We will celebrate the 15th birthday of WarCraft III this year and Blizzard, in one way or the other, is back at improving the game. Where many publishers would have just left their old game behind for good, Blizzard puts the fighting gloves back on and looks for revenge on their own contempt for a still popular (considering its age) and highly praised game. A true classic with an almost cult following.
However the changes Blizzard is now working on will look like, the most major change happened on the 1st of July 2003. WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne succeeded the original WarCraft III: Reign Of Chaos.
In the screenshots above you see the game during its alpha/beta phase, mind the hero/unit interface, goldmine, lumber mill and the orc burrow. In the games alpha stages, burrows weren't able to pick up peons to shoot. Heroes were made in the main building and for undead, the abomination was a hero unit too.
As Arthas, with noble intentions, we tried to save Azeroth from the undead scourge, just to fall to our own ambitions, ultimately becoming the Death Knight through the power of Frostmourne. We enslaved these same lands with the scourge and the help of Kel'Thuzad the Lich, freed Grom Hellscream from demonic powers and built the foundations of Kalimdor with warchief Thrall. We prepared to defend the World Tree with Tyrande Whisperwind from Archimondes Burning Legion and ended eternity for all Elves.
And now, with the expansion, we can experience new and fantastic stories surrounding our heroes and heroines.
Storytelling aside, professional gamers adapted quickly to the new maps and the possibilities that the game gave to their individual way of playing and big daddy Reign Of Chaos had outlived its usefulness in a matter of moments.
WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne grew to the number one powerhouse in all RTS games at a certain point in history and was, together with CounterStrike, the major eSports title everyone was talking about.
That's the story until WarCrafts slow decline started a few years later. But we won't talk about that in this article. Maybe another time.
Now we will take a look at these crude people that don't throw away things simply because there is a new version of it.
These people that stick to their stuff until its completely broken.
I, the author of this article, am one of these people.
I still play WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos in 2017.
Now many of you might think I am stupid; you may say The Frozen Throne is way more balanced and faster. And yes, I agree with you 100%!
I tried The Frozen Throne, I played it for some time, then stopped, started again and finally went back to Reign Of Chaos. I tried to get into it again but ultimately I enjoy Reign Of Chaos more.
It is indeed very irrational to like an imbalanced and broken game more than its supposedly shiny sequel.
When it comes to talking about Reign Of Chaos, in the eyes of non-Reign Of Chaos players, you will always be the mom apologizing for her clumsy son when he did something stupid .
But that's how it is because you love him. You learned to accept it.
It won't stop you from loving him any time.
Creeping your Demonhunter to level 6 for Metamorphosis? Check
Tower creeping gives experience to heroes? Check
No cooldown on items? Check
AoE dispel is not available for all races in their tech tree? Check
I still play it, nontheless!
Another thing is, I am certainly not the only one who feels like this. Although the Reign Of Chaos community is very small (under 30 people nowadays that actively play tournaments I'd say), there still is a lot of love for our game.
Eventhough not weekly, there are often times several tournaments a month, as well as ladder competitions from time to time.
RoCArena.com nowadays plays a crucial role in hosting tournaments, offering space to upload replays and giving players opportunity to discuss various topics in their forums. RoCArena hosted over 100 weekly cups since its existence and many prestigious tournaments such as ExSL, Money Makers or Race Masters.
Clans that usually would host tournaments were 4On or BMF.
As a little explanation on the current state of the game, I decided to give a brief overview about the different eras of Reign Of Chaos. This only involves Battle.Net since w3arena Reign Of Chaos is basically non-existent (you could play there but no one does anymore).
Era 1: 2002-2003
The original golden years. Players invented so many strategies in so little time, many of them becoming true legends in the game sooner or later. Things that are now absolute basics of every race were invented during that era.
Era 2: 2003-2007
The professional players switched to The Frozen Throne and a new generation of players appears. These players perfected the mechanics that Reign Of Chaos had to offer, putting the strongest showings in competitive play. Most of the old accounts are either sold or faked, maphackers appear more frequently, the abuse of the new matchmaking allows players to build accounts with great stats. Blizzard stops taking care about Reign Of Chaos with respect to balance patches. Many great players switch to The Frozen Throne (HLA & ReignOfDark for example).
Era 3: 2007 - today
New players have it easier to reach top levels because of the decreasing player quantity. Luckily, the level of "professional" competition is stable since 2003 due to the steady number of tournaments, cups etc.
Ladder becomes unplayable for good players due to infinite search times.
The main community site Replayers.com gets shut down because of hacks, data loss, server problems and so on.
