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An Inside Look at the Character Creation UI Redesign

By Staff

Senior UI Designer Jeff Liu goes behind the scenes to talk about the revamped character creation UI that went live with Shadowlands.
(Source)
The release of Shadowlands provided a new opportunity to streamline and redesign the character creation process. Go behind-the-scenes with Senior UI Designer Jeff Liu to learn more about the thought processes behind it.
Greetings, denizens of Azeroth! My name is Jeff Liu, and I’m a Senior UI Designer on the World of Warcraft User Interface Team. I’m here to share some insights into the Character Creation redesign that launched with Shadowlands. With all the great new customization options that have been introduced recently, we thought this was a great time to pull back the curtain and show off a bit more of the behind-the-scenes design choices we’ve made to the user interface (UI).
I previously worked on the Transmogrification System and Auction House redesigns. Revamping old UIs is by far my favorite type of project, so I was incredibly excited to redesign the Character Creation screen.
This was part of the New Player Experience initiative, which included Exile’s Reach, the new player starting zone. Character Creation is the first screen a new player interacts with, so we wanted to modernize it to make a good first impression. The character art team was also in the process of adding lots of new customization options for Shadowlands, so the timing for the UI update was perfect.
The New Layout
For reference, this is what the old Character Creation screen looked like:
One of the first things we tried was splitting up the class and race selection screens. You would choose your class on the first screen, and your race on the second:
In this example, if you want to play a Night Elf, you’d have to go back to the previous screen, pick a different class, and then keep going back-and-forth between screens to see all your options.
Yeah, it was pretty awkward.
This didn’t work out, so we nearly ended up keeping the old layout and simply updating the art. During a last-minute brainstorm, my fellow UI Designers, Crash Reed and Ray Ocampo pitched a concept where the races were split into opposite sides:
One highlight of this layout is how the face-off between the Horde and Alliance instantly communicates the faction war. We loved the simplicity and freshness of this design, so it was full steam ahead!
Go With Your Gut
With a new layout in our pocket, I reevaluated the amount of information presented to players on this screen. The old Character Creation screen featured a lot of information in the form of text descriptions:
The harm of presenting too much information (even if it’s useful) is that it can prevent someone from making an otherwise simple choice.
We designed the new Character Creation screen to help new players avoid what’s known as analysis paralysis. We cut down a lot of text and relied on visuals and sound to explain the races and classes. We’d rather show you a mage casting a fireball than describe it to you.
Most new players will already be familiar with these fantasy archetypes through pop culture. It’s commonly understood that a warrior wields a sword, wears relatively heavy armor, and fights in melee range.
We sorted the classes in an order that would help new players quickly identify a class they’d understand:
The first three are the strongest, most understood archetypes. The next three are slightly less strong. For example, someone who’s never played a video game might not know what a Priest does. After that are the hybrid classes, which are more complex.
It’s important to note that this design choice wasn’t about how hard each class is to play, but rather how easy it is to understand the concepts behind what the class is and what they do without the need for additional explanation.
Races are largely an aesthetic choice. We didn’t want new players to worry about racial abilities, so we hid them by default:
For us, it’s ok that a new player doesn’t create their “forever character” on the first go. They’ll learn much more about the races and classes by playing the game than we could ever explain on the Character Creation screen.
All we want new players to do is pick the coolest looking race, pick a favorite class archetype, and go!
Show, Don’t Tell
Now that we removed all that text, we set out to create new animations that could really sell the class fantasy.
We began by exploring how elaborate the animations should be. We were especially mindful about the duration, as we didn’t want it to drag on for too long.
Here were the first mockups created by Lead Animator Ian Lang:
After we decided on a direction, the animation team created a sequence for each class, working with the FX team to select the right special effects to accompany the shown abilities. When that was completed, a sound designer hooked up sounds to all the animations.
I think you’ll agree that the animation, FX, and sound teams did an amazing job making these classes feel heroic. The animations turned out to be one of the biggest highlights of the new Character Creation screen.
Stay Focused
One of our major goals was to have your attention focused on the character model in the middle of the screen. We wanted it to feel like you were designing a superhero. This philosophy guided us on many of the decisions we made in designing this screen.
Instead of the traditional WoW UI art style, we went with a more minimalist aesthetic. We removed elaborate art pieces on the sides, like the old faction banners, as they were too visually distracting and took focus away from your character.
We placed a large shadow on the edge of the screen to give the character a spotlight effect, effectively creating a vignette.
