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?
Last we heard, Warcraft 3: Reforged was set to release sometime in 2019. Now that the year's almost over, it sounds like the game might be slipping into 2020. Though, you can still play it in the form of a beta. Read on below for details on that.
The Warcraft 3: Reforged multiplayer beta is live
Warcraft 3's multiplayer beta has officially kicked off, and folks who pre-purchase the $40 Spoils of War Edition are receiving the first invites. The beta is currently running 1v1 and 2v2 matchmaking for the orc and human races, with the undead, night elf races, and more game modes, coming "in the weeks ahead."
As of the week of November 4, the beta is also rolling out for folks who attended BlizzCon 2019 in-person or watched it via Virtual Ticket.
For those who aren't comfortable pre-purchasing the fancy edition, Blizzard said subsequent rounds of beta invites will eventually go out to those who have purchased the standard edition. There might even be a more open beta that doesn't require pre-purchasing anything, but we'll see.
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. Even the UI is getting a complete overhaul. Every unit, map, and texture is being completely remodeled 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.
After fan feedback, original voice actors won't be replaced in Warcraft 3: Reforged
Blizzard had initially planned to rework parts of Warcraft 3's story to enrich the lore and update it for the remaster. This would've meant replacing old voice actors and rerecording dialogue, which some fans weren't too happy about. "Sounds from clicking on the grunt to hearing Arthas and Illidan's voice, that was what they didn't want changed," senior game designer Matt Morris told Polygon.
After hearing feedback, Blizzard scrapped these changes and is opting for tweaks that don't mess with what's already there. The art in certain locations now matches the same locations from World of Warcraft, for instance.
Warcraft 3: Reforged will have per-faction matchmaking
In Warcraft 3: Reforged, matchmaking criteria will change depending on which faction you're playing. "You can say, OK, I'm really good at orc, but I want to try out human. So when you go human you'll also be paired up against other people who are like, well, I'm also just trying human out," game designer Michael Scipione told Polygon.
The new system is a significant change from the original game, which judged performance with every faction by the same metrics. If players wanted independent ranks for each faction, they had to make additional accounts.
Warcraft 3: Reforged will have better mod support
Warcraft 3: Reforged will support the more commonly used Lua coding language. Before, modders were stuck with JASS, an old coding language that is rarely used nowadays.
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.