Warcraft III single-player impressions

Blizzard demonstrates the single-player mode in its upcoming 3D real-time strategy game. New screens inside.

Yesterday Blizzard unveiled the single-player element of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos in London, with company representative Bill Roper demonstrating the first three levels and also taking the press through the game's world editor. The single-player campaign is structured along the same lines as the Starcraft single-player campaign, with a story that is told from the perspectives of the game's four different factions--the human alliance, the undead, the orcs, and the night elves. The tutorial, called Thrall's Training, introduces players to the game mechanics using the initial orc character, Thrall, a former slave of the humans. It's being recommended that even experienced Warcraft players use the tutorial as a starting point since it demonstrates some of the finer points of the new control system, including the use of heroes.

The first jump in the story is when you start the campaign properly, whereupon you leave the orcs behind and begin as a human hero, Prince Arthas, who conducts the defense of a village with the assistance of Uther Lightbringer, a character from the Warcraft II expansion Beyond the Dark Portal. Indeed, many of the hero characters encountered in the game will sound familiar to players of the previous Warcraft games--if they aren't from Warcraft II directly, many on the human and orc sides are the direct descendants of characters that appeared in that game. For instance, in level three of Warcraft III, Arthas escorts a young sorceress called Jaina Proudfoot in a mission that seeks to find the cause of the plague that is sweeping the land. It turns out that Jaina is the daughter of Admiral Proudfoot from Warcraft II.

Although Roper wouldn't reveal when the storyline takes a twist back toward the orcs or branches into the undead or night elf plotlines, he did say that players may well find themselves battling heroes that they have previously played as in other races.

The screenshots posted in the gallery above show both the start of the human campaign and some samples of orc gameplay from Thrall's Training. Warcraft III is scheduled for release in June. For more information, take a look at our previous coverage of the game.

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