Warcraft III: Reforged Developer Update
Hail War3 Players,
We’ve been following the discussions the past couple days and want to thank you for your feedback as well as your support. First off, we want to say we’re sorry to those of you who didn’t have the experience you wanted, and we’d like to share our plans for what’s coming next.
There were a few hours during launch day where we experienced server-load issues that impacted players’ ability to jump right in, but we were able to resolve those later in the day. Separate from that, we’ve seen community feedback about different aspects of Reforged that we wanted to take some time to address.
Before we go on: the team is excited that Warcraft III: Reforged is finally upon us and we’re fully committed to supporting the game for a long time to come. The next few patches and updates we’ll discuss below are just part of our ongoing plans. This game is an integral part of the Blizzard DNA, with a team that loves Warcraft III, and we’re looking forward to pouring our hearts into Reforged and the Warcraft III community for the long term.
One of the concerns with Reforged that we’ve seen are the visuals when selecting Classic Mode. We’ve identified the bug causing the colors and shading to look different from the original Warcraft III, and we’re testing a fix that will be incorporated in a larger patch addressing this issue and others. We expect to release that late this week. The patch will also address many other known issues, such as fixing some portrait animations and audio bugs, implementing some UI fixes, and more. Please keep an eye out for the patch notes for a detailed list of all the bug fixes.
Another area of concern we’re seeing is regarding online features such as leaderboards and clans, which applies to all Warcraft III players, including those who haven’t purchased Reforged. At BlizzCon we talked a lot about how the team is actively working on standing up the back-end to ensure a smooth transition to this new MMR system, much like we did with StarCraft: Remastered. As with Remastered, these and other features will be included in a major patch for Reforged, which will also address the issue for players of the original game. We’ll share release plans as work progresses in the coming weeks—please be assured that the team is hard at work on standing these features up.
There are some individual concerns we’ve seen that we’re not currently planning to address and we wanted to give the community a heads-up. As of Version 1.30 of the original game, we saw very low usage of tournaments and of the Reign of Chaos ruleset, so we removed both in mid-2019 (in Version 1.31). Eliminating the maintenance for underused elements has helped us streamline our overall support of the game and focus on areas impacting the most players. That said, we do anticipate that players who prefer Reign of Chaos will find custom games with similar rulesets, which we hope will help satisfy that concern.
Related to that, as we talked about last year at BlizzCon, we did not want the in-game cutscenes to steer too far from the original game. We went a little deeper into the thought process behind that at the show, but the main takeaway is that the campaigns tell one of the classic stories in Warcraft history, and we want to preserve the true spirit of Warcraft III and allow players to relive these unforgettable moments as they were (albeit rebuilt with new animations and the higher fidelity art).
We know this update doesn’t address all questions, but we’re committed to the development and support of this game. We hope you’ll keep an eye out for this week’s patch and future updates and let us know what you think as we continue fine-tuning things. Until then, thank you as always for your support and passion for Warcraft III. We appreciate all your feedback and will continue to keep the Warcraft III community updated on everything we’re working on.
The Warcraft III: Reforged Team
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WARCRAFT III: REFORGED PATCH NOTES
Version 1.32 – January 28, 2020
Relive the events of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne with Warcraft III: Reforged. Experience the epic origin stories of Warcraft, now more stunning and evocative than ever before, with vivid recreations of every hero, unit, building, and environment.
- Install, update, and launch Warcraft III from the Blizzard Battle .net app.
- Includes integrated Groups and Chat.
- Restored three prologue missions from the original Warcraft III Demo: Riders on the Storm, The Fires Down Below, and Countdown to Extinction.
- Updated terrain, mission difficulty, and added auto-saves for all missions.
- Updated art and layout of major cities from three of Warcraft’s iconic cities: Dalaran, Silvermoon, and Stratholme.
- Updated all campaign characters and visual assets.
- Equip hero skins, choose your favorite portrait, and browse unlockable campaign and matchmaking rewards.
- Locale support added for Spanish (Latin America) and Portuguese (Brazil).
- Locale support updated for Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, German, Italian, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish (Spain).
Menus and Options
- Added “Grid” or traditional hotkey layouts.
- New gameplay settings for unit health bars, team colors, hero status bars, and cooldown display.
- Classic Account linking to keep your historic wins.
- Legacy accounts will expire in 90 days, so link as soon as possible.
- Toggle between Classic and Reforged mode for graphics and campaign content.
Versus - Competitive Matchmaking
- Queue for heads-up battle with the new matchmaking system for 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, or 4-person “Free For All” melee.
- Create your group and join 2v2, 3v3, or 4v4 together.
