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I couldn't find a good spot to plunk down my [half-in-jest] rant against the new Loot Treasure Goblin amiibo, which brings me to opening this Blizzard topic. General Blizzard stuff can go here, for which this is the prime season! Blizzcon just came and went, and it brought a ton of useless controversy and at least one neat announcement.

 

WARCRAFT 3: REFORGED

This isn't your typical slap-some-textures-on-a-model-and-call-it-4K upgrade. They're really taking their toolbox to War3 and updating levels to suit current developments in that one MMO thing that no one's heard of or played. So: yay! Let's visit modern-day Stratholme in The Culling!

 

I'm a liiiiittle worried that the upgraded models and everything might start to clash with the extremely saturated greens of the grasses and other cartoon stylings. World of Warcraft is colorful too, but loads in tons of atmospheric fog and sheens and whatnots. This is still a ways from releasing, but from this trailer it sometimes feels as if it might go ahead and hurt my eyes.

 

 

This upgrade couldn't have happened to a more worthy game, though. Warcraft 3 is AMAZING. I feel the RPG-y strategy gameplay will still feel rather modern, though, not so much its graphics. It took this uncomfortable position where it was Blizz's first 3D strategy game, and it came out in a time (2001) when it was kinda OK-looking, but already then you could tell that it wasn't going to age particularly well. It wasn't until Starcraft 2 that they hit that quality bar. If any game in their library was begging for a visual overhaul, it was War3. So, 2019! I'll probably play it.

 

Diablo Immortal

People got so pissed at this, apparently. But why? You can just as easily pretend this doesn't, or will not, exist. I do it all the time with the millions of uninteresting mobile games in the world. That doesn't drag me down. And odds are Diablo Immortal is at least going to offer something actually good. Not some trillion-character-sprites-collectathon, but an actual goddamn game that you might have to pay for. All loot, no loot boxes.

 

D4 will be a ways off, of course. Actually, I don't have a clue what I would expect from Diablo 4. The current Diablo ("3") is such a complete package... it's so quintessentially "Diablo" that I wouldn't know how to improve on it. You could make it different, of course. Make it more MMO, more persistent, or just create an entirely different set of combat mechanics just because you wouldn't want to do the same thing again. Which is probably exactly what they'll do. Whatever, it'll be great once it arrives in 2022 (highly educated guess).

 

Some cool shit for Overwatch

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As far as I can tell the backlash on Immortal is largely fueled by Blizzard being very coy about having a big reveal and it being Diablo-related which got the people still playing that game pretty excited -- and those are most emphatically *not* people who are going to (admit they) play cynical cash-grab mobile games. And then the cherry on top is that it's not even going to be Blizzard-developed.

 

Just greatly mishandled from a PR standpoint. Mistakes piled on top of mistakes.

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I read some of that over here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2018/11/04/heres-how-this-diablo-immortal-mess-could-have-been-avoided/#3cbedb95757e

 

But at the end of the day, it's still a gross overreaction by extremely rabid fans who should know, after, you know, 25 YEARS OF THIS, that Blizzard takes its time making games, and doesn't announce things until they're done. And even I, a rather casual Blizz follower, had gotten the memo that they wouldn't be discussing or announcing D4 at Blizzcon. The fact that Diablo Immortal is made by another team makes it only more plain that it in no way hampers D4's development. So just ignore it. But then, of course, if you're in the Blizzon bubble, it'll be a lot harder to. You've paid top dollar to have all your Blizzdreams come true, and when they don't, there's only Blizzappointment and Blizztering rage left to turn to.

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It's an entirely stupid overreaction that could have also been entirely avoided. It's stupidity all the way down.

 

Also, acting like Blizzard is in no way culpable for the type of fans they've cultivated feels somewhat shortsighted to me.

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I get you osmo, but I feel the need to point out that this has been latched onto by the Usual Harassment Types which kinda exacerbates the whole issue. There has been some quite public shaming of developers, and regardless of how badly-managed PR it is, I don't think we should be comfortable with the kind of (public and visible) culture that has emerged and been made to feel acceptable in recent years.

