Guidliness for making a custom Race

Level 20
Jul 27, 2008


So you are making a custom race and there are three reason why. Altered Melee that adds new races to existing Blizzard races, Campaign a long and hard project to show creative story and Map with creative gameplay that rejects warcraft system and adds new gameplay and is usually Multiplayer Map. The most important thing when making race is balance. Remember your race must be able to win and to loseagainst other 4 races. Then comes the backstory of race and looks which are very important. Making race is not hard but it takes plenty of logical thinking and creativity.

You can also read How to create custom race and very useful system if you are adding your race to map is this System. And if you want to make next step and create AI you can visit AI Editor Tutorial.


Step 1 - Basics

First thing to do is decide race. Race is more then just models units use, you must consider their backstory and their culture. You must understand what words you'll be naming your units mean and not just use words because they sound cool or are used somewhere. For example you can't have night elf mage, reason night elves don't use arcane magic. Also it is highly advised to be creative when naming and not reuse common words like the forever abused WoW class names.

Now that we are done with naming comes features and theme your race will have. Common mistake in new races is that they have no unique feature. Some example of needed features are:

Constructing - This one is hard to do and it is understandable if you don't do it. But consider for second that all blizzard races have unique constructing like human peasants can construct together, orcs construct in safety of buildings, undead summon and night elves lose their worker.

Resources - Another rare feature is custom resource. Standard resource usually is Human and Orc system while undead and night elf have their own systems.

Defense - You may have not noticed but food production buildings have defensive role. Burrows and Ziggurats attack, Moon Wells heal and Farms are cheep walls. Also there is always another defense like human Call to Arms, Orc Spiked Barricades, Undead Main building attack and blight heal factor and Night Elven Buildings all have melee. This feature is easier to do then last two and is shame not to make it.

Racial Skill - Each race has this. For example humans have highest armor (yea they are kinda boring), orcs have pillage and best brute force, undead have blight regeneration and you could say cannibalism and disease cloud counts too. Night elves probably have most noticeable ones like shadowmeld, ultravision and night regeneration (maybe its just me but I never noticed this). So when you are making your race think of abilities, upgrades or stats that are shared by several units it is needed for feeling that your race is not just sum of different units.

In short remember to think creatively and as always be sure its balanced against other races. And be sure your race doesn't feel like copy of 4 main races.
Level 20
Jul 27, 2008
Step 2 - Units

Ok this will probably be most detailed of all steps so read careful but also remember these are guidelines and not rules. Units are the core of your race and strategies and thus each unit has a purpose and role. Optimal number of units is around 12 so let us begin.

Main Building Unit

-Worker, your first unit that builds and harvests. They also can preform defensive duties like Human millitia, Orc peons entering burrows and Wisp Detonation. Undead acolytes have best attack of all workers but their benefit is that you need just 5 of them and ghouls act as undead resource/defense. So try to make your workers useful for more then just usual constructing and resource collection. Remember poor workers.

Standard Melee units

These are your backbone units and here I'll describe several examples.

-Tier 1 melee unit, the core of early game. These units usually are obsolete at tier 3 and are one of few unit examples that are obsolete. Usually they have maximum 2 upgrades, 1 upgrade is ability which is best to be passive or click and activate. Reason is because you will have masses of these units and you just can't aim and click with each other, that's role of casters. Second upgrade is stat increment upgrade so nothing special. You don't have to have both upgrades as you can see footman just has just Defend and Grunt has HP upgrade.

-Tier 3 Melee unit the core of late game. These units without doubt replace your tier 1 melee. They almost always have just 1 upgrade and it is either passive ability (Tauren Abomination) or stat upgrade (Knight Ability) or click activation (Druid of the Claw Bear form). Reason is same as it was for tier 1 unit, you will have plenty of these guys and they shouldn't take role of casters.

Ranged Unit

Its your standard tier 1 ranged unit and there is just 1 per race. They always have pierce attack and medium armor and number of upgrade isn't constant. Usually they get stat upgrades for range and in most cases some interesting abilities. For example Nerubians get Web which they need to be effective as other races ranged units (its also auto-cast because that makes life easier) and also burrow. Spear Throwers get berserk ability to temporary increase speed and archers get riding hippogriff (this is personal opinion but i don't find this ability useful as it reduces anti-air attack). You should be creative with this unit.

