#155 – “Downbrook”

This page – like a few others throughout our impending Deadmines visit – was one I actually got the idea for months ago; it was one of the scattered visual ideas I had in mind that just needs to be peiced in somewhere and adapted. We’re entering a portion of the narrative where I’ve spent so much time thinking about how to do the flow and visuals that it feels like all I have to do is release the breaks and start down a veeery long slope in the hopes that there won’t be a sudden stop at the bottom. Of course, there’s still plenty of uncertain details to make up as I go, but that’s how it goes – here’s to hoping it’ll be smooth sailing throughout.


47 Responses to “#155 – “Downbrook””

  1. 1 Aries
    November 12, 2009 at 21:13

    very nice one Nhani…i think a certain Defias ambush is about to go very very baddly for the masked rogues.

  2. 2 Synchronizor
    November 12, 2009 at 21:16

    It always makes me laugh when Tiny ends up having to dodge Hani’s ears.

    After playing WoW, all the “normal” elven ears in other fantasy universes just seem lacking…

    • 3 Nhani
      November 13, 2009 at 14:00

      They’re not all good, though – I’ve lost count of how many times I put Hani’s head at a perfect angle only to find her ear was suddenly going either straight through Tiny’s skull or planted firmly inside the hilt of her sword. Nowadays I actually have bones in the ears so I can bend them somewhat; Hani and Tiny tends to invoke that feature every fourth page at least!

      I’d imagine they’d actually be somewhat uncomfortable. That said, they’re a great visual element and like Blizzard showed with blood elves, they can even be used to help convey emotion.

      • 4 Synchronizor
        November 13, 2009 at 15:54

        One thing I think about during winters is, if my (human) ears are this cold out in the snow, how bloody awful must it be to be a Night Elf in Winterspring or Northrend? Especially since Night Elf ears stick out of virtually every haedpeice in the game. They might look cool, and work well, but I always feel sorry for my Night Elf characters’ ears whenever I’m playing them in a frigid environment.

        • 5 Nhani
          November 13, 2009 at 16:18

          Not to mention that ears aren’t exactly built out of solid material – it would be rather strange, I think, to have them flopping around by quick motions – in the least for us. On the topic of cold – seeing how Night elves seem to have spread quite well to Winterspring, it’s either a topic Blizzard simply happily (and conveniently) ignores (wouldn’t hold it against them) or they have their own ways to cope, somehow.

          • 6 Synchronizor
            November 13, 2009 at 16:39

            Judging by their cross-sectional shape, the ears seem to have a decent cartilaginous structure along the upper edge. I imagine they’re flexible to a degree, but tend to hold their shape enough to keep from being too much of a nuisance. The fact that the ears do not seem to bend well enough to fit comfortably into a hat or hood seem to support the theory that they’re fairly rigid.

        • 10 Frostsaben
          November 13, 2009 at 21:58

          Actually I belive that the night elves don’t feel the cold the same way me and you would.
          We are in the end talking about a fantasy race that wears … summare clothing if you look at Wwarcraft 3 models, and even the WoW ones to some degree. Look for example at Auberdine, wish is in an area similar to northernd United Kingdom, with rains all the time but it’s much more cold, a thing you can see from the pine trees. Yet many night elves there still wear little clothing. Has blizzard not thought of that? I think they did, and the night elves are easily adaptable.

          Also, if we look in real life we see all the colours of people (black, white, red, yellow) relate to certain climates and how much warmth and sun got to that population along the thousands of years since the human race started spreading.

          So, considering this, what if the night elf skin colours are related to how they addapted to environments too?
          Or what if they get used to cold, like the people in the Northern areas of the Earth go and make freezing water baths naked, a thing that could freeze the bones of some of us even if we think about it, let alone if we decided to try it *brrrr*

          Also, if some things are not in game it doesn’t mean they don’t exist, some ear warmers or something, or armor that covers ears too!

          • November 13, 2009 at 22:16

            I think Blizzard went with the Rule of Cool. Since sexy night elf babes in skimpy clothing is way cool, that’s what we get.

            • 12 Nhani
              November 13, 2009 at 22:29

              Blizzard definitely goes with Rule of Cool whenever they feel like – to the point where they’ve even admitted that that’s pretty much the real and only reason we’re getting night elven mages in Cataclysm.

              Ultimately, visual design works to set a theme, not to enforce reality – unless the theme in question is reality (and let’s face it, in World of Warcraft.. it’s anything but).

              I think it’s important to be wary about overanalyzing things, or taking things too literally.

