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Encyclopedia > Warcraft 3
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Release date: 2002
Genre: Real-time_strategy
Game modes: Single-player and Multi-player
ESRB rating: Teen
Platform: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS and Mac OS X
Media: 1 CDs
Input: Keyboard and Mouse

Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, released by Blizzard Entertainment in 2002, is a real-time strategy computer game and the second sequel to Warcraft. It is the third game set in the Warcraft Universe.



In-game screenshot

Warcraft III features an innovation over the previous games in the series: more powerful units called heroes. For instance, heroes within the game can find or trade items to increase skills, defense, etc. With each kill of an enemy of a certain level the heroes gain experience points, eventually resulting in increased levels of their own, and new spell options (thus introducing role-playing game elements to the series). Heroes also can apply beneficial auras to allied units.

Another new innovation are creeps, which are computer controlled characters you fight even in multiplayer, who guard key areas or neutral buildings. They are designed to act as a resource for the players to kill so as to level up your hero and gain hero items. The idea is to force the player to be aggressive instead of turtling up.

Within the game there are four races at war: the humans and the orcs, who also appeared in Warcraft and Warcraft II, along with two new character teams, the night elves and the undead. As an april fools joke Blizard anoucned that it was the Pandaren who were the fourth race. They didn't reveal the night elves until a month later, and pandas are a running Warcraft in-joke now. A fifth playable race, the Burning Legion, was changed during playtesting to a set of non-player characters and monsters (with a playable "cameo" on the last level of the Undead campaign, as Kel-Thuzad summons Archimonde). It's also rumored that the sixth race was meant to be the Goblins, but that's only rumors.

Players meet other players over the Internet to set up multiplayer games via Blizzard's free Battle.net service, or may play against the computer.

Warcraft III also includes a very thorough scenario editor. It uses a scripting language similar to the trigger system used in StarCraft. As well as providing the ability to edit any aspect of the units, buildings and spells, it has such advanced features as custom tilesets, custom cinematic scenes, dialog boxes, variables, and weather effects.

As a result, many custom maps have been created and enjoyed ranging from real time strategy (RTS) maps to even action games where in the game, the player has only a unit which could shoot out a bullet and the bullet can be avoided if the player did not shoot properly much like CounterStrike and other normal action games. Some websites also host a place where you can download those custom maps. This is a reason why Warcraft III can still be so popular for years after it is released

The game was developed by Blizzard Entertainment, a subsidiary of Vivendi Universal, and released in July 2002. Warcraft III proved to be one of the most anticipated and popular video game releases ever, with 4.5 million units pre-ordered and over 1 million additional units sold during its first two weeks.


Similar to how Starcraft was told, the story in Warcraft III is told through all four races in a progressive manner. The order is Humans, Undead, Orc, and Night Elf.

Human Alliance: Prince Arthas, a paladin of the Silver Hand, is investigating a strange plague that is spreading across the lands of Lordaeron. To his horror, he finds that the plague turns unsuspecting people into hideous Undead warriors, and must move to stop the Undead's plans.

Undead Scourge: With a new leader, the Undead must move to complete their purpose in Lordareon, which is to destroy the remnants of the Alliance, and to pave the way for the demonic Burning Legion.

Orcish Horde: After escaping Human captivity and fleeing to the shores of Kalimdor, Orcish warlord Thrall must lead his bretheren to safety and ensure their survival in this strange and hostile land.

Night Elf Sentinels: With the coming of the Undead and Burning Legion as well as the Humans and Orcs, Tyrande Whisperwind and her elvish forces fight a desperate battle to save their beloved home of Kalimdor.

Play details

The four warring races have different advantages, most of them similar to the racial attributes of the Terrans, Zerg, and Protoss from StarCraft, another popular RTS from Blizzard. The Warcraft III Night Elves, for instance, resemble the Terrans in that their buildings can move and their base fighting unit has a missile attack. The Undead also have the Protoss's ability to summon buildings rather than constructing them, so a worker unit is not tied up in construction; also like the Protoss, they have a dedicated invisible spy unit.

However, unlike other RTS games, Warcraft III has introduced a new kind of unit called Heroes. Heroes are super units that have special abilities that expand as the game progresses (as they gain experience). For example, a Human Archmage hero can acquire the ability to (temporarily) summon water-elementals, increase the mana regeneration rate of surrounding magic casting units, create a blizzard over enemy units, and teleport friendly units to other parts of the map. In the course of a game a maximum of up to three heroes can be built, but if they die, they can be revived at an altar.

Between Heroes and a low food cap it is difficult to win through shear numbers, and Micromanagement becomes more important. The upkeep concept also keeps armies small as it penalizes anyone who gets too big too fast. As a result gameplay is more tacticla than strategic.

There are strong distinctions in the game between melee and missile units; between air and ground units; and (particularly in The Frozen Throne) between mundane, magical, and antimagic units. Antimagic units, such as the Humans' Elven Spell-Breaker and the Night Elves' Dryad, have the ability to cancel the effects of magic spells cast on other units.

Expansion set

On May 29, 2003, Blizzard announced that the expansion set, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne had "gone gold" (release version sent to presses). It was released in stores worldwide in multiple languages beginning on July 1, 2003. It includes an additional hero and three to four new units per race, four campaigns, five neutral heroes [now eight, as of patch 1.17] and various other improvements such as queueable upgrades. It requires the ownership of Reign of Chaos. Blizzard regularly patches both the original game and the more popular 'expanded' version to fix bugs, add new features, and balance multiplayer play. The latter is the reason Blizzard games remain popular long after their initial release.


