the new models is going to require a lot of testing, tweaking, optimizing, and determination of what we can realistically support going forward, but we just don't know what that will look like yet."
You can check out World of Warcraft's minimum and recommended system requirements below.
Blizzard announced during BlizzCon in November that it plans to update all eight of the original World of Warcraft races, as well as Draenei and Blood Elves. Just yesterday, Blizzard showed off what the new Human Female model looks like.
To achieve the level of graphical fidelity Blizzard is aiming for, developers are increasing the polygon counts significantly (in some cases this means going from fewer than 1,000 to over 5,000), doubling texture resolution, increasing bone count, and retouching almost every animation.
"For animation alone, that’s roughly 180 animations per character, times 10 races in both male and female variants, equaling approximately 3,600 animations," Blizzard said. "We’re also incorporating the rigging technology we introduced with the Pandaren into every character to provide better posing, smoother animation, and the ability to pull off some fantastic facial expressions."