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Friday, April 27, 2001

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Warcraft III Preview
10:07 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

New details on Blizzard's upcoming medieval RTS title Warcraft III have surfaced, thanks to the guys at IGN PC, that focus on some new gameplay conventions as well as give more insight into some of the new races.

One of the new elements Blizzard hopes will change the way their RTS games are played is the implementation of the Mana Stone. Mana Stones are a resource, like gold, that must be found in order to be able to purchase heroes and high-end upgrades for troops. However, unlike gold, Mana Stones will be extremely scarce on each map, with a finite number being available. In order to obtain them, the player will have to seek out Creeps, which are wandering universally-hostile monsters, and slay them. Blizzard notes that this should change the gameplay dynamic of their previous RTS titles, as players will likely have to spend the beginning portion of each game securing Mana Stones rather than quickly amassing troops for an early attack on other players.

Details on the Night Elves are also starting to solifidy. As of now, only the females will have the automatic ability to cloak during nighttime. The cloak is also only applicable when the unit is standing still - they can be seen when in motion. The entire race is a fast-moving, long-range based race, with even the base attacking units being archers. Their buildings are Treants, living trees, which will have the ability to move as well as attack when necessary. One Night Elven hero, the Keeper of the Grove, will be able to grow and destroy trees, useful for creating or removing natural barricades. Another Night Elven hero, the Sentinel, will be able to use an owl to scout out enemy territory.

The Undead are also shaping up to be an intriguing race. PC IGN describes the Abomination unit as a "smelly, fly-filled, noxious" amalgation that attacks with both its gas and its huge size. The Lich, which move on "a set of flippery, flowery legs," will be able to launch a variety of cold spells. The Necromancer will be able to reanimate skeletons found on the battefield, creating warriors and archers. Adding yet another level to this circle, bodies on the battlefield will decay, starting out as fleshy corpses, which Ghoul units can feed upon to regain health, cleaning off the bones for the Necromancer to reanimate. To stave of the process of decay, the Banshee unit can use a power called Dirge, which stops corpses from decaying as long as it's maintained.

The camera has been pulled out considerably, allowing the player to view more of the battlefield. The abiltiy to zoom in is possible, the the angle of the camera will be computer controlled.

As far as the numbers game goes, parties can currently consist of up to 9 members, though IGN PC notes that this is far from being final. There is a 75 food unit limit, with units consuming 1 unit and heroes consuming 5 units.

For more tidbits of Warcraft III info, be sure to check out IGN PC's write-up. Blizzard is currently shooting for an end-of-year release on the Mac version of this game, but the final verdict on this is "it'll be ready when it's ready," as Blizzard wants to make sure that this title is balanced and solid when it finally comes out. It's definitely shaping up to be a title worth waiting for.

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