Feature Article

Warcraft 3 Remains Fun But Reforged Is A Disappointment On Many Fronts

A wise peasant once asked, "More work?"

I was an avid StarCraft player when Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos first came out in 2002, opting to stick with the sci-fi and skip on the fantasy when it came to my real-time strategy game of choice. But I certainly understand Warcraft's importance and thought the latest Blizzard remaster, Warcraft 3: Reforged, would be a great opportunity to play a classic for the first time. And while, yes, many of the gameplay aspects still hold up well in 2020, it falls well short of being the proper remaster that it was hyped to be.

From a technical standpoint, Reforged boasts significant graphical improvements, most noticeable in the detailed character models and redone textures. Below, you can see a side-by-side comparison of an in-game cutscene between the original and Reforged (and I'm very thankful for the portrait overhauls). You're allowed to swap between the two in the graphics menu, and it's only when you go back to classic mode that you really appreciate the upgrade.

Gallery image 1Gallery image 2
You can't undersell the graphical improvement of Reforged when you get up close and personal.

Here's where Reforged gets lost: What we saw back at BlizzCon 2018 isn't what we got at launch. Part of the disappointment stems from the initial Reforged reveal and playable demo, which featured in-game cutscenes that were redone to capture a much more cinematic quality--that didn't happen. Blizzard also stated that it was going to rework story elements to align with World of Warcraft's lore, but decided against it, attributing the decision to fan feedback. Even smaller things, like the overhauled UI that would've streamlined its look, were scrapped in Reforged; the UI was also part of the preview build shown at BlizzCon.

Accounting for all the things we thought Warcraft 3 Reforged would be, it's easy to feel underwhelmed by the launch product.

A larger problem with Reforged is that the classic game has been lumped in with the remaster, existing as one client as part of the new 1.31.1 patch--any issues present in Warcraft 3 apply to both classic and Reforged modes. There have been some improvements made to matchmaking, but competitive ladders are currently not in place with no word on when they'll be implemented. It's also been tough going trying to connect to custom games, though I've had some success getting in on a few neat tower defense matches. And while it doesn't affect me directly, that improved world editor and the wild possibilities in custom maps, such as increased player counts and unlimited unit caps--well, Blizzard assumes control over user-generated content through its new user agreement.

I'm also here to enjoy the campaign, and I'm so far captivated by its structure and style, but I continue to encounter insurmountable bugs where cutscenes simply won't play--they'll load, then skip to a mission results screen. Essentially, I'm missing out on key moments in the story, which is one of the highlights of Warcraft 3 and the series as a whole.

Warcraft 3's gameplay holds up well in 2020.
Warcraft 3's gameplay holds up well in 2020.

As a longtime StarCraft player, I can't help but think about how much its remaster helped reinvigorate a classic game. Reforged is of course a different beast because of its use of true 3D graphics and implementation of some actual core gameplay tweaks, and by comparison, the initial vision for Reforged had grander ambitions than the end result. But at its core, the expectation was for Reforged to usher a game several generations old into a new era with modernizations and refinements.

At the same time, I have nostalgia for the thrill of the '00s-style RTS, base building, micromanaging, adapting build orders and all. And having missed out on Warcraft 3 all these years, playing Reforged is scratching that itch on its own. It's like a trip back in time, the old feel of a classic RTS with mechanics that are easily noticeable for having influenced what came after it. You can trace the prevalence of the "hero" role in today's competitive games back to Warcraft 3's Hero units, which was a huge factor in distinguishing it from other RTS, and obviously paving the way for MOBAs. In that regard, Warcraft 3 still holds up well both as a worthwhile RTS and a game that retains a sense of mechanical modernity.

I don't think it's fair to dismiss the work that was put into Reforged, but it's clear the work isn't quite finished. It's also hard to tell exactly why Warcraft 3 Reforged became a lesser form than what was first promised.

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highammichael

Michael Higham

Associate Editor at GameSpot. Southeast San Diego to the Bay. Salamat sa iyong suporta!

