It still gives me tingles. As someone who grew up on Warcraft specifically, I can’t describe the amount of excitement I’ve felt the last week. With Wowhead reporting that Blizzard Entertainment sent out invitations to Warcraft 3 pros for a secret event, something clearly has been in the works. Beyond that, yesterday Reddit user r_ez brought attention to the fact that the installer for Warcraft 3 received an update and looks pretty similar to modern Blizzard games on the Battle.net app.
You can have your League, you can have your Fortnite, I love Overwatch and still play Starcraft but this… is another level. Without Warcraft 3 and the story, you could argue World of Warcraft would have never become what it did. And pushing the limits even further, you could legitimately make an argument that the entire genre of MOBAs wouldn’t exist as it does today. Real-Time-Strategy was “the thing”, and Warcraft was “the game” during its time. But in the year 2018 we find the gaming genre of RTS as in trouble as Sylvanas trying to stop Arthas at the gates of Silvermoon. There are 3 reasons a Warcraft 3 revival will save the RTS genre.
My clan, in Warcraft 3, was the first time I truly embraced online gaming and the community. Running a clan I had recruiting bots out in Night Elf Tree of Life, played 4v4 with clan mates, even had the joy of losing my little brother’s account to an account stealer (long story involving my idiocy). I originally started playing World of Warcraft 11 years ago with friends I made in Warcraft 3, and I know there’s a significant number of folks who have a similar story. This game brings it back for an entire generation. Don’t think for a second that a huge chunk of this population will come back to see a game they enjoyed so much given the Blizzard update it has so desperately deserved.
What is different between now and when Warcraft was the big thing? Well for one we have Twitch. One thing Blizzard has always done amazingly well is market their games, WC3 Remastered wouldn’t be any different. The community will flock to this game like Orcs to battle, and Blizzard will look to piggyback off the community’s anticipation. We’ll see them market this revival to an entirely new generation of players who grew up on games such as recent WoW, Defense of the Ancients (DotA), and of course League of Legends. So why will it work and be successful? Lore. In the lore department, Warcraft stands alone, and it’s led to an attachment to characters some brands only dream of. Blizzard’s storytelling is in my opinion, unlike any other comparable. They are purely the best in the business. With dedicated streamers playing the game again, this could be the largest visibility any RTS has gotten in years. Yes, even bigger than Starcraft Remastered.
This is only the beginning
I’ll say it. If a Warcraft 3 remastered happened the whispers of Warcraft 4 will be escalating to, at the least, loud conversation. The gaming world would collectively almost self-implode if they then announced a new RTS in the works. It would be a risk, but one that it would be so fitting for Blizzard to take. They are already working on an RTS inspired PvE game version in WoW with “warfronts”. The company that defined Real-Time-Strategy, in games such as Starcraft and Warcraft, is returning to its roots. Overnight, it would revive a genre that has fallen out of the good graces of the gaming community.
Blizzard missed the boat on MOBAs, a game genre that originated as a custom game version right under their noses. While Blizzard doesn’t actively release player counts for HotS, we can look to streamers to gauge game interest. For example on Twitch, League of Legends has over 8 Million followers, Heroes of the Storm has 974 thousand. Don’t think for a minute that Blizzard doesn’t see it as one of the largest missed opportunities in the last decade. With that said, you have to ask what is the next big thing? A remastered Warcraft begs the question: what does a truly modern RTS with hero gameplay look like in the year 2018? Is it simpler? Does it take elements from popular MOBAs? Maybe, just maybe, we could finally be on the path to finding out.