Please, Blizzard, Make Another Warcraft RTS

Please, Blizzard, Make Another Warcraft RTS

Blizzard gave Warcraft fans one hell of a nostalgia trip earlier this month when it debuted the cinematic trailer for Warlords of Draenor. But much like the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion that Blizzard was teasing, the video only took gamers so far down memory lane:

At a certain point, a reality check was inevitable. This wasn't a new Warcraft real-time strategy game.

It can be hard to remember sometimes given World of Warcraft's incredible popularity, but the franchise that's now synonymous with Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) for many gamers started out as something completely different. It was Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. First released in 1994 before Blizzard ever put out a Diablo or StarCraft game, this influential RTS was one of the first things that put the company on the map as a rockstar PC game developer.

Blizzard kept making Warcraft RTS games for a while after Orcs & Humans. But by the time Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos came around, it was clear that Blizzard had something else in mind for the franchise. The game that ultimately came out in 2002 was still an RTS through and through, but it introduced strong role-playing elements with the hero characters that players controlled throughout the single-player campaign. Something about these heroes must've stuck, because by 2004 -- only a year after Blizzard released an expansion to Reign of Chaos -- the company debuted World of Warcraft. And, well, the rest is history. Flash forward to 2014, and the Warlords of Draenor expansion for WoW is stepping back in series history to the time period in which Warcraft III unfolded.

Please, Blizzard, Make Another Warcraft RTS

World of Warcraft fans are very excited for Warlords of Draenor, especially since it's coming alongside an impressive visual overhaul of the whole game. But for originalist Warcraft fans, the nostalgia trip was ultimately a bittersweet one. Because Warcraft was a phenomenal series of RTS games, too. I, for one, fell in love with Warcraft III the minute it came out. So while I loved seeing an Orc like Grom Hellscream return with some classy new CGI, I also remembered being shaken up seeing his downfall for the first time:

My nostalgia was so powerful that, shortly after building a new powerhouse gaming PC, I promptly installed Reign of Chaos anew and dove into its campaign. I was nervous to revisit a pivotal game from my childhood. But having replayed a good chunk of the single-player campaign, I'm happy to report that Warcraft III really holds up after more than a decade. The action felt as tense as ever when I built up my human bases and lead Prince Arthas to face the hordes of undead monsters that were invading. And just as importantly, the stakes of its epic high fantasy felt just as high when I watched in horror as Arthas journeyed through the snowy tundra to his downfall.

I also noticed some things -- particularly early in the campaign -- that helped explain how isometric strategy games like this have changed over the past twelve years. One core problem that I wilfully forgot was that, much like in the old Lemmings games, there can be a lot of downtime when you're just sitting there, watching as your troops hack and slash at their foes, waiting to see whose health goes down to zero first. This gets less dull as you advance in the campaign and unlock more units and building that add layers of nuance and complexity to the strategy in turn. But I kept running into the same problem of destroying an enemy base and then sitting there, waiting for my soldiers to topple every last one of the buildings. At one point, I felt an urge to turn the radio on.

In between those fleeting moments of tedium, however, there's something incredible. I've played a lot of games over the past twelve years, so it's difficult to stir up the exact same thrill I had when I first booted up Warcraft III. But still: even by today's standards, this game feels epic in a way that StarCraft hasn't quite captured for me in the same way. Played at the right difficulty, certain levels in the single-player campaign turned into intense, pitched battles. One stage late in the night elf campaign lasted more than an hour. I barely noticed that much time had passed until I got up from my desk, since I was so lost in the violent ebb and flow of trying to keep my bases intact while simultaneously taking on my opponents.

Please, Blizzard, Make Another Warcraft RTS

The hero units were a clever way to spruce up the RTS gameplay by giving you access to special defensive and healing abilities to help rally your troops, or offensive ones to rain down hellfire on the opposing forces. But then the awesomeness of hero units obviously lead to another question: why not make a game centered on those kinds of characters? Now we have a wide variety of games like League of Legends and Dota 2 that are often referred to as "action real-time strategy" because they did just that. Heck, Defence of the Ancients first started out as a mod for Warcraft III and its expansion pack.

