Warcraft III: Reforged: Fan backlash over release of classic game
The Real-Time Strategy (RTS) genre is an area of PC gaming that simply dropped off the radar, when people essentially stopped making them because nearly everything that could be done, had been done.
Fortunately, we’re seeing some revisiting of the classics, most recently with Microsoft’s Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition and now with Blizzard releasing Warcraft III: Reforged for PC and Macintosh.
Warcraft III: Reign Of Chaos was originally released in 2002 and was one of the games responsible for the genre reaching ‘peak RTS’, combining an epic story with plenty of unit variety, upgrades, strategy, and an appealing art style.
The story in the game involves the races of Azeroth – humans, the horde, and night elves -fighting against an army of the undead that’s arrived and is causing chaos.
It’s an important entry in the Blizzard canon, as it sets the stage for the events of the hugely popular multiplayer online RPG World of Warcraft (released in 2004 and still going strong), so understandably fans had been calling for an update for some time.
The real change is in the graphics, which are now updated and in high resolution. The campaign itself is still the same, with an engaging story told from a number of perspectives, the same units are there, the mechanics are all the same, and even the user interface remains.
The ability to play vs AI is buried under several menus and I was honestly surprised there wasn’t a “Play vs AI” option available straight from the main menu – the game wants you to play against other humans, which is fine but lots of us don’t want to get stomped on by people with a couple of decades of competitive RTS gaming under their belts and just want to enjoy a more sedate game against an opponent that won’t swarm our base straight off the bat.
One thing to keep in mind is that it Warcraft III: Reforged is essentially a graphics update for the original game to make it run and look nice on modern systems – so the story is the same, the cutscenes are unscaled rather than remodelled – which I was a bit disappointed by, since the cutscenes I recall seeing at BlizzCon in 2018 seemed to be high-definition remodels (at least to me).
I was surprised there didn’t seem to be a way to rotate the screen for a different view – the engine should certainly be capable of it – and some of the voice acting is not very good, to be frank.
The narrator in the tutorial missions sounds like they got whoever was in the office at the time to record the lines, and it’s quite jarring given the otherwise cinematic tone and style of the game.
I am coming at the game as a fan of RTS titles rather than a diehard Warcraft enthusiast, so from that perspective I enjoyed the chance to revisit a classic game and enjoy a nostalgia hit and experience the Warcraft universe as it originally existed.
Fans of the game, however, are less impressed with it, citing a number of issues to do with online play, user-made maps and performance issues.
To my students in the Esports Administration program: Remember when we had discussions about the future of the RTS genre and a lot of us thought Warcraft III: Reforged might breathe some life back into it?
Looks like we were very wrong.https://t.co/HsPjy1VkOo
— Shaun Byrne (Saints) (@TheEsportsProf) February 2, 2020
I can’t speak to those, however – the game worked absolutely fine for me and I didn’t have any connection issues when playing multiplayer, but I am also not a competitive gamer so some of the issues hardcore fans are reporting simply aren’t on my radar.
From my perspective, if you missed Warcraft III the first time around, this is a great chance to play one of the all-time classic RTS games with overhauled graphics and get an insight into where most of the Warcraft lore really kicked off.
If you’re a diehard fan of the canon, though, you might want to stay out of the blacksmith’s as you may not find the experience you are looking for in Warcraft III: Reforged.
Originally published as Fan backlash over reboot of classic game