Greetings, Programs! After waiting literally two freaking decades for Warcraft 4, we loyal fans of the Warcraft RTS series got…Warcraft 3: Reforged, instead. And that’s OK.
Or it would be, if it worked properly.
Even after an extended beta release for the multiplayer, the launch of Warcraft 3: Reforged is not going smoothly. To start with, it wasn’t even clear when the game would be launched. The release date has been Jan. 28 for months but yesterday, Batte.net started listing the release as the 29th. There was no official announcement but it was worrying. Did they need more time?
I wasn’t in a particular rush since I was playing through The Frozen Throne. I had beaten Reign of Chaos last week in preparation for Reforged and I figured I’d have it wrapped up in another day or two. But…no.
Yesterday afternoon, I clicked on my little WC3 icon and an update was available. Actually, it was less “available” than “mandatory” since I didn’t have a choice. Once the game updated, I got to watch the remastered intro, which was delightful eye candy. And then the game crashed.
And then it stayed crashed for two hours or so. Even more annoying, I couldn’t even play Frozen Throne because, as far as I can tell, WC3 Classic is just…gone. Ummm…excuse me?
OK, fine, the solution to that one was fairly simple: go to Battlenet are re-download Warcraft 3 from the Classic games section. Still a bit offended I had to do that, though.
Sure, Warcraft 3: Reforged is shinier but sometimes you just want to play the original for nostalgia’s sake. If nostalgia weren’t one of the most powerful forces on the known universe, they wouldn’t have bothered remaking WC3 almost 20 years later.
All of this would be grudgingly acceptable if the game played fine. But there are some serious problems.
Warcraft 3: Reforged Multiplayer Mayhem
As mentioned earlier, the multiplayer has been available to play for months. Like most games, this is the meat and potatoes of Warcraft 3: Reforged so Blizzard spent a good deal of time tweaking it to get the balance right. If you weren’t already aware, the 4 races have more than a graphics update; they play differently as well.
Not radically differently, but enough that fine-tuning was needed and that requires real-world players giving feedback. So…beta. Now that the game has launched, you’d think the multiplayer, which has been running for a while now, would work. But…no.
Now, I know I just wrote an article a few weeks ago saying not to get too bent out of shape over launch day issues. But most of the reasons I gave don’t exactly apply here.
This is not a port from PC to console or vice-versa. It’s also not an enormous, sprawling game like GTA. And while the servers overloading on launch day could be a problem that will clear up as people spread out their time on the game, that doesn’t explain the campaign crashes.
If you read through the chatroom complaints above, you’ll notice several comments about “insta-defeat.” What that’s referring to, is an annoying bug where you lose the level before it’s even done loading. I had that happen twice while playing the campaign. It’s frustrating as hell and not something we should be dealing with.
It’s not all bad, though
Putting aside all of the irritants, however, and Warcraft 3: Reforged is a sweet-ass package for just $29.99 USD.
I hadn’t played the beta so this was the first time I really got to look at the graphics, and wowzer! They are something. I mean, it’s not on the level of Halo or Call of Duty but it’s an RTS. There’s only so much detail you can put in from a God’s Eye perspective.
Still, there’s a hell of a lot of detail. I was able to jack all of the graphics settings to their maximum, just to see what it would look like. Mind you, I was literally playing the 20-year-old version 2 hours before so when I saw the upgrade…
There are also new missions, which is a relief. As much as I love me some WC3, I wasn’t looking forward to playing exactly the same game twice in a row, shiny new graphics or not.
One minor tweak that is actually not that minor for the more OCD among us, is the little talking headbox in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. First, they got a major upgrade so you don’t have to see this kind of horrific mutation anymore:
Instead, you see this:
Also, and this is going to sound stupid but, good god did it drive me to distraction: the little heads now lipsync properly. In WC3 Classic, the heads would just randomly flap their mouths open and closed with zero regard for the dialogue. It was like watching a poorly dubbed anime, and I hated it.
For the Horde!
Anyway! The bottom line here is that Warcraft 3: Reforged is, as of right now, a bit of a mess. However, this is all stuff that won’t take long to fix and Blizzard has a reputation of taking care of business at a fairly quick pace.
After they do, we’ll be slaughtering each other online for another 20 years. And what’s not to love about that?