What would Azeroth REALLY look like at night?

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So I was tinkering with a little machinima tool that lets you do things like fiddle with the sky type and the color of various lights.

I've always thought Azeroth, on the whole, is simply way too bright. I understand why it has to be that way--to keep it playable at all hours--but there's almost no difference between night and day! Yet, anyone who's been out in nature far away from the light pollution of our cities knows that nothing is nearly that bright at night. I remember going on wooded night marches in the Army where I could barely see my hand in front of me, let alone the path I was walking on.

So I turned down the light, turned on the stars, and thought I'd post just a couple of pictures of what Azeroth would really look like if it was lit solely by moonlight, starlight, and firelight.

Note that these pictures are intentionally very dark; even turning on my UI overwhelmed them. I turned the lights off IRL just to see in these conditions. They're not very impressive or interesting at anything less than fullscreen in a dark, quiet room.

Ogre camp outside Dire Maul: http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a31/ayajulia/WoWScrnShot_011111_024407.jpg

Dire Maul overhead: http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a31/ayajulia/WoWScrnShot_011111_024531.jpg

The Charred Vale, Stonetalon: http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a31/ayajulia/WoWScrnShot_011111_025149.jpg

Grommash Hold, Orgrimmar: http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a31/ayajulia/WoWScrnShot_011111_025904.jpg

I'd have liked to take more, but the tool I was using ended up crashing WoW after a loading screen. Ha! If there's interest, I'll update the OP with more some time.

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Batch #2
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Sorry for the delay; I decided to just go ahead and level an alliance character out of the newbie zone in order to have more time to take good shots of SW/Darn (not bothering with IF, Exo, or UC since they're indoors and fully artificially lit). It took longer than I thought, especially with Minecraft calling my name.

Thunder Bluff wasn't very visually interesting. There are a lot of PLACES for fires, but very few are lit. This was the best I could do: http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a31/ayajulia/WoWScrnShot_011411_120818.jpg

Darnassus was a treat. I allowed them a little more light given their connection with the moon: http://s8.photobucket.com/albums/a31/ayajulia/?action=view&current=WoWScrnShot_011411_144436.jpg

Stormwind Keep, it turns out, is lit up like you wouldn't believe at night: http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a31/ayajulia/WoWScrnShot_011411_145504.jpg

So for a more interesting picture, I also decided to take one of the molten scars Deathwing left behind: http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a31/ayajulia/WoWScrnShot_011411_145837.jpg

On my way to Silvermoon City, I found out the Ghostlands was much more than the boring "forest #3822" than I thought it was--really kind of blew me away: http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a31/ayajulia/WoWScrnShot_011411_151109.jpg

Unfortunately, changing the lighting inside Silvermoon caused the game to crash, so I grabbed this one outside the gates: http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a31/ayajulia/WoWScrnShot_011411_152534.jpg

And decided to go try to get one of the Sunwell instead since Blood Elves are all about "the eternal sun" and seeing Eversong at night was very weird to me. But changing the lighting at the Sunwell also caused crashing. ~.~; But I thought this was halfway cool on my way up there: http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a31/ayajulia/WoWScrnShot_011411_152638.jpg
Reminds me of the dark nights in Everquest...
Yeah, many times I found myself wishing that night was actually not just a tad darker then day. There is so much ambience that night pretty much looks the same as day. You have to look up to see if its night or day

Be great if they lowered the night brightness a little bit more. But of course, I'm sure someone will find reason to complain about a change.

Also, what ever happened to the second moon?
In addition to the more obvious reasoning behind having a brighter world (letting people see so they can perform well in combat, even at night), there is also a very clever psychological/biological reason for having bright nights in online games.

The human body is designed to react to transitions between light and darkness. For most people, a transition to darkness is an instinctive reminder to become tired. Others, like myself, have trained our bodies over the years to invert this response, yielding a nocturnal lifestyle (I worked the graveyard shift for 5 years throughout college). But even for those people, the inverse remains true: a sunrise or a sudden increase in daylight causes yawning, tiredness.

By keeping the game world at a relatively even level of brightness at all times, gamers are not exposed to dramatic environmental shifts between light and darkness. This helps us to "lose track of time," since there are no in-game cues to how long we've actually been playing. By replacing a realistic day cycle with a more subtle one, Blizzard can diminish our realization of how much time we're sinking into the game.

It's a very clever element of game design that has been used by plenty of other games before WoW.
That Orgrimmar one looks bad ass
01/11/2011 3:18 AMPosted by Guldi
Reminds me of the dark nights in Everquest...


I miss running scared through Kith Forest at night lol
I would use an addon that does this. And it'd be my favorite addon of all.
I wish there were at least some options in video settings to get a darker night. In some areas, it is down right comical and immersion breaking how bright it is.
The Org one looks sweet - just made it my wallpaper

I remember the dark nights of EQ - wish they could do it in wow

all you had to do was have a magic item and you weren't totally blind at night if you were a human
01/11/2011 9:44 AMPosted by Tuah
I would use an addon that does this. And it'd be my favorite addon of all.


This. Definitely this.
what program were u using?
01/11/2011 9:28 AMPosted by Fex
In addition to the more obvious reasoning behind having a brighter world (letting people see so they can perform well in combat, even at night), there is also a very clever psychological/biological reason for having bright nights in online games.

The human body is designed to react to transitions between light and darkness. For most people, a transition to darkness is an instinctive reminder to become tired. Others, like myself, have trained our bodies over the years to invert this response, yielding a nocturnal lifestyle (I worked the graveyard shift for 5 years throughout college). But even for those people, the inverse remains true: a sunrise or a sudden increase in daylight causes yawning, tiredness.

By keeping the game world at a relatively even level of brightness at all times, gamers are not exposed to dramatic environmental shifts between light and darkness. This helps us to "lose track of time," since there are no in-game cues to how long we've actually been playing. By replacing a realistic day cycle with a more subtle one, Blizzard can diminish our realization of how much time we're sinking into the game.

It's a very clever element of game design that has been used by plenty of other games before WoW.


Why would they want people to stay logged in longer? They are making money off you regardless, the more you log out to sleep the longer the content they have created lasts. Your logic is exactly ass backwards.
Surprisingly awesome looking. 10 points for this thread.
I always wondered how the hell the ground at the Barrens could be that bright at night.
01/11/2011 9:39 AMPosted by Galumind
That Orgrimmar one looks bad ass


it sure does. You should do up views of some of the best looking night life places in each of the capital cities including the alliance ones, i wonder what stormwind looks like at night? (except maybe undercity and ironforge, which are subterranean)
Thanks OP, now i want something in WoW i'll never be able to have =( lol
I would be so much more into this game with light/dark changes... The immersion... oh my GOD this would really become MY world, screw "real life" this life would be much more fun.
This is fantastic. One of the things I never liked about WoW was the fact that there was no real transition from day to night. LoTRO almost nailed it with various lighting mechanics on windows, and torches, but it was still brighter than "true night".

I really wish the developers would consider something similar to what you posted, OP.

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