            • 13 Synchronizor
              November 14, 2009 at 04:04

              I figure that at least part of it is that those Elves living in colder environments simply grew acustomed. I lived in Alaska for almost 10 years, and I can tell you that up there, 20-25 degrees C was “break out the kiddie pool and sprinkler” weather.

              @ Pinka: There is muscle structure, but looking at the animations for the high/blood and night elves, and also based on how other earth mammal ears are connected, that muscle seems to be located at the base of the ears, instead of actually in the ears themselves.

              My thinking is that the Blood Elves’ ears “droop” since they have thinner cartilage to provide structure, so the bending during certain emotes is caused when their ears are lowered enough for gravity to make them bend down. This is supported by the fact that this drooping only occurs during animations when the ears are bent down toward the shoulders, and not to the back.

              Night elves have stronger ears with thicker cartilage, in oreder to support their more horozontal placement. They will wobble with movement (especially for the males), but the structural sections are too thick to kink and bend the way the finer-structured of Blood Elf ears will.

              Also, I’m aware that I’m obsessivly overanalyzing things here, but I enjoy trying to explain every little detail of subjects I’m interested in. It’s just fun for me.

            • 14 Frostsaben
              November 14, 2009 at 08:39

              Ok, for a part I don’t agree, if you look at how the night elves were dressed in Warcraft 3 and how in WoW you’d see the major diffrence:
              – in Warcraft 3 the female sentinels/archers/huntresses were dressed in what we could call “underwear” with some shoulder plate and parts to protect wrists and knees.
              – in WoW the sentinels are dressed totally diffrent, with full body armor, having only small pieces of skin visible along the arms and belly and a little along the legs, still we can’t say they are dressed like in Warcraft 3

              Of course that in WoW there are lots of items that look… skin-revealing on females, but if you look at most night elf npc’s, they don’t wear them or wear modified versions (I said most, there are a few exceptions too).

              Considering this, I still belive that the cheerleader aspect of night elf females is not cool, I imagine a race of savage humanoids for night elves, sort of amazons combined with the strengh and tenacity of animals.

              About night elf mages I think it’s one of the worst ideeas Blizzard could think, if they really wanted to give night elves a new class, shaman would have been the choice. I have written about this before somewhere, forgat where unfortunately but:
              -the night elves lived for thousands of years on a continent with furbolgs in their lands (many furbolgs are shamans)
              -on the same continent there were taurens, who knew shamanism very good
              -there were also Children of Cenarius, which are the race with which the night elves are most known and friendly, and although this is a predominant druid society, they have their shamans (I can’t find the source now, but I’ll search it and bring it here)

              So it is most clear that if there is any other “class” that the night elves could care about it is this one, and not the mage one, which was banished thousands of years ago because of an event that lead to the hate of arcane magic.

            • 15 Frostsaben
              November 14, 2009 at 08:47

              And I forgat, no, I don’t belive that even the events surrounding the World Tree and the coming back of the Legion, the meeting of new races etc. could change their view to magic, in fact it should make them hate it more considering that in the end Archimode was brought to this world only thanks to the fact that the area around Dalaran was weaker and permitted opening a portal to another place, and Kel’thuzad was brought back in the fountains of the Sunwell, Kil’jaden almost came thorough there too, Illidan ended beeing corrupted by it again, Kael’thas the blood mage made pacts with the Legion, Malygos wanted to eradicate the magic in the world (using ironically, magic, and mostly arcane one) etc.

            • 16 Synchronizor
              November 14, 2009 at 12:48

              It’s not that Night Elf society at large is suddenly picking up magic again, Frostsaben. The remaining Hibourne Night Elves, who have always been mages, are attempting to return from their exile.

              It’s still a bit of a stretch, but keep in mind that the highbourne mage who’s currently in the Temple of the Moon has until next year to convince the Sentinels to let him see Tyrande, and that everyone on Azeroth is about to face some very trying times. We’ve seen in the past that Tyrande isn’t afraid to make unconventional decisions if she feels they are best for her people. Remember Illidan in Warcraft III?

              Agree or not, I do appreciate the fact that Blizzard made an attempt to establish background lore, whatever their ultimate reason was to allow Night Elf Mages in the game.

            • 17 Nhani
              November 14, 2009 at 14:59

              Night elven mages are “cool and radical” the same way Illidan is “cool and radical”. Seeing the many fans of the latter (and the quite many people I’ve seen who really want to play the former), I think it’s fairly clear why we’re getting them, as much as I wish we weren’t.

