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The Greatest Patch

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I want this thread to be about a specific topic idea that I had, and please try not to derail it.

Often in my life, as a way to pass the time and be a phone addict, I habitually open the Reforged Forums, my Hive alerts, and Warcraft III-related discord servers on my phone. Amidst all the content I have read, there has been a general trend towards negativity. Not everyone cites the same reasons, but there does seem to be a general consensus that a lot of people "did not have the experience they wanted" on Warcraft III: Reforged. Personally I have felt conflicted on several occasions because I wanted even more from Warcraft III Reforged but I have a great respect for how changing a 15 year old unmaintained codebase can take a very long time without producing results that a manager would respect. Or, some managers might respect it too much even when there was no practicality in updating it if the compiler for the old version "as-is" could still be obtained by a few hours of hoop jumping.

So, what I am saying is, I often feel like "is Reforged good" was made into a topic that was so incredibly subjective and divorced from anything technical at all that if I worked at Blizzard, for example, even if I was handed a multi-million dollar budget and full autonomy over the future of Reforged with the singular goal "make fans love this game" I am actually decently convinced I might make something nothing better than what we have right now. I am not saying that just to say it, but because of the technical challenges involved with working on this game.

So, regardless of your opinion on the current Reforged game, here's what I want this topic to be: please reply with a technical description of the greatest patch. Assume a many multi-million dollar budget and full autonomy over the design of the game. Include anything, but assume you are the authority over this game and tell me what you would put in the next patch or expansion on top of Reforged that would make you say, "This game really became the culmination of everything that I hoped for and the experience that I wanted."

Part of the reason I am asking is that I had a theory for a long time that people want mutually exclusive changes to the game. Basically my theory is that if everyone posts the patch notes of their dreams, it will be the case that even in the year 2030 with millions of dollars nobody could accomplish what each and every one of us wants because of mutual exclusivity. Hence also why there will always be someone complaining about Reforged.
But asking about this might also lead us to some objectivity. Are there changes that everyone includes in their definition of The Greatest Patch?

And now, for my personal rendition of the greatest patch notes. I hope we see this in 2030:

Warcraft III: Reforged Version 1.38.7
Patch Notes
February 31, 2030

I would like to open with some insights about our development process. Coming back to Warcraft III: Reforged one decade later, we had to ask ourselves to define who we are and what our mission is. In light of the very real war that has broken out over who will control the future of Planet Earth in 2029, we reiterate that our intention as gaming company is to offer anyone who is interested a form of "digital getaway" and not to make light of the very real nature of war on this planet. Also, as with any video game, please consult your doctor before using any of our official Blizzard Entertainment products. Video games are known to the countries of North California and South California to cause autism. We intend to follow all applicable laws for your region as much as possible in these tenuous times.

So, with that in mind, we came in to this game and asked ourselves, "What can we do better?" And as part of the formation of the New Classic Games Team in 2027, we looked at how we were handling management of our company in 2020 when we released Warcraft III: Reforged and found that our players wanted more from us in a few key areas:

  • Better network platform stability
  • Optionally treating the Warcraft III platform, legally, as a game engine rather than a melee skirmish experience
  • More developer transparency
  • More single player content availability
So we looked at this data and asked ourselves: what is the best team to meet these needs? And what we found surprised us. None of these topics require additional art assets to be included in the game. So we got a team of a few lawyers and a lot of computer software engineers, and we put our heads together, and we think we have come up with something that you might enjoy.


