03/10/2020

Warcraft 3: Reforged changes how the original game works, and fans are upset about it. The new version of the game changes the original in key ways, while also deteriorating the performance. Fans are angry, and there’s literally no going back.

Warcraft 3: Reforged came out yesterday, and fans are not happy. This is a bit more complicated than your run-of-the-mill people are angry on the internet situation, however. Thats because this new game and the old one the product that was first released in 2002 are intermingled. The end result is that the inadequacies of Warcraft 3: Reforged are being foisted upon people still playing the original Warcraft 3.
To tell the story of how we got here, we need to dial back the clock to 2018. Thats when Blizzard rolled out a big update for Warcraft 3, which included balance changes for its heroes, widescreen monitor support, and an update to its pool of maps. Out came a new launcher, one that was similar to the modern launcher for Blizzards Battle.net.
The other shoe dropped later that year with the announcement of Warcraft 3: Reforgedat the BlizzCon fan convention. More than just a remaster of the original game, Blizzard described it as a complete reimagining of the real-time strategy classic.
Lets push it, said Blizzards Pete Stillwell to Polygon in an interview at the time. Lets get it to be as perfectly balanced as StarCraft. Lets add more to the editor, because its already powerful. And like a good Blizzard game, its easy to learn, difficult to master, [but lets] also make it even deeper.
Blizzard wasnt just going to tweak the game balance and make things a bit prettier, it was going to add voiceover and remake in-engine cutscenes to modernize them and bring them in line with the lore of the MMO. At one point, Blizzard even planned on some light story retconning, which it later walked back.
Blizzard did update some Reforged cutscenes, to an extent. Some in the community appear unhappy with the results. The camera work isnt quite as cinematic as Blizzard promised, the new animations arent all that elaborate, and some of the voiceover still feels awkward or dated. Reforged looks better than the original, but it falls short of the sizzle reel shown in 2018.
Unfortunately, it also doesnt perform very well.
Customers are complaining about connectivity issues. They cant reliably connect to custom matches. They cant access custom campaigns that worked just fine previously. Theres no support for a competitive ladder. Making matters worse is the fact that theres simply no going back; even if you install the original Warcraft 3, youre still going to end up with the same issues once you connect to Blizzards online services because the infrastructure is now the same for both the old and the new versions of the game.
What its added up to so far is bedlam on Blizzards Warcraft 3 message boards and on the games subreddit. I dont want your new sh*t I want my old client and custom campaigns, wrote one customer.
Theres yet another wrinkle to the story, as well. As USgamer points out, Blizzard has also updated some of its terms and conditions as it relates to custom game modes. It appears to be a defensive move to protect the company from losing out on the revenue generated by adaptations based on its work. Youll recall that Dota 2 began life as a fan-made custom map for Warcraft 3, and then transitioned into a multi-billion dollar genre all its own. The new language effectively means, as PC Gamer puts it, that all of your Warcraft 3: Reforged custom game modes belong to Blizzard, and that rubs the community the wrong way.
Polygon has reached out to Blizzard for comment on where it goes from here.