Warcraft III: Reforged

Warcraft III: Reforged

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sladakrobot

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Edited By sladakrobot

Ones also have to agree to the policy that every content you make from now on is a intelectuall and moral property of Blizzard!

Blizzard can use every mod without asking ,they can make money of it and you wont become a cent,they dont even need to mention who the creator is if they dont want to!
I guess they still cry about how much money they missed while DotA rised and they couldnt make money of it

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timthegem

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Blizzard: "Trust me, believe me...Mexico will pay for the wall, let me tell you...."

Fan Bois: "Shut up and take our money!!1"

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Ultramarinus

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Warcraft III: Refunded

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Djfrido

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The bugs are annoying, but the game is overall good. The only problem with the game is the way blizzard advertised it. If they would have just admitted from the beginning it was just simply a graphics overhaul, nobody would have complained. They obviously had larger ambitions to start with, but it'll probably be 10 years before we find out the real reasons they scrapped those. Most likely profit margin estimates.

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Mogan

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Mogan  Moderator

@djfrido: They did actually announce that they were walking back the changes after fan feedback said don't alter that much. That news didn't get circulated nearly so widely as the initial reveal did though, so a lot of folks assumed Blizzard was still doing new cutscenes and "pushing it."

Maybe the reaction to Reforged will convince them to go back and do some of that stuff anyway.

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Creepshow2

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Edited By Creepshow2

Blizzard is not the same company anymore. Like Bio-ware they have lost tons of talented devs and lost a lot of great leadership. Merging with Activision was the worst mistake they have ever made. I never thought I would ever see Blizzard fall and at the same time see EA making strides at getting back to a good company, but I am seeing it happen. I am seeing EA doing better and Blizzard doing worse. Blizz if you read this you can reverse coarse and start listening to your players. They will forgive you, but if not your company will start tanking.

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GeekWell

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So , what's left to compete with age 4 this year ....

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barnold81

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I think Blizzard has suffered because of Activision. I don't think everything is driven by passion like it was with the younger Blizzard.

I was hoping this would be great because I love playing Warcraft III and have trouble running it on my machine. I may wait until the problems are fixed, or not get it at all. I'm sure there are better RTS games to play that I haven't discovered. This one just happened to be my favorite.

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Planeforger

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So this is a review, but where is the score?

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Mogan

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Mogan  Moderator

@Planeforger: This isn't listed as a review. I don't know if GameSpot is going to review Reforged or not.

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jwsoul

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Rate it then ??

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MattWoahYeah

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I don't get how fans immediately start ripping into the generalized "corporations are evil and greedy!" stereotype the second a game isn't what they want it to be.

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skippert

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Edited By skippert

@mattwoahyeah: I agree things can sometimes get out of hand within the community sometimes but I am not sure if this is the case now. This game will always get a solid 5 or 6/10 review because it's still Warcraft 3. Metacritic shows a review score around that (excluding the users). The question you should be asking is if it deserves that. If you have been following this 'remaster' and know about the features that were shown/teased by Blizzard then honestly the feedback it's getting from consumers now is legitimate. On top of the missing features, Blizzard has also got a pretty nasty user agreement built-in which potentially could destroy this game from the get-go. News is also getting out that they have been banning people on the user forums that are attempting to assist people in getting a refund. All in all, I think Blizzard should be ashamed. Remember that if we don't say or do anything about this then who will do it in our stead? You can only make companies like this listen in one way and that's by ensuring the game is not sold well. Then maybe next time they might try a little harder instead of trying to screw us all again. It's been said before, but this is as bad if not worse as Anthem, they used the fan-base nostalgia to get those pre-orders in and screwed them over.

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ThreepumpG

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@mattwoahyeah: we were promised a different game, I wanted it to be what was advertised, instead we got a different product. A product that changed the original game, as the infrastructure has been "Updated", so I can't even play the original game anymore.