StarCraft, meanwhile, has stayed strong as Blizzard's core RTS game. And now instead of modding Warcraft III levels to make something like Defence of the Ancients, some gamers are modding StarCraft II to turn it into Warcraftas best they can. I can't read anything into the minds of these modders any more than I can speculate about Blizzard's intentions with Warcraft now or at any point in its storied history. But I also see a common longing here to revisit the glory days of Warcraft, before "World" was added to its name and changed the franchise forever.

So why don't we?

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Comments

    Please ANYONE make more RTS's. It feels like the only ones that come out these days are indie games nobody knows about.

      I'm sure a Warcraft 4 is on the books, just hoping it isn't a fucking MOBA.

        they have heroes of the storm to fill their moba gap so no need to worry about it being a moba.

        you never know maybe warcraft 4 willl be built as a dota 2 custom map.

        Last edited 26/08/14 2:51 pm

    Nah, Lost Vikings 3.

    The last rumour I heard was it won't be until the Starcraft team have finished Starcraft 2 that we may get a Warcraft 4. This would make sense, but unfortunately it means even if Starcraft 2 gets finished in the next year or two, it would be 2020 or later before we see a Warcraft 4.

    I have no doubt they'll do it, it will sell like hotcakes.

      I heard the same thing.

      I also wouldn't mind betting they have something planned for the 20th anniversary of the franchise in November. My guess is a Battle.Net enable version of the old games.

        I know they're doing a big WoW 10 year anniversary, I didn't realise WoW was released on the 10th anniversary of Warcraft.

        Hopefully they'll do something big considering the franchise as a whole is 20 years old.

    This makes me want to go back even further and replay Warcraft II.

    Lok'tar!

      I miss the old simple RTS like Warcraft 2, 3 brought in heroes which have ruined every RTS since for me.

        Agree 100%. I never actually finished Warcraft 3 because I just didn't enjoy the hero mechanic.

        We need someone to do for the RTS genre what Divinity: Original Sin has done for RPGs.

        I'm not a huge fan of them mechanically since they sort of force your entire army to revolve around one over-powered unit but I find they do a good job of injecting story into the formula. Warcraft III without Arthas and Thrall running around on the map would be a very different game. I really enjoyed having Kerrigan on hand in Heart of the Swarm.

      I hated Warcraft3, Warcraft II I absolutely loved.
      Please someone bring back something that had the humour of warcraft, and the gameplay that you could get into.
      I never liked the sterility of Starcraft.

    The nostalgia is strong for the old-school RTS. Personally I wish that they'd revive Empire Earth and Age of Empires and do it properly. Such memories were had with those two franchises.

    It would take a bit of doing I think.

    I actually wasn't a fan of Warcraft III's hero and levelling system, which wasn't just in the single player campaign but also in the multiplayer, and I don't think that kind of thing has a place in a true RTS game.

    I have find memories of Warcraft II but when you look back on it, you basically had two identical factions. They only differed with a couple of spells right at the end of the tech trees.

    I think Blizzard is probably focusing on making Starcraft II (or the Starcraft series in general) it's primary RTS drawcard. It seems unlikely that they'll return to an RTS Warcraft anytime soon, but never say never.

    Yeah I wish they would hurry up and make Warcraft 4.
    It's long overdue and could potentially make people more interested in WoW.

    Relax, we've got the Dota 2 alpha modding tools now. People have already worked out resource scripting and buildings that can spawn "worker" units.

    We'll have a new Warcraft game in no time, I'm sure. Just might not be called Warcraft :P

    Last edited 26/08/14 12:51 pm

    Do people really think with today's games design choices, permanently online, micro transactions, season passes, etc, etc. As well as Blizzards recent track record that Warcraft IV would be any good?

    A hell of a lot has changed in the industry since Warcraft III came out, and a tonne of it has been negative for the consumer and reflected in game design choices, just let that sink in for a bit.

