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Between the hammer and the anvil. Warcraft 3 Review: Reforged

Reissue of Blizzard’s iconic strategy that turned into a disaster. What went wrong?
Warcraft 3 is a great game without exaggeration. It managed to grow more than one generation of players, and followed the strategy of MMORPG World of Warcraft and even more blew up the gaming industry. Yes, there were also Warcraft 1 and 2, but most of all the players liked the third one. The phrases of the characters from it have long been in use, like some “jellied fish” from “irony of fate”. Remembering all this, I do not want to scold the modern reincarnation of Warcraft 3 with the title Reforged. But, alas, you will have to.
The problem here is not even that the reissue itself turned out to be too bad. No, by the standards of modern remasters, it came out… average. For example, the same Assassin’s Creed the Ezio Collection or Fable Anniversary with incredibly poor management were much worse. The problem is that we were repeatedly promised a very cool reissue from Blizzard. And then it turned out that people naturally lied, releasing just an average remaster. Remember the scene from Blizzcon 2018 where Arthas removes Uther from command? It was simply removed from the game. There are no other similar videos in it.

Between the hammer and the anvil. Warcraft 3 Review: Reforged
In fact, there are not many qualitative changes in Warcraft 3: Reforged. Yes, the developers have completely replaced the old angular models with new ones, and they look really cool and modern, but the scenes on the game engine look just as ridiculous and static as before. But if earlier it could be attributed to technology, then in 2020 this will not pass. Especially when we were shown what it might look like. Take another example: the scene of Uther’s death at the hands of Arthas. In the game, this looks pretty ridiculous, whereas back in the beta days, simple players pulled out of the client’s models and did it. Ordinary people. Against the developers from Blizzard.

Between the hammer and the anvil. Warcraft 3 Review: Reforged
In some scenes, the characters even more so stand in front of each other. Thank you though, added an animation of the movement of the lips. For example, in the episode when the Prophet addresses the Prince, the Prince does not even bother to turn around. It is obvious that beautiful models in this case do not save. This would be enough for a publication with a pull-up of textures and new character icons, but clearly not for the bar set by Blizzard. You could even say that the fans themselves have imagined a new animation and reworked cutscenes, which is purely a problem of their perception, but the campaign itself promised a completely different level. There is no excuse for this. At the worst, the game could be moved again and brought to mind.

Between the hammer and the anvil. Warcraft 3 Review: Reforged
And in some places it is clear that the normal direction was still planned. For example, in the scene with Muradin and “Ice Sorrow” there are even camera flights and close-UPS. An ambiguous situation came out with the famous cinematics. Only the introductory video and the scene of the battle between Arthas and Illidan, which, by the way, turned out to be very mediocre, turned out to be really remade. Everything else looks as soapy as it did in the bearded days of Warcraft 3 . But just waiting for cinematics from Blizzard. And once again: from the same Blizzard that provided Battle for Azeroth with an unprecedented number of the coolest videos for some one and a half years. After all, even far from the most significant events of the Supplement there were accompanied by scenes of fantastic quality. But just this “Metelitsa” can be forgiven with a stretch, because at a closed presentation, representatives of the company somehow still mentioned that no one plans to alter the videos. Although after the pre-order was announced.

A strange situation came out with the content of the game. Initially, we were promised that the gameplay itself will be supplemented with new details, and the maps are updated, so that the locations are more like what we know from WoW. Is it necessary to say that there is nothing of this here, and everything remains exactly as it was before? Unless some of the characters ‘ phrases in the Russian voice-over preferred to be removed or reduced.
Localization, by the way, is a separate topic. If the English version was left unchanged (and thank God), the Russian version was rewritten from scratch. Completely. All with the same message: that the characters spoke in the same voices as in World of Warcraft. And this left us with a very mixed impression. Yes, getting the narrator to speak in the voice of a popular blogger was a good idea. Yes, the same thrall and Sylvana from WoW sound great. But many characters somehow banal received new voices, and very rarely — better than the previous ones. The main failure, perhaps, was Arthas. If an actor from Warcraft 3, due to a tragic set of circumstances, will not be able to attract to the voice-over exactly, then what the company did not please the voice from WoW-it is unclear. Anyway, to lose the lion’s share of emotions in, in fact, the main character of the game-it should try. Even if an agreement with an actor from the Lich King era did not work for some reason, there is always an old version of the voice-over, which for 18 years has long been native to fans of the original.

Between the hammer and the anvil. Warcraft 3 Review: Reforged
Another problem with Reforged is optimization. Our game periodically hung for 2-3 seconds, during which an untreated fighter often managed to die. And this is on the machine, where the last parts of Total War go without the slightest complaints. Once, another mission simply refused to launch, repeatedly throwing us back into the campaign menu. And productivity in General at certain points pretty much fell. Someone generally loses textures and for no reason counted defeat, so that technical problems and bugs here, alas, was enough.

Between the hammer and the anvil. Warcraft 3 Review: Reforged
If the game did not add any of the promised features, then remove something-removed. For example, now there is no possibility to play on a local network, and opportunities for modders are significantly limited. And many other network features have been severely curtailed. And if you do decide to create content for the game, then all rights to it will now belong to Blizzard. And this applies not only to the maps themselves, but also to the concept. It is obvious that the creative fervor of experienced modders in this situation will significantly decrease.

41 minutes of Warcraft 3: Reforged gameplay. Source: Starclan 03

The cherry on the cake can be called another, rather ugly act on the part of the company. After the release of the “remaster”, the owners of the old version of Warcraft 3 were surprised to find that instead they became owners of a kind of stripped-down version of Reforged without new models, but with most of the features described above. Yes, the old Warcraft seems to be gone. As there is no and all saved maps and developments. Just like that. Needless to say, this did not add to the popularity of the project. Depriving people of choice is bad.

However, it is interesting to play Reforged at least because it is still Warcraft 3, which we have known and loved for 18 years. New models look cool, and the release of the remaster is a good reason to remember what strategies looked like in those days. To do this, however, it is necessary to abstract from the promises of Blizzard, which it did not fulfill and, ideally, do not have from the reissue of the original expectations. This happened to us, for example, because we watched the PR campaign with half an eye.

Between the hammer and the anvil. Review of Warcraft 3: Reforged Between the hammer and the anvil. Review of Warcraft 3: Reforged Between the hammer and the anvil. Review of Warcraft 3: Reforged Between the hammer and the anvil. Review of Warcraft 3: Reforged Between the hammer and the anvil. Review of Warcraft 3: Reforged Between the hammer and the anvil. Warcraft 3 Review: Reforged
Yes, we have an average remaster in all respects with a decent number of bugs and mediocre optimization. Another question is whether it is worth paying money for something that is so far behind the prototype shown two years ago, and to encourage a similar attitude of the publisher to the player?

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