We also positioned the UI elements to draw your eyes toward where we want you to look.
Finally, we blur the background when the camera zooms in during customization mode. This makes the character pop and helps you focus on your character’s features.
New Players
New players see a different version of Character Creation than veteran players do. I wanted to curate a simpler, cleaner experience for them.
For example, only the core races are shown, and their names are labeled under the portraits.
Then there are some subtler differences.
The first character you’ll see as a veteran player is an entirely random race/class combo. For new players, the first character they see will always be a Human or Orc Warrior (of a random gender). This goes back to the idea of easing new players into the game by showing them something more relatable.
Characters are also randomized a bit differently for new players. Since this might be their first introduction to the Warcraft universe, I felt it was crucial for each race to read well visually. For this reason, we disabled options that obscure the face – such as tattoos, war paint, and headdresses – when the character is randomly generated.
But don’t worry, once the player goes into customization mode, they’re free to choose those options.
Lastly, new players see a tip on the customization screen:
One takeaway we got from user testing was that some new players had anxiety around finalizing their character. It makes sense, right? If you assume this is your last chance to customize your character, you’re going to take your time to make sure it’s perfect. This tip lets them proceed with confidence and get into the game faster.
Character Customization
Speaking of Character Customization, let’s look at some of the early mockups for that screen. You can see how the design evolved from the old layout:
At one point, I experimented with a more free-form layout where the options weren’t contained inside a box:
We disliked how cluttered this looked but liked the openness of it, so I combined it with some of the earlier ideas where we grouped the options into categories:
Now we’re getting close to the final layout!
The Option Selector
You’ll notice that the options in the last mockup are controlled by sliders. This UI control went through many iterations during development.
The old layout featured large preview portraits on the right. If you look at these examples, it’s difficult to tell the difference between the different face options:
They’re also not very scalable and counter to our goal of focusing on your character in the middle.
So we set out to find a UI control that could replace the portraits.
I didn’t want to use a mix of different controls (like checkboxes, buttons, and color pickers), as I felt it would make the screen look cluttered and overwhelming. I wanted to use a single control that could work for all option types.
However, the most important goal was enabling you to jump between any two options quickly so that you could easily compare them.
The first few iterations didn’t satisfy that requirement, and it was a hassle to navigate between options that were far apart.
Sliders made it possible to jump around quickly, but not precisely. Sliders are also typically used to move between two extremes (like short and tall), which wasn’t the case for most of these options.
In the end, I came up with a multi-column dropdown that satisfied every goal we had:
It lets you jump quickly between any two options. It lets you see all the options at the same time. It’s a single, versatile UI control that can be used for both names and colors. In some cases, we even mix the two types in the same dropdown. Your focus is kept on your character in the middle. And perhaps the coolest part: it lets you preview options in real-time just by mousing over them. The Category Icons
All of the customization options are contained in one of three categories. Here’s how the categories and their icons evolved:
I originally planned for five categories, but that changed after I tested it in-game.
I felt it was clunky for hair options to be in the second category, since changing your hairstyle is typically one of the first things you do. So I moved them into the first category with the face options.
Most races don’t have many body and tattoo options, so I combined those two categories as well. And that’s how we ended up with the final three.
Barbershop
You might remember that the barbershop used to have a completely different UI from the Character Creation screen. With the redesign, it made a lot of sense for us to use it in both places.
Some barbershops used to be inconveniently dark because the lighting was based on the environment around it. This also made the perception of colors inaccurate in some cases. A green might look yellow, for example.
The art team solved this problem by applying a completely neutral light around your character when you activate the barbershop chair. Now the lighting is both bright and color accurate.
A new feature of the barbershop is that you can change your character’s gender. Here’s a video of the very first gender swap, recorded by the engineer who implemented it.
Bugs
There were many visual bugs we had to iron out over the course of this project:
You can thank the QA team for saving you from this nightmare fuel!
Until Next Time
The Character Creation revamp was a huge collaborative effort involving character artists, animators, producers, test analysts, sound designers, user researchers, and engineers (read their previously published article here!). We hope to have built a flexible, modern UI that will facilitate the creation of millions of characters in the years to come.
I hope you enjoyed this inside look at how we redesigned the Character Creation screen. Thanks for reading!
Jeff Liu
Senior UI Designer, World of Warcraft

