World of Warcraft’s BlizzCon Q&A panel is a good way to wrap up loose ends from the show’s big announcements and twists, but one answer has ignited a firestorm of controversy among the game’s fans. It wasn’t about an upcoming raid, a statistical imbalance, or the design of any of the classes — instead, the answer was about character customization.
The patch between the end of Battle for Azeroth and the official start of Shadowlands was full of new customization options, like scars, eye colors, haircuts and colors, skin tones, jewelry, eyebrows, tattoos, and ear options for elves. This was a big undertaking for Blizzard, one that was made easier by the fact that Shadowlands doesn’t have a new player class like the Demon Hunter or Death Knight, both of whom have special cosmetic effects and armor sets. Blizzard has also stated the designers intend to keep expanding character customization as the game continues.
That extra customization won’t happen during the current expansion. During the Q&A, when a fan asked if more options would be released during Shadowlands, art director Ely Cannon said, “We’re not going to add more character customizations to Shadowlands.” He added, “There are a few [player races] we didn’t get as many customizations options in for, and those are the kind of things that we’ll be looking forward to in the future. [...] We tried to be really thoughtful about this, this type of thing, and these types of features tend to be fairly big projects.”
He also noted that Blizzard’s goal is to release new character customization options in parallel with big gameplay content updates, like raids, dungeons, campaigns, and other forms of content.
A character model is, at once, one of the least important parts of day-to-day gameplay in World of Warcraft… but also one of the most important parts. Your character model is the one thing that’s on screen all the time. It’s the vehicle for your adventures, and after sixteen years, many people are attached to the elaborate stories and headcanons they’ve spun for their avatar.
One player, Tim O’Connor, expressed his frustration to Polygon via Twitter. “No more customization for the rest of Shadowlands. Meaning now, it’ll be roughly 18-24 months until we get more, assuming the next expansion has them at all. All I’ve seen from the WoW community for most of the last year is the desire for more character customization.”
He added, “We’re not asking them to part the Red Sea here! I just want allied races to share the options of the races they’re based on! I want to put an undead hairstyle on a human! I want beards on trolls!”
Another player, Valarynn, shared their frustration with Polygon over Twitter messages as well, despite being a fan of the original set of cosmetic changes. “I was convinced this was just the start, and we’d definitely see further additions as the expansion rolled on. Maybe not in 9.1. But 9.2? 9.2.5? To hear they have no plans. None. Zip. To hear it NOW, months into the expansion, months after beta ended and they left us hanging, told us to dream up and come up with potential ideas … It’s nothing short of a betrayal.”
Players have a laundry list of changes they want to see to their characters, especially those who play relatively underserved races like the Nightborne, Worgen, Pandaren, or Draenei. Dozens of players wrote into Polygon, many of whom mentioned that their character’s race had a handful of hair or face options, while human characters have a surplus of eyebrow choices to choose from. It doesn’t feel good, especially for players who like the fantasy of playing a certain kind of fantasy archetype.
As one player put it on Twitter, “Where is my black hair? I am a Void Elf. I am the emo race. It’s literally in the game files. Why?”
Some players’ frustration comes from the fact that they might have to wait until the next expansion’s pre-patch, which could be a year or two out from now. They also don’t understand why there’s a barrier for certain cosmetics that seem simple to implement. For instance, if Blood Elves had white or gray skin and red eyes, players could make a Dark Ranger Hunter or Rogue, and fulfill a long-standing fan request. For now, the only way to achieve that is Photoshop or artwork outside of the game. The combination of World of Warcraft’s slow, methodical update schedule, combined with the perceived ease of players’ asks, has led to a powder keg of anger.
In a statement to Polygon, game director Ion Hazzikostas wrote the following:
We recognize the importance of customization options that allow players to better express themselves, and saying we have no plans to add additional options (like hair styles, etc.) in Shadowlands content updates doesn’t undermine our commitment. Visual fidelity of all aspects of our game, and especially player characters, whether it’s the appearance of player models, animations or visual effects is an ongoing project and we’re constantly working to raise that bar. We have a ton of unique outfits and other cosmetic rewards coming in Chains of Domination and beyond, but do not plan to add additional baseline customization options during Shadowlands.