Developer Transparency
  • Now, regarding developer transparency, unfortunately due to the recent rise of artificial intelligence integrations using Neuralink systems, it is not safe for non-users of Neuralink to post more than one sentence on platforms such as Twitter without risk of becoming instantly personally identifiable and traceable back to the home address of the individual developer. To combat this, because we are low on funds and cannot financially support a Public Relations team, but also cannot safely post on websites such as Twitter, we decided to purchase handguns and assault rifles for each of our software engineers who will be sleeping with their weapons next to their bedside at night. As a result, now it is safe for them to post on Twitter again because they do not need to be afraid of the players -- even those who are artificially enhanced with Neuralink.
  • Although we realize some people might find this decision to be a bit a savage in nature, in these trying times with the advent of what might become the third World War after the events of 2029 we were determined to find a low cost solution that allows our developers to fearlessly post updates to you about their work without fearing for their own well-being.
  • As a result, please follow this link to get a list of Twitter handles for our developers, who will be required to post something (even a short, friendly note) about how their work is going at least once every two days.
Platform Stability
  • Players say that since the changes in 2020 there have been numerous desyncs for the past decade that they feel are caused by the changes made at that time. We looked in the source code, and we tested with the hardware of friends, and the hardware of friends of friends, and what we found was that:
  • Our company had a policy of never using hardware that was older than 5 years, and we came to realize that some of you in our actual userbase are using hardware that was developed as long ago as 10 or 15 years.
  • While developing the game we did not anticipate this; some of the older hardware offers IntelX86 binary instructions for mathematical operations such as sin and cos and sqrt and atan2 that are the foundation of the unit projectile attacks. In general we like to use binary hardware operations as much as possible because they are more efficient. But sometimes this efficiency comes at the cost of standardized levels of precision. So, one user's hardware might determine that a fireball is located with an X/Y coordinate of (5.0, 4.0) while another user's hardware reports the coordinate (4.9999, 4.0).
  • In addition, many of these operations were changed in the 2020 patch cycles so that we were passing them a 32-bit value casted from a 64-bit value because the former developer intentions at the time were to use the same mathematical libraries that had been used in 2002 to avoid this problem entirely. In general this would accomplish consistency if the code was always written this way, but in our haste to deliver you updates on the product that we love back in 2020 what we are seeing looking back is that only about 45% of the function calls were using this casted system, while others were using new more modern C++ library calls.
    • So, as a result of all this, it turns out that the desyncs you had been experiencing were not due to any single problem, but rather due to the fact that many of the software engineers working on this codebase in 2020 had received their training and experience by writing software in higher level languages where slight mathematical imprecisions were simply inconsequential.
    • All of their written qualifications when they were hired were legitimate, but some of the folks on the team simply had always worked within the confines of game engines and web browsers previously and did not have experience with the maintenance of exact, simultaneous mathematical precision.
    • We have traced down and fixed the following issues:
      • Improper use of the float and double types in C++ when the developer was convinced that the code being written did not require exact simultaneous simulation; we have changed several of these cases back to using the original 2002 macro C_STRCT_FIXPT_REAL that had been used to handle these cases. This may decrease performance slightly in a few instances, but it entirely resolves certain desync issues.
      • We changed the aforementioned sin, cos, sqrt, and atan2 functions -- and a few other trigonometric functions -- to use exact-bit calculations that are slower but guaranteed to match across hardware. This resolves issues that had been experienced with inconsistent trigonometric output between hardware on any abilities that had been reworked during Reforged updates, such as [Fan of Knives].
      • We reverted certain changes made in the 2020 patch cycles that offloaded mathematical operations used for game graphics to the GPU of the computer. In our testing, results showed that when we use the GPU for more of the calculations, which in general was a tremendous performance gain for the game, this actually reduced the reliability of the game experience because too many players were using out of date or poorly designed graphics drivers that did not properly support the functions we were trying to call up from the graphics hardware.
      • We think these changes should cut down on game desync problems, but any time that you experience a game desync that you believe was not caused by custom map design flaws, please file a ticket and upload your "Desync.txt" file to your support ticket (these log files are typically found in C:\Users\<Name>\Documents\Warcraft III\Errors\<Timestamp>\Desync.txt).
Warcraft III: As An Engine?
  • From a legal standpoint, since the beginning in 2002 it was never the case that Warcraft III was a game engine. It has never been legal to sell a map that you made in Warcraft III. Blizzard Entertainment has and will continue to claim exclusive ownership rights to all assets created by our company for games like Warcraft III, because we value the integrity of our platform. For example, it has always been illegal for you to use the Warcraft III Murloc 3d asset in any product that is not a Blizzard product without express written consent from Blizzard Entertainment.
  • However, following the release of Warcraft III: Reforged in 2020 many users became scared that the legal writing of the new EULA indicated that Blizzard claims ownership to the intellectual property created within the World Editor, not just ownership to the World Editor itself.
  • Users understood (accurately at the time) that if a player makes a new Warcraft III map file called Protection of the Treants, and then writes, produces, and distributes a new Role-Playing Game unaffiliated with Warcraft III called Protection of the Treants 2 that Blizzard Entertainment would sue this player for stealing Blizzard Entertainment's intellectual property, including the name Protection of the Treants.
