Engineer’s Workshop: Enhancing Character Customization

Engineer’s Workshop: Enhancing Character Customization

Get a behind-the-scenes look at our updated character customization options and the engineering feats to make it possible.

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This was super cool, I appreciate that you guys didn’t shy away from giving us in depth technical details!



Please make Lord/Lady of War account wide. Thank you.

~ Gallows


Sadly you did male Blood Elves and many other races like Gnomes and Pandaren dirty with your lackluster customization updates compared to Orcs and Night Elves.


“Here’s a GIF of what happens in the engine when it receives a request to build an orc.”

And then there’s a gif of all the elements of what looks like… well, a dwarf. :stuck_out_tongue:

That aside, it looks like a massive job even with that tiny snippet shown. Cool stuff!

Is this where we come to request more customization?! We love it all!


After reading this it gives me hope that all the hard technical work is done. Now for 9.1 maybe Nightborne can be improved!


This was a great article going in depth on how the customization was made, and I hope we get more! Notably…

We can add new “types” of asset easily, per choice, as well as share across models

Hopefully this means that this will actually happen some time soon. :stuck_out_tongue: The matching races like Draenei and Lightforged, Tauren and Highmountain, Void Elves and Blood Elves, Gnomes and Mechagnomes could all really use options swapped between them to allow for more options without much work on the developer end.


Always the blood elves crying for more…


This is awesome! I hope all these new tools means that some of the races that didn’t get a lot of love (pandaren, goblins, worgen, etc.) this time around get more in future patches!


An interesting article to read about the behind the scenes on character customization.

Thank you. :slight_smile:


Pretty impressive! Looks like a big overhaul to optimise character customisation especially with everything that reads from the character model screen.

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GG,neat stuff there :slightly_smiling_face:

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Since you guys used female Tauren in the introduction for your article, please don’t forget we
still only have four face options.
Since 2004.

Also, many of us would like a face option without the cleft upper lip:
like :] not :3

The same concept using the four Highmountain faces—simply add a non-cleft-lipped mouth option:



to be fair, you’re playing as a race inspired by cows, moose, and other bovine-related mammals such as buffalo and bison, all of which posses cleft lips irl.

Coming from a blood elf, I think it would be really weird to see Tauren looking like the ones you linked running around Orgrimmar, as imo it looks very unnatural and almost strays into uncanny valley territory.

Tauren, like their real world inspirations, should all have proper cleft lips, like how worgen should all have digitgrade legs, rather than human knees.

You mean it wasn’t as simple as just toggling something on or clicking a checkbox?

I know not everyone cares about these behind-the-scenes things, and that they take up time from your engineering team, but I have to say, as a software engineer myself (but with very little experience in anything in the realm of game engines), these blogs are fascinating. I’ve enjoyed every one of the Engineer’s Workshop posts that y’all have made so far, please keep them coming!


This was an awesome insight into the development process even as someone who isn’t very knowledgable in terms of technology. Good work! Hopefully we see more options in the future for pandaren, gnomes, etc that didn’t receive as many this time around - seeing as these system overhauls make it much, much easier than it used to be.


Thank you for the post. I always appreciate other artist sharing how they do things.

Hopefully we get more customizations in Shadowlands. I for one love what has been added so far especially being able to change individual parts without changing the whole face with said change. There are still way more things players want and hopefully some of them will get added.

Things I’d like to see added are:

  • Horde symbol tattoos. Would love to show that baby off whether it is on my arm or back or face (?).
  • More options for those blind eyes. Maybe the ability to choose each eye color individually.
  • More tooth ring options. How about which side we want it on and the option of both tusks broken.
  • Not sure if individual Orc clans have their own warpaint but if so please add that.
  • Any chance on red skin for Orcs? I know they are associated with fel/chaos orcs but some of those clans were not as evil as the others so it could be a possibility like the Dragonmaw clan.
  • Grom hairstyle for corrupted/green orcs please.
  • Earring options where they are even on both sides. I’m one of those people that doesn’t like uneven number of earrings on one side. Was disappointed that the option to have even number on both sides wasn’t there.
  • More face options for all the races but especially for those that have very few. And if at all possible, non-shriveled faces for Nightborne males.
  • How about amputee body types? I’d like to have an Orc that is missing an arm at the elbow or shoulder. Probably won’t happen but if it did maybe it limits the class/spec you can pick to the ones that don’t use dual-wielding.
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Always good to know more about details and process of creation. Looks like a lot of work, but in the end new interface is awesome and looks really open for any future uptade you want :smiley:


No, they don’t. I literally have 10 cows wandering around somewhere outside my window and they do not have any sort of harelip or cleft upper lip. Like most mammals, they have a philtrum, but not a cleft upper lip like a rabbit/woodchuck/cat/panda/camel/sheep. Like :] not :3

More importantly, until the WoD revamp, WoW did not have anthropomorphic cow people with any sort of cleft upper lip. There’s a literal side-by-side comparison of the vanilla model and the WoD model in the article. Almost all Blizzard art is like :] not :3 so the change really came out of left field.

:rofl: Of course a self-described BElf player would feel entitled to deny additional customization to other players.
I slapped those out pixel by pixel with MS Paint so I couldn’t get rid of the creepy, toothy grin, which is mega uncanny valley. Back in the WoD feedback days, anemicshoe and cunningfox created actual edits:
I’m not sure why you or anyone would be against adding a non-cleft-lipped face option at this point. :woman_shrugging:

Egads, the cleft lips are there for folks who prefer weeaboo Tauren, but this has been a recurring request from folks who actually main female Tauren since WoD. This technical deep dive shows that it would be a pretty simple way to make folks happy. And to recycle a comment:

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