Set a number of months after the events of Warcraft III, the Frozen Throne continues some of the loose ends of the original game, as well as spins off some new plots of its own and paves way for the new conflict of World of Warcraft.

Night Elf Campaign

The Warden Maiev Shadowsong pursues the former prisoner Illidan Stormrage across Azeroth. Her journey takes her from Kalimdor to the Tomb of Sargeras, then all the way to Lordaeron. During her chase, she asked the assistance of Malfurion Stormrage and Tyrande Whisperwind, but Maiev holds a grudge against Tyrande for her actions in releasing Illidan in the first place.

Human Campaign

The Human Campaign follows the Blood Elves, a group of High Elves that survived the invasion of Quel'Thalas by the the Scourge. Originally helping the alliance, the Blood Elves are imprisoned by a racist Human knight, and eventually rescued by the Naga, who are under the leadership of Illidan. Illidan takes the Blood Elves to Outland to in an effort to escapse the punishment that might come from the failure to destroy the Frozen Throne and the Lich King, as well as to fulfill their hunger for magic.

The Human forces in this campaign are very different than the ones used in the multiplayer game. Instead of the full Alliance, only the High Elven units are available, with the addition of new units and a hero added to the expansion pack. The race of Naga with their lone hero is also playable.

Undead Campaign

In the blighted lands of Lordaeron, a civl war is taking place within the Scourge. The Undead forces splinter in three major factions: Arthas and Kel'Thuzad, who are loyal to the Lich King; the Forsaken, led by the Banshee Queen Sylvanas Windrunner; and a third group still loyal to the Burning Legion, led by the Dreadlords (Nathrezim) who are unaware of the Legion's defeat on Mt. Hyjal. The campaign switches between Arthas journeying to Northrend to assist the Lich King, and Sylvanas fighting the Dreadlords for the control of the Plaguelands.

Orc Mini-Campaign

The Orc Mini-Campaign is a departure from the rest of the game. It has features more like an RPG similar to Diablo, featuring a Beastmaster named Rexxar as he helps the Orcs defend and develop their new home of Durotar from various enemies. The Orc Mini-Campaign is probably meant as a bridge between the traditional Warcraft Real-time Strategy genre to the latest release of Blizzard, the MMORPG of the World of Warcraft. It was also created because the games designers were having trouble getting the Orcs involved in the main plot of Frozen Throne.

In this part of the game, User controls a group of two to four heroes, primarily Rexxar and a Troll Shadow Hunter named Rohkan. You can also gain permanent control of a Pandaren Brewmaster named Chen Stormstout, or temporary control of Jaina Proudmoore, Tauren Chieftain Cairne Bloodhoof and his son. Maps are interconnected, with each one being set up as various areas of Kalimdor, such a the Orc fortress city of Ogrimmar, and a Human city on the Theramore Isles.


A massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in the Warcraft universe, entitled World of Warcraft, was produced by Blizzard. It picks up the Warcraft storyline four years after the events of The Frozen Throne.

The strategy board game Warcraft: The Board Game was released in 2003 by Fantasy Flight Games, and is based on Warcraft III. It uses a modular game board, which allows many different scenarios to be played with the same set of components.

Race advantages & disadvantages

Race Advantages Disadvantages
Human cooperative building; peasant militia; strongest buildings; best towers; area of effect attacks; most advanced magic and anti-magic; early expansion with militia largest tech tree, least effective supply building, least effective scouting capabilities; weak mobility until late game
Orc workers can garrison into burrows to defend base; spiked barricades on buildings return melee damage; most powerful ground units; early game harassment; fast ground movement many abilities counterable with micromanagement; weak ranged units; weak if surprised by air attacks
Night Elf moon wells heal units, most buildings may attack and move; females may become invisible at night; earliest siege capability; workers protected inside gold mine; units may see farther and regenerate during night; easy expansions; best ability to focus fire with army fragile units; normal units and moon wells have no regeneration during daytime; early base defense is weak; workers harvest lumber less efficiently
Undead ability to kill enemy heroes quickly; "summon" buildings without needing builder to stay; sheer numbers; fast hp regeneration on blight; dedicated scouting unit; supply buildings may double as towers; frost magic acolytes exposed while mining; fragile early game units; blight-restricted building construction; units are weaker while off blight; relatively weak expansions; blight makes it easier for enemy to detect base location and expansions

See also

External links

Blizzard Entertainment Games
StarCraft Games StarCraft | StarCraft: Brood War | StarCraft: Ghost
Warcraft Games Warcraft | Warcraft II | Warcraft III | Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne | World of Warcraft
Diablo Games Diablo | Diablo: Hellfire | Diablo II | Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

  Results from FactBites:
GameSpy.com - Review (691 words)
And, in typical Blizzard fashion, Warcraft III pulls you right in as its opening cinematic revives the classic orcs versus humans confrontation the series is based on.
The silence of the land is shattered with the rumbling of thousands of orcish and human footfalls rushing to battle as fiery meteors crash to earth.
Warcraft III borrows a bit from Starcraft's story formula in that the campaign of each race takes the story to a new level.
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Review for PC at GamingExcellence (861 words)
The Warcraft series has been around for about ten or so years, and is without a doubt one of the most popular franchises in the business.
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos begins with one of the most notable qualities of all Blizzard titles, the introduction and in game cut scenes.
Warcraft III is not a standard real-time strategy title; the game contains a variety of elements usually seen in role playing games as well as a variety of other customizations and unique attributes.
  More results at FactBites »



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