With Warcraft 3 Reforged announced, many things are probably gonna change and hopefully for the better. But working on such an old, and for many, nostalgic game also brings with it many expectations and hopes and exactly those will be the topic for this article.
It’s been around 14 years since I started playing Warcraft 3 and, to this day, it has been my most played and favorite game of all time. Having played the game for so long, I have quite a few expectations for Warcraft 3: Reforged and so does the community.
That is why I decided to write not just about my own expectations for the game, but also about some of those I’ve seen the community talk about. If you have any expectations not covered in this article feel free to comment!
Let’s jump right into it, shall we?
New Life for the game
Even though we still love and play the game after such a long time, we shouldn't ignore how old the game is already. Player numbers have dwindled down from the glory days and so my number one hope and expectation for Reforged is to bring new life to the game by bringing back veteran players that haven’t played in a long time, as well as attract new players.
Looking at the gaming industry, RTS doesn’t seem to be among the foremost genres anymore, but I still hope for revival of some kind, to show Blizzard that Warcraft 4 doesn’t have to be a pipe dream and so that they will support our beloved Warcraft 3 for a long time to come.
Esports support from Blizzard
MOBA, Shooter and RTS as well all live and thrive with their respective esports scene and Warcraft 3 is no different. But to achieve a working esports scene we as the players need the support of Blizzard and other big sponsors. Though a progaming scene in China and Korea exists, without the support from Blizzard, it is questionable how well the overall competitive scene can develop, especially in the West.
Having a thriving competitive scene showing the best players around the globe battle it out is also great advertisement for the game, which is great for both players and Blizzard.
For more thoughts on this topic you might also want to check out this article by fellow writer Cepheid.
In-game hotkeys & inventory customization
Making changes to the customkeys.txt file is bothersome and annoying, even if you use tools for it like warkeys, keycraft or others, so native in-game support would be amazing and absolutely has to be in Reforged in my opinion. I also hope for Blizzard to finally give us the option to change the keys for the inventory, so we are no longer forced to use third party programs or hastily jump our hand to the very end of the keyboard for the numpad. Hopefully the customizability will extent to the backspace and spacebar functions as well.
Continued balance support
If you look at the game right now you see that Blizzard has already started doing a lot of balance changes, which is good. Though it is debatable how good of a job they did with it, it is nice to see that the classic team is already on it. Personally I think they changed too many things for Night Elf, which ended up bringing them to the very front of the four races in terms of power.
Luckily for us the Classic teams seems to listen at least partially, though the responses could be faster in some cases, overall I am happy to see a responsive team working on improving the game. Now with patch 1.30.3 it's yet to determined how much of an advantage Nightelf player still has, but even as an Orc player myself I feel that Human still lags behind the other races a bit, while Undead might need some help in the matchup versus Orc.
This is a feature many games already have, including other Blizzard titles like Hearthstone. It is incredibly annoying to be disconnected and even more so if that has a negative impact on your stats, so this is definitely one of the features I expect,, once the game is completely ported to the new Battle.net.
I remember back in the day, when I was still foolishly playing over Wi-Fi, I easily lost tons of games because I lost connection for a short moment, resulting in a stinging loss for myself. With a reconnection feature, at least some games could be salvaged, though if you disconnect in a fight, there is nothing even this feature could do for you.
Clan support on new Battle.net
Clans in Warcraft 3 were one of the most important aspects of Battle.net back in the day. Having a hub of like-minded people around gives you a feeling of belonging and makes it so much easier to find people to play with. I myself found many awesome people because of the clan feature, be it to play melee or custom maps like Footmen Frenzy. I would definitely love to see this feature to be supported!
Personally I already got in touch with all of my old clan mates I’m still in contact with to revive our clan and be it just to hang out a bit and play custom maps and I think that by far we won't be the only people who would love to once again live through the good old clan times.
Improved observer mode and replays
I have to admit at this point that I probably watched more replays and observed more games than I actually played myself back in the day and while it was never a terrible experience, if we compare it to other competitive games there is much to be desired. If you followed Back2Warcraft or even Grubby's stream lately you are probably already familiar with their observer overlays, with the latter only showing the hero abilities, while the former even shows all heroes plus inventory, as well as resources of the involved players. Why? Because sadly Warcraft doesn't offer this information natively. While you can get used to the current standard and innovations, it is in no way ideal, and with Reforged being a visual overhaul with neat little quality of life improvements (I hope), this should definitely be rather high on the to-do list.
