Best Multiplayer Strategy Game on PC
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
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Because of the relatively low unit cap, the game is the most tactical traditional RTS in recent years. Even though there are four very different races with unique units and tech trees, the unit balance is so refined that practically all the units have their uses, not to mention a lot of personality. There's a premium placed on combining different types of units and micromanaging them to best effect, but the game has effective unit AI and some automation of spellcasting to let you put your attention where it counts, usually on controlling a hero character.
Warcraft III's central innovation is its hero system. Other RTS games may have heroes, but here they gain experience over the course of a single match, and it's not necessarily game over if a hero dies. Each of the four sides has three types of heroes, and as they gain experience, they become extraordinarily powerful units in their own right. Plus, in a nod to Warcraft III's initial hybrid-RPG concept, heroes can collect and use units for the benefit of an individual unit or a group.
As a whole, the game's design makes for fast-paced and aggressive matches. Playing online against experienced opponents can be very challenging for a beginner, but at least the matches are short and Battle.net makes it very easy to find opponents. There's a sophisticated ranking system and a quick match option for finding players with a similar record. And for a change of pace, there are plenty of wacky mods to try out. All this makes for a game that people, including some of the GameSpot editors, will be playing for many months, or even years.