Warcraft III is exquisitely timeless, but not in all its aspects. It is logical. At the end of the day, his acclaimed proposal for strategy and fantasy is the daughter of his time in aspects not so superficial as the finishes of his models or their original resolution. Luckily, current Blizzard feels especially nostalgic: 17 years after its release, the PC strategy classic will stop sharpening its patch-based gaming proposition and bring it back, along with expansion and learning, from the forge itself.
From the first bars of the game, one realizes that Warcraft III Reforged is a title that has not been painted. It is not a reissue or a remake. And, of course, it is not a remastering. In other words: it has not followed in the wake of StarCraft Remastered. What’s more, this version has been created (according to Blizzard itself ) using the same updated engine. And the truth is that the new finish of the units speaks for itself: the level of detail that each unit presents when approaching the camera is simply brutal.
A comprehensive update with which the California company renews its own formula for a couple more decades (at least) while consolidating it for a new generation of players. Not to mention, in one move, it also serves as an excuse to conveniently integrate one of your essential titles into the Battle.net ecosystem. On paper, everything looks great and we all come out winning. But what about in practice?
The other reality, as much as it may weigh us down, is that Blizzard (and Activision in general) are still not fine when it comes to planning their own releases. Sometimes due to saturation ( call it dying of success ) and others due to problems of various kinds. Only this time it seems that they have been very aware of the weaknesses before putting the game on sale. And that ended up putting a date during the last days of the promised 2019.
With Warcraft III Reforged Blizzard gives us one of lime and another of sand, and we will talk a little more about the successes and weaknesses. But are they enough reasons to spoil the experience?
In all fairness, the general feeling is that if you’re a Warcraft III veteran you’ll feel right at home from minute one, and if you didn’t give it a chance, you’re going to enjoy it even more. Unfortunately, this Reforged version misses out on the opportunity to be that love letter to the fans that the occasion deserved (despite being a treat to behold ) and its online lacks social elements that, logically, have not gone unnoticed.
The fine art of reforging a classic like Warcraft III
After remastering StarCraft, Blizzard breathes new life into a classic released in ancient times. A title, by the way, with a level of activity that current strategy games would like. And no wonder, Warcraft III was -literally- the birthplace of DOTA, one of Valve’s most powerful licenses. But also, the highest point of a real-time strategy titan.
Although Warcraft II and its expansion deservedly blew our minds, the third installment beautifully captured that torrent of ideas from Blizzard’s most creative stage, merging genres such as strategy and RPG and daring to go further. Even doubling the number of factions available to, instead of compensating for two fronts, make each game turn into a mind-blowing version of rock paper and scissors.
Unless, of course, you opt for strategies like Rush, Hero rush, or Tower rush. In other words, taking advantage of the initial seconds of the game to play it heads or tails in an assault that would leave the enemy defenseless or – in the worst-case scenario – us without resources to win. Classic plays that I have relived (and experienced) in this reforge.
Warcraft III Reforged brings us a head-to-toe update on the experience. It is not an update of the models of the units and stages, which also, but has sought to offer a more intuitive interface in the menus, has been properly accommodated to be enjoyed on the panoramic screens and is enjoyed in glorious ultra-high definition. Everything, as we say, starting from an improved version of the original engine. And that is important.
Custom games have been around since day one, and Blizzard has emphasized that that’s still there. All in all, there has also been a very questionable move for another millionaire idea to slip away: if you look at the fine print the community creations are tied to the ownership of Activision Blizzard. A controversial decision should be qualified, despite the fact that the debate on it deviates too much from our analysis.
However, the real star novelty is the reforged aspect of the game. A simply masterful set-up that evokes Blizzard’s most groundbreaking and epic illustrations, making each unit and hero look simply glorious and updating campaign mode buildings, environments and settings with superb taste. Something that, by the way, is much more palpable once we get to the contents of The Frozen Throne.
Blizzard’s work is not limited to polishing the presentation and accommodating it, but a new balance sheet has been drawn up for all units and, incidentally, a new voice has been given to its protagonists: Warcraft III Reforged has new voice actors, including the Spanish version. And at this point, personally, I admit that I miss most of the classical voices; despite being aware that it is a matter of taste.
However, this redoubling also serves a second purpose: lore and names have been accommodated to World of Warcraft. Blizzard is fully aware that many players who fell by the wayside were integrated into Azeroth online and others will come directly from the successful MMORPG, so they have opted to cast their names and surnames in Spanish and, incidentally, unify concepts in a subtle but palpable. For all practical purposes, the Ice Throne is renamed the Frozen Throne.
A set of elements that will invite us to rediscover, by the way, its outstanding campaign. Or rather, all the campaigns that are included in the reform.