Sours: https://www.icy-veins.com/forums/topic/how-to-get-the-heart-of-azeroth-in-battle-for-azeroth/

Thread: How do new characters get the heart of azeroth now in ?

  • ,  AM#1

    knightblazer85 is offline
    High Overlord

    How do new characters get the heart of azeroth now in ?

    title says it all

    with the new starter experience in exiles reach you skip the battle of lorderan and the events in silithus thereafter. so how can new characters/players get the heart of azeroth?

    i know its a bit redundant with us going into shadowlands soon but the azerite essences and traits on armor are handy to have in tight situations


  • ,  AM#2

    StaeleAilar is offline
    Epic! StaeleAilar's Avatar

    afaik, they don't. But im not % on that. It kind of wouldn't make sense for them to get one, but that does make pre patch weird.


  • ,  AM#3

    Nize is offline
    Brewmaster

    Give yourself an azerite piece (like a BoA blue)


  • ,  AM#4

    GreenJesus is offline
    Over ! GreenJesus's Avatar
    QuoteOriginally Posted by StaeleAilarView Post

    afaik, they don't. But im not % on that. It kind of wouldn't make sense for them to get one, but that does make pre patch weird.

    So do characters that choose to level in BFA just not get a neck piece since there are no neck drops in BFA zones/dungeons?

  • ,  AM#5

    Nize is offline
    Brewmaster

    Note above - you get the Magni quest for the neck once you obtain an azerite piece. If you're leveling in BfA, I imagine when you get one through a story quest, you'll get the quest to visit Magni. I discovered it personally by a BoA blue (note that my character had hit max, so boa blue won't work for leveling)


  • ,  AM#6

    knightblazer85 is offline
    High Overlord
    QuoteOriginally Posted by NizeView Post

    Note above - you get the Magni quest for the neck once you obtain an azerite piece. If you're leveling in BfA, I imagine when you get one through a story quest, you'll get the quest to visit Magni. I discovered it personally by a BoA blue (note that my character had hit max, so boa blue won't work for leveling)

    yeah the blizzard forums said something similar. that you dont get the heart until level

    that should be easy enough to manage. i'm coming down with black empire and benethic tokens on 2 of my bank alts.

    so i'll find out for certain when i get one of my alts to level

    i just thought i should run the question past players who may have played the ptr

    - - - Updated - - -

    it makes sense to leave the heart until the end since you only start doing stuff with it then anyway.

  • ,  AM#7

    Lucetia is offline
    Moderator Lucetia's Avatar
    QuoteOriginally Posted by NizeView Post

    I discovered it personally by a BoA blue (note that my character had hit max, so boa blue won't work for leveling)

    Which BoA azerite pieces are there? I didn't think there was any other than the Benthic/Black Empire gear.

  • ,  AM#8

    Nize is offline
    Brewmaster
    QuoteOriginally Posted by LucetiaView Post

    Which BoA azerite pieces are there? I didn't think there was any other than the Benthic/Black Empire gear.

    It was the Black Empire one that I created.

    Seems, however, that this was changed based on today's hotfix, so I used it and got the quest before then.

