I gotta say, though, that when they had originally announced that they were working to design them more along the lines of the detail in Swift Flight Form and the Raven Lord mount, I expected more of a change than what this preview shows. Granted, I don't have much issue with the current graphic design of the tauren bear: it's a decent model, far more bearable (heh) a design than, say, tauren cat form.
Tauren Bears: Blizzard's image + Tigerfeet's Color Chart
These are some of the changes I noticed in the preview.
- Different fur colors, changeable at the barbershop (via hair/hide color in caster-form)
- War paint and recoloring of the druid tattoo to match
- Eyebrows??! heehee
- Eye color and angle/shading looks more intelligent
- The large fangs on the lower jaw are less pronounced than before
- Ears held at a different angle
- Horns are behind ears now, and arc forward rather than up
- Fewer wrinkles in the face (around the snarling muzzle, etc)
- Decorations in the form of horn-wraps, arm bands, collar, and "earring" (maybe coming from a horn rather than an ear?)
- Bird-skull pendant on the collar: we ate our bird form.
- The "beard" is now just a tuft of chin-fur; feels more appropriate for females than the full Wolverine thing
- Edit: 4 claws per paw instead of 3!
ROARS: the bears can and will close their mouths. Blizzard chose screenshots of the bears roaring, so it only looks like they all still have the same open-mouthed grr-argh expression, but the blue-posters have confirmed that the bears will usually have their mouths closed while idling/sitting about/standing around etc.
COLORS: For a full color chart, I recommend Tigerfeet's blog post! Tiger made a great chart that shows what skin color will result in what bear/cat color.
I am very excited at the idea that multiple colors will be available to choose from, such as what was hinted at in the pre-WotLK-ptr minor cosmetic glyphs. The ability to have 2-3+ bears in a raid and be able to tell them all apart at a glance is really nice, particularly after I had raided through TK/SSC with 4 total feral druids. Was fun sometimes having the kitty squad, though...
"FIRE ZE KITTY LAZERS! PEW PEW!" Anyway, back on-topic...
I love that it will be tied to your actual character's own hair color: for night elves, your hair color will determine your cat/bear fur colors. For Tauren, they're adding the ability to re-dye our caster-form cow-fur, as our cow-fur will be the basis for our bear/cat colors. My own tauren bear will be the sandy tan color.
Night Elf Bear: Blizzard's image + Tigerfeet's Color Chart
...They have sideburns?!
That's my only complaint about this version. I do love the facial markings, especially as they more or less match the markings on my own elf's face. Their faces actually have fur, rather than looking as though they have mange. I think the teal-haired and white-haired elves are easy to pick out, but I'm at a loss for guessing on the others: the dark blue hair is the darkest color of those available to night elves (tieing with the dark purple), so I would expect such a color would be given the darkest bear, but then there's a brown bear with blue "hair," so I may very well end up with that form (unfortunately so, as I don't really like that blue/brown combination as much as I do the black bear). The faintly-purple-tinted bear will probably be the bear for all of those elves with purple hair. The greenish-black bear... green hairs that aren't teal, I suppose? Or the lighter blue? Maybe? /shrug
I'm not giving up Kae's dark blue hair, regardless, so I'll have to live with whatever I end up with. I just hope I don't get disappointed.
EDIT: feral-Kae will be the black bear, as that was the color paired with the dark-blue hair :) Blizz released the full color breakdown, and you can see what colors will result in the link above!
What about the other forms?
This is all the preview they've given us so far, and it's a nice teaser :) I look forward to seeing what they've come up with for the other forms, particularly tauren cats. I do still love the original night elf cat model, though, and hope that the new form for NE cats does it justice. They have promised future updates with previews of the other models they're planning to release in the next content patch, so let's keep a close eye on them!
EDIT: Cat forms post here.
As for tree, they did add that it's something still under development, so I imagine that they just can't make any promises for a tree-form graphic upgrade being ready in time for the next major content patch.
I have wild hopes of them changing night elf travel form to that of a wolf rather than the "open plains" cheetah, but I think that's just a pipe dream :) I love wolves, but shaman have had a claim on the ghost wolf for so long that I think they'd complain otherwise.