Chains of Domination is set to add new zones, a raid, and tons of story development. For a certain group of players, all of these things are nice to have, but it isn’t high on their wishlist. Even simple accessories like a pair of glasses — which NPCs around Azeroth wear, but players can’t — would allow these players to feel more involved in the World of Warcraft. It remains to be seen what armor sets and cosmetics are on the way, but for many fans, the perceived lack of communication from Blizzard over seemingly small asks like tails, red eyes, and glasses are enough to get them to log out.
Shadowlands Preview: Character Customization
With the Shadowlands pre-expansion patch, you’ll have hundreds of new character customization options available at your fingertips to make characters uniquely yours. Carve your human’s face with battle scars, adorn your blood elves in delicate armlets and wristbands skillfully forged by Silvermoon’s metalsmiths, and give your worgen glowing eyes or vertical-slit pupils to reflect the beast within.
New Character Selection Screen
One of the first things you’ll notice is the character creation screen has been completely remade, with race portraits on either side of the screen and class icons displayed along the bottom. When you select a class, the character displayed springs into action with a flashy animation that captures the essence of the class—Rogues Shadowstep across the screen and unleash a Fan of Knives, Shaman make the ground around them erupt with the fury of the elements, and Priests levitate toward the heavens to embrace the Light.
Across the board, races will have access to new character customization options including skin tones, hairstyles, and eye colors. Certain races will be able to enhance their look beyond the basics with unique options such as tattoos, jewelry, beards, scars, or flowers to ornament their hair.
On the character creation screen, you’ll be able to more intuitively navigate between different looks with new drop-down menus. Swatches displaying color choices for eye and skin tones will appear alongside the option number, so instead of needing to scroll between different appearances you’ll be able to quickly click between specific eye and skin tone options. All other cosmetic choices are tied to a name in the drop-down menu to give you a better idea of the selection before you preview it, and will make it easier for you to remember your favorite choices.
Your Name, Your PurposeWhen you’re ready to finalize your character, you’ll need to pick out a name. Now you can see if a name is available as soon as you type it into the field at the top of the screen; a green checkmark means you’re good to go, while a red cross means it’s unavailable and you’ll need to try a new variation or new name.
Tip: Running into trouble finding an available name? Try adding an additional vowel or swapping a consonant for a similar-sounding one, or try your luck clicking the randomize button.
Many customization options are no longer dependent on other selections. Previously, a selected hair color would affect the color of facial tattoos or a hair color would determine eye color. Now, you can choose these independently of one another. Additionally, worgen will now be able to change the appearance of their worgen and human forms independently. Simply click on the portrait options at the top right of the screen to access your other half’s customization options.
Cut and Color Change
You can freshen up your look during your adventures at any time with the new customizations by visiting any Barber. In addition to customizing your appearance, you can also change the gender of your character at the barber.
Druids can change their shapeshift appearances at the Barber as well. Now you can choose between forms previously tied to cosmetic glyphs (now called Marks in Shadowlands) and forms previously were restricted due to your characters’ hair or fur color. You’ll also be able to choose between your unlocked account-wide Legion Artifact appearances and the fiery Cat Form from Fandral’s Flamescythe if you have collected the weapon from Firelands on Normal, Heroic, or Timewalking difficulties.
The new customization changes in the character creation screen and Barber will become available once the Shadowlands pre-expansion patch goes live. Which customization changes are you most looking forward to use to freshen up your current character or to make a new one?
World of Warcraft’s Lightforged Draenei and Nightborne Will Have New Custom Options In Upcoming Patch
World of Warcraft has continued to be competitive in the MMO market today, but its fans are well aware that it has fallen a bit short in certain areas. Its limited options for character customization is one of those complaints.
The new character customization options that were added may have been well-received by the World of Warcraft community, but they were only rolled for select races. It was only until recently that WoW fans got a confirmation that this trend has changed and avid fans of the game’s two Allied Races are about to get a lovely surprise.
