WoW Wednesday: The Unmitigated Warcraft 3 Disaster

Last week we talked extensively about Warcraft 3: Reforged, the “complete re-imagining of a real-time strategy classic,” as quoted by the game’s splash-page. At length we discussed the very critical problem throughout Warcraft 3: Reforged’s development cycle, as well as other impactful events throughout Activision-Blizzard that could have potentially negatively impacted the final product. At the time of publishing Reforged had been out for less than a day, and as such all of its issues were not yet brought to light. While writing we here at were only aware of many of its critical game-breaking bugs and a few missing features.

Last week was much more positive in hindsight, wasn’t it?

In the span of a week Blizzard Entertainment and Activision-Blizzard have come under fire what is, in no small terms, an unmitigated launch disaster for Warcraft 3: Reforged. On top of the release day bugs that saw players fundamentally unable to play the game, the entire game was rife with quality of life issues. One friend of mine, humorously, had a glitch during the Night Elf campaign where voice lines from any Hero Class character could be prompted immediately without cancelling the prior. As the units speak each time they engage movement he managed to accidentally have Malfurion become locked into the first syllable of every single voice line for the entirety of the mission.

Pushing aside the nature of humorous bugs, we now have many more serious things to discuss and address. Warcraft 3: Reforged is missing a large host of promised features, many that were originally in the original Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos. Thankfully WoWhead has put together the short list of missing things, which includes some fundamental aspects. Online Multiplayer content, both competitive and social, are to be included in an upcoming Reforged patch. Other systems, like player profiles and custom campaigns, remain balefully absent.

With the release of Reforged the original Warcraft 3 has been removed from the Blizzard launcher, and now uses Reforged as its base programming. As such, if you are using Reforged to play the Classic version, issues in the newer updated version pass on to the original. Such graphics issues include standard definition models having massive color, shadow and particle effects missing throughout. However most egregious is the overwriting of Reign of Chaos’ AI difficulty and stat balancing. As its expansion, The Frozen Throne, is now tied to the base product the unit balance is retained for the original campaign. Some missions in both versions of Warcraft 3 are now vastly different than before in terms of mathematics, with difficulty swinging rapidly between later campaigns.

Then we have the expected missing Reforged aspect of the game. The “complete re-imagining,” was publicly cut during Blizzcon 2019. This included the Campaign Overhaul to soft-retcon the game and bring it more in line with the “Chronicle” books, the Improved Cinematic cutscenes and the player choice to play either the original Warcraft 3 or the Reforged game. We discussed this previously as being cancelled due to fan outcry, however in further research we have been largely unable to find any public backlash against the notion with the coupling of ‘player choice.’ This has not stopped Activision-Blizzard and Blizzard Entertainment from using the 2018 ‘Cinematic Cutscene’ for the Culling of Stratholme heavily in the game’s marketing and splash page, despite it not appearing anywhere in game.

As with any online game release, Blizzard updated its terms of use and rules for Reforged. In the End User Licence Agreement for the game’s modding software, the World Editor, Blizzard fundamentally changed the rules for ownership for any custom games.

“1. Ownership Custom Games are and shall remain the sole and exclusive property of Blizzard. Without limiting the foregoing, you hereby assign to Blizzard all of your rights, title, and interest in and to all Custom Games, including but not limited to any copyrights in the content of any Custom Games. If for any reason you are prevented or restricted from assigning any rights in the Custom Games to Blizzard, you grant to Blizzard an exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, unconditional, royalty free, irrevocable liscense enabling Blizzard to fully exploit the Custom Games (or any component thereof) for any purpose in any manner whatsoever…

3. Use of Third Party Content in Custom Games. You represent and warrant that neither the content you use to create or incorporate into any Custom Games, nor the compilation, arrangement or display of such content (collectively, the “User Content”), infringes or will infringe any copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret or other intellectual property right of any third party…”

This is fairly boiler plate and expected. To put it plainly, Blizzard owns every and any aspect of whatever custom content you make in Warcraft 3: Reforged. It stops you from making money off of their content (such as Patreon-Only or ‘Early Access’) maps, and forbids you from making ‘Lord of the Rings’ maps. This, after the creation of both DotA and the entire genre of Tower Defense during the original Warcraft 3, is expected given their original lawsuit with Valve that saw the Steam developer gaining the sole rights to DotA. This sudden turn, however, has caught the community off-guard particularly with the relaxed nature of the original EULA:

“The EULA prohibits the use of Warcraft 3 or the World Editor for any commercial purpose without Blizzard’s prior written consent. In addition, the EULA restricts any distribution of “New Materials [defined as modifications of Warcraft 3 created using the World Editor] on a stand-alone basis… through any and all distribution channels, including, but not limited to, retail sales and on-line electronic distribution without the express written consent of Blizzard.”

