Tag Archives: Warcraft

Honest Game Trailers Hits Warcraft III Reforged Hard

I mentioned at the end of January that Warcraft III Reforged had finally been released by Blizzard, linking out to some of the early problems with the work that people were complaining about.  I had pre-ordered it back after BlizzCon 2018 and was going to wait a while before tackling it because I figured Blizzard might have a plan to fix things.

Meanwhile, the heat on the game just kept getting hotter, and now it is the turn of Honest Game Trailers.

Honest Game Trailers has a tradition at hitting at the weak spots of titles in a way that is often light and doesn’t make you feel bad if you’re a fan.  For example, every video about a Pokemon game reminds us how close to the path GameFreak stays.  But we like it that way and can laugh at ourselves for our devotion.

And then there is their new video about Warcraft III Reforged… but I suspect that it might be tough to find fans of the remake give the tally of issues that have been discovered since it launched.  Have you seen its score on Metacritic?

I was surprised the user score dropped below 1

Ouch.  So instead of a self-deprecating chuckle that fans can have at their own expense, this episode runs more like an indictment.

Compare to that, the look back to the Warcraft RTS franchise they did about four years back is practically a love letter.

I don’t want to say that Warcraft III Reforged necessarily should have been a slam dunk for Blizz… though they still had a lot of goodwill and nostalgia going for them… but they set expectations back at BlizzCon 2018 that they not only didn’t meet, but features that were kind of expected were removed.  Oh, and to keep everything in sync, they were also removed from that copy of Warcraft III you own if you updated it to play online.  Not a good look for what SynCaine is calling the “New Blizzard.”

As for a plan, as reported elsewhere, Blizzard is offering “no questions asked refunds.”

That is less of a plan and more or a mea culpa I suppose, but it is something I guess.  And since this apparently being my month for disillusionment and refunds, I applied for the latter (having experience the former) and it was approved within a few minutes.  There are a series of options to choose from when you request a refund, but for this one “Regret” seemed to be pretty much on the nose.  I am sure that applies to Blizzard’s feelings as well at this point.

My credit card hasn’t been reimbursed yet.  The messaging is a bit muddled, with various responses telling me I’ll have my refund in 3, 7, or possibly 15 days.  But I expect it will come through eventually. (Edit: Just checked and I have been refunded within the 3 day estimate, so high marks for Blizz on that I guess.)

Maybe I should stop pining for a Diablo II remaster and just keep hoping they don’t mess up WoW Classic.  I am still enjoying that.

Warcraft III Reforged

Earlier this week we got Warcraft III Reforged, the remaster of Blizzard’s 2002 RTS Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its follow-expansion Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.  The remaster was announced at BlizzCon 2018 and was in beta late last year.

The return of RTS again

I pre-ordered this back during BlizzCon 2018… we were only mad at them about Diablo Immortal that year… and have been looking forward to giving it a try.  Warcraft III was the last step before World of Warcraft for Blizzard.  WoW was very much a mash up of EverQuest ideas (the whole MMORPG thing), some Diablo II mechanics (itemization, skill trees, health pots, and so on), and the Warcraft III lore.

I went back to play Warcraft III a ways back to experience a bit of the pre-history of WoW and it was, with the hindsight perspective, a prototype of what WoW would become.  It is a key part of the Warcraft franchise, which according to SuperData Research, has earned $19.2 billion in digital revenues over the last 25 years.

Includes Hearthstone as part of the franchise. Does not include physical retail sales

Given all that I am keen to carve out some time to see what Blizzard has done with the remaster.  That will probably happen next month at the earliest, given that we’re at the end of the current month.  That will also give Blizz a chance to fix some of the bugs that have been reported already.

Of course, being the immediate predecessor of WoW is not the only the only thing Warcraft III is famous for.  It is responsible for kicking of another genre whose revenue no doubt eclipses that of the Warcraft franchise.

With the the Defense of the Ancients mod, the whole MOBA genre that would lead to League of Legends, DOTA 2, and Blizzard’s own Heroes of the Storm was created.

Who made $1.5 billion in 2019 alone?

Blurb also from SuperData Research.

Given that Heroes of the Storm is the distant third place runner in that race… and that Valve managed to grab control of the DOTA trademark which meant changing the games name from Blizzard DOTA to Blizzard All-Stars and later to Heroes of the Storm… Blizzard is no doubt still smarting at some level about all of that.  I mean, having to have this up on the Blizzard main site has to irk them.

DOTA USAGE
DOTA is a trademark of Valve Corporation and used under license. By making use of the term “DOTA” in any content posted on any Blizzard website or battle.net, you agree that use of this trademark is subject to Valve’s trademark guidelines found at https://store.steampowered.com/legal.

