Blizzard is one of the best software development companies ever. They always put in their best effort in every single product they create, in order to release games with the best performance, quality and level of amusement. It was its predecessor, WarCraft II: Tides of Darkness, together with Age of Empires from Ensemble Studios, and Command & Conquer from Westwood, that made Real Time Strategy games so fashionable.
Now there are four factions in the game - two of them come back from WarCraft II, and they are the Alliance, and the Orcs, while the new ones are the Undead and the Night Elves. Since ancient demons feel that the Orcs have failed them, they summoned the Undead and the Night Elves, who are old enemies of Lord Archimonde and his demons. He wants to extinguish all life, so the Alliance, the Orcs, and the Night Elves must join and fight for their right to live.
The most important units are heroes, and you must make all effort to keep them alive. Each hero earns experience as foes are killed. After gaining a certain amount, a hero levels up and gains a skill point that he can spend in a new ability or upgrade. Each hero has six slots for collecting items to use later - some items have multiple uses and take up only one slot, such as potions and mines.
Other playing mode is “Skirmish against CPU players” – three levels of Artificial Intelligence that provide enough challenge, especially useful for training and trying out some tactics.
Campaigns are quite amusing, but playing with friends is always so fun! You can play by teams, or following the map's settings - in any case, the fun is shared. You have two choices, either by LAN or by Battle.Net, which requires a free registration, letting you play with people around the world. Just set up the options and Battle.Net will find you opponents according to your likes.
Blizzard always puts their best effort to produce games with the best quality possible and, at the same time, to keep the minimum requirements as low as possible. They did spend years optimizing every aspect - the version 1.0 required a non-integrated video card with 16MB of memory, but in the following year (version 1.8), a video card with only 8 MB was enough, and even an integrated one. I do not know of any other company that puts so much effort in optimization.
The sound is just excellent, especially if you have a Sound Blaster – at the appropriate angle, you can hear clangs and smashes all around you, or projectiles flying and piercing enemies. It is so good hearing catapults hurling on your left, and crashing and tearing buildings on your right! Voice acting is beautifully performed - all characters’ voices resemble their personalities, so that just by hearing them you know if someone is cautious and wise, or headstrong and precipitate. Its soundtrack is one of the best among video games, composed by Tracy Bush, Derek Duke, Jason Hayes, and Glenn Stafford. It is fascinating, and matches both characters and events.
On release day, there were two editions - a regular one, and a collector's edition. The latter contains the game and more stuff. It includes four lithographies (one for each race), all beautifully made, that look almost real. Also a book, "The Art of WarCraft", where you can see concept evolution of characters and how much they have changed since WarCraft II. There is also a visual story of the game, which includes Lothar's death. Finally, you will also find never-before-seen images of "WarCraft Adventures", detailed characters, an autographed user's guide (especially made for this collector’s edition), the original soundtrack (which includes music that cannot be found anywhere else, including the game), a remastered DVD with all cinematics, trailers, and TV spots, previews of other Blizzard's games (one about Diablo is particularly funny), etc. The Collector's edition is a must for every true fan.
Few games have been as influential as WarCraft III - it is a classic, a standard in game playing that other developers try to follow. It is the basic requirement of a very popular game, "Defense of the Ancients" or DotA, which is developed and played all around the world. Besides, its largest and most important heritage is another Blizzard's game - "World of WarCraft", the biggest online game ever, which continues the charming and captivating story of WarCraft. Finally, there are plans for a movie - as other Blizzard's projects, its development moves slowly, but I hope they speed it up with this one because it is going to be an excellent movie written by Chris Metzen, the same genius that gives us astonishing plots in each game.
WarCraft III is a true classic and an icon for the whole gaming community. It teaches us an important lesson - that we may have differences with others by insignificant reasons, but how do we react when something bigger threatens us? We can find that, even with our differences, we can be more alike than what it seems.