It seems that cows everywhere are logging in to find that their weapons are roughly 50% smaller than they were previously. Should you take your weapon out to get a better look at it, you'll get to watch it grow back to pre-patch size.
Unfortunately, this is not a bug. Hortus has confirmed that it was an intentional change because certain weapons would clip the ground while sheathed.
While the Tauren have been getting some support on the forums, some players seem unsure of why this is such a big issue. Let's take a deeper look into why players are upset, including the fact that cows will seemingly be the brunt of even more jokes. Not innocent jokes either; not like "steak! It's what's for dinner!" First of all, it seems important to point out that many of the weapons that were clipping the ground while sheathed, may continue to do so while unsheathed anyway. It seems that Blizzard should either reduce the weapon sizes permanently and in all states, or revert back to allowing the occasional clip.
Of course, I don't think that any Tauren wants to see his or her hard-earned epics permanently shrunken. People will spend months and even years acquiring certain gear, and part of the appeal is that you then look extremely formidable. Giant glowing swords taller than you are? Bring them on!
Aside from the fact that it is understandable that the point of giant epic swords is partly in the fact that they are giant, much of the weaponry that is not ridiculously over-sized to begin with seems to now appear ridiculously under-sized. I know they're just cows, but they need their dignity too!
Not to mention that part of the appeal of the Tauren race in the first place is size. The mounts are larger, the weapons are larger, the character is larger. Many warriors choose the Tauren race in part because of their size. I wouldn't personally want to have what appealed to me about my character's race start to change.
Mino pointed out that size is indeed a valid racial appeal. Many people enjoy Gnomes because of their size, the different perspective, and the unique gameplay experiences associated with rolling a Gnome (not literally, although I do hear that is a common pass-time for Tauren). Size does matter.
Boven also had a very valid point about consistency. Yes, sometimes graphics do strange things like clip through tails, or the ground. My Orc's axes clip through my mount; but I don't want them to be tiny. Sometimes, there's a little thing called "willing suspension of disbelief."
Really. Isn't it enough that we accept the fact that a 9+ foot tall bipedal bull can somehow get sapped and backstabbed by a 2 foot tall gnome? or that when we hit said gnome, it doesn't go flying over the horizon? C'mon guys. Give us our real weapons back.
Actually, as Blizzard is attempting to make their graphics make more sense, they have merely created a new inconsistency. Many players point out that Elves with the same weapons have a larger model when sheathed. Considering the size difference between a Night or Blood Elf and a Tauren, the result does look pretty weird. In many cases, the weapons don't even look proportionate to the Tauren character itself.
I would also join several of the forum-goers in asking a simple question. Why on earth did something like this get addressed, while there are things that are more important that need fixing? While Tauren weaponry will now arguably look more realistic by not traveling through the floor in 50% of gameplay, Karthun points out that it might have been more useful if Blizzard had fixed the long-tolerated feral druid cat range bug instead.
Of course, if Blizzard is intent on fixing animation issues, then I have a bone to pick with the riding Talbuks. It seems as though, when I press space bar to rear my mount up, my mount's head smashes straight back, through my face, and let's me see through the front of its neck. This is, in fact, the only time my character can see anything, because he is normally stuck looking at the back of its head.
Come to think about it, on many mounts, characters don't move. They seem static in the air while their mounts bounce around happily. I digress.
It is obviously more important that the majority of Tauren now feel silly and indeed, ashamed. That might sound like an over-reaction, but as a male Orc, I can relate. Back when Orc shoulders suddenly shrank, I at first took the jokes with grace and silently felt disappointed. You stare at your character more than you realize.
As time progressed, and the known bug had not been fixed, I actually did feel less powerful. Emasculated. I'm not even a male in real life. I don't know how I would have felt had the decrease in shoulder size been deliberate.
There's another consistency issue, as mentioned above. It does not make sense for weapons to be one size while you are toting them, and magically grow by 50% when pulled out. Tauren are not Santa Claus. The overarching issue that I see is what is making me squirm regarding my choice of verbs and adjectives.
How long will it be before people are making jokes about shrinkage, sheathing, rising to the occasion, and so on? More than normal, I mean. I'm just not sure, despite theories that WoW is about, erm, "ego", that most Tauren intended for the concept to play out so literally.
Have you been personally affected by this change? Are you content with it, or are you displeased? Have you been experiencing different emotions about your character, or been subject to teasing? Is this a fair change, that is better than the alternative, or do you disagree with it?