Warcraft III: Reforged

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Warcraft III: Reforged
WC3Reforged-logo.png
Developer(s)
Platforms
Release

ETA 2019

Latest release

1.31.1 (Live) (Released: 2019-06-10)
1.31.1 (PTR) (Released: 2019-06-07)

Genre(s)
Mode(s)

Single player, multiplayer

Warcraft III: Reforged is a remaster of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, first announced at BlizzCon 2018 and slated for release in 2019. It will support graphics up to 4k and feature a revamped UI.

The game is developed by the same team that did StarCraft: Remastered.[1][2][3] It utilizes an upgraded version of the original game engine, in order to preserve mod functionality from the original game.[3] Its graphics engine however has been completely overhauled.

Reforged is available in two versions: the Standard Edition and the Spoils of War Edition.

Official description

Official site

Shape the Fate of Warcraft's World
Warcraft® III: Reforged™ is a complete reimagining of a real-time strategy classic. Experience the epic origin stories of Warcraft, now more stunning and evocative than ever before.
  • Reforged Visuals: Vivid recreations of every hero, unit, building, and environment.
  • Legendary Campaigns: Command Azeroth’s greatest heroes and villains over 62 missions that span the continents.
  • Exhilarating Gameplay: Play four diverse races, each with unique strategies, units, abilities, and champions.
  • Limitless Custom Games: Discover an endless universe of player-created games, including MOBAs, tower defense, and more.[4]

Blizzard Shop

A Classic Favorite, Reforged
Warcraft III: Reforged is a stunning reimagining of the revolutionary real-time strategy game that laid the foundation for Azeroth’s most epic stories. It is a remake in the truest sense, featuring a thorough visual overhaul, a suite of contemporary social and matchmaking features, and more. Command the Night Elves, Undead, Orcs, and Humans as alliances shift and armies clash in this timeless real-time strategy game.[5]

Announcement blog

With rebuilt versions of all the original games’ art made with cutting-edge animation technology, hours of updated in-game cinematics, plus an overhauled World Editor and full integration into Blizzard Battle.net for a new era of multiplayer gameplay, Reforged is nothing less than the definitive Warcraft III experience. Conquer the battlefield anew as one of four playable races—the mighty Orcs, the noble Humans, the ancient Night Elves, and the insidious Undead Scourge—and experience the legends of Azeroth reborn.[6]

Features

  • Both Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne will be included in Reforged.[3][4]
  • Reforged will be cross-compatible with Warcraft III: Classic, similar to StarCraft: Remastered.[7] The developers hope to allow players to link their old Warcraft III accounts with new ones in Reforged.[3]
  • Unit pathfinding may be upgraded.[3] The 12 unit selection cap will remain, at least initially,[8] but the team is open to experimenting with raising it.[9]
  • New languages and additional support for regions around the world will be added,[2] with a total of 13 different languages available.[8]

Singleplayer

  • The single-player campaigns will receive some slight changes. Locations like Stratholme, Dalaran, and Silvermoon City will be updated to look more like their World of Warcraft incarnations,[8][10][11] and other missions' layout may be tweaked because the team wasn't happy with how they came about originally and they've learned a lot about level design in the years since Warcraft III's release.[3] Some scenes that weren't given much attention in the original game—such as Sylvanas Windrunner's death in The Fall of Silvermoon—have been given more prominence in Reforged. Characters like Anasterian Sunstrider and Thalorien Dawnseeker (who were canonically present during the events of the Third War but weren't seen in the original game) will make appearances in the campaign.[10]
  • The Warcraft III story line won't experience any major retcons.[10][12]
  • All of the voice overs from the original game will remain the same.[10][11]
  • There will be new camera tools and cutscene-specific unit animations to make the in-game cutscenes look better, but the camera angles will remain largely the same.[11]
  • The Exodus of the Horde and Founding of Durotar campaigns will be included in the game.[7]
  • An easy "story mode" difficulty will be added.[7][10]
  • It's possible that additional campaign content will be added post-launch if there is player demand for it, but currently the team is purely focused on updating the existing game.[1][2][3][7]
  • A World of Warcraft-styled world map will be available in-game to show players their voyage across Azeroth as they move from mission to mission. It will also show the location of key characters during each mission like Uther and Jaina during The Culling mission and will show visual effects on the map as missions take place, such as Stratholme being in flames on the map after completion of The Culling.[13]

