The World of Warcraft… world is enormous- it has grand locations, a LOT of NPCs, a colorful variety of demonic bosses, shrewd merchants and disgruntled ogres. There’s things to see, places to go and people to meet- and the guys at Blizzard are making sure that players can soak up every glorious detail even from afar.
The devs of World of Warcraft announced another Engineer’s Workshop, this time for extended draw distance. Draw distance is basically how near an object needs to be before you see it in-game.
In this case, the devs had to figure out a good compromise that will allow for better draw distance and quality, as well as provide a wider range of graphics options. This led to two things: first, they did some tweaking that allowed for less rendering from a distance, and, more importantly, LOD.
LOD (Level of Detail) is a huge boon for trying to achieve smoother and more optimized gameplay. It allows for models to be swapped out for a version with a lower polygon count, making the render less demanding. Modders always play around with this for similarly big-world games like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout.
Graphic options will also be represented as 1 to 10, instead of Low to Ultra, which is great in my opinion. That makes game a lot more flexible and accommodating, and should help players get closer to optimization.
Being in the beta stage, draw distance will be further tweaked until they find the magic numbers- which are a myth, but they’ll get as close as they can.
See it for yourself during the beta for Legion.
There are a lot of things going on behind the curtains, and the guys explain in more detail here.