The original plan of rewriting some of the story elements of Warcraft 3 has now been scrapped. The changes were supposedly intended to bring “renewed focus to a few central characters that we thought deserved a little bit more time in the limelight,” Pete Stillwell, Warcraft 3: Reforged senior producer, said last year at BlizzCon. Focus would be cast on key characters like Jaina Proudmoore and Sylvanas Windrunner.
However, the Warcraft 3 team was forced to scrap the story retconning, as Robert Bridenbecker, executive producer and vice president at Blizzard Entertainment, told Polygon in a recent interview. This was due to fans voicing their unhappiness over the new design, because they knew it meant changes to the original voice acting- and the fans love the original voice acting. They wanted to hear the original voice actors and sound effects.
“Sounds from clicking on the grunt to hearing Arthas and Illidan’s voice, that was what they didn’t want changed,” said Matt Morris, senior 2 game designer on Warcraft 3 Reforged.
So, as a change of plan, they ended up redesigning certain locations in Warcraft 3 to match what exists today in WoW. While a lot of the game will be true to the original, the team did decide to embellish a bit on the aesthetic side.
Speaking to the crowd during the Reforged Deep Dive panel, the team said that the original cutscenes for the 2002 launch were compressed down to 240p, but were actually 1080p quality. So, Blizzard is bringing back the original renders, but enhanced, for use in Reforged. Thus, the look of locations like Silvermoon, Stratholme, and Dalaran had evolved in WoW while they remained the same in Warcraft 3.
“You can just say ‘it’s not quite right,’ and then you start reevaluating whether or not it’s really the thing you remember. What we want to do is preserve and restore these classic games,” said Michael Scipione, Warcraft 3 Reforged game designer.
Similarly, the “use map settings” community is getting a ton of upgrades, as multiple camera angles and more “RPG options” are in.
One of the other big overhauls to Warcraft 3 Reforged is the multiplayer matchmaking system. Warcraft 3 will now have a per-match race ranking, which sounds kind of similar to how players are matched up in games like Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm. The developers have also made it easier for modders by adding support for Lua, a coding system that modders use most commonly today.
Warcraft III: Reforged is still currently in beta form, and will be available for all BlizzCon pass holders on November 5. No release window has been mentioned, but the original goal was 2019, as per the BlizzCon 2018 announcement.