World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor's new character models won't affect performance
World of Warcraft was released a decade ago. Thanks to Moore’s law, in terms of advancements made in PC hardware, that might as well be a century. After all that time, Blizzard is finally ready to update the character models in the upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion. They’ll look better, but don’t worry. Even if you’ve been playing World of Warcraft on the same machine for years, you probably don’t need to upgrade it for Warlords of Draenor.
“You shouldn't be worried about any big drop in performance; things will most likely remain very close to what you are experiencing right now,” Blizzard said on its official forum. “So if you're satisfied with what you have right now, then there shouldn't be any need to change anything.”
As Blizzard explains it, your character isn’t usually naked, so most of the polygons and textures being drawn and rendered are attributed to the armor you’re wearing, the surrounding geometry, and enemies. Blizzard is also applying a “squish” to anything related to stats and reducing the amount of visual clutter you see in fights with a lot players. You’ll see less colorful magic explosions, but better performance too. And of course, if you really feel like the new character models are giving you a hard time, you can also disable them.
New character models are just one small change coming to the game in Warlords of Draenor. Chris’ hands-on is a better look at the big picture.