  • As a result of this, we have drafted a new Warcraft III Custom Games Content Policy that only and specifically applies to Warcraft III. You should note that this policy applies to NO OTHER BLIZZARD GAME and you should take this policy very seriously. We are not a charity organization. As previously mentioned in the Platform Stability section, even some of our developers struggled to know the difference between float and our in-house invention C_STRCT_FIXPT_REAL in C++. Do not assume that we owe you an accurate understanding of these topics if you do not have any interest in understanding them yourselves. We do not owe you any such thing. However, we want to join you in creating and sharing the greatest Warcraft III experiences imaginable.
  • Because of the significant changes to the Warcraft III Custom Games Content Policy, the following restrictions will now apply:
    • Blizzard Entertainment retains sole and exclusive ownership to Warcraft III and all of its characters and assets. Games can now created from maps using Warcraft III as a platform with a pricing plan inspired by those used by the Unity and Unreal game development engines.
      • Your game can be free of cost if your game revenue is less than $3750 /quarter. If more, you must pay for the Warcraft III Forge Package which is a monthly subscription that costs $40 per month or $329 per year on a prepaid basis.
      • The Warcraft III Forge Package will also include sourcecode access for those advanced users, who may need to perform exceptional modifications to their custom-tailored Warcraft III experience.
    • These users who wish to treat their Warcraft III map files as a standalone game experience can now compile their map file to a distributable folder that includes War3Wrapper.exe which will launch a simplified Custom Games menu that only plays their specific map file(s) for their game and will handle statistical tracking for wins, losses, and player scores for that specific experience. In order to run game maps wrapped in this manner, the client computer must always have a copy of Warcraft III: Reforged installed.
    • We anticipate that we may offer support to clients with how to handle this deployment process going forward, especially prioritizing those who purchase the Warcraft III Forge Package subscription. Again, we love this game as much as you do, but Blizzard Entertainment is not a charity.
    • To provide examples for the deployment process of this new manner of packaging user created game experiences, we have created a game called Warcraft III: Illidan's Fire which is a separate game experience from the base Warcraft III game that includes the following (illustrating examples of modifying engine-level sourcecode)
      • Maximum selection size increased to 256
      • New pathing algorithm for units that allows them to "push" each other out of the way while moving (inspired by Starcraft II)
      • A completely different User Interface featuring a minimized UI inspired by the 2018 Warcraft III: Reforged demo, as shown in the following image.
  • At the same time as all of the aforementioned changes, we recognize that the Warcraft III user experience is key to players, and some players simply want to be able to press play and get into a melee game and share the same experience that was had in 2003.
  • To this end, we have changed the behavior of the PLAY button on the Battle.net Launcher so that when a user plays the game of Warcraft III without thinking about it much, this button will launch to a modified version of the 2020 Reforged client that was changed back to have 3D menus based on the 2002 version of the game. We want this to be the "traditional" version of the game experience while still empowering users to be able to make new and different game experiences like Warcraft III: Illidan's Fire.
  • Also, market research shows that players just really like the 3D background menus.
  • The resulting experience looks like the following, including enhancements made to the 3D menu system to make it use 16:9 resolution that were added to the Reforged client back in 2020 before the decision was made to cut over to the HTML based UI.
  • Now, as a further note, by allowing our users to publish their creations as a new Game Experience rather than simply a Map File, we did not want to damage in any way the work flow of players who simply want to launch Warcraft III from the Battle.net Launcher and play a map that was created on the 2003 Warcraft III game. So, to that end, maps that are built for the base Warcraft III engine experience will still work on this Warcraft III: Reforged client with 3d background menus. We added back in the existing Clan systems and interface that were running on the pre-2020 patches, but the Battle.net button on the menu screen in this version logs in directly without a login window, using the Battle.net account that the user had already logged into from the Battle.net Launcher.
More Single-Player Content Availability
  • To go along with these changes, we have adapted the Warcraft III: Illidan's Fire runnable separate client to include a set of 5 new campaigns, one for each of: the Alliance, the Horde, the Night Elves, the Scourage, and the Naga.
  • These new campaigns are included in the Warcraft III: Illidan's Fire game which demonstrates our system for developing a new game using Warcraft III as the platform. Illidan's Fire is sold as a separate client and costs and additional $5 and now uses the Warcraft III: Reforged 2020 menus that were built in HTML. Warcraft III: Illidan's Fire is the place to go for all things new regarding single player experiences. In addition, it features a multiplayer online mode where the Naga race can be played; but again, this will not change or break anything in the standard Warcraft III: Reforged package that players can launch using the Play button listed on the Battle.net Launcher which will always use the default game balance of Human, Orc, Night Elf, and Undead to support legacy maps.
  • To go along with this theme of giving love to the classic game, we are removing the Sepia filter on the Classic mode in the standard game. Instead, the 3D background menu will change from the one shown above (under "The New Standard Warcraft III Experience") to instead show the old 2002 menu background assets, indicating that the player is running the game in the legacy mode.
  • So, to reiterate, to our players who are looking for a new, bubbly no-selection-cap pathing system with a trimmed down UI and the availability of the Naga race in competitive multiplayer, we encourage you to purchase the $5 Warcraft III: Illidan's Fire experience. It may also still be more desync-prone than its counterpart.
  • At the same time, players who are looking for the classic 4 races coupled with an engine that won't ever let them select more than 12 units at a time, where they can easily body block an opposing hero to death with four peasants and know the heartwarming experience of the true depths of their almost three decades of honed skills, we encourage you to play the online mode for the standard Warcraft III: Reforged experience after this patch.