 

Probably not saying anything you'd disagree with, just trying to break that binary. Blizzard (specifically, Acti-Blizzard) may in some way be culpable, but nothing excuses the reaction of certain parts of the "fanbase" nor how they've targeted anyone speaking up in defense of Blizzard since. It makes it impossible to have an actual conversation about PR gaffes, bad marketing, why nobody seemed to be aware that Blizzard literally made an actual blog post saying not to expect a huge deal at Blizzcon, and so on. Even a new angle on outsourcing work to foreign studios (there are both pros and cons here, especially in light of the recent RDR2 pieces).

 

The problem is the fan reaction, because it's completely unnecessary, and also obscures any worthy criticism actually worth talking about. Blizzard are stuck on damage control, and all developers outside of Blizzard see is more of their own taking an absolutely ridiculous beating for something that isn't even in their (the developers') hands.

 

------------------------

 

Also, more happily, kinda excited about Reforged. Warforged. War3forged4fun. I greatly enjoyed WC3 when I was younger and it's only the dated engine that prevents that nowadays. I understand the reasons for keeping a lot of the technical choices intact (I vastly prefer squads in my RTS management these days), and it's mitigated by the news that (I think) they're upping the editor tools to match the new offerings, which means modders can go absolutely silly in terms of improvements and remakes. Really hoping to see an official or unofficial remake of The Founding of Durotar. Absolutely loved that campaign.

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If I gave the appearance of being comfortable with it, that's on me. I definitely don't want to imply that. I hate the way things are. But I think that Blizzard and their servile appeasement approach to community management is actually part of the cause of entitled-gamer-itis, so there's a certain amount of schadenfreude involved, though obviously at the company level, not the individual people getting harassed.

 

 

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Sorry, didn't mean to infer that. I'm just riding quite hard on the "gamers being assholes" thing because for as many fuckups as Blizzard have made, the surrounding noise and harassment makes it hard to even qualify by itself. If the reaction hadn't been massively magnified by said figures from the rubbish parts of the Web, I agree a lot more. It's frustrating. I don't want it to stop critique of Blizzard at the management level, but I also don't want to move past the whole fan reaction thing either.

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I've been (I don't know why, I must be masochistic) reading more on the reveal and backlash, and have read a single (one) good argument how Blizzard screwed up, which I am willing to grant the outraged people. Blizzcon was the wrong venue for this reveal. They should've done it at Gamescom, or the Activison press conference at E3, or some other, mobile event. Not Blizzcon. That one is, insofar as it's also a media spectacle for the outside world, still in large part a celebration for the most hardcore of hardcore fans, who've all paid dearly to be there. Slapping them in the face with a watered-down mobile version of a classic game is tactically unsound, and a media blunder because it was bound to provoke this reaction.

 

Which is to say: I still don't condone that reaction, I think it's foolish. But people can be foolish, and Blizzard have been doing this long enough that they should've been able to see this coming.

 

But, whatever, this thing is forgotten in a few weeks (no matter how much Ben Kuchera wants this to be a big thing with his preposterous analysis on Polygon). Let's focus on War3 Reforged instead. One thing I didn't mention, and which I read somewhere and totally agree with, is that Reforged will likely feel very true to how I remember Warcraft 3 being. If I'd go back and actually play the original game, however, (and the last time I did was probably... a good ten years ago) I'd probably find its graphics aren't as good as I have in my head.

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Blizzard’s statement that they were updating Warcraft 3’s story to line up better with how events are laid out in World of Warcraft seems... bad, given what a mess that game’s become. I’m curious what’s motivating them to mess with the writing when it seems like more risk for litte reward. I don’t think anyone (reasonable) would be particularly upset if the remaster of a ten year-old game didn’t line up perfectly with modern products, but I can think of plenty of changes that would annoy me.

 

Anyway! Tower defense games! Someone better remake Wintermaul Wars.

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I'd be surprised if they changed it up too much. One thing they've mentioned is that they'll give more screentime to characters like Sylvanas, who became very popular and important in WoW. I'd guess the main gist of the story will remain much the same. Hopefully they'll resist putting in thousands of references to future events and characters.