  • ,  AM#9

    Swnem is offline
    Herald of the Titans

    Surely they do if they level in bfa.

    Get the starting quest, do the scenario or skip and going to magni is the follow up to it. That is where you get the neck. It's part of the chain.

    I don't know how it works for those not leveling in BfA though. But, i do know that the pre-patch event gear has necklaces.


  • ,  AM#10

    Celthalas Justice Bringer is offline
    Grunt

    Seems buggy, as the game kept thinking I had the heart of Azeroth. I haven't played since WOD so I was a bit confused.


  • ,  PM#11

    GreenJesus is offline
    Over ! GreenJesus's Avatar

    How do random battlegrounds while leveling work? One level 20 has azerite necklace and the other level 20 that chose outlands doesn't? Did blizzard remove stats/gear from leveling PVP? Otherwise this is a balance disaster.


  • ,  PM#12

    ReVnX is offline
    Warchief ReVnX's Avatar
    QuoteOriginally Posted by SwnemView Post

    Surely they do if they level in bfa.

    Get the starting quest, do the scenario or skip and going to magni is the follow up to it. That is where you get the neck. It's part of the chain.

    I don't know how it works for those not leveling in BfA though. But, i do know that the pre-patch event gear has necklaces.

    The quest to get the neck is gone in Pre-patch. Just unlocked BfA with a 45 and got to Boralus with no neck

  • ,  PM#13

    Ersula is offline
    Epic! Ersula's Avatar
    QuoteOriginally Posted by StaeleAilarView Post

    afaik, they don't. But im not % on that. It kind of wouldn't make sense for them to get one, but that does make pre patch weird.

    The heart of Azeroth is still obtainable, but much like Legion artifacts, no longer necessary: You'll get the Heart acqusition quest when you obtain a piece of azerite armor

  • ,  PM#14

    ReVnX is offline
    Warchief ReVnX's Avatar
    QuoteOriginally Posted by ErsulaView Post

    The heart of Azeroth is still obtainable, but much like Legion artifacts, no longer necessary: You'll get the Heart acqusition quest when you obtain a piece of azerite armor

    That makes sense, the Magni intro is not given to you after the scenario.

  • ,  PM#15

    cordrann is offline
    The Patient
    QuoteOriginally Posted by GreenJesusView Post

    How do random battlegrounds while leveling work? One level 20 has azerite necklace and the other level 20 that chose outlands doesn't? Did blizzard remove stats/gear from leveling PVP? Otherwise this is a balance disaster.

    Blizzard has never and will never care about balance in sub level cap pvp, and they shouldn't. It would be a waste of development time to worry about for them.

  • ,  PM#16

    GreenJesus is offline
    Over ! GreenJesus's Avatar
    QuoteOriginally Posted by cordrannView Post

    Blizzard has never and will never care about balance in sub level cap pvp, and they shouldn't. It would be a waste of development time to worry about for them.

    I mean.. it is a pretty large advantage to have the azerite necklace yet someone that chooses to level somewhere else doesn't have access to it. Hopefully they scale it down in pvp. They bothered to change the whole leveling system, so they should at least do the job properly. (If they already did this then good on them. I just don't know yet.)

  • ,  AM#17

    Swnem is offline
    Herald of the Titans
    QuoteOriginally Posted by cordrannView Post

    Blizzard has never and will never care about balance in sub level cap pvp, and they shouldn't. It would be a waste of development time to worry about for them.

    I wouldn't be surprised if they deactivated azerite traits in a future patch like they did with Legion legendaries.

  • ,  PM#18

    Excaliban is offline
    High Overlord
    I was able to get my rank 1 Heart of Azeroth, but there is no follow-up quest, and I'm not able to re-enter the Chamber of Heart

  • ,  PM#19

    Ogait is offline
    Brewmaster Ogait's Avatar

    How do you start world quests?

