Warcraft 3: Reforged Deserves Better Reviews

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Odmvx-T8uJc

At last! Blizzard released the remastered version of Warcraft 3, which is now called Warcraft 3 Reforged. I was a Warcraft 3 fan and considered myself an above-average versus player and avid participant of custom games even before Dota became popular. I went through middle school summers playing only Warcraft 3, and occasionally sneaked into my neighbor’s apartment on a school night “studying” the night elf campaign.

Today, Forbes reported that Warcraft 3: Reforged received the all-time-low score of 0.5 user score on Metacritic. Blizzard has made many decisions that upset fans and let us analyze some of the complains:

  1. Blizzard owns Warcraft 3: Reforged custom games

Yes, I do not support Blizzard owning the custom games. Blizzard is now a 45 billion dollar company that would protect its assets and any potential revenue from its assets. They would not want to see another Dota situation. However, ultimately owning the custom game is not the right thing to do. Building a game engine or a world editor is not an easy task and should be properly rewarded beyond the game's purchasing price. If they were going to make money and moderately encourage custom game creation at the same time, they should follow the Unreal Engine model, which stated that successful games that make more than $3,000 per quarter are obligated to pay Epic 5% of gross revenues.

2. Blizzard discontinued the original version of Warcraft 3

Terminating the original game is bad for the original Warcraft 3 players but reasonable. With the release of Warcraft 3: Reforged, Blizzard stopped supporting the online version of the original game. I understand that the existing game users are upset about losing their maps with custom campaigns, loyalty free custom maps, and stable build. However, I was amazed that Blizzard kept the game running after so many years without charging extra dollars. Imagine in 2002, someone told you that the same company that made the game would support it until 2020 after your one-time purchase of the game (and if you pay another small fee to upgrade to the critically acclaimed Frozen Throne expansion pack). The development and sever costs of supporting all releases of Windows, Mac OS, and server-side software alone are not trivial. Warcraft 3: Reforged is the only way forward for Mac users to play the game because Mac OS Catalina stopped supporting 32-bits applications.

3. Blizzard marketing promised stunning cut scenes for the campaign, but many were missing

Let us recall the last game we played with perfect cut scenes. Last year, I paid $59.99 for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and played it for less than 8 hours through the campaign. I only spent $39.99 on Warcraft 3: Reforged (I paid the $10 for many hours of beta gameplay). I am currently half-way through the campaign with more than 15 hours of gameplay and enjoyed every minute of it. Yes, adding new cut scenes would make it so much better, but I do not believe Blizzard would be able to make a $29.99 game with a very moderate release date delay. And only the Activation-Blizzard would have the spare money to remake both Starcraft, which received many positive reviews, and Warcraft III.

The bottom line

Blizzard is not the same company that made the original Warcraft III. Blizzard used the original Warcraft III as the stepping stone to becoming the company that made online gaming lucrative through World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Overwatch. The profit from other games, and possibly Blizzard’s internal policy meeting, allowed the original Warcraft III to stay alive for many years. The custom game policy might stay and we probably would not get the cutscenes we promised but the bugs could be fixed over time. Thanks to Blizzard, with the upgraded game engine, I will enjoy playing Warcraft III for many years to come.

I am building robotics, deep learning and SLAM solutions with support for large scale simulation, training, and testing.

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