You may recognize Andrige as the creator of gorgeous, alternate skins for our forms as well as an Epic-Flight-Form-inspired UI layout and a series of Druid wallpapers. I recently had the opportunity to interview this important Druid community artist.
You’ve sort of become the unofficial community artist for Druids in Azeroth. But looking at your personal gallery, it looks like you’ve created other works of art. Can you tell us a little about your background as an artist?
Well, I’ve just recently done a bit of rummaging through our attic, and I found quite a lot of pictures which I relate to even at such a young age. Granted they’re not exceptional but I felt nostalgic when I found them.
My background as an artist would probably be that it has helped me out and been my best friend. During school when I felt down or alone I took a stroll to our drawing lessons classroom and sat there in silence while drawing away on something. During my time in upper secondary school I also got my first digital drawing tablet, and I’ve been in love with doing art the easy way (you try and find the Ctrl-Z button IRL!) but also
see the bigger use and freedom with drawing digitally.
|The Path of Feralas|
What first made you decide to start modding files in World of Warcraft?
Well, I was making my World of Warcraft machinima (which is still in production by the way). Back then I didn’t know how to set up a private server and needed to get people to help me act out scenes. I play Horde, but it was important that two of the actors be a Dwarf and a Night Elf and that they wear certain equipment. The only way to accomplish this was through model editing. After that I actually just got so tired of the Tauren Cat Form, that when I had the know-how, I started working with stuff like Tigons from Zul’Gurub. The thing that started my pack was probably the addition of player-animations (ex. jump, wave) to the Worgen model in one of the official patches.
Why did you pick Horde over Alliance?
I like the Shamanistic feel and more interesting concept of a confederation that appears to be less “goody-goody” but has lore that clearly demonstrates otherwise. The lineup of races for Horde is just more interesting to me. I also firmly believed that twelve year old kids were attracted to the Alliance so they could finally create their own Legolas / Legolass / Leggolas etc. I love Taurens, Mulgore, and Thunder Bluff with its Native American feel with furs, leathers, feathers and general back-to-nature attitude.
What influenced you to first create a Druid? Have you played any other classes extensively? Why did you prefer the Druid?
Way back in the beta when I thought monthly fees to play were a rip off, I played a Night Elf Druid. Let’s just say I enjoyed the class enough to play one as my main less than a year after that, albeit as a Tauren. It’s been three years, and he’s still going strong as my only main. The other class I have played is a Tauren Shaman, but I just don’t like them at all… they feel so un-complex and luck-reliant that I’d rather play my very versatile Druid instead.
If Druids were removed from the game, what other class would you play and why?
Don’t say stuff like that! However, to answer your question it would probably be a Warrior since I find tanking so entertaining. It requires responsibility and leadership and is probably one of the few roles in PVE where someone can say to the other, “That dude knows his stuff.” In my opinion, you need skill more than just gear, since you need to consider group threat, mob abilities, what is squishiest, what is most dangerous… and then mark and tank them accordingly without losing their attention.
Why did you pick the Feral spec? Why aren’t you Resto? Seriously?
Oh Phae, Phae… people say that Resto PvPing is just running around casting HoTs. Feral is like a complex Rogue and Warrior, with clear weaknesses but also versatility in situations and freedom of movement that makes everything else seem boring.
You can do everything the class has to offer as Feral! You can heal your teammates (not too efficiently but you still can). You can crowd control someone and not be locked down while doing so. You can soak up large amounts of damage and still come out alive. You can completely annihilate people with a Pounce-combo.
I haven’t told you that I am currently specced Resto and doing Illidan. It’s… fairly enjoyable I guess, but it doesn’t really bring me back to my old days in BWL; it just feels like tedious work watching timers. It’s fun, but I’m definitively not going Resto in WotLK.
|Heart of the Wild Logo|
Are there any exciting projects that you’re working on and can share?
Just artwork mostly, however I intend to do a Tauren Dire Bear wallpaper followed up by a Night Elf Cat wallpaper after that, then making a third and last one of the Feral forms with a Tauren Cat and Night Elf Dire Bear fighting against each other.
Do you do commissions? If so, how much do you charge? Can I have one for free? What if I agree to spotlight all of your future Druid-related work in a shameless attempt to generate new content with little to no personal effort required?
I do commissions if they interest me and come from someone who is friendly. If you are the kind of person that can barely spell and is too demanding you can forget about it. As for costs, I haven’t really charged anyone. I had two Danes who asked me to make a Fire Mage UI. It was mostly complete, but I grew bored (yes, despite the cash) and I didn’t finish the work to make it ready to use in game.
And we’ll see about a free commission for you Phaelia, kind of have already done two for you in case you have forgotten!
Do you miss Shiny Red Apples?
Haha, to be quite honest I never really used them myself until I saw it in the patch-notes, so I can’t say I suffered much. I think it was really unnecessary to bother about them though. I do miss it now that I know what I could have had, but life goes on you know… *longing sigh*
What are you most looking forward to in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion?
