Warcraft 3 Retrospective
Warcraft 3 Retrospective
By: Michael Splechta
Before there was a World of Warcraft, there was just Warcraft
Nowadays when someone talks about Warcraft, they are most likely referring to World of Warcraft, the most successful MMORPG to date. But WoW wouldn't be a world without Warcraft, or more importantly Warcraft 3. It's a story about friendship and alliances, but more importantly about deception and the unfortunate downfall of man.
What were its cultural impact and/or importance?
Warcraft 3 was a hugely revolutionary game. Not only was it highly anticipated due to its previous two games being hugely successful, but it had so much story crammed into it that could fill up pages upon pages of books. Real time strategy games before it, such as Command & Conquer and Age of Empires had certain story elements, and though C&C did use live action cutscenes to tell its story, it was nowhere near as meticulously crafted as Warcraft's story. The developers really took their time when crafting Warcraft's lore, and made it one of the most memorable stories ever, especially in the RTS genre. Warcraft 3 also let the player experience the story not only from the Orcs and Humans, but from the Night Elves and the Undead as well. This really let the player experience the story from all the angles, and gave reason to each races motivations.
This is Tiny Tim. You don't mess with Tiny Tim
What areas of gaming did it advance?
Nowadays RTS games have a full 360 degree camera. Though W3 didn't feature a full 360 degree camera, it did make a jump from 2D to 3D, which is what fans were truly excited for. The first two games were from a static point of view, and it was wonderful to be able to see everything in detail. The ability to zoom down on the action was also a welcome addition, it makes the battlefield more personal, rather than seeing everything from a high birds eye view. Warcraft 3 also introduced Hero units. Those units differed from the regular units by being able to gain experience points, level up, and gain powerful skills. This also let the player feel more connected with each character. While normal units were expendable, hero units were able to take a lot more damage, heal, and use other helpful and devastating skills.
The game was broken up to 4 campaigns, and several chapters. Instead of having one set goal each chapter, it instead dynamically updated the player with quests and did it through in-game cutscenes. This was a great addition, because the story felt more organic, instead of just reading an objective and then doing the mission. The in-game cutscenes themselves were also very new to this genre of games. During a game, the camera would swoop down close to the characters, and they would act out the story. Coupled with great voice acting, it really made the overall story feel more authentic.
One huge, notable component was the map editor. What was purely meant to design maps for multiplayer use, exploded into players creating entirely new game modes. Players made tower defense maps, role playing maps, and one of the most played multiplayer, team based arena games, Defense of the Ancients. If there was ever player made content that made it big, it was DotA thanks to Warcraft 3.
Aldos Firestar, the Devourer of Mana and his court welcomes you
Does it stand the test of time?
If there is one thing for certain, it is that Warcraft 3 is still being played and enjoyed today. Whether it's World of Warcraft players who want to know more about the back story, or competitive players enjoying some of the many different user created maps, or just fans swept by the story 8 years ago, wanting to relive it all over again, it is certain that Blizzard crafted an incredibly detailed world in a game that has a ton of replay value.