We’ve posted our Known Issues List in the Warcraft III Bug Report forum 481. Please ensure your drivers are up to date before reporting issues.
FROM 2002 TO 2020 —
How Warcraft III Birthed a Genre, Changed a Franchise, and Earned a Reforge-ing
Team behind Warcraft III looks back—how many games had NASA scientists behind the scenes?
by RICHARD C. MOSS
This article originally appeared on ars TECHNICA.
Few game worlds have made a mark as big as that of Warcraft. It has birthed three best-selling strategy games, a blockbuster Hollywood movie, a bunch of novels and comics, a mega-popular (digital) collectible card game (Hearthstone), and an epic, genre-defining MMO that, 15 years on from launch, is soon to get its eighth expansion. And while most of its cultural impact and fame (and infamy) stems from that MMO, World of Warcraft, there's something to be said for the quiet legacy of Blizzard's 2002 real-time strategy game Warcraft III.
Despite a long and troubled development—a development that included a name change and major shift in direction along the way—Warcraft III cemented the world of Azeroth in gaming culture. It paved the way for WoW's success, kicked off the trend of bringing RPG elements into non-RPG genres, triggered a revival in tower defense games, and spawned the uber-popular MOBA genre, which was invented out of its modding tools. (Warcraft III also happened to be a great game, too.)
With Blizzard's official remaster of the game, Warcraft III: Reforged, out today, it's high time to take a look back at Warcraft III's history. I spoke to eight of the roughly three dozen core development staff from the original Warcraft III team about how it was made and how it helped shape the future (which is now the present) of the games industry. This is a compressed retelling of their many stories and anecdotes.
Our story begins around 1998 just after the release of sci-fi RTS StarCraft. "There was some development being done on Brood War, which was an expansion," lead designer Rob Pardo told Ars. "Then there were two other teams that went off—one of which was going to work on a new Warcraft game."
But it was not a sequel. "We wanted to push past what we had been doing before to make something fresh," recalled Art Director Samwise Didier. StarCraft had nailed "the mass army vibe," he added, where you "toss marines and zerglings into the meat grinder." But with Warcraft, Didier argued, "units had always felt more like characters than just bodies to march off to slaughter." He and his colleagues wanted to accentuate that individuality.
The team soon came up with a concept for a squad-based tactical game centered around heroes and a smattering of role-playing elements. Gone were the resource collection and base building of previous Warcraft titles, and this new game would utilize a camera perspective that was more pulled-in—just a little further above and behind the hero character than you'd get in a third-person RPG. The team gave it the working title Warcraft Legends.
"For the first demo map we made, you controlled the Orc BladeMaster and we had him running around in a snowy environment," said environment artist Dave Berggren. "The culmination of the demo had you facing off against an undead dragon, which later became what we all know as the Undead Frost Wyrm, only this dragon was more of a boss fight and much larger in scale. Since there were no tools or systems in place yet to create the terrain or cliffs, all of the environment had to be custom built and patched together."
Level designer Dave Fried recalled that it didn't feel at all like an RTS. "Imagine League of Legends or Dota, and then you get additional heroes on the side of your hero, and you can use their abilities along with you, but they all sort of move as one and fight as one unit."
Programmer Andrea Pessino offered a more technical explanation: "It was supposed to be a client-server, online game, very instanced, you know, with this over-the-shoulder camera and full 3D. It was exactly what Guild Wars eventually became."
Blizzard announced the game in September 1999 under the Warcraft III moniker as "a role-playing strategy game," or "RPS" for short. It had six planned races and a slated release date of "late 2000." But discontent was growing within the team.
"We kinda got to this place where we had a sense that it's not getting someplace that we're excited about," recalled Pardo.
Fried filled in more of the details here: "Mo Brien [Mike O'Brien] was the one who was pushing for the tactics RPG stuff. But it was a big point of contention on the team—that, you know, it doesn't feel like an RTS anymore. It feels like a different style of game. Is this really the direction we want to go?"
Pessino remembers it fell to Blizzard co-founder and (now former) President Mike Morhaime to make the call. "He pulled the trigger and switched, which also caused a group of people to quit and go form a different company, a different studio, in order to realize the vision that they had," said Pessino. That breakaway group eventually went on to create Guild Wars—the critically acclaimed best-selling MMO that broke convention by foregoing subscription fees.
"So, you know, everyone benefited from that fall out," Fried said.
That is, everyone except maybe the programmers—at least initially. The change in direction generated more than a few headaches for them. "All the work that was done for the first version of Warcraft III," said Pessino. "[It] was for client-server, and it's a fundamentally different way of approaching running the simulation of a game."