So, who are the people that play and have played these cups and tournaments, you might ask. I will tell you about some of them in a brief list of the most important Reign Of Chaos players. Not just recent ones but throughout the games whole illustrous history. You haven't heard of many of these guys anyway and maybe never will ever again, due to their inactivity and your general attraction to The Frozen Throne, and that is perfectly fine.
I will present them to you anyway because I love WarCraft III: The Reign Of Chaos.
Ian Girdwood aka Tillerman is undoubtedly the father of everything eSports-related when it comes to WarCraft III and a true legend not only to Reign Of Chaos players. He managed to win the games beta tournament and soon was one of the best players after WarCraft IIIs birth.
His then innovative ways of playing and great game understanding brought the way people played to another level. He is credited as inventor of the
expansion play, teching strategies and the macro game in general.
A new understanding of armour and fast creeping also go to his account, together with the fact that he set new standards for the undead race in general.
Before him, players literally played chaos, fitting the games actual title.
Seeing this Englishman perform was watching a thought out plan being executed rather than simply making units and attacking.
All this lead to him ending up as a contributor to the official game guide for WarCraft III that was published by Blizzard, giving advices for the multiplayer mode.
There are several trademarks that made his playstyle one of the most remarkabe ones that WarCraft III has ever seen.
To name them all would make this already long article even longer but to not leave you unsatisfied I would like to mention that he once had a 2 hour Nightelf mirror match against a certain Spirit_Moon with over 100 Ancients of Wars built. Back then, AoWs had permanent fortified armour.
In 2003, Tillerman founded the now legendary clan 4K (Four Kings) and gathered the biggest talents at that time.
The first 4K roster included the talents of FuRy, Lawn, Grubby, Myth, Zeus, Kaj and made it to rank 3 in their debut WC3L season.
After the release of The Frozen Throne, Tillerman lost touch with the world elite and devoted himself to be a professional poker player.
Zdravko Georgiev made its way into the list by winning the first World Cyber games that featured WarCraft III anno 2003. Even though The Frozen Throne had already been released at the time the World Cyber Games happened, Reign Of Chaos was the game being played in Seoul.
Insomnia took the gold medal in a human mirror match against ChinaHuman with a 2-1 victory.
Georgiev is considered as trailblazer of the fast expansion strategy, which seemed to be unstoppable at that time and made many players desperate. He also popularized ground unit combos like Priests/Knights to deal with Shamans/Taurens and shaped the meta that way.
Probably the only WarCraft III player that kind of has his own song for what he's famous for: Towering
With orc as his preferred race, he used his little fortified friends to achieve the impossible and changed the games meta for all three other races.
Humans now placed their first or second farm way infront of their bases where Tak3r could potentially place his towers.
Elfs build their bases wide open instead of bunkering their AoWs and Moonwells close to the main.
Undeads placed a Ziggurat behind the treeline on Legends to scout for his towers.
Going for Farseer, 2 grunts & 3 peons to start towering the map was his usual gameplan.
Everyone knew about his strategies but no one could really do anything against it. The towering in combination with lots of expansions (protected by towers, of course) and Wyvern play is what made Tak3r so special. His genius and creativity to make his towers work despite his opponents knowledge really stood out from the beginning.
We are now coming to a frenchy from the island of La Réunion. If you need a map to see where La Réunion is, I am sure no one would blame you for your lack of geography skills, because from the top of my head, I wouldn't have a clue either.
East of Madagascar lies this small, small island but although it is easy to underestimate this place in terms of gaming, it actually is the habitat of the first player to achieve not only 1500 wins with one race but also the first player to achieve 1500 wins with two races!
It is remarkable that he did all this despite his 400 ms ping anyway.
HoFFMaN may not have tournament wins, an amazing ladder rank or 1337 stats, but what makes him a true legend is his attitude and love towards the game with always being kind, respectful and simply having the random team dinosaur status.
To this day, HoFFMaN still roams the random team ladder, even though he is no longer as active as he was back in the days.
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He always was one of these players that played very innovatively, not only in his The Frozen Throne times but also playing Reign Of Chaos.
HLA first gained popularity in the old game with his innovative plays on his accounts ASLOG and GLOSA, where he used to maphack.
After getting caught several times, he decided to stop and trained hard to become the player he wanted to be. This also went hand in hand with an attitude change from being a flamer dick to a nice guy that people really liked.
After reaching the top tier of Reign Of Chaos players he switched to The Frozen Throne where he made it into the Raptor-Gaming team together with his mate ReignOfDark
He continued to grow as a player and the Reign of Chaos scene still holds him in highest regards.
This also might be due to the fact that from 2007-2011 he used to make short comebacks to Reign Of Chaos not only for tournaments and showmatches but also to climb the ladder with a 50-0 1on1 record.