      Please don't remind me, I only just managed to get my blindfold on.... :(

      Whats wrong with Blizzard's recent track record? If anything you can say they are the only Big company actually listening to their customer base and adjusting or removing certain things as necessary.

      Last edited 26/08/14 1:11 pm

        People are just butt hurt over "always online" that is literally the only thing

        Diablo 3 being always online and having the auction house.

        The adjusting of the enemy difficulty, removal of gold in barrels and weapon racks, upping the cost of repairing you weapons and armor as well as the shitty drops to force people to buy items from the auction house.

        Micro transactions in WoW (the subscription fee obviously isn't enough or is it just plain greed)
        Being able to pay to get you character to level 90 in WoW.

        The company has made some really bad decisions in the past few years.

          While I agree with you, I'll play devils advocate for a moment.

          Level 90 boost - it's incredibly daunting to start playing as a new player and see that you have 90 (soon 100) levels to catch up to friends who are already playing. The idea of a boost is great. I do find the cost of it a little on the nose though.

          Micro transactions aren't a bad idea either, buying a cosmetic item (pet/mount) isn't necessarily evil. I do however, think that when they're charging $25 for a mount it's no longer a micro transaction. Frankly I think $5 for a mount/pet is enough and I'd prefer less.

          The real money AH was a terrible idea. It really did make the game pay to win because of the knock on effects you mentioned. The only thing I wonder was whether blizzard saw it as a way to fund ongoing development of the game. If it'd been a decent ongoing revenue stream for them it *could* have provided them with a way to keep being paid while adding content at regular intervals - instead of having to buy expansions. Unfortunately for Blizzard, I think the playrer outrage at it never subsided so they finally killed it.

          As for always online, I despise it when there's a sizable single player appeal to a game. It's understandable in a game like WOW which hinges on the multiplayer. But for a game like Diablo it's unforgivable. I refused to buy the game because of it. Then they gave it to me free because I was playing WoW... so I caved and played it. But they got no money out of me :P

      I agree, seeing blizzard jumping on the micro transaction bandwagon, i'm willing to bet they would try to make it one of those shitty pay to build mobile games or something.

    Install Starcraft 2 and look up WAH in the arcade. theres about 6 Warcraft RTS maps there that are amazing and play just like warcraft 3 multiplayer.

    I played wow for 2 years on and off, I liked it but found it to much of a job (started when there was a level cap if 60,left around the second expansion ) . To me, warcraft is still at its soul an RTS, in a lot of ways I hate wow for killing the format I grew up with. Playing warcraft 2 over a dial up modem was some off my best childhood memories. It sucks RTS warcraft is discontinued.

    Seeing as though Blizzard have said they don't think they will ever get more subscribers for WoW, I'm going to hope they release Warcraft IV out of economic desperation...

    I think the chances of a Warcraft RTS are a dead, World of Warcraft has almost had more time in the public then the RTS games, so to a lot of people Warcraft will be always the MMO.

    And it's not a bad thing, you just have to look at Blizzards current games and the way they go after the different genres. It makes business sense to not release competition to starcraft.

    I remember playing for an hour and a half with my friends only to defeat them with a horde of trees. Only time I enjoyed playing any form of elf.

    Yes, as well as an updated world editor to feed my custom map needs. I've spent more hours collectively on TDs, slide maps and other random games than the actual campaign itself.

    warcraft 3 was my childhood - and id still be playing it to this day had it not died down :(
    occasionally ill give it a boot, and play a few maps with some friends but nothing like the good old days

    i really hope they do make a warcraft 4 rts, but if they do they better do it right!
    diablo 3 i felt was a major letdown (although it has apparently improved, but i stopped playing a few months after launch)
    starcraft 2 also had much more potential, but they ruined the custom games

    All of you whining and whinging about D3 should really go back and give it another crack and see that Blizzard listened and realised what they did and have hence puckered their lips to make you happy.

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