For Diablo II, released in June 2000, Blizzard changed from a peer-to-peer to a client-server model for the network architecture supporting online play. It was a necessary move to curb the rampant cheating they had seen in Diablo and StarCraft online play. But for Warcraft III, the programmers had to adopt a hybrid of the two models. Today, Pessino still points to client-server as the ideal choice.
"Client-server has huge advantages," he explained, "particularly when it comes to cheating, which is a huge consideration with RTS games and with multiplayer games in general—you know, cheating and hacking and all of this other stuff is a huge deal. And that's why there have been so many attempts to try to move away from peer-to-peer.
"The fundamental difference is whether or not the state of the game is on your machine or you're only keeping the state that the server wants you to have," he continued. "For example, if I have on my machine the state of all the units that do not belong to me, someone can find a way to hack into it and show it. And all of a sudden someone can see what all the other units are doing, even though there'll still be fog of war and so forth. There is no real technical way to avoid that—not in a completely reliable way—if you are in peer-to-peer. Because they have the information. There's going to be some way you can get to it. It might be hard, but someone will figure it out."
In simple terms, client-server means running all the game logic and events on the server and then just feeding the state back to players. But with the huge amount of player-directed information bouncing around, Pessino explained that "it's very, very difficult to make an RTS game that works client-server."
"So we did a lot of work that ended up having to either be redone or adjusted or rethought in a new context when we switched to an RTS game, which went back to peer-to-peer—or in this case it was a bit of a hybrid system with a validation system and authentication system to help with cheating, but fundamentally it's still peer to peer."
Basically that means that in a multiplayer match, everybody's computer runs a separate copy of the simulation (i.e., all the AI and gameplay stuff) that continuously syncs with the player inputs and events from every other copy. And there's code in place to effectively arbitrate any disputes or discrepancies between the game state on each machine.
While the programmers rallied to re-architect the game engine, publicity and marketing commitments added an extra level of strain. "It was decided that we would show Warcraft III as an RTS at E3 2000," recalled Pessino. But that was no more than a month or two away.
"I still remember because, just to give you a sense of how different the times were, we had no unit movement logic. Everything was just really lame. It was all temporary stuff. Because when we switched, before there was no NPC side. There was no automatic unit behavior. It was all supposed to be multiplayer… So all of a sudden we needed unit behaviors and we had nothing. And I think...
Created by Mythic
18.104.22.168 BETA NOTES
- Jan 18, 2020
Pete Stilwell said:
We hope everyone that didn’t have weekend plans will join us - especially Mac players - to test this update. Release is on the horizon, and we appreciate your contributions to the process. Go team.
SPECIFIC CHANGES AND IMPROVEMENTS
- Performance optimizations and stability improvements for menus and gameplay
- Locale fonts updated
- All locales have functioning voice over and portrait animations again
- Classic camera restored
- Dev Note: The camera position moved by ~10% when we started drawing the game fullscreen to support the new console UI - the original game stopped drawing where it met the original UI. We’re working on adjustments to the washed out team colors making Wisps or similar elements with transparency faint in classic.
Beta Known Issues List
- Early game should no longer have a crash with no error
- Volcano effect should no longer cause huge hitch or crash
- Game screens should load more than audio
- We’re still investigating the desync that seems most associated with LegionTD
Created by Archian
- Jan 7, 2020
Modern Times Group properties ESL and DreamHack have entered a three-year strategic agreement with Blizzard Entertainment.
StarCraft II and Warcraft III: Reforged will receive their own ESL Pro Tour circuits with respective prize pools of $1.8 million and over US $200,000 in 2020 as part of the deal.
As a replacement of the StarCraft II World Championship Series, the ESL Pro Tour StarCraft II will have tournaments in at least four continents. The qualifying format for the circuit will be based off of the existing WCS system, with the first season being made up of seven tournaments: two IEM events, four DreamHack stops, and a Masters Championship at IEM Katowice in 2021.
Sebastian Weishaar, CPO at ESL discussed the deal in a release:
The ESL Pro Tour WarCraft III: Reforged has also been announced, comprised of one ESL competition and three DreamHack events – all working towards a championship tournament to be held later in 2020. The newly-announced ESL Pro Tours will have weekly ESL Open Cups to support the amateur communities of each title.
J. Allen Brack, President of Blizzard Entertainment also commented on the landmark agreement:
J. Allen Brack said:
We are so proud that StarCraft II and Warcraft III are home to two of the most passionate, storied and devoted communities in esports history. Both ESL and DreamHack have been long-standing partners for our esports, and we want to give our players, talent, content creators and fans the stability inherent in a long-term relationship, keeping these communities thriving for yearsto come.
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