Properly Proportioned Pauldrons

For those who don't remember, one of the main problems the fanbase had with the art direction of Diablo III was that characters were "over the top". To some, their armor was too big (pauldrons in particular), their muscles too exaggerated, and their sizes simply disproportional to their environments.

For those who saw this as a problem, hope may be on the horizon, as was recently indicated by Bashiok:

Official Blizzard Quote:

We design and animate our characters to be viewed from game-cam distance. They really aren't meant to be seen from the distance that we show them on the website. So yeah some things (all things?) might seem strangely exaggerated that close. We have to design our characters, create textures, animations, spell effects, etc. all for a fixed camera that's way up in the sky. It's actually more challenging to adapt to and work with than if it were to just be seen from a personal view.

The image pictured on the top right was the one that made many fans first question the art direction and the armor proportions. Many thought that the massive pauldrons had no place in a "realistic" game like Diablo; however, when we take the above quotation into consideration, we can figure out that this is due to the camera angle and position.

The picture in question was taken to showcase the female barbarian, inflated, and rotated to give an action pose. If we compare this to the picture to the left, it's very apparent that the size of the pauldrons may be the cause of the angle, and distance of the camera.

Official Blizzard Quote:

The male barbarian is, and is intended to always be the tallest character. He's at least 7' tall. The female wizard is probably somewhere around 5'10.

Next, we have this fact. When you're seven feet tall, or very close to seven, since we are talking about the female - Barbarian Barbarian, you are going to need some massive shoulder pads. So of course they will seem massive when compared to other characters or the scenery; however, when we look at the Barbarian, herself, we can see that the pauldrons are actually a size relative to the size of the character in the second screenshot.

Official Blizzard Quote:

It turns out that in order to get the Monk and a number of other features for Blizzcon we just slapped a lot things into a special effects kit that were not meant for how often they showed up in the game and made the Blizzcon build a little messier than we had intended it to be. However, the way we tend to go about doing this kind of thing is to make everything too big on purpose to make sure that we've gone far enough. Once we realize that we've done that, we go through a period where we sort of pull things back [...] That's the mode we're in right now, tightening some things up.[/

This quotation by Julian Love also helps to explain the shoulder pad fiasco. Using the two screenshots as comparison once more, the one pictured on the top right was taken very early in the development cycle, and it was one of the first batches to be released. The second one, with toned down pauldrons, was released further down the development road.

Obviously, with the above quotation as proof, the first set of pauldrons were oversized for a reason: to be sure they were big enough. With their "pull back period", they've been refined, made more proportional to the size of the Barbarian, and more believable.

Fear not all ye' of little faith in the art direction, hope may still be on the horizon.


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