 

I haven't been following WoW since the advent of Wrath of the Lich King, so I wouldn't know how much of a mess it has become, but I can venture a guess. WoW has always thrived on convolution, since it needs to fill up SO much space (a whole WORLD, so to speak). Coupled with the usual Blizzard Escalation(TM) where you can chart the duration of a game story to the inevitable point where they start fencing with ancient creator gods or evil demons that have been manipulating everything behind the scenes... Though I understand that recent expansions to WoW have made an effort to return to the roots of Horde vs Alliance again, and that seems a wholesome move.

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I don't think the recent expansions actually live up to Blizzard's claims that they're returning to those roots. The most recent one certainly felt like it was just a few cutscenes devotes to faction leaders making angry faces at each other (and killing people I guess) and then the players go goof around on troll island. My biggest concern relates to your point, and is that they're going to double down on the recent trend of making pretty much all bad actions by any character the result of some corrupting influence by spooky evil being, because there's already enough of that in Warcraft 3 as it is. If it's just a few characters getting additional screentime, I'm not too concerned, but I would hope they don't just bog the whole thing down with it.

 

I'm getting increasingly excited by new tower defense content though. Warcraft 3's battlenet never works for me for some reason, and a lot of standalone games just don't have the same charm.

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Remember when Warcraft 2 came out and the big selling point was ORCS VERSUS HUMANS... BUT NAVAL

 

300px-Warcraft_II_Battle.net_Edition_cov

 

(And it ruled so, so much.)

(BUT NAVAL is an awesome modifier.)

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We were denied the true glory of orcs versus humans, but in space!

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(Aww, gosh, I don't know if you mean that ironically, because... that is EXACTLY what people used to disqualify Starcraft before it came out. "It's just orcs in space!")

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I both did not know people said that and am in no way surprised people said that.

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From my understanding, every existing custom map in WC3 can just be ported into WC Reforged, same as how SC: Remaster can even play your old Brood War replays without any extra fuss.

 

With regard to *new* content, I would hope Blizzard understands what custom maps means to the WC3 community, and make a good effort highlighting new creations. SC2's arcade was completely botched on release, but it is in a sort of decent state now (arcade was always more popular than the ranked ladder, though now co-op dwarfs both). Blizzard held arcade-map-making competitions for SC2 and I imagine they will do the same with WC3, and hopefully promote it better.

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On 6-11-2018 at 2:48 PM, Kyir said:

I both did not know people said that and am in no way surprised people said that.

 

Especially when you consider what Starcraft looked like in its early stages:

 

Starcraft-orcs-in-space.png

 

This is a reappropriated Warcraft 2 engine with definitely no longer placeholder graphics. This is really what Starcraft looked like for a while. If I recall correctly, the final engine was programmed in a matter of only days or weeks, by a single person.

 

Indepth look at Starcraft development: https://www.usgamer.net/articles/the-making-of-starcraft-the-early-days-of-blizzards-rts-legend

 

[ADDED: It was months. The final engine was programmed in a few months, but indeed by a single person while the rest of the team was off helping Diablo hit its deadline.]

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I'm very excited about the idea of a Warcraft 3 remake, but I hope the look of the trailer has more to do with effects being unfinished than a decision to tone things down visually (watching that Blademaster spin around without a whirling orange tornado is so jarring). The original has a vibrant and colorful look that still holds up for me today and the scenes in the trailer have me a little worried we'll get high-resolution textures at the expense of flat colors and less contrast. I guess we'll see.

 

19 hours ago, eRonin said:

From my understanding, every existing custom map in WC3 can just be ported into WC Reforged, same as how SC: Remaster can even play your old Brood War replays without any extra fuss.

 

Now I'm not entirely up to date on this, but I believe the WC3 mapping community unfortunately decided to stop updating their maps for the increasingly small patches that Blizzard continued to put out in favor of using a slightly older version as the unofficial reference point. At the very least, I personally keep both a current and a slightly outdated version of WC3 on my PC in order to be able to play different maps, and even so some fall through the cracks (even some that are still being updated).