Multiplayer

  • Modern Battle.net integration, with upgraded lobbies and the possibility to group with Battle.net friends.
  • Upgraded World Editor. All old custom maps from Warcraft III: Classic should be usable in Reforged.[1][7] The tools used to create Reforged's high-quality models will be translated to the editor, and the UI will be customizable in a way that it was not in the original game.[1][3][9] The team hasn't settled on whether it will be possible to mix Classic and Reforged models within the same custom map, but it is something that's completely feasible from a technical standpoint.[3]
  • Multiplayer balance will be upgraded in order to "tighten the competitive edge." This includes sorting out "bugs" from "features".[3]
  • The developers are considering adding a tutorial to teach players multiplayer tactics.[9] AI in multiplayer may be tweaked in order to make it easier for people to get into the game.[3]
  • Hundreds[14] of balance changes will be made to units, heroes and buildings based on community feedback. Some small map advantages will also be addressed.[1][2][8]
  • There are no official esports additions planned, but the team is focused on making sure the UI is helpful for watching the game.[8]
  • There will be better filtering for custom games.[8]
  • The developers want to make improvements to the "Join" functionality, but as of BlizzCon 2018 they are not yet sure how it's going to work.[1]

Graphics

  • The art style will keep being stylized, but not cartoony, inspired by the CGI used in Blizzard's cinematics, notably the Mists of Pandaria cinematic. The main engine is still the same. Since Reforged has to stay compatible with Classic, there are limitations on gameplay-affecting animations (like attacks and deaths). For example, if a combat animation took 20 frames in Classic, it needs to take 20 frames in Reforged as well.[1][7][8][10] However, details that don't affect gameplay, such as idle animations, can be more freely updated to be more varied and realistic (something that was difficult in the original game due to memory constraints).[1][7][10] Visuals and effects will be changed, as evidenced by Arthas summoning a Val'kyr when using his Resurrection spell.
  • Players will be able to toggle between old and remastered graphics using an in-game command, similar to StarCraft: Remastered.[1] It may not work instantaneously like it does in StarCraft due to the complications of toggling between a sprite-based engine and a 3D-based one and concerns with memory constraints and bandwidth, but the functionality will be present.[3]
  • Unlike Classic, many units in Reforged will have several different variants, meaning, for example, that not all Death Knights or murlocs will look identical.[3][8][15] These include gender-swapped versions of some units, such as female Demon Hunters, Death Knights, and Zombies.[9][16] The goal is to give the variant treatment to every unit in the game.[3] Additional skins and variants may be implemented post-launch.[3]
  • The developers plan on creating a new tile system to make the terrain look more varied and realized than the constraints of the original tile system allow.[9]
  • Reforged will have a revamped UI, but will also have the option of switching to the Classic version.[7][9]
  • The game's cinematics will be brought to HD resolution, but only the original intro cinematic—The Prophecy—will be redone in a new engine.[8][10][17]

Music

  • Reforged will feature new music.[11] As of November 2018, it's still being determined to what extent the original game's soundtrack will be used.[18]

Development

Early sketches of Thrall showcasing the original idea for a more cartoony art style.

Blizzard's Classic Games team began development on Reforged in 2016.[8] The "core team"—artists, engineers, and the like—that had worked on StarCraft: Remastered were moved over to Warcraft after completing work on StarCraft.[9] Warcraft: Orcs & Humans and Tides of Darkness were considered for the remastered treatment, but Warcraft III was chosen due to the higher level of fan demand.[8]

When doing the art for the game, the initial approach was to make the game's units highly cartoony and stylized. However, it was noticed that the cartoony approach was quite common in other games, so the team took a step back and considered "What really speaks Warcraft to us?". Team members like Brian Sousa and Chris Amaral have cited the character design in the Mists of Pandaria intro cinematic as an inspiration, describing it as a perfect mix of Blizzard stylization and realistic textures,[1][19] in contrast to subsequent World of Warcraft cinematics' shift toward more realism.[16] The orc and human concepts from the Mists cinematic were used as a base, and the team began redoing the Grunt model.[1]

Since a lot of Warcraft III images are so old and small, assets from World of Warcraft were referenced as WoW does a better job of representing the series' modern look. At the same time, months were spent iterating on the orcs—multiple versions with varying proportions were created due to the differences between WoW's third-person perspective and the top-down view of an RTS.[19] Eventually, the team managed to reach a satisfactory point with the Grunt.[1] Pete Stilwell has stated that he considers the Grunt to be the unit that most nailed the aesthetic that the developers are aiming for, and the model was treated as the gold standard for subsequent model updates.[9] Orcs and humans were the first races that were worked on as the team felt that they were the races that most clearly defined Warcraft III's lore. This was followed by the undead so that they could be included in The Culling demo mission at BlizzCon 2018.[15]

When creating the Reforged unit models, the developers started with concept art before moving to block-outs (simple shapes), after which sculpting artists went through and created elaborate, high poly models (referred to as the "high poly stage" of the process). The amount of polygons was then reduced to a more manageable number while still retaining the model's details and baking it into a simpler geometry.[9]

