One detail I’d missed in Friday’s announcement of Warcraft III: Reforged is that Blizzard’s upcoming remaster should be able to play all the original’s player-created maps and modes. Which is great news. WC3 has one of the great forgotten modding scenes, growing so many genres beyond the obvious MOBAs like DotA. Every night for months, my pals and I would play random ‘custom games’ and always discover something new, surprising, delightful, or just plain weird (the ‘sexy’ tower defence games were…). So good, great, lovely, hopefully this rebirth of WC3 will introduce more people to its treasures.
Reforged, to quickly remind you, is a revamp of Blizzard’s 2002 RTS with new or improved artwork, re-recorded voices, tweaked levels, balance changes, and such. And the plan is for the Reforged and original versions to be compatible, letting their players play together and letting Reforged folks play Warcraft III’s ‘custom games’ (its term for maps and mods).
“Because they are based on the same engine, that allows people with the normal version of Warcraft 3, non-Reforged, to play with those who have the Reforged version,” QA test lead Nicholas Louie told cheery RPS fanzine PC Gamer. “There is a lot of custom maps out there, so we’re going to have to respond to areas where, if something perhaps doesn’t work, we’ll look into responding to that. But the idea is that these two groups of players should be able to be friends and play with each other.”
They’re not wholly certain everything will work seamlessly.
“We’re working to make sure custom maps have full support in Warcraft III Reforged, and just as in StarCraft Remastered, there’s a wide variety of stuff that people have done since the original editor came out,” Blizard’s Tim Morton told cheery PC Gamer fanzine PCGamesN. “So we’ve got our work cut out for us, but definitely one of our goals is to support all the custom maps in Warcraft III.”
I hope that works out. I had such a great time bouncing around WC3 mods.
Ah, I can’t even remember half the things I played. Cooperative tower defence games with heroes and giant tech trees, competitive tower defences, ‘mazing’ TDs where we had to construct labyrinths. Things like Enfo’s Team Survival, where heroes fight absurd hordes of monsters, levelling up and grabbing mega-powerful items as they try to outlast–and interfere with–their opponent’s side of the map. Class-based survival RPGs like Night Of The Dead, where players roamed across a huge map, completing missions, scavenging for supplies, and fortifying bases to fend off zombies (or dinosaurs, or…). Competitive minigame bonanzas such as Uther Party, which jump through loads of silly modes and challenges. Free-for-all brawls like Footman Frenzy. And yes, Warcraft 3 is the game that crystallised the modern form of MOBA.
It was full of remixes too. Players would enjoy a map, be struck with inspiration, then release their own tweaked version. Even just flicking through remixes of a mod I enjoyed could be delightful as you discovered people’s different takes on the same idea and what they most liked. Those could get weird. It was a good scene. Obviously Reforged won’t be as lively, especially as StarCraft 2’s similar custom game Arcade superseded WC3 and is even free to download, but I hope some of that spirit lives on.
Warcraft III: Reforged is slated to launch in 2019, priced at £25/$30.