 

Obviously there is nothing Blizzard themselves can do about it, they can't possibly be expected to make sure every single map out there still works with the remake. That's just why I'm personally more excited about the idea of the mapping community being reinvigorated in general. The creative chaos of Warcraft 3 custom maps makes up some of my favorite gaming memories, but that was at a time when we didn't have real internet at our place and I could only access that magical world through the filter of game magazine DVDs that curated some noteworthy maps for their readers. If people start making maps again and I get to be in the middle of that and try absolutely everything, I would be all over that.

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I am also a bit leery that Blizzard's general tendency in remasters towards "excessive detail as art direction" will make Warcraft Reforged look theoretically better but practically worse than the original (which, I agree with Deadpan, still holds up marvelously), but I think that Blizzard's going to Blizzard and I'll probably buy it anyway because Warcraft 3 made my teens.

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What do yous think of WoW classic? I personally can't believe any one wants to play it passed morbid curiosity. As much as Warcraft was your teens, @Gormongous, WoW was mine, but I think I enjoyed WoW so much because I went through the Vanilla dark times of wiping on Onyxia 50 times before getting her to phase 18, and then got to enjoy the world when it changed so drastically in TBC. I just can't imagine wanting to go back to that slow lethargic world.

 

I understand they're implementing a lot of quality of life changes, balance doodads etc, but I just don't get the appeal beyond nostalgia. But god knows that stuff sells. I mean I'm buying Pokemon Yellow Remastered(Let's Go) in a week's time. But I've got my own excuses for that.

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I quit WoW a long time ago (after I was done with Wrath of the Lich King), so I have no idea how the game has evolved. One thing I did notice at the time was how much easier it became to traverse the world. You got quest markers and other convenient tools, and the lure of that was so strong that even I started to skip the quest texts. Vanilla WoW, of which I have good memories, will at least force you to slow down and actually read it and figure out where things are. Sometimes it'll be frustrating, but in the end I think it'll make for a more interesting experience. Not necessarily a smoother one! But way more memorable, since you'll get lost and everything is more opaque.

 

However, I have no idea if I, or anyone else, will think this is all that palatable after being spoiled (in more ways than one) with the convenience of modern day WoW. It reminds me of returning to Morrowind, which doesn't have the conveniences of Oblivion or Skyrim. You really have to adjust to the slower pace and having to follow directions instead of just a dumb arrow on a compass.

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My theory is that people confuse vanilla wow being good with being 15 and playing a game with all your friends and having no responsibilities or obligations to do anything but play wow 

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11 hours ago, jennegatron said:

My theory is that people confuse vanilla wow being good with being 15 and playing a game with all your friends and having no responsibilities or obligations to do anything but play wow 

All the reviews of Vanilla I have seen, usually from people who played it back in the day, is that its boring and that losing all the improvements of modern WoW is bad.

 

That being said I was interested when they said they would be redoing the big patch events. I have fond memories of when Naxx was released, I logged in right after the patch and stormwind had been taken over by the undead. Spent an enjoyable hour or so retaking the city.

 

That being said I am quickly falling off WoW. Coming back to it was fun for a while but none of the end game content is enjoyable to me anymore.

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I can't imagine going to back to WoW Vanilla (stopped playing after Cat(we we're at the farming legendary staves part)), unless you could promise all the friends I used to play with were also going to become as crazy about it again? Like, are they relaunching it so my warlock can get stunlocked to death by some random rogue and death coil is back to its 10 minute cooldown, and doesn't even have the fear? 

 

The Naxx event is probably my #1 favorite MMO memory, because our server was the only PvP server in the mix, and we finished 2nd. We would have finished 1st, but a bunch of hardcore open world people were like "we don't need you guys getting better gear to make it easier to kill us" and tried to sabotage the opening, and the ensuing war repeatedly crashed the server during the unique bosses, and especially while Zakhur was trying to ring the bell. Also, because it looked like we might take it a lot of people made alts and marched them to the gates. Hmm. though I just checked the wiki and it looks like we did it 5 days later than Medivh, but my recollection was much closer. weird.  

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A lot of vanilla's charm for me was how much was unknown about everything (mostly due to a lack of tools and dataminers.) There's a certain sensation with making discoveries (small and large) that you just don't really get with modern WoW, both because of Blizzard's decisions and the prevalence of outside tools. It's also something you can't exactly recreate now. 

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