The day fire rained on Azeroth (or how Arthas sat on the Frozen Throne)
Blizzard has mastered the not-so-simple art of creating great stories and telling them masterfully. In this regard, the Warcraft III (and, by extension, Reforged ) campaigns are a must-see for fans of the Warcraft universe. But the best part is that you won’t need to know a single proper name of his lore to fully enjoy the game.
From the very beginning, Warcraft III welcomes any gamer – including non-strategy gamers – so that everyone can fully enjoy the events that transformed Azeroth forever. That, and the fact that unlike the previous two installments, the narrative is centered on heroes, characters who shape the destiny of the World of Warcraft and who integrate strong RPG elements to the whole.
Thus, Warcraft III Reforged takes up that concept of role-playing strategy (RPS) that Blizzard announced to the world during the turn of the millennium and establishes a succession of stories in each section of each campaign exquisitely spun with the same cinematics that dazzled us back in 2002 The bad news, on the other hand, is that the superb scenes generated by the game engine and shown at BlizzCon 2018 are conspicuous by their absence.
Focusing on the plot, after the events of Warcraft II and the defeat of the Horde we are presented with a completely fragmented Azeroth. For generations, orcs and humans have been involved in fierce battles, however, a new danger is about to arrive for the purpose of subduing and destroying all life. Even drag them to their own death.
After the final triumph of the Alliance, humans are so confident in themselves that they have been disoriented in the face of upcoming events, so the prophet who predicts this new evil must find a new leader capable of opposing this threat and rally all the living forces of the world.
What no one suspected is that this hero would be Thrall, a clairvoyant orc involved in a no less delicate task: to unify his people again.
Although the campaign offers us several chapters that take place in pre-established scenarios (which we must discover and conquer), the truth is that the plot nexus solidifies the experience as a whole wonderfully well. Not to mention the fact that the plot itself extends beyond the definitive alliance between the forces of Azeroth, including the contents of the expansion of The Frozen Throne while also making us witnesses and participants in Arthas’s rise to the throne. of the Lich King.
Now, while the Reforged campaign will claim approximately 50 hours (pulling up) on normal difficulty, in the end, everything serves as a preamble to the true Warcraft III experience: Versus and Custom Game modes. Which are, on the other hand, the point to be discussed in this edition.
Warcraft III Reforged Multiplayer Lights and Shadows
The look of Warcraft III Reforged is simply outstanding and that makes the online more enjoyable. Not only because of the resolution escalation and the ability to enjoy full-campaign games but also because of the finish of the models, the new icons, or a set of small details that make it simply irresistible. But its greatest achievement is that starting a new online game is the closest thing to retaking those of that title that fascinated us almost two decades ago.
What’s more, if out of sheer nostalgia you want to return to the classic look, you have it easy: just go through the game options and you will always see the option to recover the models, icons, settings, and -in general- all the classic aspects. Even the bottom of the screen will be completely covered instead of showing the corresponding spaces that the interface does not cover. In this regard, Blizzard has done wonderfully.
Personally, the bugs, gameplay, and bugs that I have been experiencing in the beta have been reduced almost to a minimum. It has happened to me that sometimes the game finds a game and never starts, forcing me to close the program. But after several days playing at different times, the feelings are positive and, in general, the wait to find a game is minimal.
On the other hand, I have also had the opportunity to test the game on three different teams, including a modest 3.10 GHz i-5 4440 little or nothing prepared for current games, and the result with the “reworked” graphics has been better. than expected. A lucky surprise, of course.
What has not been so celebrated is that the game was released without essential elements. In other words, there is no leaderboard, and clans have (literally) been disabled, promising via a text box that they will return in a future update. No matter how you look at it, launching a game like this is not welcome.
That is not to say that veterans start from scratch. Not much less. Also from options, we can import our profile from the classic version with a couple of steps. However, it is decisions like the previous ones that ask us if despite its launch being delayed, Warcraft III reforged has arrived too early or if these absences are part of a plan to add content in a phased manner.
In any case, this is ugly to the most loyal community of players.
Likewise, there is a way to glimpse the level of our opponent: as in classic games, the profile image (which we will obtain as a trophy) reflects the achievements obtained in the game as the number of victories obtained with a faction. Something very convenient since if we see that our adversaries are quite seasoned with the night elves, perhaps we should start establishing an anti-aircraft strategy.
Not all are negative elements, of course. The integration in Battle.net makes it easier and more direct to be able to play with our regular contacts and benefit from everything that comes with being in that ecosystem, including the list of friends. And the truth is that the menus are much more appreciative than the originals, giving more weight (deservedly) to personalized games and inviting us to alternate races. That’s very good.