At one point during development, the team members all sat in a room and brainstormed ideas like new neutral buildings, new items, a new tile set, and a new neutral hero from the Tavern.[19]

The developers talked to the Warcraft III communities in China and Europe to get feedback, such as which heroes were chosen in multiplayer and why, how they felt about certain units, and which maps they liked.[1] In contrast to when the team was designing StarCraft: Remastered and was asked by Korean fans to change the game as little as possible, the Chinese Warcraft III community encouraged them to make changes and additions to the game.[16][14] Modders were hired to work on the map editor prior to the game's announcement, but Blizzard couldn't reveal what they'd be working on until after they'd joined the team.[3] The original source code and assets from Warcraft III were used in the game's development.[20] The process of getting the original Warcraft III engine up and running again took roughly six months longer than the team had expected.[16]

Patch 1.28 for Warcraft III and the various balance changes were precursors to Reforged, though at the time it was not confirmed.[1]

BlizzCon 2018

The game was officially announced at BlizzCon 2018, where a demo of the The Culling was present. Pre-purchases were immediately available. On the question of an alpha or beta, Robert Bridenbecker stated "I'm looking forward to next year".[3] The beta was originally said to likely focus on zones that have changed between Warcraft III and World of Warcraft, such as Stratholme.[8] By the time of BlizzCon, the human and orc factions were the furthest along in development whereas undead and night elf units were undergoing the high poly stage.[9]

Original planned story changes

Example of an overhauled cutscene from the BlizzCon 2018 demo.

As showcased in The Culling demo, the developers originally planned to significantly overhaul (or "recut") the game's single-player campaigns and retcon parts of the story to align it more with World of Warcraft. The intent was to add more connective tissue between the various games and novels of the franchise to make it feel like a cohesive whole as well as ensure that players who had started out with World of Warcraft would be "invited" to see the origin stories of characters that ended up in the MMO.[7][8][21] Christie Golden was brought on to help bring parity to the stories of Warcraft III and World of Warcraft as well as further develop characters like Jaina Proudmoore and Sylvanas Windrunner, who only played supporting roles in Warcraft III but have since become far more prominent characters in the setting.[8][14][20][15] In addition, Golden would also help rewrite some of the existing dialogue and unit quotes. Examples included parts of the original script that were intended to be placeholder text but inadvertently ended up in the final game,[8][9][22] lines of dialogue that feel clunky and overly modern,[21] and unit gag quotes that contain outdated pop culture references that don't make much sense to modern audiences anymore.[16][21] All voice acting in the game was planned to be redone,[7][8] including both old and new voice actors and with an option to toggle between old and new voices.[9] In addition, all in-game cutscenes were planned to be completely redone with a new camera system and camera angles to showcase the higher-definition models and zoom in on characters as they talk, rather than having pop-up dialogue windows.[2][8] The developers possibly even planned on adding entirely new missions to the campaigns, such as adding back the original final night elf mission that was cut from Reign of Chaos,[16] and it was mentioned that Reforged was an opportunity for the team to develop various story ideas that ended up not making it into the original game.[8] However, it was mentioned that the Exodus of the Horde and Founding of Durotar campaigns would be included but not recut.[7]

The announcements of these story changes were met with divisive feedback from players. While some fans welcomed the changes, others were vocal about wanting the game's story to remain untouched. As the developers went back to work after BlizzCon, they realized they weren't happy with the direction they were taking with The Culling demo and decided to heavily dial back the changes they were planning.[10] According to Robert Bridenbecker, the decision to walk back the "retconning plans" was a natural part of the development process, since simply updating the original game's tens of thousands of art assets and supporting custom maps and mods was a monumental challenge in and of itself.[12] In short, the story of Reforged is the same as that of Classic but with new visuals and technology.[11]

Beta and release

The beta was originally planned to become available in the spring of 2019.[8] The multiplayer beta officially began the week of October 29, 2019 with limited access to the orc and human races in 1v1 and 2v2 matchmaking, with undead and night elf races and additional game modes becoming available in coming weeks. The beta announcement was accompanied by the full reveal of the remaining unannounced rewards from the Spoils of War Edition.[23]

Sometime before the game's release, Blizzard intends to release their art tools along with guides on how to use them for custom map creators.[1][8]

After the game launches, a dedicated Warcraft III team will remain to support the game and make balance changes, similar to the StarCraft: Remastered team.[9][11][22] If the game is received well and there is a community demand for it, the team has ideas for additional post-launch and post-post-launch content that they'd like to add.[9][19] In November 2019, Production Director Kaeo Milker stated that this would not necessarily be in the form of new campaigns, but rather new art assets to support the custom map making community.[11]