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biGs, or, how most Reign Of Chaos people know him Jawohl- or Lt]Solo, is a Swiss-Korean orc player that had a good run on The Frozen Throne being one of the top-tier Swiss players. In Reign Of Chaos he made a name for himself by mastering the human race almost to perfection. Although he can be considered a minor figure in the whole scene, he always delivered amazing performances in tournaments and he used to beat all great players regularly.
What made me include him in this list was his best buddy character and the post-WarCraft success he had with StarCraft II when it came out. He rapidly became very good at the game, and managed to become a progamer, joining teams like aAa and mousesports. biGs played Zerg and is now retired from professional gaming.
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Saibot from Sweden is basically what 120 is now, just 10 years earlier and in Reign Of Chaos.
He accomplished everything a player could achieve, winning all prestigious tournaments paired with numerous Rank 1 ladder accounts in the strongest post-TFT era of Reign Of Chaos, all while playing the least popular race: Undead.
He is also considered as one of the greatest due to his use of funny and lame strategies to beat other great players in 1on1 and 2on2 competition in very entertaining fashion.
Did you ever win a tournament game by trapping your enemies level 5 Demonhunter with 4 farms for 10 minutes and then owning the enemies base with mass flying machines? No? He did
Pumpa is a finnish Undead player who started to become popular around patch 1.16. He made a name for himself with his level 54 in the ladder and by winning numerous 1on1 and also 2on2 tournaments with his ally Draakki plus various clan leagues with his team Muscular Finnish Gayboys. Together with RapiNG and Saibot he is counted as one of the top 3 Reign of Chaos players after the release of The Frozen Throne due to his skill with all of the four races.
After his duties in the finnish military, he started to play The Frozen Throne and managed to join clan DkH in 2012. He is currently retired from WarCraft III.
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Probably the best Night Elf that Reign Of Chaos has ever seen.
With Elf being by far the noobiest race, being even easier than the a-click race it is in The Frozen Throne, BeN managed to maximize the abuse of the no level cap creeping, getting his Demonhunter to level 6 for example on Scorched Basin within 6 minutes after the creation of the hero. His abrasive emphasis on creeping, establishing creep routes like this, made Elf the dominant race in tournaments for the coming years.
After the end of the great era of Reign Of Chaos, BeN went for a last effort and laddered his way up to rank 1 with a 250-27 solo record on his account YourDeathThere, reaching level 52.
BeN also held the title for being the most successful player in Reign Of Chaos history in tournament wins until RapiNG took that position some years ago.
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As the first Era 3 player in our list, RapiNG started to play WarCraft III in 2004 after the release of The Frozen Throne but made his big impact to the Reign of Chaos scene not before 2011/12.
When asked what stopped him from switching to The Frozen Throne he answered that he simply "started doing well" in Reign Of Chaos.
His strengths are his absolute versatility, robot-like gameplay and emphasis on creeping.
Most of the time he plays standard with every race and as such can be considered as the greatest random race player in the Reign Of Chaos history.
He is also the player that holds by far the most tournament wins and has dominated the game since 2012 with only a few weaker periods.
Like our next player in the list, he used to organize alot of weekly tournaments.
RapiNG also holds a feud with RainyMonday that produced alot of boring mass archer Elf mirrors.in the past.
RainyMonday organized many, many tournaments for the Reign Of Chaos scene in the recent years, mainly his almost weekly BMF cups.
He didn't only made himself a name as tournament administrator but also as a Night Elf player of the highest regard. In todays scene he is definitely among the top 5 of the best players. I included him for his great, year long contributions that kept the scene alive as well as his gaming skills.
That's our little trip down the memory lane for now. Of course there are many more players that would deserve a honorable mention in the long history of Reign Of Chaos: HeMaN, MaDFroG, Take, AcidPsycho, YoGG, Ojune, ArnOrc, ByYyron-, hArd_killAh, 1337n3ss, viiksi-vallu, LNo ZeN, N811-Master, YURTHEBESTOFCTT, MixTape and RotanimoD are only some that come to mind, but the list could go on and on.
Whilst a minority in the Warcraft III circus, the competitive Reign Of Chaos community is still vital in spite of drastically decreasing player numbers. One third of the WarCraft III games on Battle.net are still Reign Of Chaos games. Especially patch 1.28a made many people that you'd usually meet on the ladder quit WarCraft, due to the problems with patching and launching the game. This was most notable in random team modes where most players seek their glory.
We will see what the future brings for Reign Of Chaos with the new changes that WarCraft will face sooner or later, and we hope to spend more fun and exciting hours with our buddies online, in our beloved game.
Simply because we love WarCraft III: The Reign Of Chaos.
PS: Feel free to share your favorite Reign Of Chaos memories in the comments below. Also shoutout to Dinko and MizM for the inspiration and indirect help.