You read that right. Heart of Storms (HoS, not to be confused with Heroes of the Storm or Heart of the Swarm) is back after 9 years spent in limbo.
For those who never heard of it, the old site still works (though it barely has any info): Heart of Storms MOD
As does the forum (thought it's predictably dead): http://forum.samods.org/index.php?board=14.0
Here's the official trailer (circa 2007):
And a new screenie, just for you.
So, what was HoS supposed to be?
A large scale mod with all playable races heavily modified, a custom campaign, and updated graphics. Not just every unit and hero got a new model, the overall level of visuals was raised up compared to Warcraft III, with more detailed and (wherever possible) realistically animated recycled and custom models, accordingly updated textures, attention to detail and coherent, thought-out design and style for each race. Even the basic terrain elements such as trees received updated models.
HoS was following Blizzard's canon in many story and design aspects, but also introduced brand new sides of the conflict, the enigmatic Shadow Elves and the Stygians, a technologically advanced race that was supposed to be the Burning Legion's nemesis. The story was set in Warcraft II era with many missions following historical events, but eventually heroes being off to a conflict not related to the Second War.
It was probably one of the largest scale mods in Warcraft III modding history. Other projects aimed for either a story-driven campaign, or a races conversion, and few actually dared to replace most models and even voices (and HoS had some nice voice work, too), while HoS was supposed to have it all in one.
It didn't work at that time despite the amount of stuff we finished. But it was a nice, very nice try. HoS left a legacy, inspiring many other modders, and till this day I am asked about HoS.
Why did HoS die back then?
Looking back at 2000's I dread at the thought of how disorganized the work was. Surely we had some of the best modellers in the team, like Stuffkikker and Jigrael (known here as Tarrasque), and I personally made sure all models and skins are polished to the same quality level. Yet, tech work, triggers and even story suffered from inconsitences, lack of communication between team members and worse. There was also the matter of Starcraft II looming on horizon, and Warcraft III being outdated. So at some point I just lost all interest I had in HoS, though other people, and first of all Sellenisko, picked what was left behind, and at least the pack of finished models and sounds was released. It didn't include everything, though.
So how come it's revived now?
2017 is certainly a long way from 2008, and despite gaming industry in general taking huge steps ahead, classic games witness a renaissance of modding. Projects like Brutal Doom, Mental Omega and Fallout: Nevada are being released and updated. And Warcraft III had more activity in 2017 alone than Starcraft II in all 7 years of its existance, or so it seemed to me when I got back on Hive. Still, good ol' WarIII doesn't look like it's going to die anytime soon ^^
Probably two things that inspired me to wipe dust off my HoS backups were WoW: Legion and Hive's modders' work. Legion was probably the best Warcraft-themed Blizzard product in years, with many loose ends wrapped up nicely and story feeling epic and right. The Burning Legion itself was finally shown as a proper Warcraft faction, with different unit types, buildings and resources. And just as I was toying with ideas on fitting all that in an RTS environment, I come to Hive and find out its talented modellers recreating units from a 2016 game in a 2002 game... And doing a marvelous work at that...
That moment, I heard the tombstone on HoS' grave shake. Something was coming back to life down there.
So what is HoS: Resurrection going to be?
HoS: RRR. Resurrected, recycled, re-imagined. Based on the stuff we finished back in 2000's and ideas we had but never implemented, it's going to expand on initial concept, giving you what we planned originally, with additions from Warcraft universe as it developed over the years. Now with Sellenisko back as HoS modelling expert, a few old friends consulting me on tech, and Hive's best modellers (Tauer, FerSZ, HerrDave and General Frank to name a few) giving their permission for basing new HoS stuff on their creations, my first goal is to release a new playable beta, with all races implemented the way we imagined it back in 2000's.
The campaign is another story, and this is something I dare not promise yet, as it will depend on whether HoS will get a bigger team (namely with a triggerer), but I'm working on revising and rewriting the script and toying with mission concepts at the moment. HoS original campaign had its story and script finished, and terrain done for most missions, but all trigger work went to hell with JASS disabled, not to mention it wasn't stellar by today's standards, and Warcraft lore advanced a lot since then - though, in a direction that is very HoS-friendly (back in 2005 the Emerald Nightmare that we used in Shadows Elves concept was just a loose idea, now it's a coherent piece of official game... and even Stygians fit with current Titanforged races lore). But... more on them later
But HoS is gonna feel old now.
Right, modelling standards took a step ahead. But still some of the stuff in original HoS pack rivals the best modern creations, if not beating some - Archpriestess and Stygian units are some of the top notch work. And the current tradition of making models use only ingame textures won't be holding HoS back ^^
Can I still use models from HoS pack?
Sure! The integral part of the community is people using, modifying and improving other people's creations, as long credit is given.
When is it done?
When it's done! Really, it's just started.
What can I do to help?
Spread the word! And, while I can do most of the stuff myself (save for triggering that's not currently a priority), and the team has the required tech specialists at the moment, any help is welcome. Most of all, we'd need a freehand skin and icon artist at this stage of development. So don't hesitate to contact me or just write here.
Now, next stop will be a developer update with a talk on HoS races and sub-races design, some never-seen-before screenshots and never-heard-before info. And an Eredar size chart, for good measure!
Stay tuned folks.