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November 28, 2011
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Circle of Thorns by DNA-1 Circle of Thorns by DNA-1
As seen in the pages of PC Gamer magazine and our own Ustream casts, this is the Circle of Thorns concept I created as part of COH FREEDOM.

Whether or not you liked the original version of the group, they had a few artistic issues to overcome, including lowres textures from 2004 and a high degree of repetition among enemy types. And subjectively, they also had a "low-rent" and unthreatening sort of vibe, which might work for a low level villain group but becomes increasingly problematic as one's level goes up.

This new take cast the group as significantly better equipped and more formally dressed. ...and also more dangerous. 'Circle' and 'thorn' motifs abound, and the old burlap/plain cloth has given way to intimidating pointed forms throughout. Luxurious, textural fabrics (patterned snakeskin and dense filigree) befitting a group of high-powered mages help to complete the visual, and we can tell at a glance that the Circle has evolved into a bigger threat.


More character concepts from COH FREEDOM:
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:iconroxikat:
roxikat Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012
With the Circle of Thorns redesign, it was truly the beginning of a revitalization of the world's critters. It was such a drastic change but suddenly they had a thorns motif that suited their name.
Reply
:icondna-1:
DNA-1 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for saying so! The community seemed to need some time to adjust to the new look, but I think it captures the group's essence a lot more accurately. :D
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:iconzerry:
zerry Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012
I still wish the CoT minions got updated *names* as well as character models. Archer. Guard. Guardian. Defender. Guide. :sleep: Heck, even tacking on something like "Cult Archer", "Guard Cultist", or "Thorn Guide" would be an improvement. And I always figured Thorn Wielders [link] being described as elite guardians in their own description, would be more 40-50 material than 5-13

I could ramble suggestions all night (give Troll bosses some bling! Warriors should have unique axes/swords/maces!) but I think I'll quit here. And oh yeah, great designs, much better than the prelim upgrade that got panned on the forums.
Reply
:icondna-1:
DNA-1 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I like your suggestions. Hope they continue to upgrade the old characters. As for the CoT upgrade, believe it or not, this was the design all along. I only did this one concept. The script got lost somewhere during the color/proliferation process, but we got it all sorted out in the end.
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:iconkoenken:
Koenken Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012  Professional General Artist
Nicely done.
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:icondeegarr:
deegarr Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2011  Professional General Artist
I like their new costumes but I still hate fighting them hahaha
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:iconeddy-swan:
Eddy-Swan Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Been away from the game for ages, so this is a pretty cool surprise, the circle definitely needed an overhaul! Great work David!
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:icondna-1:
DNA-1 Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, man. When you're done playing Skyrim and MW3, make sure to check out all the new stuff in COH.:) There's a free-to-play option now, a brand new Atlas Park, new Tutorial, post-50 Incarnate content, 4-legged rigged, and giant-size Titan Weapons coming next week! :D
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:iconeddy-swan:
Eddy-Swan Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
been meaning to get back to it for a while, but have had to focus on work, the pages dont color themselves :P I'm a bit afraid that by the time I get back there it will be so different I wont recognize it anymore!
Reply
:icondna-1:
DNA-1 Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Well, it's a giant game, so it would take us years to redo everything. :)
Reply
:iconeddy-swan:
Eddy-Swan Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
its more the game play and content that will be completely alien to me. I welcome the cosmetic changes.
Reply
:icondna-1:
DNA-1 Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Trust me, it's like riding a bike. I recently went in to play the new Freedom stuff after a long break, and I had a blast. :)
Reply
:iconlittlecorax:
LittleCorax Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011
I'm not gonna lie- I'm not impressed...... they look more like "WoW is invading Paragon (read- evil rogue rangers)" than "super dangerous mystics." Not to mention the boss looks like he can barely move.

The art is awesome, as always, but the overall concept? For me, not so much.
Reply
:iconcrestent:
Crestent Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011
I'm definetly loving this redesign. Glad to see one of the older groups getting a makeover.
Reply
:icondna-1:
DNA-1 Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Awesome, thanks.
Reply
:iconlethe-gray:
lethe-gray Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I absolutely love the new Thorns designs. Also, that the buyable set is ... buyable. :)

Though one thing of note: when you're in some of the arcs hero side, and you must go after and then rescue Akarist - he's still done up in the older version (as, I believe, are the other hostage-types in the missions). Though that does make him easier to note among the bunch. He's my honey, so... don't like, mess with him too much. :P
Reply
:icondna-1:
DNA-1 Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
So don't change him then? That's easy. :) Done!
Reply
:iconorionstarb0y:
OrionSTARB0Y Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Professional Writer
Definitely love the boss redesigns.
Reply
:icondna-1:
DNA-1 Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, man. Wanted the progression from minion to boss to be really obvious and striking.
Reply
:iconnekollx:
NekoLLX Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Student Filmographer
they had a few artistic issues to overcome, including lowres textures from 2004 and a high degree of repetition among enemy types.