With the current player numbers the matchmaking probably makes the best of what it can do, trying to balance waiting time with player's skill level as best as possible, but if Reforged brings new players to Battle.net, we need something better to handle all the players, a modernized matchmaking that brings us worthy opponents without horrendous waiting times. Considering the improvements with matchmaking systems that have happened since the golden times of Warcraft 3, this shouldn't be too difficult, though it might still take some fine tuning. I'm definitely looking forward to see how Blizzard is gonna deliver this one!
More variety on maps
Lately I noticed that many of the maps give off a similar vibe, probably because quite a few have the same kind of starting position: Bottom left and top right. The tile set is also not as varied as I would hope for, so I'm hoping that the community and the team at Blizzard will both provide new and exciting maps, that bring some variety with them. I would also like to see certain maps back again in the pool soon, like Gnoll Wood or Maelstrom. Maybe someone could even create a Lost Temple map that is more balanced and has a Tavern (but gosh please work with the RoC map, not the TFT one), as I feel like the map is part of Blizzard's RTS heritage and should see some play.
Random race with veto
I don’t know about you guys, but out of the 4 race in the game, I have 1 main race and two off races I’m able to decently play with. That fourth race though I’m terrible at and always was (it’s Human btw). So for people like me it would be amazing to have a veto option, allowing me to not play 1 of the races with random. In exchange the game could tell my opponent what race I vetoed.
Like I mentioned earlier, I'm not the only one with expectations and hopes for Reforged, because so is the Warcraft 3 community. I scoured through reddit and Discord and found several expectations I wanted to talk about (although there are of course others not mentioned in this article).
Auto-mining at the start of the game & unit counter for mines
While I personally don’t mind doing the mining manually, in the spirit of giving new players to the game an easier time auto-mining could be an option. It doesn’t take away much and if it helps ease new players into the game, I really don’t see a reason not to do it.
On the topic of mining, a lot of people also wish for Orc & Human to have a counter showing how many workers are in the mine, which I also agree with, as I feel like it’s one of those small changes that can have a big impact for newer players.
Enlarged Unit groups
This has been discussed a lot, from increasing the units per group to 14, 16, or 18, to simply allowing one unit group to encompass all army units. While I agree that some changes might not be bad, I definitely wouldn’t want to see an all army command group, because it makes it way too easy for new players to make mistakes. Splitting your units into several logical groups (like melee vs. ranged for example) is also a skill that new players need to get used to if they want to play on a decent skill level in Warcraft 3.
I do however understand why some players would like to see larger unit groups, especially Humans playing Flying Machines, or other strategies with lots of low food cost units. So at the very least I feel like this should be tested extensively.
Removal or changes to XP tome
It is great when you are behind and find an XP tome, as it might bring you back into the game and out of passive play, but some days your opponent beats the hell out of you and then finds one on top of that and it always feels awful. So I at least wouldn’t mind seeing it go or changed, for example giving less experience, or decreasing the chances of finding it further. Even if it stays though, I can live with that, as the good and bad experiences regarding XP tome tend to even out eventually. It still stings a lot if your opponent finds one and you don't.
Adding an actual timer to the game
I love the sundial in Warcraft 3, it’s a nice looking and neat feature, but looking at newer players, an actual timer might be the right call as well. Though I have to strongly argue for having both and not just replacing the sundial with in favor of a timer, as that would take away something awesome many of us spent a lot of time with. It’s a part of Warcraft 3 I wouldn’t want to see removed, but I think adding an actual timer in between the sundial might be helpful for newer players, and it’s exactly those that we should welcome with open arms, because otherwise it will still be the same old people playing the game once Reforged hits the store.
Equalized spawning points
I’ve seen this requested for maps like Twisted Meadows for example and I can understand the reasoning behind it, as it can be an advantage if one player starts close to the Mercenary Camp and another close to the shop, as mercenaries have become used many times more than in the past.
But we can’t forget that another thing would change if Blizzard did indeed equalized starting positions and that is scouting. Both players would automatically know where the opponent is and which takes away the early need for scouting for the most part. Honestly I can’t really tell if that is a good thing, or a bad thing, but it would definitely be quite the change.
