Warcraft 3: Reforged Isn't Much Of An Upgrade

The remastered version of Blizzard’s real-time strategy classic Warcraft 3 launched yesterday, and while I’m nowhere near as disappointed by the lack of enhancements and upgrades as the folks over at the official forums, Warcraft 3: Reforged certainly hasn’t impressed me.

Warcraft 3: Reforged was meant to be a much more ambitious remake of Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne expansion. Blizzard announced the game with features like a revamped user interface and enhanced cutscenes with more dynamic camera angles. There were plans to record more dialogue and tweak the game’s single-player campaigns to bring them more in line with the lore of World of Warcraft, the massively multiplayer follow-up to the RTS series.

Those plans changed. The UI is almost exactly the same between the old and new versions of the game. Some voice lines have been tweaked—warchief Thrall calls Grom Hellscream by his last name now for some reason—but there aren’t any massive changes. As for the more dynamic in-game cutscenes, check out “The Culling” mission shown off when Reforged was announced in November of 2018.

Now watch how that cutscene actually plays out in the live version of Reforged, courtesy of Gameplay World on YouTube.

Blizzard dialed the dynamism way back. The camera comes in a little closer than it did in classic Warcraft 3, the better to show off those new character models, but there isn’t much in the way of close-ups or dramatic camera shifts. It’s disappointing.

The graphical upgrades are not disappointing. Here’s a screenshot of the beginning of the second prologue campaign mission from the original Warcraft 3.

Here is the same shot from the Reforged version of the game. The Reforged terrain is more nuanced and smooth. The buildings are sharper and more detailed. The units are much better than the original’s, more articulated and fluidly animated.

Reforged’s biggest improvement over original Warcraft 3 is its graphical upgrade, but it doesn’t actually make much of a difference. The heightened visuals can be showcased by zooming way in via the revamped camera, but that’s not a very practical way to play the game.

Warcraft 3 is best played zoomed all the way out, to give players the best possible view of the battlefield, and from that distance Blizzard’s makeover doesn’t matter much.

If Warcraft 3: Reforged were just a new version of the classic game with a graphical makeover, that would be ok with me. But the way Blizzard has implemented Reforged makes it impossible to play the old game without the new client, whether they own Reforged or not. The old and new versions have been combined into one, controlled by a toggle switch in the options menu.

This melding of games means the original Warcraft 3 inherits all the problems Warcraft 3: Reforged players are experiencing with the new game’s rocky launch: connectivity problems. Trouble getting into custom games. Reforged launched without ladder functionality, so now no one gets competitive ladders.

It’s all very messy, and fans of the game are lighting up the official Warcraft 3: Reforged forums to complain. They’re accusing Blizzard of a bait and switch. They’re bemoaning the loss of the original game client. They’re calling it Warcraft 3: Refunded.

I’m not angry. I am a little disappointed. I expected Warcraft 3: Reforged to feel new. Instead, it just looks new.


Comments

    Wow, I hadn't followed the game much since the original announcement but it's a real shame to see that the cutscenes weren't given the love they needed and the interface basically just removed the side bits. Seems like it needed more time in the cooker but I feel like they were probably pushed to get it out the door ASAP.

    Blizzard aint what they used to be :(
    Hope they don't fuck up Diablo 4.

      Yeah we might be getting to the point where it is more accurate to just call them Activision.

        Well it happened with Bioware from Mass Effect 3 where it became more EA then Bioware and then every game after that with Anthem being the pinnacle of Bioware only making the game in name only. Anthem is pure EA. I think Blizzard are well past the point of being more Blizzard then Activision as the last few years have shown too.

    Bummer. There was an opportunity to do something special here.

    Biggest issue to me is the general camera control, would like to move the camera with the wasd controls, which is pretty much normal these days, and they don't really have a custom key map. Other then that (and the online client) it is pretty much the exact same game, over priced for what is supposed to be a rebuilt vision of a game I bought the original collectors edition for (and still have).

    I'm not sure what people expected of Modern Blizzard, if it's not Overwatch, minimum effort is put into it.

    I was going to pick this up despite it looking a bit bare, but ~$50 is very steep considering how little the visuals have been worked up. It also doesn't come with the blood elves expansion. I really hope they aren't planning to sell that as another product later.

      All the missions from both Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne are included. You just have to play and unlock the campaigns in order.

        Perhaps the game's page should say that, because it didn't when I was floating over the purchase icon.

    Sorry, was anyone seriously expecting this to NOT be a garbage scam? It's Activision Blizzard! Sorry, let me clarify that: it's ACTIVISION Blizzard! Of COURSE it's going to be a disappointing rip-off sold on lies!

      It's been over a decade. It's time to stop chalking the good up to Blizzard and the bad up to Activision. At this point it's just Blizzard being Blizzard.

      I was hoping it would just be a regular scam.

    This is what Blizzard is now. There's a few comprehensive lists of what was promised and subsequently cut. They literally cut 90% of promised features and delivered new models in the old engine.

    Hilariously the game runs at 144 frames while the animations are locked at 20 frames. Looks janky as hell.

    What happened to boycott blizzard?

      Don't need a boycott when their products are so shit that you don't buy them anyway tapsheadknowingly.gif

    Wouldn't it be a crazy moment if EA does their Command & Conquer remake better then Activision did with Warcraft 3 reforged?

    I requested a refund. Am waiting to hear what their response is!

    First Blizzard game I ever refunded :(

    Right...I am going to flip a coin to see which loses my interest first, Warcraft 3 or Diablo 4; but i've run out of money XD

    Keep in mind that Blizzard saw a big walk out of Animators a few years back so that might be saying something about the company in general?..

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