    I leveled today 3 characters from 45 to 50 and I don't can't remember how to start them :P

    |Realm First Monk| Shadowlands Alpha Tester ( ty Blizzard! ) |


  • ,  PM#20

    munkeyinorbit is offline
    I am Murloc!
    QuoteOriginally Posted by OgaitView Post

    How do you start world quests?

    I leveled today 3 characters from 45 to 50 and I don't can't remember how to start them :P

    Go-to the boat.
    QuoteOriginally Posted by NizahView Post

    why so mad bro


  • Sours: https://www.mmo-champion.com/
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    Shortly after arriving to Kul Tiras or Zandalar, players will see Magni Bronzebeard to acquire the Heart of Azeroth necklace. Later at level , after you have completed the three Footholds of the War Campaign and unlock World Quests, Magni provides a quest to unlock Azerite World Quests. Those provide extra Azerite Power to help level up the Heart of Azeroth&#;s level.

    HEART OF AZEROTH QUESTLINE


    PATCH


    PATCH

    The Green Dragonflight: Merithra

    Meet with Kalecgos in the Chamber of Heart to pick up the quest: In Darkness, I Dream. The questline enlists the green dragonflight to obtain The Crucible of Flame (Rank 2).

    The Red Dragonflight: Alexstrasza

    Meet with Kalecgos in the Chamber of Heart to pick the quest: Investigating the Highlands. The questline enlists the red dragonflight to obtain The Crucible of Flame (Rank 3).

    Healing Azeroth: A Fresh Trauma

    This questline takes you to Mount Hyjal and the Maelstrom to heal scars in Azeroth that oozes Azerite. Lots of Azerite Power as reward.

    The Blue Dragonflight: Kalecgos

    Meet with Kalecgos in the Chamber of Heart to pick the quest: A Bolt from the Blue. The questline enlists the blue dragonflight to obtain The Crucible of Flame (Rank 4).

    You also unlock the Achievement: Power is Beautiful.


    FINALE

    At the end of the Heart of Azeroth Questline, Magni rewards the player with a toy: Heart of a Champion. This toy allows you to hold the Heart of Azeroth on your character&#;s hand for 10 minutes while not moving. It has a 15 minutes cooldown and it is added to your Toy Box tab within the Collections UI.


    OR IS IT? VISIONS OF N&#;ZOTH

    Well, it was the finale of the Heart of Azeroth&#;s Crucible of Flame Questline up to Rank 4; but the story didn&#;t end by a long shot. With Patch Visions of N&#;Zoth, we now have Wrathion (The Black Prince) in the Chamber of Heart, and lots of Magni action.

    This is a list of videos I uploaded for the Visions of N&#;Zoth questline that introduces Wrathion and the Horrific Visions.


    HORRIFIC VISIONS: STORMWIND AND ORGRIMMAR

    Sours: https://warcraft.blizzplanet.com/blog/comments/champions-of-azeroth-questline
    A look at the Heart of Azeroth quest

    The Heart of Azeroth

    Travel to the Chamber of Heart and commune with Azeroth.

    Description

    Our world's dyin', <name>. Sargeras's sword has cut deep. Her pain is drivin' the elements into a frenzy! I can hear Azeroth's voice, but she needs more than her speaker. She needs her champion. Far below us lies an ancient titan vault called the Chamber of Heart. I sense she wishes tae speak tae ye there. Come with me into the chamber. It may be our only chance tae save her!

    Completion

    The Heart of Azeroth that's the key tae healin' her wounds!

    Rewards

    You will receive:

    Gains

    Upon completion of this quest you will gain:
    See if you've already completed this by typing:
    /run print(C_QuestLog.IsQuestFlaggedCompleted())

    Guides

    Heart of Azeroth Overview - Necklace and Essences - Lore of Magni Bronzebeard Tiragarde Sound Troubleshooting Guide

    Related

    Contribute

    Sours: https://www.wowhead.com/quest=/the-heart-of-azeroth

    Start heart quest of azeroth

    Objectives

    Travel to the Chamber of Heart and commune with Azeroth.

