Dark Portal: Heros' Return, Demo, v0.03a (Update - 12-26-19)

Level 6
Aug 28, 2019
Hi everyone - ThomasEddington here, with a project I have been working on for a long time, and I have a demo version available to test/play.

This is Dark Portal: Heroes Return. This is a 1-player map. I was originally having this map hosted at Clan TDG (jx3) since about 2011 but it seems everyone has left, so now I come here!

Sylvanas is washed ashore an unknown land with amnesia, and must figure out how/why she got there.

A version of the Wc3 story where Sylvanas is NOT undead, and the details about that would be fleshed out in the story later on. Basically the Lich King has come to this unknown land and plans to overtake it, and the reason for that remains to be discovered...

In this map is the beginning of what I call the Text-Based Command System (TBCS) which is a bit like Dungeons and Dragons. If you think of a command and type it, then you might get a response based on the location of your Hero. So far for the demo I have the "look around" command done, for the demo area. The creative potential here is limitless. This is something that will be developed further throughout map development.

There is also an ability called the "Interface" ability which is crucial for map progression, hotkey "Z" for Heroes. Hero level cap is 50, and abilities are customized to allow your 4 left fingers to comfortably sit above the keys "ZXCV".


If this map speaks to you and you'd like to help out and collaborate, please let me know.

9/22/19 - Update #1 -
After much-appreciated input from MWM, made some changes:
--Fixed typo in Evasion tooltip
--Adjusted text colors to be more visible
--Finished off rocky coastline, minor polishing
--Fixed up Interface, now it doesn't seem to have an animation, which is better, less distracting
--On Sylvanas, swapped out Trueshot aura for a MUCH more active ability, which will have more interesting stuff at higher levels; also as recommended, compressed Starfall's channel time and increased damage
--Added a temporary barrier to keep players out of the river gate area early game, this breaks when talking to Elias, already tested

Things considered:
--Mini early economy - maybe a shop, maybe something to use gold on, need more ideas
--Will finish terraining other areas when we get there... polishing for later
--Before changing town doodads, I think we need input for all the towns to make it cohesive/coherent; also need to consider what, if any, and how many, custom imports will feed into this...

9/27/19 - Update #2 -
-- Still in demo, had to re-upload to appropriate area as I incorrectly had the map uploaded somewhere else - thank you deepstrasz.
-- Many additional planning and story notes in the triggers, more to come.

10/05/19 - Update #3 -
-- Demo expanded into Havenrise quests; now player can get into Havenrise, the central kingdom, and begin to help the town establish itself, and learn some of the pertinent history. The End-of-Demo Thank You message is attainable (I have tested this myself).

12/26/19 - Update #4 -
-- Big update. Story progression and tons of playtesting. As of today it is possible to reach the plateau of the Originators, and when interfacing with a certain someone, player will get the Thank You message of completion. Right now there are 4 playable Heroes, 2 of which are completely done ability-wise, the other 2 need work. Did lots of trigger reworking and dealt with many unexpected crashes.

More gameplay shots will be shared as I get some good ones.


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Level 6
Aug 28, 2019
Here are some screen shots from in-game. Exhibited here in no particular order are:

-a new ability I made for Sylvanas, the Binding Ward
-a fight near Havenrise
-an example of choosing between options when doing quests/etc
-an example of using the Text-Based Command System
-the forest (Wood of the Stars)
-aftermath of the first Cape of Anduin battle


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Level 6
Aug 28, 2019
This post will be an explanation of the storyline, and some of the major plot points (will avoid spoilers, since I think the story is kinda cool, if I can finish this map).

Sylvanas is shipwrecked in an unknown land with amnesia (I know it's cliche, I have played Link's Awakening/FF7). She must gather her shipwrecked archers and talk to a projection of a great mage awaiting her, who helps her with continuing the quest she has no recollection of.

Sylvanas soon gets involved in a surprise attack at the Cape of Anduin (the name makes one wonder about Lothar's Exodus...were these people originally separated from the Exodus?), helping to defend against Marauders invading. A knight commander Elias joins Sylvanas to escort her to the Kingdom of Havenrise. They must make their way through the Wood of the Stars, which has become infested with dark creatures recently. Upon arriving to Havenrise, the King (who has been expecting Sylvanas) tasks her with assisting with strengthening defenses given the civil war that has been going on.

***Avoiding spoilers***

Sylvanas eventually meets up with the mage (name omitted for now) that she originally sought to meet with, and learns the reason she came to this far-off land in the first place.

