On Jan. 28 of this year, Blizzard launched what they probably hoped would be a resurgence of the glorious days of “Warcraft 3’s” first launch. The original was an incredible experience due to its story, gameplay and history within the gaming community. Let us also not forget the most impactful part of the game — the arcade. Within this mode, new game genres were birthed from the ambitious minds of custom game editors. Through the family tree of genres, we can trace both tower defenses and MOBAs to this game alone. “DOTA” was created using “Warcraft 3’s” custom level editing software that then birthed “DOTA2” from Valve.
Blizzard’s job should have been easy. Their job was to remake a beloved game that they owned. It was a simple job of polishing the game to a modern day sensibility. They had a famous marble statue and all they had to do was clean it up. What Blizzard actually did was take a sledgehammer, start from the top and never stop.
For some who purchased the game, even opening it was too much for the game. Bugs and crashes were reported all over the game’s official forums. Some people, when they got into the game, simply found more bugs, such as one that caused you to instantly lose when you entered a story level.
After some digging into the end-user license agreement (EULA) of the arcade mode, people discovered quite the nasty clause which pertains to the creation of game modes. While it has the usual statements, like those which pertain to copyrighted material, one part of the clause has made this all different. There is a line in the EULA that pertains to the ownership of the game mode. Pretty standard stuff until there is a line that says they own the exclusive rights to the game mode and the moral rights to the game mode. What does that mean? In most games with mods, there is a typical standard clause of non-exclusive rights to the property. That means that if a modder or custom game-mode maker wanted to, they could take the foundations of the work they did in a game’s arcade and then create a stand-alone game concept. That includes some naming rights, such as when the “DOTA2” auto chess modders left the arcade to create a new game simply called “Autochess.” With Blizzard’s new clause, even if you wanted to create the game-mode elsewhere, you couldn’t because of how they worded the EULA. The “exclusive” rights of the property that you just made now just belong to Blizzard.
Obviously, that’s not all. One of the biggest draws to this remake of the game was the promise of remade cut-scenes. Perhaps not a big deal, but the advertisements for the game gave people the impression that the once static shots of the characters talking over some panning shots of the map were now going to be changed into dynamic shots with direct face to face conversations with some new animations that would really bring to life some of the scenes people have come to love.
That was all scrapped in the final product. What made this worse however was the fact that they still used the new animated cutscenes to sell the game. Despite the fact that they blatantly lied about the original pitch for the cutscenes, they still have the audacity to continue to use the cut-scene that was used to deceive the customers in the first place to advertise the game now.
It gets worse. The remake of “Warcraft 3” also affected the original “Warcraft 3.” By using the same servers and build, the two games were merged together with the only difference present in the quality of the models. That means that all the problems that I mentioned above were also transferred into the older version of the game. CD keys and other physical versions of the game were reported to no longer work, as well as the online in the old version of “Warcraft” to a similar degree to “Reforged.” That means that there is no safe haven for those who simply want to play the older version of the game because now it has been merged with the new one.
As of the writing of this piece, “Warcraft 3: Reforged” is the lowest user rated game in Metacritic history. Sitting at a .5 total review score, the game has done about as well as one might expect with the cavalcade of missteps and disasters. People within the “Warcraft 3” community were also banned for helping others get refunds for the game.
As a response to all of this, the “Warcraft 3” team made a statement about as cold and calculated as when they killed their own game. One of the most pathetic lines in the entire statement was when they mentioned the recreated cut-scenes from the trailers and how they were not brought into the game they were advertised being in:
“We went a little deeper into the thought process behind that at the show, but the main takeaway is that the campaigns tell one of the classic stories in Warcraft history, and we want to preserve the true spirit of Warcraft III and allow players to relive these unforgettable moments as they were.”
They made this claim while they still used those same cut-scenes to advertise their game.
While there has now been a two-gigabyte update to the game fixing some of the issues to the game, it is yet to be seen whether or not the community will regain their faith into the company to give the game they love justice.
Edward Park is a third-year student majoring in English education. EP909756@wcupa.edu.