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deactivated-5ecbd14c755a5

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@mattwoahyeah: I mean... in most cases I'd agree that fans are jumping the gun, but this is an Anthem-level bait and switch on the part of Blizzard. Showing cutscenes, saying said cutscenes are an accurate representation of the remaster, then not having anywhere near those quality cutscenes in the finished product without ever publicly acknowledging the change is an extremely shady thing to do. An indie wouldn't survive this level of bad press, only an established corporation with a catalog of other successful titles would.

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Mogan

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Edited By Mogan  Moderator

@mattwoahyeah: It’s SOP. Plus, there are a lot of folks actively looking for reasons to **** on Blizzard already.

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archav3n

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imo blizzard now are filled with alot of people with no talents. even indie can do a much better job than them.

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Fandango_Letho

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Edited By Fandango_Letho

@archav3n: Talents and outsourced developement with budget restraints are two different things.

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Revl8n

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Edited By Revl8n

This half baked update to a decade old game is a disgrace. This is not new IP. This is not groundbreaking - it is not even dust moving. It is an unfinished retread of a game targeting the remaining good will of the customer base on pre-order hype based on lies. If Blizzard intended anything else they would honor refunds. They stole your money. They know it - it was the plan after all. And nothing short of a court order will get you a refund. The ESRB is a joke. The US Consumer Protection Agency is a joke. The only way to stop this garbage is for you the customer to just say NO. No more pre-orders. No more excuses. Or you know...just keep “signing away your moral rights“ while some fat hippie jackass buys a new yacht with your money.

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Ormgaard

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@Revl8n: while i agree that the game is a mess,i did get a refund within 5hours of asking for it.

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Ultralof

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@Revl8n: TWO decades old even. Well, almost. It was 2001 it came out, right?

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Mogan

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Mogan  Moderator

@ultralof: 2002, but yeah, pretty close to 20 years old.

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mboettcher

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Edited By mboettcher

https://media.giphy.com/media/bShZLaEU4Bj6E/giphy.gif

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Thanatos2k

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Edited By Thanatos2k

This is a disgrace. The fact that they also managed to permanently ruin the old Warcraft 3 by refusing to let you play it anymore without their new buggy downgraded APIs is unconscionable.

Blizzard has really spun into the toilet over the last few years. They're just Activision now, body and soul. All the people who made their once great games are long gone, like Bioware.

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knowledgeplease

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@Thanatos2k: wait what happened to classic wc3?

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Thanatos2k

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Edited By Thanatos2k

@knowledgeplease: https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/warcraft3/t/reforged-is-a-forced-downgrade-for-classic-users/14852

They forced people playing classic into using their new engine, and onto their new battle.net system. Which brings in all the bugs and completely removes TONS of existing features.

There is no opt out, and they never even told anyone this would be happening. It's one of the worst actions I've ever seen a company take.

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the_bi99man

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@Thanatos2k: sad to say, I agree. I uninstalled all my (modern) blizzard stuff during the Hong Kong shit, but I figured I would eventually give in and come back to them. Thought reforged would be one of the games that did that for me. But I guess I'm actually done with them. Too bad. End of an era.

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knowledgeplease

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@the_bi99man: inb4 you buy diablo 4 ;)

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Mogan

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Hopefully, they’ll fix this in post, as it were. I bought Reforged just to play the campaigns again, and I haven’t hit any bugs there yet and I don’t care about story changes, but I do wish they’d done more with the camera work in the cutscenes.

I also wish they’d added the option to customize the controls. I get that the old RTS games didn’t make that easy, but in 2020, that’s not an excuse.

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duron2

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Edited By duron2

Great article. Thanks for putting something honest up on here.

Favourite line:

"I don't think it's fair to dismiss the work that was put into Reforged, but it's clear the work isn't quite finished. It's also hard to tell exactly why WarCraft 3 Reforged became a lesser form than what was first promised."

Blizzard is such a sad company now. They couldn't put out a good quality product to save their lives.

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