The main plot: The Lich King has sought to control this land for a particular reason in order to exact more power over this dimension and infinite others (???). Sylvanas and company must awaken the Originators, the first Night Elves, who tend a very important type of Inter-dimensional Garden...

Throughout the story, Sylvanas recruits various Heroes. The gameplay will be mixed - that of RPG, Adventure, and some RTS/Siege elements. The Text-Based Command System may give somewhat of a D&D feel. There will be numerous times where player can make different decisions, and some decisions won't necessarily be apparent.

Some polishing notes - ideally, there will be custom music and sound effects with this map if time and file size allow, and after all custom units/animations/skins are imported.

Right now, there are numerous areas within the trigger list of areas where more detail is needed. Once map is completed, whatever stuff needs more fleshing out will be open for others to participate in, if anyone wants to contribute.

More updates coming... I would like to finish the main story line before uploading again... feel free to drop a line if you want to say anything...
Level 6
Aug 28, 2019
Night Elf Race:

"Grandfather" - [MountainGiant.blp, by L_Lawliet, a lava version] - its name is from Native American traditions, as "grandfather" is a reference to hot rocks in sweat lodges. Basically a mountain giant with fiery/lava-themed abilities. War club has fire animation and a projectile attack, more damage, fewer swings. Removed resistant skin. Gave it immolation w/upgrade potential. Hardened skin has upgrade potential. Taunt unchanged. All new icons made by Hive creators. This unit is completed.

"Scout" - [MoonHuntress, by Hexus] - This unit's animations are vast, but I will probably stick with just the bow-based animations because the hand-to-hand animations are awkward. Has poison arrows, might give other abilities later.

"Earth Mother" - [SylvanEnchantress model ] - The Hero, Celestenes, is the sister of Cenarius, and has similar abilities as her brother. She has divine armor, and has a ton of abilities, since she has a staff and a spellbook (permanent items) as well as Hero spells. She will be able to summon Clouds, which have their own level of complexity (I will need to make a separate post about this).

"Flower Dryad" [Flower Dryad, by Hexus] - like the usual dryad, but does not have poison arrows, but instead a similar but more powerful added effect (surprise). Will have some added abilities because there will not be any druids in the lineup.

"Griffon" - [GryphFinalUpdate.mdx, by Hayate] - Hayate did a beautiful job on this one, and I want to make it a part of the Originators. I am thinking for the storyline, it was the Night Elves that originally introduced the Dwarves to Griffons historically. Given the flying and walking forms of this model, I am considering making a smaller infantry version of the unit as well as a Hero version... or perhaps simply just have a single Hero version and have a bunch of nested Griffons with eggs (thanks to the ridiculously cool number of alternate animations within this model) that will serve as part of a side quest on the plateau.

I decided on having 3 of these units, and they will have their own sidequest; the Hero version (golden-hue) will of course have a couple Hero abilities, and will be able to pick up units (using Devour, with no damage) and will be able to drop off units using the Unload ability, one unit at a time. I have already tested this and it works. The small griffon will be a generic lone griffon, and bigger one is a nesting Griffon, which will be part of a side quest where you have to clear out the Harpy nests so that the Griffons can nest.

"Defender" - [A version of Dismounted Huntress, by Cuore] - Many/Much thanks to Cuore, a model maker who was gracious enough to work with my many demands to make this model a reality! She's got defender animations (and a bunch of others) and will serve as a precursor to the mounted version, the "Tracker".

"Tracker" - [Huntress, by Cuore] - The high-res version of the Huntress, just changed the name to possibly point to her function. Not sure if "tracking" will be a think in my project, but the name is cool at least. Will have the huntress abilities and maybe 1 more. When dismounted as the "Defender" can use the Defend ability and take more damage.

"Panther" - not sure on the soundset for this one, and looking bland in terms of abilities at the moment.

"Faerie" - [Faerie, by donut3.5] - the faerie dragon always seemed random in a lame way to me, so here is a real faerie to work with the night elves. Abilities still up in the air on this one, will probably make most of them passive autocasts with the ability to choose which you want. Might as well give it Faerie Fire, too, since no druids.


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Level 6
Aug 28, 2019
Hi guys - a belated Merry Christmas to everyone. Working some issues before the next version comes out - it seems I am dealing with crashes/errors in earlier parts of the game that were not present before. I wonder if either 1) some of the models I have imported have caused some incalculable instability or 2) my computer needs to be restarted or 3) I need to delete the system32 folder... anyway, stay tuned... will try to get some more screen shots too.