“We are pleased to announce that 9.1.5 will introduce new character customization options for Nightborne and Lightforge Draenei,” the World of Warcraft devs confirmed in a forum. These new custom options will include “new hair styles, hair colours, facial hair, skin colours, accessories, horns, tail length, tattoos, and more.”
Blizzard also confirmed that, in addition to the Lightforged Draenei and Nightborne getting new customization options in the upcoming Shadowlands patch, they are also planning to apply the same for another race in the near future. “We will be continuing to expand our character customization in the future, with our sights set on Highmountain Tauren next,” they added.
Given that there will be no BlizzCon even this coming fall, World of Warcraft fans will have to wait until early 2022 to get more information about what WoW devs have in store for the game’s evolution.
These upcoming changes could be the answer to World of Warcraft’s reportedly dwindling number of players. Twitch streamer Asmongold recently shared his surprise and explained on why he thinks its active subscriber count is the lowest it has been in years. “There were not a lot of alternatives for other games,” he said. “I think now, because there is a lot of other alternatives, it is easier for people to make a switch quickly and come back later on if they want to.”
World of Warcraft's upcoming expansion, Shadowlands, introduces a series of new character customization options that give players access to more skin tones, eye colors, and hairstyles to better represent themselves in the game.
Assistant lead quest designer Johnny Cash told GameSpot in a new interview that these new creation tools came directly from feedback from the community, along with the desires of the development team. Cash also spoke to us about the new character Pelagos, who is among WoW's first trans characters.
"There was a lot of push during this expansion, both from the team and from the community, to want to be able to express themselves better," Cash said. "And I think humans are the best example of that. We had people that said, 'I love Azeroth and I play all the time but I can't make a character who looks like me.' That really was something we took to heart and that was really the start of the effort with all the new character customization options."
The focus of the options will be available for human characters, but Blizzard is hoping to expand this to the game's other races down the road.
"Humans being the beginning of that, and then going into our other races too, looking for other opportunities ... whether they want to look like themselves or they want to look like something very different from themselves. [Our goal is to] give players more options than they've had before," Cash said.
Cash also mentioned that Blizzard hopes to continue adding more customization items in the future, though he did not share any specific plans. Also coming in Shadowlands is the ability to change your gender without paying for it.
The customization options also include things like tattoos, jewelry, beards, scars, and flowers for their hair. Additionally, some of the customization items that were previously dependent on other choices are now freed up. For example, a hair color would previously lock you into the same color for face tattoos, but now you can mix and match freely. For Worgen players, the game now lets you change your appearance independently through a streamlined menu and system.
Head to Blizzard's website to see a detailed breakdown of the new options.
Also in our interview, Cash spoke about the new Shadowlands character, Pelagos, who is trans. Cash said the developers wanted to create a character who was a World of Warcraft expression of trans, and the team went to great lengths to ensure this was done appropriately.
"The designers wanted to put together a character who was the Shadowlands' expression of trans. And what does that look like? Can we do that justice and have a character that feels genuine and make it speak to some of these things?" Cash said. "So working with our LGBT group internally, getting feedback from the voice actor, getting feedback from the community, making sure our writing was done in a way that was genuine, that was heartfelt. And that's just one of many characters that falls into diverse spaces."
"At the end of the day, my point being, that we truly earnestly believe that Azeroth is a place for everyone and so there is a lot of effort in Shadowlands to make that more true than it's ever been," Cash added.
In July, Blizzard shared the first details surrounding Pelagos and his story. Pelagos presented as a woman in his mortal life, but now lives as a man in the afterlife in Shadowlands. Fans spoke up when the game identified him using they/them pronouns, and this was changed to he/him in the alpha.
"The team had originally written him to use they/them pronouns, but received feedback that he/him would be more respectful of the character’s wishes to be identified as a man. This change is simply the result of us listening and responding to that feedback," Blizzard said at the time.
Following a delay, Shadowlands launches on November 23 on PC. Alongside the standard edition, you can preorder a World of Warcraft: Shadowlands collector's edition for $120. It includes a level boost, flying mount, transmog quest, pet, weapon effect, and more.
GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.