For obvious reasons, this has set the entire community in full-tilt upheaval. Metacritic currently has Warcraft 3: Reforged sitting at a user score of 0.5, which indicates a potential review bombing of discontent by the player base. Reviews have been, socially speaking, at an all time high for Blizzard Entertainment with Reforged. Players have cited dozens of reasons from the game’s seemingly endless bugs, to fraudulent marketing with its Culling of Stratholme trailer which could be a legitimate complaint in countries such as Canada and Australia. Warcraft 3: Reforged refunds have since become automated through the Blizzard Help page.

Very clearly, this has not been a positive week. Blizzard Entertainment decided to make it worse.

Warcraft III: Reforged
In what could only be described as the most tone-deaf post in history (potentially thanks to their mass PR layoffs last year), Blizzard Entertainment posted their thoughts on the first week of Reforged on the game’s forums. Posted by Kaivax, one of the team’s community managers, the letter is signed by the entire team. While the post started well, addressing issues with well-known bugs and the promise of fixes, the letter began to derail nearly halfway through. While concerns were addressed such as the ‘missing’ cutscenes and the missing tournament mode, nearly nothing was addressed about the game’s currently revolving controversies.

The EULA was not discussed. The launch day disasters were brushed over. Missing features were promised in a future ‘major Reforged patch.’ Tournaments, despite the fact they were largely buggy and broken in later versions of Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos were not fixed and instead removed. Concerns about game quality to portions outsourced to a third-party developer.

Simply scrolling through the open letter thread gives you the large idea of where the community sits.

Warcraft 3: Reforged is a complete, utter, absolute, disgusting total disaster. There is no beating around the digital bush in saying that. Reforged is fundamentally and completely unfinished in many regards if we are describing this as the “complete re-imagining” of what was originally initial in the base game up until seven days ago. It hardly even qualifies as a remaster, as the remastered portions of the game do not compare to the original and are filled with flaws. The state of Reforged performs the cardinal sin of remastering any game; it makes one consider if the original was really all that good to begin with. The most advisable notion, at this point in the controversy, would be to remove its branding of Reforged. Label the game as a remaster, reduce its suggested retail pricing and let it rest.

Even now, a week into this disaster of a game, players will only remember one thing. It was not Blizzard Entertainment that released a truly upscaled wonderful re-imagining of their childhood. Instead, it was Blizzard Entertainment and its parent company that released a rushed, poorly cobbled together and incomplete mess. Its sad to think that with what we’ve seen over the last week this is what Blizzard’s mission statement contains on its company website:

“Blizzard polish” doesn’t just refer to our gameplay experiences, but to every aspect of our jobs. We approach each task carefully and seriously. We seek honest feedback and use it to improve the quality of our work. At the end of the day, most players won’t remember whether the game was late – only whether it was great.”

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Dark and Light Releases a Mod Dev Kit

I, personally, am completely incapable of enjoying a Bethesda RPG out of the box. I need mods. Mods are one of the best parts of PC gaming for me. So the fact that a Dark and Light mod dev kit has been released for the sandbox MMO definitely has my ears pricked up in interest.

dark and light mod dev kit

The Dark and Light mod kit lets its players muck about with pretty much every aspect of the sandbox, including maps and regions, creatures, spells, and equipment. The toolset is essentially an Unreal Engine 4 Editor in a simplified but comprehensive form according to the announcement.

The kit isn’t just capable of letting players adjust number values, however. The more advanced users can create completely unique assets as well, which lets them put together their own spells and maps for their own unique sandbox world. Once modders have woven together their creations, they can share them on the Steam Workshop.

The Dark and Light Dev Kit is available now via the Unreal Launcher. There’s also some dedicated forums for modders of the game here and a video showcasing the kit in action below.

Our Thoughts

Oh boy oh boy! We’re genuinely interested in seeing what the modding community will be doing for Dark and Light. Whether it’s minor adjustments or entirely unique worlds, the potential for this new dev kit definitely seems endless.

Source: press release

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Modders Ramp Up Stardew Valley Multiplayer Populations

So we’re already pretty much in love with Stardew Valley multiplayer gameplay, even in its beta state. Now, it looks like the PC modding community is hoping to make that experience even better by shattering the game’s player population limits.

stardew valley multiplayer gameplay

The two mods work similarly in that they allow as many people onto your Stardew farm as you want, though there are a couple of important differences. One, known as Ultiplayer, will let as many people in without requiring any of them to have access to a cabin on your land unless one happens to be unoccupied. The other, called Unlimited Players, does require that everyone has access to a cabin.