Siege Units

There are two of them per race, one standard long ranged and one special melee.

-Long Ranged are the obvious they have long range and splash damage and are ineffective against most units. But they are effective against casters. Usually they get ability to increase their damage effectiveness against units like Mortar Team get increased damage against lightly armored units, Demolishes get Burning Oil (my favorite), Meat wagons get cloud and Glaive Throwers...get ability to attack trees and to supposedly hit units in straight line but I myself never noticed hat effect. Of course you can always add some cool feature like Meat Wagon corpses.

-Melee Siege is probably rarely used as siege. Raiders for example are great hit and run tactics to swiftly destroy buildings and get cash at same time but I am sure we all use them because of net. Humans get Siege Engine which is extremely durable (it has building armor) and they get Anti Air attack. Mountain Giants with tree also count but they are more useful as distraction but not as replacement for bears they cost to much and are to slow. As you can see these guys usually have dual role and are special units that can allow you to preform unique strategies.

-Air siege, these are special example for example Chimera and Frost Wyrm. But you should be careful with making these as they can be unbalanced and thus units usually have weakness like Chimeras can't attack Air or Frost Wyrm slow and short range.


Probably one of most fun group of units. As rule you usually have 2 standard casters and 1 unique caster.

-Standard casters can have several roles. Most standard in my opinion are Support caster and Offensive caster. As you all know these guys have 3 abilities and almost always have 1 auto cast to make life easier. These guys are squishy, cheep but expensive investment and serve to aid your Melee and Ranged units and never directly kill themselves. Also if you ever for some reason give hero spell to these guys reduce effectiveness dramatically as unlike heroes you can spam casters. Don't even dare to use ultimate abilities unless they are completely changed.
*Support casters generally aim at casting on your own units. They heal, buff or remove negative effects.
*Offensive casters aim at enemy reducing their effectiveness.

You are welcomed to mix Support and offensive casters to create hybrid but always be sure to have 1 heal spell and 1 dispel ability if you have no anti caster unit.

- Unique Casters can be unusual but often are anti-casters. Example is Spell breaker but also flying units like Fairy Dragon and Destroyer. In Orcs case they have simply 3rd regular caster. You should have noticed by now that you can have 2 or 3 air units. No more and no less. They also usually need Shop Building as requirement.

Flying Units

The flying units, minimal amount should be 2 but can be more.

- Light Anti-air unit is available at tier 2 it has high anti air attack (usually normal type) or ability that is effective against air but also pathetic or no ground attack.

- Heavy Air unit is very often the ultimate unit. They have very high attack and often a passive ability but duo to their cost or some other handicap like Chimeras no air attack they don't completely remove light air units and often work great as combination.

- Optional 3rd Air unit is already covered under casters but special mention goes to scout machine who... does anyone even use them? They were reasonably effective before TFT.

* Often air units have anti-tower abilities. Can be your heavy air unit like Chimera and Frost wyrm with Corrosive Breath and Freeze or light air unit like dragonhawk with aerial chains or troll with suicide.


Last info before we go to buildings. You may have noticed that not all units fit in to these categories or on the other hand are in two categories. This is because you don't have to follow everything written here as long as units you make don't share roles. I also give special mentioning to Kodo who is the only Aura unit and thus supports your units but as attack upgrades don't affect Kodo you can't use it as damage unit. Another unit I'll mention is dryad who is pure anti-caster and ranged unit But duo to their armor type they are inferior against other ranged so they don't replace archers. Remember always that standard Melee, Ranged and Air units are your damage dealers other units are support or counters and aren't meant to be DPS.

Level 20
Jul 27, 2008
Step 3 - Buildings

I rarely see people making mistakes with buildings like they do with units but I'll say something anyway. Except Altar we all know what it does.

Main Building is understand by all it makes workers, has item carry upgrade and sometimes has racial upgrade like Pillage or Night Elf treant and ancient defense upgrade. Can also have defensive capability which was said under features section.

Food Production as name implies provides food for population serves dual role as defense building. If you want to have good race make this building do something.

Primary Troop Building trains tier 1 melee, ranged and siege or tier 3 melee depends of you. Also has upgrades that affect units it trains.