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Patch 9.1.5 will bring new customizations for Allied Races
Fans of character customization, rejoice! It definitely sounds like the World of Warcraft team took to heart the negative feedback concerning their stated plans to add no more character customizations during Shadowlands. As it turns out, there will, in fact, be a whole lot of new character customizations coming, in patch 9.1.5.
Initially we hadn’t even heard any confirmation that there was going to be a patch 9.1.5 either, other than some PTR-related speculation. But this blue post shares the exciting news:
Originally Posted by Linxy (Official Post)
The upcoming 9.1.5 update will introduce new character customization options for two Allied Races that didn’t get as much attention as the rest, the Nightborne and Lightforged Draenei. You can look forward to new hair styles, hair colors, facial hair, skin colors, accessories, horns, tail length, tattoos, and more!
After hearing how excited all of you were around the new customization options, we saw that many of your comments were requesting more natural hair colors for Void Elves. We relayed this feedback to the team and they were able to add 5 natural hair color options for Void Elves to the 9.1.5 update.
Let’s talk about everything we know is coming for each race thus far. Keep in mind that patch 9.1.5 is still on the PTR, so this list is not final, and subject to change!
Void Elves are getting the ability to change their ear length — just like Blood Elves already had. They’re also getting several new hair colors, which are more “natural” — again, similar to the colors Blood Elves can already pick from, with a gamut of shades between red and blonde and chestnut, as well as white and black.
In addition to that, Void Elves are seemingly getting something that is always super fun to talk about: a tentacle toggle! It looks like they’ll be able to choose to remove the tentacles from their hairstyles, making it less apparent that they’re void-touched.
With the regular hair colors and the ability to remove tentacles from their hair, in addition to the more natural skin colors they had already gotten on patch 9.0, Void Elf players will finally be able to make their characters look 100% like High Elves, no questions asked! This is tremendously exciting news.
Nightborne characters have long suffered with a lack of customization options — perhaps more than any other race in the game. Some of their assets are incredibly basic, and some players consider the playable Nightborne models to be even less developed than those of Nightborne NPCs such as the ones we saw in Suramar. I wouldn’t go that far, but I definitely agree that they badly needed more.
They’re getting several new hair colors, hair styles, and the ability to add decorations to their hair — in the current game, a few of their hair styles already have built-in jewelry, so it remains to be seen if those styles will be able to get their decorations removed as well.
Another feature that was already present for Nightborne players but not really adjustable were their jaw and face jewelry pieces. Well, no more: you’ll now be able to freely customize those two types of assets now! Besides picking which jewelry you want to use, you’ll get to set its color as well — giving them a gold, silver, or metallic look to fit your preferences.
Tattoos are also getting greatly improved. You’ll be able to pick from several new types of face and body tattoos. And to give your character even more expression, you’ll now be able to pick from different eye shapes, as well as eyebrows.
Male Nightborne are also getting new types of mustaches and chin decorations. Female Nightborne, on the other hand, are getting necklaces.
First of all, the tail length and tail decoration options that “regular” Draenei already enjoy are coming to their Lightforged brethren. But that is far from everything!
Both genders are getting several new hair styles, and hair colors, with the females also getting hair decorations, while the males get new types of facial hair.
Their usual jewelry choices are also getting new colors, and they have new crests as well.
But it’s the female Lightforged who are getting the most love: They’ll be able to pick from new horns, add decorations to those horns, and to their jaws. And they’re getting necklaces and earrings too!
Our moosemen and moosegirls are getting a plethora of new options. Both genders get new color for their bodies, as well as new styles and colors for their hair and horns. New decorations for their horns, from headdresses to accessories like feathers, are aplenty.
You’ll be able to pick new types of tails, and add accessories to them. You’ll also be able to customize your “sideburns” independently from your hair, and pick from new types of piercings or nose rings.
Male Highmountain get new types of facial hair as well, while the Female Highmountain get to add other types of accessories and decorations to their hair.
And that might not be all! Since the PTR is still in flux, we’ll keep you updated as new customization features for these allied races get added.
Originally posted 08/23/2021. Updated 09/08/2021.
