Warcraft III is an important game. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that the modern gaming landscape would not exist without it. Warcraft III really helped to reshape the RTS genre, adding a heavy emphasis on story and hero characters. Blizzard then took the world and lore which they had created for these popular RTS games and used that as the basis for World of Warcraft, the world’s biggest MMORPG which garnered an incredible 10 million players at the height of its popularity. Meanwhile, fans took the base game and modded it into Defense of the Ancients, the precursor to DOTA 2 and the rise of the MOBA. The legacy of Warcraft III still fuels new gaming innovation to this day. So, then, why has the games remaster plummeted to a record-breaking low of .5 out of 10 for user ratings on Metacritic?
This train wreck began, as so many do, with the hype. Fan expectations were set to a seemingly reasonable place by some of Blizzard’s marketing materials which showed in-game cut scenes featuring slight graphical improvements and combined with Blizzard talking about how the game would be more than just a remaster people started to get excited. Blizzard even went so far as to initially say that they would use this as an opportunity to fix up some narrative incongruities between the lore of Warcraft III and that of World of Warcraft. It was shaping up to be a pretty major update.
January 28th rolled around and Warcraft III: Reforged released and things immediately started to take a turn for the worse. By this point people were already mad at Blizzard for a variety of recent controversies from the infamous announcement of Diablo Immortal to the much more substantive and worrisome cow-towing of their player’s freedoms to the government of China, people were displeased. So, when the game came out and it didn’t look quite as good as Blizzard had been promising people were already primed to get mad. But then the train just kept on rolling.
As people began to check out the Terms of Service for the remaster they realized that there was some kind of icky language in there. While it makes sense that Blizzard wouldn’t want to lose out on some of the major things that their fan community creates as they did with DOTA, the new language seems to imply that if you make any mods or do any work with Warcraft III: Reforged whatsoever, then all your work belongs to Blizzard.
If all that was enough to get you to refund the new game and boot up your copy of the original well, I have more bad news for you. Whatever Blizzard did on their end intertwined the online part of the Warcraft III: Reforged with the original so even if you launch your old client you will still end up with the same connectivity issues and problems with custom campaigns and maps that players of the remaster have been encountering. There is no going back.
Rumors abound that Blizzard has been rapidly deleting anything posted to their subreddit intended to help users get refunds and this is what has led to a mob of angry internet denizens review bombing Warcraft III: Reforged. As of this posting Blizzard has made no public statement.
Blizzard has now released a statement addressing some of the public concerns. Click here for the full details.