Warcraft III's mod scene is grossly underrated, I've muttered into many a pint glass. Yes, yes, we know it was where MOBAs and tower defense games really took off, but so many more inventive and interesting and weird games bounced around, types of game I haven't seen since. I always thought this was helped a lot by WC3 having a huge range of units and wildlife and odd art assets folks could repurpose, making mods about more than soldiers. Delightfully, loads of those WC3 bits are now coming to StarCraft II's editor, Blizzard have announced. The main Hero units are getting modern makeovers too.
Warcraft bits are now in the test client and will soon come to the main game, Blizzard explained in a blog post yesterday.
"This brings over three thousand new materials for the amazing Arcade development community to work with, including new hero models for the 4 primary races, all of the original Warcraft III models including neutral creatures and their sounds as well as doodads, structures, spell effects, ambient sounds, music and custom user interfaces for each race."
While models and textures might suffer from being a decade old, they're still handy, and the sounds, music, and particles will age a lot better. The new hero units are up to SC2's art standards, but are also weirdly Liefeldian. The Demon Hunter and Keeper of the Grove are rippling with muscles I never knew existed, while the Priestess of the Moon gets a tiny head and huge bazongas. Here, check the before/after comparisons for the Sentinel and Scourge heroes.
I imagine we'll soon see (even more) projects remaking ye olde Warcraft III and DotA in SC2, but hopefully lots will simply delight in this wider pool of assets with different styles. How very exciting. And because SC2's custom game Arcade is accessible through the free Starter Edition, all and sundry will get to play these new things. Lovely lovely.
I suspect this is what Blizzard meant when they hinted at a side-project updating Warcraft.