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Filed Under: Allied Races, Customization, Soulshapes, Tentacle Toggle, Toys, Travel Forms
World of Warcraft to Add New Character Creation Options Soon
By Denny Connolly
World of Warcraft players are about to get some exciting new character creation customization options for two popular Allied Races ahead of schedule.
Although World of Warcraft has managed to stay incredibly competitive in the nearly two decades since its original launch, there are some areas where certain fans feel the MMO has fallen behind. Character customization is certainly one of those spots that has been a pain point in recent years and Blizzard implemented a lot of new options during Shadowlands to help address those concerns.
Although the new character customization options were well-received, they were only rolled out for select races and, up until now, the plan has been to hold off on adding similar customization options for additional races until World of Warcraft’s next expansion. That plan just changed and fans of two Allied Races are in for an exciting surprise.
RELATED: Asmongold Reveals What Changes He Wants to See in World of Warcraft Classic
A new blue post on the official WoW forums confirms that both the Lightforged Draenei and Nightborne are going to gain a load of new customization options when Shadowlands patch 9.1.5 drops in the near future.
“We’re pleased to announce that 9.1.5 will introduce new character customization options for Nightborne and Lightforged Draenei which include: new hair styles, hair colors, facial hair, skin colors, accessories, horns, tail length, tattoos, and more!”
In addition to new customization options for Lightforged Draenei and Nightborne, 9.1.5 will also introduce other cosmetics such as:
- Ear Size options for Void Elves
- New Travel Forms for Druids
- New Soulshapes for Night Fae
- New Crittershapes to unlock: Soulshape into an adorable squirrel or other small critters. Note: Due to their tiny appearances, they are only usable in rested areas.
- Option to Soulshape and Crittershape into randomly collected appearances.
- New Toys
In addition to sharing the exciting plans for Nightborne and Lightforged Draenei, Blizzard also confirmed plans about which race will be up next for additional customization options…
“We’ll be continuing to expand our character customization in the future, with our sights set on Highmountain Tauren next.”
No estimated dates were shared for the Highmountain Tauren update, but fans of that allied race will likely still be excited to hear that it is up next. Players should follow along closely to the new surrounding patch 9.1.5’s release to learn additional details and find extra hints about what else might be on the way to the MMO in the near and distant future.
There won’t be a fall BlizzCon event this year, so fans will likely need to wait until early 2022 to find out more details about the mysterious next phase of WoW’s evolution. Until then, be sure to check back frequently for more updates, news, and strategy guides. For the Horde!
World of Warcraft is available now on PC.
MORE: Shadowlands: Highest DPS In Castle Nathria, Ranked
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Read NextAbout The Author
Denny Connolly is an editor and contributor who joined the Game Rant team in 2014. He specializes in game guides, MMO coverage, and the Pokemon GO beat; but is a lifelong fan of all game genres. He's a graduate of Penn State where he studied English and Education.
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Tell Your Story With Character Customization
With hundreds of new additions with thousands of new combinations, Shadowlands’ new character customization options will help you better create the characters you envision in your mind.
From grizzled champions who wear their scars like badges of honor to wistful druids who are at one their forests, here are some short character backstories to help spark your imagination—along with the accompanying customizations that help bring out their personalities.
What Goes Bump in the Night
Rumors swirl of a pale wight that lurks in the shadows, a monstrous blend of man and beast with unnatural glowing eyes who’ll slip a poison-dipped dagger into its victim’s rib cage with surgical precision—before dissipating silently into the darkness.
Make your own bloodthirsty worgen rogue by selecting the following options on the character creation screen or at the Barber:
Hair Style: 2, Wild
Ears: 5, Frayed
Eye Color: 28
Tip:Choosing a worgen will also allow you to choose the features for its human form as well. Simply select the Human Form portrait in the top right to begin!
Master of Demons
Drawing on demonic power, the undead warlock staves off decay and grows stronger with every victim she drains life from.
