Released in July 2002, Warcraft 3 was the latest instalment of Blizzard’s real-time strategy games. It sold one million copies in the first month of release, and earned both “game of the year” and “best real-time strategy game of the year” from Gamespot. German magazine GameStar even declared Warcraft 3 as the second-best game of all time in 2018. But now in 2019, with seven expansions to World of Warcraft, why should you care about Blizzard’s remaster of a seventeen-year-old game?
Warcraft 3 was the first time that Azeroth was portrayed in three dimensions, and employed true role-playing elements to the gameplay. Using cutscenes and animated talking heads to transition between maps and quest-lines gameplay was drifting away from strategy and towards role-playing. This was further shown by the Founding of Durotar side-mission in Frozen Throne: where the player takes control of Rexxar who completes quests for the new inhabitants of Orgrimmar.
World of Warcraft is not only set-up through Blizzard’s new story-telling format, but through the story itself. Battle for Azeroth relies heavily on story that originates from both Warcraft 3 campaigns. They introduce Sylvanas Windrunner (both as a High-elven ranger general and the banshee queen we know her as today) and the mage apprentice Jaina Proudmoore.
In the latter stage of the Frozen Throne campaign, we see the assault of Theramore harbour and the fall of Lord Admiral Daelin Proudmoore – events which highly impacted the Alliance thread of Battle for Azeroth. The desecration of Quel’Thalas and Arthas’ violation of Sylvanas impacts the Horde storyline to a large degree and was even shown as flashback in the Burning of Teldrassil. Both campaigns set Sylvanas on a cataclysmic path which could come to a head in Zandalar.
With the new Reforged remaster scheduled for release later this year these crucial events can be played by a new generation with rebuilt graphics – World of Warcraft’s past will be more accessible than ever.