              It’s important to realize that Rule of Cool doesn’t mean it has to be what you think is cool, just that it’s a choice made where reality or continuity or whatever is shoved aside for sheer author-perceived Awesome.

              Of course, I’m not too happy about the whole “cheerleader” theme either and would love to swap out a good half of the emotes Night elven women get saddled with for ones that are more dignified (and that sit one.. euch..).

            • 18 Synchronizor
              November 14, 2009 at 15:06

              Yeah, I’m with you on the emotes. Especially the /clap and /cheer ones…

            • November 14, 2009 at 15:55

              From what I can see, Blizz decided each faction has to have 2 races for each class. And I think that dwarfs really are the best choice for shamans.

              Shamans do elemental magic — air, earth, fire, and water. Dwarfs are descended from the Earthen, and work constantly with fire. That puts them halfway there.

              I know a lot of people hate the idea of worgen druids, but who else is going to be better? At least the worgen are marginally related to Elune through the scythe.

              I already posted about this: LINK HERE

            • 20 Frostsaben
              November 15, 2009 at 08:22

              True that they don’t just pick-up magic and it’s actually the elves from Dire Maul that eventually join, but I still feel that the attitude of all night elves towards magic is similar to the one Sentinel Stillbough has to the archmage, that is total dissaproval. For them to accept the mages back it would take the mages to do something spectacular for the good of all night elves, something I hope to see if I were to accept them back that easily.

              Sorry, not each class has 2 races on each side, let’s look at mages, on alliance side there’s all 6 races in Cataclysm (human, gnome, draenei already + night elf, dwarf, worgen) and the horde side 5 (blood elf, forsaken, troll already, orc and goblin new). If you meant that they did that in classic WoW, then got changed, no again sorry, warrior and rogue and hunter have more then 2 on each side.

              Now if we look at the new combinations (won’t comment them all) I can understand why trolls(with the Loa and all, it’s a strech, but not that much as others) got druids, and worgen too(friends with the night elves plus it seems it was in the Worgen blood from ancient times).

              Now the problem comes to the traditional alliance and horde classes, paladin and shaman. When Cataclysm comes shaman will be shared by orc,troll,goblin,tauren and on alliance draenei and dwarf, while paladin is tauren and blood elf and on alliance dwarf, draenei, human. As you can see shaman has 4 on horde and 2 alliance and paladin 3 on alliance and 2 on horde. Now we have to think, what I said about night elves, they could get shaman besides the dwarves and draenei(so 3 races now), but there needs to be a slight balance, so we have to think how we could bring a paladin new race to horde and one to alliance so they’d still have more. Simple, worgen were humans, and even the humans of Gilneas had paladins, so this class would fit them perfect, the worgen state couldn’t have made them forget everything.
              On Horde side, which race is the most adaptable for the teachings of paladins? Well we can exclude Forsaken since the Light damages them, so only trolls and orcs left. Of these, the orcs have battled the humans for over 15 years since the first war and have seen the power of paladins. The orcs also employ all the things that could give them a benefit in battle so it would make sence for them to try at least to learn to be paladins. Plus the work with the Argent Dawn/Crusade etc.
              There, now I made a story that is slightly credible and even more credible then some things for other race-class combos

            • November 15, 2009 at 16:51

              sorry, what I meant to say is Blizz wants each faction to have AT LEAST 2 races for each class. Obviously every race will have warriors and death knights. The Horde will have the only race without mages (tauren), and the Alliance will have the only race without hunters (gnomes). I posted about the balance issues: LINK HERE.

              Worgen already have 8 classes. I think Blizz set that as their hard cap for each race. What would you take away in order to give them paladins?

              As far as balance goes, on Horde side tauren currently have the fewest classes which may be why Blizz chose them to get two new classes. I am waiting to see what sort of lore/story Blizz provides for them to get into these two Light-based classes. It is just a guess but I think that they are going to use Baine Bloodhoof.

              I think it would have been good balance for them to add 2 classes for gnomes since they have the fewest classes of Alliance. I’m just not sure what else they should have gotten.

              I also agree that orc paladin and night elf shaman make good lore-sense. But I think right now Blizz wants to hold each faction’s druid, alliance shaman, and horde paladin down to 2 races each.