Cost/balance analysis to make this patch real:
Cost for assets: $0
Cost for legal team to change the EULA: about 4 guys, $70,000 annually for two years since lawyers are rich probably = $560,000
Cost for programmers to change the systems to allow running War3Wrapper.exe: about 4 guys, $70,000 annually for two years since developers are rich probably = $560,000
Cost for developing the Illidan's Fire campaign:
  • Storywriter: $65,000
  • Campaign Map Developer: $10 (map development is not a job kiddos, we got an intern to do this one but we had to buy him lunch)
  • Voice Actors: $25,000 plus $100,000 for the Illidan voice actor because that guy's probably spoiled
Fixing desyncs, especially with Illidan's Fire, requires 8 extra programmers because the old sourcecode is so unreadable, but then they could get it done in only one year, so that would be another 8 guys x $70,000 for one year each = $560,000

Total investment costs incurred developing this project: $1,870,010

Expected income:
  • 10,000 divorced dads in the U.S. buy Illidan's Fire for $5, making back $50,000
  • Five hundred of the divorced dads refund the game due to social media, so $2500 is lost back away, plus $1000 more is lost in legal fees because one of them tries to sue
  • 10,000 other players from around the globe buy Illidan's Fire for $5, making back an additional $50,000
  • 800 players who never bought Warcraft III: Reforged decide to purchase Reforged as a result of this patch, earning back $30 each, making back an additional $24,000
  • 300 Hive Workshop members subscribe to the Warcraft III: Forge Package for $329/annually for two years, earning back a surprising sum of $197,400
Total expected income: $317,900

Net company profit:
Ooops! Sorry boss
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Level 6
Jan 17, 2010
No mention of Dota2 VR support or the rumoured new Battlenet 3.0 that requires you to be always online (even when on-the-go or sleeping for better user experience of course)... I hope Lord Newell blesses us with these features soon.

I understand that Space China is a big market so they focus on that 128x128 resolution mobile play for those off-world users, but come on... Westwood Studios needs to consider us old timer PC users...
Level 20
Nov 17, 2019
Warcraft III: Reforged Version 1.33.0
Patch Notes
Date: ?????

  • Custom Campaign button added to the menu
  • Added a proper Single Player mode (Offline vs A.I.)
  • Removed always online requirement for Campaign
  • Matchmaking fixed
  • 1v1 Ladder added
  • Arthas vs Illdian cinematic removed, and replaced with a new one, that better reflects the quality we are trying to represent in our games.
  • Fixed desyncs
That is all i want, really...
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