#529 Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos

Posted: 27th May 2015 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

428th played so far


Genre: Strategy
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2002
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment

There are so many games that allow you to be Blizzard fans, with at least three related (and often mixed) audiences. Diablo gives the more singleplayer RPG fans a go, while World of Warcraft is the MMORPG juggernaut everyone knows. (Recently they released their cardgame Hearthstone as well, which seems succesful at the time of writing, but we’ll see how that goes).

As you may remember from Warcraft II and Starcraft, however, my own preferences lean more towards their RTS games. Warcraft III is, sadly, the last we’ll discuss, but I know I’m planning on revisiting them further soon anyway.

Our Thoughts

It’s hard to see where to start with the improvements in this game. Graphics and everything aside, the one part that charms me the most is the storytelling. The game has four armies, one more than Starcraft, and follows that game’s pattern of a story per army, which you play through in order – in this case, humans, undead, orcs and night elves in that order.

ย What really makes it interesting is how the story is integrated in the story. There are no briefings at the start of a mission, as we saw before, the game instead relying on in-engine scenes before, during and after every mission. A few in-engine interludes happen in locations where you can’t play, but both static heads talking (as in Starcraft) and CGI clips (like Command & Conquer‘s live action briefings) are kept to a minimum. This makes you feel far more part of the story.

Another section that contributes to it is that the heroes play a bigger part. Starcraft already had its hero units, but they just had a different colour and possibly full upgrades, but not much more. In Warcraft III, they are their own unit type, with abilities that you level up as the story progresses (approximately one level per story mission) and an inventory that carries over. Rumour has it that they were going for even more of an RPG setup in the original design, which was toned down in favour of the more familiar RTS elements. These elements remain, however, and help you get into the story more than before. In multiplayer they’re replaced with more generic versions with otherwise the same abilities, which means the system still carries over.

The gameplay nicely builds on its predecessors to bring in more improvements. From the RPG style, there are now more random smaller critters dotted around the map to help you level up and gain additional items. There are shops and mercenary camps to hire help. The range of objectives seem to be broadened, allowing for more creative use than just “kill the enemy”. This is similar to what they did in Starcraft, but it seems to have been expanded here.

With that said, another reward for the game is simply advancing. The environments change, and while elements of it are certainly dated, the graphics style hasn’t aged as badly (as discussed in its MMO version). The differences and occasional treats are nice enough, however, that I never really tire of them.

Final Thoughts

Sure, that was pretty gushing. At some level, Warcraft III has been one of the best strategy games I’ve played – a pinnacle of Blizzard’s abilities. It’s a good fantasy world – generic in places, but with enough of a backstory to stay fun – with a design that feels like it’s pushing ahead far enough to remain interesting. I’m looking forward to see how future strategy games challenge this.

  1. […] of fifty seems to have had a limited number of games that I played before. Looking at it, I think Warcraft III was the game I was most looking forward to replaying.ย  The story, the looks and the design are all […]