Not that I think having the DOTA name would have made Blizzard the MOBA winner.  They were almost six years late to the party, only launching Heroes of the Storm in 2015, by which time LoL was already king.  DOTA 2 rolled in two years ahead of HotS and was able to grab the “lesser alternative to LoL” spot in the genre.

But all the same Blizzard isn’t going to let that happen again.  So in there as part of their “Custom Game Acceptable Use Policy,” basically their mod rules, they make it clear up front in the first bullet that they own every aspect of any mod you make for the game:

Ownership: Custom Games are and shall remain the sole and exclusive property of Blizzard. Without limiting the foregoing, you hereby assign to Blizzard all of your rights, title, and interest in and to all Custom Games, including but not limited to any copyrights in the content of any Custom Games. If for any reason you are prevented or restricted from assigning any rights in the Custom Games to Blizzard, you grant to Blizzard an exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, unconditional, royalty free, irrevocable license enabling Blizzard to fully exploit the Custom Games (or any component thereof) for any purpose and in any manner whatsoever. You further agree that should Blizzard decide that it is necessary, you will execute any future assignments and/or related documents promptly upon receiving such a request from Blizzard in order to effectuate the intent of this paragraph. To the extent you are prohibited from transferring or assigning your moral rights to Blizzard by applicable laws, to the utmost extent legally permitted, you waive any moral rights or similar rights you may have in all such Custom Games, without any remuneration. Without limiting Blizzard’s rights or ownership in the Custom Games, Blizzard reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to remove Custom Games from its systems and/or require that a Custom Game developer cease any and/or all development and distribution of a Custom Game. Please note that your Blizzard account can be subject to disciplinary action in event that you do not comply with Blizzard’s request or this Policy.

Nobody is going to create a whole new genre with their product and then walk off to another company like Valve to get it developed again.  Of course, this policy isn’t a huge incentive to spend time developing something new in the Warcraft III editor, but there it is.  The company has protected itself. (The statement applies to all mods for all Blizzard games, but was updated just before this week’s launch, so people are taking it specifically as a Warcraft III thing since the old version wasn’t so draconian.)

And so it goes.  I’ll still play it.  The MOBA thing doesn’t interest me in any case.  But I’ve already seen people grumbling about this pre-emptive land grab on Discord and Reddit.

Now we just need that Diablo II remaster, the third of the three promised remasters, though some of the original teams says that Blizz cannot make a remaster due to said team’s near disastrous mistake back in the day.  But this could also just be sour grapes as the Blizzard North team seems to be bitter about how things turned out for them nearly 20 years down the road.

Related:

No. I’d Rather Kill Rats.

In keeping with the anniversary theme of this year, and dipping once again into the Computer Gaming World archive.  I give you the ad that ran in the December 2004 issue, which hit news stands and mail boxes in November.

Computer Gaming World Issue 245 – December 2004

A two-page spread isn’t so bad.  Since I am working from a scan, ads spread across two pages don’t line up unless I leave an appropriate gap.  That is a decent screen shot to capture a bit of the game.  It feels like it is in Stranglethorn Vale maybe?  I’m sure somebody will know where it is set.  I’m not sure there is such a dragon there abouts, but maybe there was at one time.

The only fly in the ointment was that the ad was way back on pages 78-79.  That’s the back half of the magazine, the cheap seats.  Diablo II didn’t have to put up with anything that far back in the magazine.  That position placed it lower in precedence than the horrible Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude ad, another Vivendi title, which got the opening pages, and the IGE.com gold seller ad, which holds the back cover.

I suppose at least it was a few pages ahead of the Saga of Ryzom ad.

You might get a sense of how tentative the launch date for WoW actually was from this ad.  Placement of ad copy has to happen a couple months in advance.  So when this ad suggests that you sign up for the beta, it means that likely back in August or so they were really not feeling firm about November.

Again, as I have said in the past, CGW isn’t any sort of definitive measure.  It wasn’t the biggest video game magazine out there.  But it was scrappy and it jumped on big titles to sell copies.  And on the cover of that issue was EverQuest II.  You can see that cover, and download a .pdf of the whole thing, here.

Anyway, happy fifteenth anniversary to World of Warcraft!  I didn’t get around to playing until early March 2005.  When WoW launched I was with Jeff Green, wading into post-cataclysm Norrath wondering if the lighting that was EverQuest might strike twice.

Also, you can totally kill rats in Azeroth if you want.  Sure, that quest in the tram station just has you charm them, but with the implication that they were to be turned into kebabs, which I find to be something of a distinction without a difference.  And the fact that they went hard on the bear, boar, wolf quest kill quests doesn’t exactly represent a leap in the genre.

Where they really innovated was in the realm of poop and outhouse related quests.  Why don’t we have a trailer about that?  Where is my poop parade?

Oh, and today also marks the 25th anniversary since the launch of the Warcraft franchise.

Warcraft has been a thing for almost half my lifetime.