            • 22 Frostsaben
              November 16, 2009 at 07:03

              Sorry, forgat to read the link at first.
              Anyway, gnomes don’t fit the hunter class, with their technological stuff the only way I could see them as hunters is with mechanical pets. The gnomes have proved over and over they don’t care about nature that much, look at Fizzcranp Airsrip, or Toshley’s Station which are extremly polluting, and in Blade’s Edge they were banished by night elves to Toshley’s Station because they were too much of a pain to keep, and I understand the night elves.
              Taurens and mages well we can understand why not, it wouldn’t fit under any circumstances…

              About worgen, what would I take out from there to give them paladins? Well this is a hard one, but you are right, can’t think of any class that doesn’t fit them the way they are made this way, unfortunately for now I need to know more about the race, not enough to know they are worgened gilnes people… Leave then 3-3 the paladin ratio for alliance horde :)

              About the taurens, they had indeed the fewest cominations, but it doesn’t sound that bad with the balance and Mu’sha, in the end it seems you could say they will be paladins because of in-game mechanics, the same way human priests who belive in the Light and night elf priests who belive in ELune and forsaken in Shadow have the exact same spells in-game, in reality they would be totaly diffrent, like tauren paladins are diffrent from human ones so to say.

              About gnomes, the only class left for them (since druids, hunters they can’t be because they don’t care about animals and nature, shamans they don’t care about elements) would be gnome paladin but… well… can’t say I even think gnome priest is that good, gnome paladin may be too much. When they’ll be able to build their pets they can be hunters though.

              You are right about the keeping horde paladin and alliance shaman down to 2, I bet that if so many people hadn’t asked for another race since they didn’t like draenei or blood elves it could have stayed the same even.

  3. 23 dékaie
    November 12, 2009 at 22:02

    why is there light around that defias rogue? its like his skin is glowing a bit :)

    annyways, nicely done. i had imagined some on the rooftops too, but mehh.. can’t wait to see her beat Van cleff :)

    • 24 Nhani
      November 13, 2009 at 14:10

      It’s a post processing thing – I think it just ended up more visible for him because he’s against a darker background than the rest of the group are. Of course, it might also be a side effect from the fact that I just pasted him in straight from modelviewer (Yes, I do that too on rare occasions. Anyone noticed the difference? xD), but I’d sooner blame the former as pixels are pixels, in the end.

    • 25 Ragefury
      November 14, 2009 at 15:15

      To me it looks as if all characters are “glowing” toward the background. As you said, this could simply be a side-effect when you stick a model to an empty background, since there’s no light source to hide the glow effect, but to me it occurs more often than what many may be aware of.

  4. 26 Maira
    November 13, 2009 at 01:59

    Oh, dear. Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear. I see Te’len getting into trouble again.
    In the meantime, FANTASTIC!

  5. 27 Germ
    November 13, 2009 at 02:29

    It’s just like in the game. One second, no one. Then boom! Two wizards for every rogue. Which is a lot considering that the wizards also count as rogues.

  6. 28 Halbor
    November 13, 2009 at 04:44

    that defias looks awfully familiar, has Nhani watched The Grind?

  7. 29 Udûn-Khadgar
    November 13, 2009 at 10:49

    Defias Mask (Class: Rogue), Blackened Defias Leather set… yup, fits well!
    Poor guy is going to be crushed between Hani’s sword and Areen’s shield if he’s not careful.
    Can’t wait to see what’s next…

    Keep up the good work, it remains great stuff and it even gets better =).

    • 30 Nhani
      November 13, 2009 at 14:06

      I’d initially planned to make him just another local there, really – looters, I believe? After spending some 10-20 minutes browsing modelviewer and somehow still not having found the chestpiece they use (I’m sure it’s there somewhere..), I decided it was better to compromise and just put him in the most iconic Defias outfit I could, just to really convey the whole “This is a Defias rogue” message.

  8. November 13, 2009 at 14:32

    Love the fourth panel with Tiny looking around Hani’s neck! :-)

    Defias rogue straight from model viewer – you CAN tell, actually. He doesn’t have the depth of shadowing (not to mention those blobs of flesh that Blizzard calls “hands”) that all of your other characters have. That’s not to say he doesn’t look good the way you have him, just that it’s noticeable…BUT, he wouldn’t have been AS noticeable, I think, if you hadn’t have mentioned it (hee hee).


    Okay, so my humor is lacking. It’s 5:30am and my coffee’s too hot to drink. What’s an orc to do?

    Great work, Nhani! Now to get off my lazy behind and work on my own comic – it’s more than a few days behind. Sigh…

    • 32 Nhani
      November 13, 2009 at 14:48

      It’s only shading, really – when I just quick grab and import models into 3ds, I rarely edit their topology beyond if I need to tweak their poses, they just get the whole light setting with shadows and all.