Lore changes

Notes and trivia

  • Warcraft: Heroes of Azeroth was an April Fool's joke where Warcraft III was rebranded as a prequel to WoW. Coincidentally, Diablo Immortal from the same BlizzCon was also foreshadowed with Happy Reaper.
  • According to Chris Sigaty, the game will allow Blizzard to gauge audience interest in Warcraft RTS titles. In theory, this includes Warcraft IV, though he stressed that there were "no specific plans" for it currently.[20]
  • As of November 2018, there are no plans for a physical version of the Spoils of War Edition.[8] A Collector's Edition was made available exclusive to China which comes with a Arthas statue and other items.[24] It is unknown if it will be available anywhere else.

Gallery

Units and gameplay

Concept art

Humans
Night elves
Orcs
Undead

Story

Icons

Loading screens

Versus
Removed from beta

Videos

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o BlizzCon 2018 Warcraft III: Reforged Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet (2018-11-09). Retrieved on 2018-11-10.
  2. ^ a b c d e Anshlun 2018-11-03. Wowhead Interview with Warcraft III Reforged Team at BlizzCon 2018. Wowhead. Retrieved on 2018-11-08.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Blizzplanet 2018-11-04. Blizzcon 2018 Warcraft III: Reforged interview. Retrieved on 2018-11-06.
  4. ^ a b Warcraft III: Reforged. Retrieved on 2019-05-08.
  5. ^ Warcraft® III: Reforged - Warcraft III | Blizzard Shop. Retrieved on 2015-09-13.
  6. ^ Blizzard Entertainment Blizzard Entertainment 2018-11-02. Lok’tar Ogar! Warcraft III: Reforged Announced at BlizzCon — BlizzCon — Blizzard News. Retrieved on 2019-05-13.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Forum:BlizzCon 2018 questions#Warcraft III Reforged Q&A
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u MMO-Champion Warcraft III: Reforged Interview. MMO-Champion (2018-11-27). Retrieved on 2018-11-28.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Back2Warcraft 2018-11-08. Warcraft 3 REFORGED: Interview w. Pete Stilwell, Senior Producer - New Feature Revealed!. Retrieved on 2019-05-08.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Blizzard Entertainment Blizzard Entertainment 2019-11-02. BlizzCon 2019 - Warcraft III: Reforged Deep Dive. Retrieved on 2019-11-08.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Back2Warcraft 2019-11-08. WC3 Reforged - Developers Interview at Blizzcon 2019. YouTube. Retrieved on 2019-11-08.
  12. ^ a b Michael McWhertor 2019-11-01. Warcraft 3: Reforged’s story won’t be retconned by WoW after all. Polygon. Retrieved on 2019-11-08.
  13. ^ Game Informer #308: Reforging Real-time Strategy, pg. 54
  14. ^ a b c Michael McWhertor 2018-11-02. Warcraft 3: Reforged is more than just a remaster of Blizzard’s classic RTS. Polygon. Retrieved on 2019-05-28.
  15. ^ a b c UgriWC3 2018-11-04. Press Conference with Rob Bridenbecker and Brian Sousa. Warcraft3.info. Retrieved on 2018-11-12.
  16. ^ a b c d e f Game Informer 2018-11-08. GI Show – Warcraft III, Diablo Immortal, Red Dead Developer Roundtable. Retrieved on 2018-11-11.
  17. ^ Ben Hanson 2018-11-12. How Blizzard Created Warcraft III's Classic Cinematics. Game Informer. Retrieved on 2019-05-09.
  18. ^ Ben Hanson 2018-11-16. Inside the Creation Of Warcraft III's Soundtrack. Game Informer. Retrieved on 2019-05-09.
  19. ^ a b c d Ben Reeves 2018-11-02. How Blizzard Has Reforged Warcraft III. Game Informer. Retrieved on 2018-11-10.
  20. ^ a b c Nathan Grayson 2018-11-07. Blizzard Is Adding World Of Warcraft References To Warcraft III: Reforged. Kotaku. Retrieved on 2019-05-29.
  21. ^ a b c Ben Reeves 2018-11-07. How Blizzard Is Updating Warcraft III’s Fiction For Reforged. Game Informer. Retrieved on 2019-05-08.
  22. ^ a b Game Informer #308: Reforging Real-time Strategy
  23. ^ Blizzard Entertainment Blizzard Entertainment 2019-10-29. Warcraft® III: Reforged’s Multiplayer Beta Begins This Week!. Retrieved on 2019-10-29.
  24. ^ perculia 2019-10-31. Arthas Statue in Warcraft III: Reforged China Collector's Edition. Wowhead.

External links