Warcraft III: Reforged – How Blizzard missed the opportunity

Let’s take the most common statement about Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos (plus The Frozen Throne): greatest RTS game of all time, thanks to amazing campaign, characters, cinematics, voice acting, soundtrack, world-editor and so many reasons why this game is brilliant and you should absolutely play it. I remember when this game got into to my hands and it blew my mind (one of the first games I owned), to this day I hold this game with very high regard. The current modern trend is to remake older games with new graphics and upgraded or new engine, Capcom and Square Enix really set the standards for what remakes are, with namely Resident Evil 2 (2019), Resident Evil 3 (2020), Final Fantasy VIII and VII (2020), naturally many other companies will pick up this trend and that leads us to Blizzard and Warcraft III: Reforged.

Some background

Blizzard’s current state isn’t certainly good, the company is plagued with controversy after controversy, lore in World of Warcraft feels like a bad fan-fiction and the less we speak about Diablo Immortal the better it is. After that Blizzard needed a hit and there was some positive progress, World of Warcraft Classic brought a lot of players to Warcraft again (me included) and I was looking forward to Warcraft III: Reforged, but after learning my lessons with Rome II: Total War and Mass Effect: Andromeda I didn’t pre-order the game and waited for reviews.

Horrible reality

I was so glad that I didn’t pre-order this game in my life. Even with all of that, Blizzard you are re-releasing the greatest RTS games of all time with new graphics, this should print money and attract younger players from WoW. While the reviews were relatively average from critics, fan response was brutal as many promised and heavily advertised gaming features weren’t in the game completely and somehow looked worse than the original, inability to switch to original game (luckily I have the original disk version with glorious Czech dabbing) and many other controversies. I am not going to list them, because that was covered months ago by a lot of other people. Instead of that I am going to list things I think that would make this better or more attractive to players.

  1. More gender swap options – Before this game even came out, I looked how new heroes and units will be redesigned and find out that Demon Hunter and Death Knight heroes would be optional as females. Okay great, I understand this, you wanna differentiate skirmish heroes from their campaign counterparts (Illidan and Arthas), so if you are going to that why not do this with all heroes and let players choose gender of their heroes (with some exceptions like Dreadlord, Lich, Crypt Lord, some tavern heroes and probably night elf heroes). WoW players have been doing this since 2004 and if the player doesn’t like new models or voice acting, well he/she can always change them back to the original model.

  2. New Heroes – Adding one hero unit to each faction and maybe one or two to tavern, would be a very easy way to attract long time players. Of course there is a question of compatibility with multi-player (balancing), but that could be fixed with testing. Or Blizzard could bring back heroes from Warcraft 3 beta, like High elven Ranger or Orcish Warlord.

  3. New faction – I am really not sure if adding a new faction would be beneficial, once again due to balancing issues. That doesn’t mean that Blizzard shouldn’t try doing something new and when I say “new” I don’t mean start from scratch. Naga faction is probably the most obvious option for that, but that would mean creating additional buildings, upgrades, three or more Naga heroes and more. Another option would probably be optional High elves/Blood elves, but maybe just a cosmetic replacement for Human faction.

  4. New Campaigns – This is probably the biggest mistake Blizzard made, surrounding this whole debacle. No new heroes or factions? Fine all that could be forgiven, but the lack of new campaign content or anything story focused is a massive missed opportunity. You make Dreadlord or Pitlord as main heroes of the new campaign or connect Warcraft 3 story with WoW or something that happened before Warcraft 3 main campaign, anything?!

  5. New maps – World of Azeroth is massive one and locations are varied, that gave room for introduction of new maps for skirmishes or World Editor options for Reforged, to cry again about lack of content is now futile. Blizzard, you own people’s maps and custom campaigns, so why not give them more tools to play with and create?

Where is everything?

If Blizzard did anything I listed above maybe this controversy wouldn’t be as prominent or fans would be more forgiving. Even reviews weren’t all that great because in a nutshell they were just: “Yeah it’s Warcraft 3 with new graphics and Warcraft 3 is great”. Yes, Warcraft 3 is great, but I played it so many times over the years, I know the game like my own shoes. The fact that Blizzard didn’t do anything to attract people who know the original game is quite telling and things that you promised weren’t in the game, justification for that is quite pathetic. My five points that would Warcraft III: Reforged a better game are also things that fans are doing for free and Blizzard is incapable of doing that.

Paint no illusion

The worst thing about games like Mass Effect: Andromeda, Anthem, Fallout 76 and now Warcraft III: Reforged is that they break an illusion of decent companies, you suddenly see all their problems and maybe retrospectively see flaws in the past. Often articles are written covering their failures and exposing their appalling behavior to employees. Next games these companies inevitably release are in impossible situations, because people are basically ready and eager to tear them apart, because of companies previous behavior and games, that is on them. The only way up is improving, faults are not going to disappear, but they should be in the minority or positives should be so much greater in comparison to problems.

PS: I would like to thank my friend Rostislav Shejbal for helping me with the five points and also informing me about multi-player balancing issues.

PSS: I also think Malaysian studio Lemon Sky, the one which designed and created all the new models, deserves praise for their work, if anything new models are very impressive. So, I am going to link their Facebook site, Artstation and mainsite.

Picture: Copyrght Blizzard Entertainment

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