      But yes, it would likely have been a whole lot less evident – especially seeing how he technically is in shadow – if I hadn’t said anything. Of course, on the other hand, this way we get the whole people can look back and decide whether they saw something seemed off or not ;)

      As for your comic, yes; I am curious what mountain Boris will scale next.

  9. 33 saila aka wester
    November 13, 2009 at 15:25

    how many times have it been 5-7 throw the comic that Tiny had dodge the ear of Hani?
    any way i to noted it was an direct import of the wow model cos of the hand?
    any way NHani i think the delfias model is an special made model like this guys
    http://www.wowwiki.com/Jeremiah_Hawning hes using an model thats not posebly for an player to get and it have its own boon set and all.

    • 34 Nhani
      November 13, 2009 at 15:29

      No, the one I’m thinking of is one of the standard ones; variations of that shirt exists already, I just couldn’t find that one particular colour, which really bothers me because I’m sure I’ve seen it available in the game somewhere.

      And to reiterate, the hand wouldn’t have changed, only the shading would’ve. The hand only changes by doing a complete conversion, which I’ve done only for a very limited amount of characters.

    • 35 Ragefury
      November 14, 2009 at 15:35

      I don’t see the issue with having the usual Defias outfit in this comic. I mean, they’re facing the Defias Brotherhood after all, not some mere thugs in farmer suits. Personally I don’t think that brown outfit suits those black boots at all – something Blizzard haven’t got in mind I guess.

      Just a tip though: try using the ninja costume model in further pages. It’s a very simple model that you don’t need to work with too much except maybe skin colour, facial features and hair. If that doesn’t work … well, customize it. ;)

  10. 36 saila aka wester
    November 13, 2009 at 23:53

    isent that raged letter or worn letter yep im prete sure its one of them eventual you have to add Fine Cloth Shirt http://www.wowhead.com/?item=859 that might be close to what your aiming.
    sadly wow model viar isent working on vista 64-bit so i cant take an look myself.

  11. 38 saila aka wester
    November 14, 2009 at 14:56

    okey then am out of ides?
    wait might be hmm i remember an start shirt but wait that one is blue i think.

    • 39 Nhani
      November 14, 2009 at 15:09

      The thing is that I was looking for an exact match – near ones are easy to find, but I simply haven’t been able to find that exact shirt anywhere. Making him look almost like the looters do in the game is easy, mimicking their appearance exactly is not. I was sure I’d seen that exact shirt somewhere, but since I couldn’t find it (and neither could you), it must just have been my imagination, with the result that actually finding it would entail browsing through long lists of textures – which takes even longer than the time I spent searching through Modelviewer.

      Besides, by now it’s a little too late – I put him in a more iconic Defias look instead because in the least that one I knew people would recognize what it was.

  12. 40 Ragefury
    November 14, 2009 at 16:05

    I knew there would be one of them thugs hiding somewhere! :O

    A question though: How come Tiny has never fallen down from Hani’s shoulder even once when she sweeps with the ear? I can see in the 3:rd pane that Tiny has no firm grip on Hani with neither of her hands – that would normally result in a flat landing on the ground. ;/

    • 41 Nhani
      November 14, 2009 at 16:57

      A whole lot of practice with a helpful serving of suspension of disbelief? Actually, I don’t think she’s balancing that precariously – it’s a pretty wide area to have friction against, and ears are generally rather malleable, no matter how much they keep their shape.

      I think Tiny’s learned to sit rather steadily, and most likely even knows when an ear shove is coming ahead of time (it’d be hard to miss Hani’s head moving, especially with all that hair); the same way she’ll move elsewhere or change her grip whenever Hani goes into direct combat or starts running.

      • 42 Synchronizor
        November 14, 2009 at 19:10

        There have been points in the comic where sudden movement on Hani’s part has unseated Tiny. When Hani punched the Arch-Druid for example, Tiny fell off her shoulder and had to grab on to keep from falling to the floor.

        • 43 Nhani
          November 14, 2009 at 19:21

          It’s one of those special cases, where Hani acts that swiftly or that suddenly; I generally have Tiny needing to get a better grip when Hani moves her shoulder or entire body significantly – running or fighting (or jumping) tends to be the key examples.

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Beyond the Tree is based on (when not directly using) the art resources and story setting of World of Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment.

That and all related and/or registered trademarks are the property of Blizzard Entertainment and Beyond the Tree claims no ownership of these or any affiliation with Blizzard Entertainment but hopes they'll have a sense of humour and appreciate it all the same ;)


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