In either case, the multiplayer session host must have the SMAPI mod installed. It’s also important to bear in mind that the mods are unofficial and still in testing, and Stardew multiplayer is still in a beta state as well, so there’s plenty of potential for things to crumble. That said, you’re welcome to click the above links to learn more about these mods if you’re ready to ramp up your 16-bit farming sessions.

Our Thoughts

Not “massive” by any stretch, but seeing more people on the farm at once sounds like a heck of a lot of fun to us! As usual, leave it to the PC modding community to take an already great game and make it even better.

Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun

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The Curious Case of MMO Add-Ons

Why are MMO add-ons a thing? Why does it seem like when some people go back to certain games they spend more time researching their add-ons and installing up to date versions of them than actually installing the game? Are add-ons a failure of the game?


Guild Wars 2

I don’t use any add-ons for Guild Wars 2. I am not sure of any of my various guildmates who do. I’m certain if I poll long and hard enough I will find people who use out and out add-ons. They certainly exist as the wiki has a list of applications that use the API. I’ve also made great use in the past of Guild Wars 2 Efficiency. It needs my information, after all, to tell me what I am missing in my latest crafting or how much my character is worth in terms of skins used. Personally, I think Guild Wars 2 Efficiency is a fantastic tool but it is something I use when I am static when I am at the crafting stations or in between harvesting nodes.

Guild Wars 2 MMO Add-Ons

It gives a benefit to me, certainly but I have never found that it is necessary, just really useful.

My day to day play of Guild Wars 2 doesn’t need any add-ons. It doesn’t need anything popping up to tell me what skill to use or what attack to dodge. The UI of Guild Wars 2 is quite lovely and does everything I could possibly want it to. The design is clean and there’s plenty of space left on my screen. Perhaps though that’s a function of the design towards more active combat.

Food and utilities are nice little bonuses to stats, not something that requires precise management. Inventory bags and “Collect all” deals with most of those issues so long as I keep on top of my salvage. Everything on the screen is kept clean and I am left to enjoy the game.


World of Add-OnCraft

Admittedly this whole musing on add-ons came from a conversation with a friend. She and I were reminiscing about City of Heroes as she went through all the preparatory work to get back into World of Warcraft. In those days, in that wonderful city, there wasn’t any need for add-ons either. Again there were limited powers available to any given character and consumable Inspirations were easy to use or spam as required.

For someone who came in through Everquest when I was too young to really get hardcore about it, through the likes of City of Heroes, Rift, Neverwinter, Guild Wars 2 and TESO, maybe I have been lucky or naive. Hearing that she needed to use an add-on to change the UI to something more palatable is alien to me in the current era of MMOs with their action focus and clean interfaces. I’m looking at you there Secret World Legends.

Hearing that she needed an add-on to give her the tells and prompts from a dungeon was equally odd. I know that complexity adds to a game and gives people a sense of satisfaction when they win through, but is it still complex when something flashes up on-screen to warn you and tell you exactly what to do?

I suppose we must applaud those brave denizens of Azeroth who go into new raids and dungeons without a clue of what is ahead of them. For the hordes who follow after though, jumping through the virtual hoops an additional piece of software they put in dictates, I wonder where the joy comes from.



Do add-ons bring an unfair expectation to games that make extensive use of them? I can’t imagine being in a group in Tyria and being booted for not having the right extra programs installed to tell me how to react to things and what my optimal use of skills is.

It may well be that I am being unfair to the whole ancillary market that is the add-on community. Certainly, there is work and passion being applied to what people see as problems. There are clever people out there creating little applications to make the game experience that much sweeter for people, or easier to cope with.

Certainly, there are also developers who have their way of doing things and damn the dissenters. Add-ons clearly offer a way around some design decisions to make the experience better. It’s still strange to hear though for someone who has never had vast experience with them seeing as they are usually focused on one of two areas: Fixing something “broken” or ensuring people can be “optimal”.

Optimal has its own issues all over the place. If you don’t put out the optimal damage, you’re a bad player. If you don’t follow the optimal rotation you don’t understand your class and should quit. If you aren’t doing everything to maximize the reward and minimize the time spent in the Skinner Box we call our games, then you are bad and should feel bad.

Which is obviously idiotic.

Similarly, if there is a push from fans to correct what they see as flaws in the game, should the developers not take steps to address it? If the UI in, for example, World of Warcraft is that bad or crowded, do they not owe the players a potential revision of the whole interface? Or have we just grown beyond the problem and it’s something that comes about in older games that rely on a different approach to gameplay?

Personally, I am not sure. I just know that the visual clutter and noise I see every time a friend shares a World of Warcraft screenshot is hugely off-putting. How can they make sense of that noise? Maybe they need to install a new clean UI add-on and then several others… at which point I ask whose job it is to make the game playable?

Developers, or players?

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