Make your own merciless undead warlock by selecting the following options on the character creation screen or at the barber shop:
Skin Color: 11
Skin Type: 3, Fresh
Hair Style: 18, Dethrock
Hair Color: 14
Face Features: None
Jaw Features: 5, Cheeky
Eye Color: 3
The Light’s Chosen
Favored by the naaru, this disciple of the Light has been the salvation of many—during Azeroth’s darkest hours, he bathes the wounded with a miraculous healing touch and sears the flesh of the wicked. The dutiful Priest has already endured more strife than brothers and sisters twice his age.
Make your own illustrious human priest by selecting the following options on the character creation screen or at the barber shop:
Skin Color: 12
Hair Style: 20, Dreadlocks
Hair Color: 1
Mustache: 7, Horseshoe
Beard: 2, Goatee
Face Shape: 2, Wide
Eyebrows: 9, Raised
Eye Color: 3
Just one glance at her glowing eyes and all can see that this nage brims with the arcane power and intellect that only comes from years of study. Few can wield these great and dangerous forces with such precision.
Make your own masterful void elf mage by selecting the following options on the character creation screen or at the barber shop:
Race: Void Elf
Skin Color: 10
Hair Style: 10, Scandal
Hair Color: 2
Eye Color: 3
Fueled by rage, this battle-hardened warrior charges headlong into packs of enemies, fully intent on splintering every bone in their bodies.
Make your own ruthless orc warrior by selecting the following options on the character creation screen or at the barber shop:
Skin Color: 7
Hair Style: 9, Mohawk
Hair Color: 2
Beard: 13, Tusk
Side Burns: 8, Braids
Eye Color: 19
Scars: 2, Swipe
Grime: 3, Eyes
Earrings: 4, Plugs
Nose Ring: 3, Iron
Tusks: 3, Broken
Tattoo: 4, Immortality
Warpaint: 1, None
One with the Wilds
For centuries this druid has protected the forest she dwells in, and over the ages has shed all her worldly possessions except for her prized crescent moon circlet—a memento of her ancient heritage and her people’s reverence of Elune.
Make your own grove guardian night elf druid by selecting the following options on the character creation screen or at the barber shop:
Race: Night Elf
Skin Color: 8
Hair Style: 20, Shaggy
Hair Color: 1
Vine Color: 2
Eyebrows: 3, Lifted
Ears: 1, Thin
Scars: 2, Swipe
Eye Color: 3
Markings: 8, Serpent
Headdress: 2, Circlet
Earrings: 2, Crescent
Nose Ring: 2, Ring
Necklace: 2, Chain
Rough and wild, this hunter bears the scars of her first hunt. She stalks through the shadows of the trees, tracking her quarry before loosing an arrow at it and commanding her faithful feral companion to deliver the coup de grâce.
Make your own cunning human hunter by selecting the following options on the character creation screen or at the barber shop:
Skin Color: 15
Hair Style: 31, Long
Hair Color: 1
Eyebrows: 1, Defined
Face Shape: 1, Narrow
Eye Color: 5
Makeup: 7, Charcoal
Piercings: 1, None
Necklace: 2, Ruby
Having sworn an oath, this holy crusader has ascended from pupil to paladin and is ready to fulfill her duty of protecting the weak and vanquishing evil wherever it crawls.
Make your own righteous draenei paladin by selecting the following options on the character creation screen or at the barber shop:
Skin Color: 12
Hair Style: 23, Donut Bun
Hair Color: 13
Horns: 10, Ram
Hair Decoration: Bejeweled Bow
Jewelry Color: 2
Fury of the Elements
Wearing war paint, the shaman stands ready to defend her tribe by harnessing the raw power of lightning in the palm of her hands.
Make your own mystical tauren shaman by selecting the following options on the character creation screen or at the barber shop:
Skin Color: 13
Horn Style: 15, Backswept
Horn Color: 2
Horns: 10, Ram
Foremane: 3, Naturale
Hair: 15, Ceremonial
Eye Color: 5
Face Paint: 4, Hawk
Headdress: 2, Feathers
Nose Ring: 2, Left
Necklace: 2, Stone
Body Paint: 2, Kodo
Paint Color: 4
Every character’s story can be told through their features—details forged from every trial they’ve fallen to or triumphed over—and with thousands of combinations you can make one your very own.