Secondary Troop production usually has theme. Humans have machine themed, Orcs have beast themed, Undead have corpse theme and Night elves have air theme. You place here any unit that isn't in Primary building or caster and have upgrades that affect units it trains.

Caster Building for casters naturally and gets upgrades for casters. Special mention to Human who have upgrade that effects towers.

Ultimate Building that trains most powerful unit who is often air unit. Sometimes they can have 2 units like humans though I think they could have placed dragonhawk in caster building but guess then there would be to many upgrades.

Upgrade/lumber harvest Building. Can be same building or 2 and has upgrades that increase damage and attack always and sometimes upgrades that benefit buildings. Undead Graveyard is also corpse making building so you can make these buildings defensive too.

Shops in short have these items:
The 1st row:
- Level 1 race-unique item (like regeneration ones for human/orc, skeleton summoner for undead and eclipse for elf)
- Lesser Clarity Potion
- Random level 1 item (mechanical critter for human, flag of speed for orc, blight creator for undead, detect-invisibility consumable for elf)
The 2nd row, available at Tier 2:
- Healing Potion
- Mana Potion
- Scroll of Town Portal
- Optional: random level 2 item (similar to level 2 items in goblin shop)
The 3rd row, avilable at 3rd Tier
- Orb attack item
- Random level 3 item (similar to level 3 items in goblin shop)

And last and my least favorite the Towers. Basiclly units that can move and cost no food. Usually you have just 1 but you can add variations that start from building with no attack.
Level 20
Jul 27, 2008

And now the most famous feature of Warcraft 3, the core of every army you make. Because they are that important there should be great care when making heroes and are probably hardest thing you will make for a race. To make it easier I'll use RPG terms to describe heroes but you'll most likely want to see other guides because I myself am bad at making heroes. As rule you always have 4 heroes and keep in mind that they have limited mana and can't level up and use all 3 spells at same time so keep in mind that when you design heroes, auras and passives are there for a reason. Heroes are separated in to 3 categories:

Strength Heroes
These guys are toughest heroes and can often be tanks but are also great support. These guys bring pain to the enemies and inspire your men.

1st Spell - Most common spell here is single target spell (but not allways). This slot either hurts enemy-ies or sometimes helps your units.

2nd Spell - Survival or crowd spell. Can be many things like AoE damage/debuf or if for some reason your first spell is AoE then its single target crowd spell or just panic button like for Paladins.

3rd Spell - You have by now noticed that first two spells use mana duo to limit you can't use both and in most cases you chose to level up 1. Now I say this because 3rd spell is passive in almost every case. Strength heroes can't use actively to many abilities that use mana thus 3rd spell either is Aura, Passive or in some cases spell that has specific use and you won't spam it.

The ultimate spell. This one depends on type of hero and what spells you have so far. It will either be support or hero boost. You should be creative with this spell.

Intelligence Heroes

These guys are support or nukers so don't expect them to go 1v1 with other heroes. These guys change course of battle with destructive spells or summoned armies. That being said these guys will use their spells a lot.

1st spell - Its almost always something destructive. Blizzard, chain Lightning, Entangle and many more but they always hurt.

2nd Spell - Often summon spell but you can put here almost anything as long as it isn't same as your first.

3rd Spell - This spell is mana related in most cases. It makes sure your hero regenerates or gains more of it or can be passive that doesn't use mana. You don't have to make it mana related but keep in mind hero can't actively use 3 spells at same time.

4nd Ultimate - No pattern here, be creative

Agility Heroes

These guys are experts at killing and survival. As far as I can see their slots don't have pattern but they have 1 or 2 abilities to get them out of danger (mirror image, wind walk, blink, evade), they can have AoE damage abilities and also single target abilities or passive increase of attack or they can have abilities to slow down or interrupt enemy heroes. These guys are probably closest thing to an RPG hero unlike previous two who have clear roles on battlefield. I can't find anything in common with Warden, Demon Hunter, Blademaster, Priestess of the Moon and Shadow Hunter and not to mention Dark Ranger, Fire Lord. Though I guess general case is single target killer as most of these heroes are are good at countering other heroes (except PotM and Shadow Hunter) but aren't durable against whole armies (Though Demon Hunter might disagree with me...)