Blizzard surprised everyone at Blizzcon 2018 by announcing a complete, built-from-scratch remaster of Warcraft 3. Called Warcraft 3: Reforged, this updated version features new art and animations while preserving the excellent real-time strategy as it was in 2002. You'll still be commanding armies as either the humans, orcs, night elves, or undead. Though we wish we were getting a brand new Warcraft 4, Reforged looks like an excellent way to experience the game that really propelled Warcraft into the mainstream and laid the foundation for World of Warcraft. Here’s everything you need to know.
When is Warcraft 3: Reforged's release date?
Warcraft 3: Reforged will be releasing some time in 2019, but a beta will be happening “early 2019” according to senior producer Pete Stilwell. We're already through the first half of 2019 without any news of a beta, though hopefully this doesn't mean the release date will be pushed back as well. It’s not clear exactly what this beta will entail, but you can sign up for a chance to receive an invite by following the steps listed on Blizzard’s official website. Stilwell didn’t say how long the beta will last for, but did imply that this would be an actual beta full of incomplete features and constant tweaks. That's in spite of the news that Blizzard won't be releasing anything major in 2019. Hopefully the remaster doesn't count as a "major" Blizzard game.
What all is included? Will The Frozen Throne be remastered too?
Yes, Warcraft 3: Reforged will include The Frozen Throne expansion. In addition to that, players will have access to map and mod editors so they can create custom game modes. Of course, multiplayer is important, and Blizzard has said Reforged will work over Battle.net and will feature an updated multiplayer experience for finding matches, creating new modes, and sharing them.
What is changing in Warcraft: 3 Reforged?
Blizzard says that Reforged is going to be an extremely faithful remaster of Warcraft 3. To that end, those playing on Reforged can actually still play multiplayer against those using the original version of the game, and Blizzard has said that even mods and maps made in Warcraft 3 should work in Reforged without an issue.
The biggest change, however, will be all new graphics and animation with 4K support and new voiced dialogue. Even the UI is getting a complete overhaul. Every unit, map, and texture is being completely remodelled along with new cutscenes that play out between missions. One cool new feature is that hero units, like death knights and demon hunters, will have different variations for male and female—giving players more choice over who commands their armies. All of this will be optional, and players can toggle these settings individually if they prefer looking at the original graphics for Warcraft 3.
What won’t be changing (that much) is the way Reforged plays. Each faction will still have the same unique designs and features, and you’ll still have to micromanage armies and assign workers to gather resources back in your main base.
There are two caveats to that, however. First, Blizzard is looking into reworking unit pathfinding to make it more intuitive so you’re not losing a match because your reinforcements took the long way to a battle. Secondly, Reforged’s multiplayer meta is going to be updated to provide a more competitive and balanced environment, with the team consulting pro players for any major changes.
In a few places, Reforged’s singleplayer campaign is being altered to reflect canon established in World of Warcraft. So far, the most notable example of this is that the Culling of Stratholme mission has been changed to make the city of Stratholme resemble its appearance in WoW.
Arranged Teams won't be in Warcraft 3: Reforged at launch
Blizzard recently dropped the "last major patch" for Warcraft 3 prior to Reforged, and explained that the Arranged Teams mode won't make it in at launch. "We decided it was more important to get this behemoth of a patch out the door then continue to delay. That means AT will return with Reforged, not before," the post reads.
Other big updates in the patch include:
- Integrated Direct3D 11 and Metal graphic APIs
- Added 64 bit support for Windows and Mac
- Dropped 32 bit support for Mac
- Sounds are disabled when the client is not active
- Expanded supported window modes within Options
- See World Editor Updates for more details on many additions and improvements including beta support for Lua
- Join the fray over in Balance Updates for multiplayer and map pool changes
- Battle.net disabled for Reign of Chaos
Can I still play the original Warcraft 3?
Though there will be options to toggle off all of the new features in Reforged, if you vastly prefer the original version of the game you will still be able to play it. Blizzard has since made Warcraft 3 unavailable for purchase on Battle.net but will be including a copy with Reforged preorders starting on December 1. So you’ll have to wait until then if you’re hoping to get a Warcraft 3 nostalgia fix.