Less bling-bling and extremely distasteful design. Shattrath is probably the worst designed capital city considering what it could have been with the introduced possibilities of flight. The unfortunate reality is that its poor attempt at NPC flavor only ends up being a nuisance (ex. the sparring goes on where everyone is so you hear the sound of those horrific Draenei and Blood Elf laughter and clashing metal against shields). I’m greatly pleased to see a better and less sci-fi environment with crystals in favor for the more gritty world that I want to see, and that they will have learned from their mistakes from TBC.
Given the amount of work you applied toward updating the Druid forms, you obviously have a strong opinion about the lack of customization available to Druids. If Blizzard were to let you dictate the method by which we could customize our forms, what would you suggest?
Blizzard could easily address the problem by introducing the “Ritual of the Beast” that has been repeatedly suggested on the forums. This is honestly so easy I don’t understand why they haven’t responded to it yet.
Rather than customization of our forms, I’d prefer to see a few elegantly designed alternatives. Many people have played their Druid without giving much thought to the idea that it could be better. I think that the players develop a personal attachment to their characters, and this includes their forms. My recommendation would be models that match the quality of the added Swift Flight Form that I adore. Add more fur colors to make it feel a bit more personal, and lastly allow the new Inscription profession to add runic marks to forms similar perhaps to the Guild Tabard. Wouldn’t it be great if Druids could attach different meanings to their marks, allowing you to tell who and what they are just by looking at them?
Would you ever want to work for Blizzard? Why or why not?
Are you kidding? Who wouldn’t? I think their style and quality is just awesome. Samwise — the soul of the unique style which is Starcraft and Warcraft — has one of the coolest jobs ever. However, it would be impossible for me to work there since I’m not yet educated and haven’t touched 3D-modeling at all. The next step in my life is to educate myself, but working for Blizzard is a step proportionate to landing on the moon from where I’m standing right now. I am planning, however, to start this autumn on a three-year long program and have been accepted to interview for one a week from now.
Tell us a little bit about your guild. What kind of content are you working on?
We’re doing Mount Hyjal and Black Temple up to Illidan and have been doing so for about a month now. We’re just trying to get him down and finally get our deliciously moist cake. It’s a guild I’ve been playing with since before TBC, and they are such great guys and players that I regret joining them so late.
What is your favorite non-combat pet? Favorite instance? Favorite form of PvP? Favorite location in WoW?
The Worg Pup, I think.
That would be Blackwing Lair.
Feral PvP in Battlegrounds with friends.
Did you know that the Tree of Life doesn’t suffer from the “Range Bug”?
BLASPHEMY! BY FIRE BE PURGED!
What advice would you give to someone interested in machinima (assuming you mentioned your movie above) or modding?
Get the basic idea of what you want to do, such as the script for a machinima or the idea behind a model edit. Also, when I wrote my script I had three co-writers, so it was really a great process through IRC. It really helps making the script interesting.
Read plenty of guides and consider asking the person who inspired you questions about where to start. Don’t expect people to be eager to help you out at this point; you need to learn most of it yourself and not get it for free from someone else. I know I don’t like doing that for other people since doing so really requires time if the person contacting hasn’t even bothered getting the facts straight himself before asking for that kind of extensive help.
When you do know enough of the basics and have a clear plan of what you want to do, contact someone who knows more than you and make friends with them. Most of the time, you cannot expect them to help you out
with the development, but I think many should be able to give you good and useful feedback to help you develop.
How do you find the time for WoW and all your side projects? How do you balance the two?
Well, less WoW equals more time for side projects. My euphoria for TBC has pretty much abated to nothing so I have no problem with that really. I don’t really get too excited about the content since it has been done a few times too many anyway. Also, although my guild is at Illidan, we only raid twice a week and even then it’s not really the end of the world if you cannot show up.
If Druids could have one more form, what form would you make for them?
I don’t know. There’s really no need for it but I guess a Wolf which uses Runic Power, which goes without saying is pretty a idiotic idea. But I’ve been looking at Samwise’s works, and there are actually a few concepts that covers a kind of new Runic class (when I say “Runic class”, I’m not talking about Death Knights although I know it’s extremely similar). I think it could be a cool addition but not likely in the least.
What UI addon could you not play without and why?
Definitely Pal’s MouseGesture. It’s an addon that allows you to “draw” on the screen basic shapes, that you then later can assign to a macro (not spell-casts though). With it, I am completely streamlined with tanking and assigning targets on the fly by holding down one button and using mouse gestures to assign marks. I don’t even think it’s out for download any more, but I have it and it still works just fine for 2.4.2.
Who is your favorite artist?
I wish I could say, but I honestly just don’t know. Since my education was Natural Science, I never actually got to learn anything about the real artists, nor have I really felt for anyone on DeviantART either. The closest thing to my favorite artist would probably be Tim Burton or Samwise.
What can you tell us about you as a person, outside the game?
I enjoy spending my time with just my drawing tablet. Naturally, I can’t really help but enjoy doing what I have been doing for so long. I’m pretty witty, know English quite well, am a bit too easy to irritate if the moment isn’t right, and enjoy living out my life in dreams rather than facing reality. I have a good circle of friends and I enjoy hanging out with them immensely. I like hiking, playing badminton and discussing games, of course.
Thanks to Andrige for taking the time to respond to all my questions and for all his contributions to the Druid community. Be sure to visit his art gallery via DeviantART to watch for new works (though they’ll continue to be highlighted here, too)!
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