Maybe Blizzard could try this out for a month on PTR or something and then we can see what the feedback is, as I find it very difficult to really pinpoint the impact this could have on the game.
Consistency for auto-cast spells
Some caster units seem to start with their auto-cast spells on, while others don’t, the same with having caster upgrades for some reason activate said auto-cast spells, which can be an annoying feature if you’re in the middle of a fight and your casters suddenly start spamming auto-cast spells you didn't want to use at that moment of time.
So I kinda agree that all casters should start the game with auto-cast off and with further caster specific upgrades not activating them upon being finished, even if it's just for consistency reason.
At first glance this seems like a rather small and insignificant change, but it has larger consequences. If say one player plays on 80% of the standard zoom, therefore being zoomed out and the other plays on the standard zoom, the one on 80% will have a significantly better overview of the map and battles, bringing an advantage to that player. In short, there will be players being forced to play on a different zoom level to compete with the ones that play on the optimal zoom level (which players will be able to find out eventually, looking at the overview to click accuracy ratio).
Of course if the the optimal zoom level is found Blizzard could set the level as the new standard, therefore evening out the playing field again, but this will still be a significant change for many players. For custom maps I wouldn't mind for Blizzard to allow it, but for melee and especially the competitive scene this might be too big a change.
I mean is it really worth changing the zoom level and potentially piss off a lot of players, just so a few can enjoy it? In a game as old as Warcraft 3 you don't really want to lose any player for reasons like this and it definitely has the potential for such a disaster.
Easier transfer of item between heroes
This is once again one of those things that make it easier for new players, as well as veteran players from the golden times coming back to the game. I don't really know how this should be done, but generally I see this suggestion favorably, so maybe Blizzard can play around with some ways to make it happen. Probably not a high priority thing though.
No pausing in ladder
I think this suggestion wholeheartedly came to be for the kind of bad mannered game pause moments, where one player just tries to annoy, or even use pause in critical moments (like a big fight) to push their opponent's anger levels and to provoke mistakes.
Can't say that I disagree, but sometimes stuff happens and you have to pause the game, so it should be possible to pause with the opponents agreement. Might not be easy to find a decent solution, but it shouldn't be impossible.
Show opponents race and stats at the start of the game
Many players with high speed internet and powerful gaming rigs load so fast that you might not even get to see the loading screen for long enough to see your opponents race, so getting a notification at the beginning of the game might be a good idea. If the other player is random Battle.net should just tell you that, no need to get an advantage. In the same spirit maybe Battle.net should automatically tell you your opponent's level and stats as well, not only is it a good thing to know, but some people use very long account names, which makes it bothersome to use the /stats command.
If Blizzard could make this possible, while maintaining a playable ping I would be all for it, but I don't see any good reason to play with say a Korean player on ladder, when either both or one of us has a terrible ping. So unless it's possible to give both sides an equally low ping, I don't think I actually would want this. Generally a cool idea though, especially considering the currently low-ish player numbers (compared to peak Warcraft 3 times).
Changes to unit pathing
This is a very delicate topic Blizzard needs to carefully consider, because Warcraft 3 is what it is because of pathing. Though it should be possible to change it, doing so might very well become the reason for veteran players not to play it anymore at all, like for example Grubby, who has commented on the topic of unit pathing several times on his stream, saying that if Blizzard changes it he won’t be playing the game anymore.
I might not necessary jump onto the same bandwagon, but like I said earlier, it is a very, very delicate topic. Sadly I don’t have the technical knowledge to form a decisive opinion on this one, though I think that there might be a few instances, where the movements of units could possibly be improved without changing what makes Warcraft’s unit pathing unique. Like for example the interaction of units running into each other in your base (which is mostly blocking each other to be honest).
Generally I do agree with Grubby on this one though, as changing unit pathing could make Warcraft a very different game and that can and shouldn’t be the intention of Reforged. It’s another thing if we talked about Warcraft 4, but Reforged is still Warcraft 3 and it should stay true to what that stands for.
From the information we have so far, Blizzard will use the old Warcraft 3 engine (though with upgrades) and has no plans to change anything to the unit pathing, which is probably for the best. Any changes to pathing have enormous potential for disaster, just like the issue with zoom level, so we should all tread very carefully with these issues and Blizzard seems to do exactly that.
As you can see there are many different ideas, suggestions and issues we all are concerned with and there are probably still a ton more we could cover here but the show has to end somewhere, right?