To be fair this can be said about pretty much all the starting mobs, while i can see the Hellions and Skulls, who top out at what 14?, not getting much change what about the other groups. What do you (not Paragon Studios mind you, you David Nakayama) think are the other mobs in need of a revamp and whci h just need a texture rebuild?
Reply
:icondna-1:
DNA-1 Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I'd love to rework the Hellions, Skulls, and Outcasts to start with. Clockwork and Vazhilok still hold up, more or less, so those would be the lowest priority for me.
Reply
:iconnekollx:
NekoLLX Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Student Filmographer
Really the 3 street gangs? I mean they seem prettygood to me, just make newer high rez textures, how would you see the Hellion/Outcast/Skull revamp working?

Also what no Trolls? The Trolls are the counterpoint to the Outcasts, youd reval one but not their gangwar opposite?

Freakshow seems to have held up marvelously as well.
Reply
:icondna-1:
DNA-1 Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Good point about the trolls. That would be a great place to continue imho. With all the street gangs, I think we need to be careful not to lose the street gang vibe, but I see a lot of room to make each group cooler. For example, the Hellions worship the devil, and the Skulls perform ritualistic sacrifices--there's a LOT more we could be doing to sell that visually, esp. in the Lieutenant and Boss levels.
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:iconnekollx:
NekoLLX Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Student Filmographer
What about the warriors theire a street gang level as well, so how would you sell the lt and Boss Hellions and Skulls?
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:icondna-1:
DNA-1 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
That'd be another one that's ripe for a revamp. Could do a lot with the mythological angle.
Reply
:iconnekollx:
NekoLLX Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2011  Student Filmographer
I'm sure you could come up with revamps for everyone, but really you can't go to far off with the Warrior, after all there another team jacket team suddenly turning them into Cimorians 2.0 would be such a concept turn.

Though i am a bit curious how you would revamp Freeshow now, i mean they have aged marvelously but everything can be improved, even the best of the designs.
Reply
:icondna-1:
DNA-1 Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Wouldn't want to touch them. Would love to add more new enemies for the existing group, but it doesn't make a lot of sense to touch the old models at this point.
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(1 Reply)
:iconhellwolve:
Hellwolve Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I love what you've done for them! The concept of the group I quite like, and now they've got the art to match that :)
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:icondna-1:
DNA-1 Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks--means a lot to me. :)
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:iconhellwolve:
Hellwolve Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
You're quite welcome :)
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:iconf1r3m0th:
F1r3m0th Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Professional Writer
I like how there's now a female model for the CoT with the revamp. They still have the robes and the spooky glowie weirdness, but now they're not like the old Final Fantasy style "it's a different mob, see! It's a different colour!".
Reply
:icondna-1:
DNA-1 Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I actually have a whole other sheet of concept for the female CoT. Maybe I'll post that some time.
Reply
:iconf1r3m0th:
F1r3m0th Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Professional Writer
Please do!
Reply
:icondna-1:
DNA-1 Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
It'll be while though, because I don't want to start a gripe-fest about what players did or did not get. :p
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:iconf1r3m0th:
F1r3m0th Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2011  Professional Writer
Definitely understood. I'm still always in awe at how you guys can be given a single concept and come up with so many different options!
Reply
:iconbhudicae:
bhudicae Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I really like the new design for the CoT outfits! It's about the last costume set I have yet to get for my account...and it will be the very next one I purchase! :D
Reply
:icondna-1:
DNA-1 Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Well, you know that we appreciate it. We couldn't do this without you guys. :)
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Hidden by Owner
:icondna-1:
DNA-1 Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
One man's 'ornate but impractical' is another man's 'comic book style.' But to each his own--sorry it didn't work for ya.
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:iconlittlecorax:
LittleCorax Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011
I'm going to agree with you, overall. But disagree with you in that they look like powerful magic wielders. To me, they just look like evil rangers...
Reply
:iconnekollx:
NekoLLX Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Student Filmographer
That may have been their origins but did you miss the entire part (there since day one) of them Kidnaping people with Mu blood and brainwashing/mind raping them with the Old Masters souls?
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:iconlittlecorax:
LittleCorax Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011
Honestly, I'd be more scared of "harmless" looking robed cultists who, come to find out, have more than enough power to back up their threats than cultists who try too hard to look imposing.
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:iconkabren:
KABren Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Okay, that is much better than the original! <3
Reply
:icondna-1:
DNA-1 Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks! After incorporating some helpful Beta feedback, I think the group came out really well. Plus, we were able to give players a good number of the pieces for themselves.
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:iconkabren:
KABren Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I noticed when I was redesigning my character. Wickedly cool looking
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