    • Use the device in Silithus to travel to Chamber of the Heart
    • Witness past events on titan console (Optional)
    • Speak to Magni within the Chamber of Heart

    Description

    Our world's dyin, <name>. Sargeras's sword has cut deep. Her pain is drivin' the elements into a frenzy!

    I can hear Azeroth's voice, but she needs more than her speaker.

    She needs her champion.

    Far below us lies an ancient titan vault called the Chamber of Heart. I sense she wishes tae speak tae ye there.

    Come with me into the chamber. It may be our only chance tae save her!

    Rewards

    You will receive:

    Progress

    Ye need tae hear from Azeroth herself, <name>.

    Completion

    The Heart of Azeroth that's the key tae healin' her wounds!

    Notes

    On accept:

    Magni Bronzebeard&#;says: The entrance tae the chamber is this way. Come on!
    Magni runs southeast to the Titan Translocator.

    Interact with the translocator to enter the Chamber of Heart. On the other side, run forward toward Magni:

    Magni Bronzebeard&#;says: Ach! This chamber is in ruins, <name>. It won't hold together for long!

    Defense Nodes and Maiden of Vitality are present.

    Interact with the Titan Console if desired:

    <The titan console has a series of data entries displayed on it. You can select one to view.>
    Gossip&#;(View events that led to Azeroth's wound)

    This will cause the post-Argus cinematic to play, showing Sargeras striking his sword into Azeroth:

    Speak with Magni to continue:

    I can hear the cries o' the world beneath my feet. Azeroth trembles in pain! We must find a way tae ease her sufferin'
    Gossip&#;What does Azeroth want of me, Magni?
    An cutscene plays. Your character is standing in the Chamber of Heart, looking toward its center.
    Magni Bronzebeard&#;says: Azeroth calls tae ye, champion. She offers a gift one born of her own essence.
    A spark of blue and gold power coalesces in the air, then begins to drift toward you.
    Magni Bronzebeard&#;says: The very Heart of Azeroth!
    The spark takes on the shape of an amulet—the &#;[Heart of Azeroth]—and comes to rest in your hand.
    Magni Bronzebeard&#;says: Infuse this amulet with power it might be the only way tae save her!

    Progression

    1. N&#;[50]&#;A Dying World
    2. N&#;[50]&#;The Heart of Azeroth
    3. N&#;[50]&#;Infusing the Heart

    Beta version

    Removed from gameThe subject of this section did not make it out of the beta stages.
    Objectives

    Receive Azeroth's gift.

    Description

    I know the people of <Kul Tiras/Zandalar> need yer aid, <name>. But there's more at stake than the fate o' a single kingdom.

    Azeroth needs yer help. And in turn, she offers tae lend ye hers.

    She bid me tae bring ye to a titan chamber at the heart of the world. Ye can hear her voice there.

    Completion

    Keep that amulet close tae yer heart, <name>. It'll see ye through the dark times ahead.

    I'll keep searchin' fer ways tae heal the damage done tae Azeroth. Should I have need of ye, I can reach out through that trinket.

    Ye best head back tae <Kul Tiras/Zandalar>. The teleportation pad will take ye there.

    Patch changes

    External links

    Sours: https://wowpedia.fandom.com/wiki/The_Heart_of_Azeroth_(quest)
    HORDE BFA Intro \u0026 Getting the Heart of Azeroth

    Anna, as if not believing him, looked into his eyes. Calm waves splashed in them, attracting, forcing to forget about everything in the world. From his gaze, she blushed and buried her nose in his chest. Yes, he whispered again, I asked him about it.

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    All my life I've tried to stay away from such people. His wife tried to defend him, she said that I was too nagging, but I could not change my attitude towards him. Probably, somewhere in my heart I was even afraid of him. I sat, pressed against the toilet, and, hiding, listened to how Vadim walked around the apartment, hoping that, not finding anyone.



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