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Thursday, March 21, 2002
Warcraft III Q&A
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

As the release date for Warcraft III looms ever closer, the PR machine at Blizzard remains hard at work honing the excitement of gamers everywhere through various interviews and beta tidbits. PC site Atomic, seeking new information on the upcoming real-time strategy title, managed to snag Bill Roper for a rather lengthy interview that reveals details of the upcoming World of Warcraft online role-playing game as well.

Most players who've been keeping up with WC3 news are aware that non-playing characters (NPCs), including neutral structures, are a factor in determining strategy. One of the concerns voiced by the interviewer is that players controlling the neutral structures may have an overwhelming advantage in combat, similar to the control of gold mines in WC2. Roper reassures players that, though the various structures and NPC units are definitely a factor that can swing the tide of a battle, by no means will they determine the course of a game. He adds that, rather than adding more power to a player, use of NPCs creates the need for different strategies and tactics.

One of the main tactical points in WC3 is its forced departure from the "amass 100 units" strategy so often found in titles such as Starcraft. Roper notes that pitched battles involving smaller numbers of units will be the mainstay of WC3 strategy:

Resourcing is still important to build your army, but we've really focused more of the game on getting into smaller-scope tactical battles. Instead of a hundred guys, you have 15 or 20 guys on your side going into the fighting, so it's about how you use your spells, and how you're using the interactions between characters, and when you decide to use that ultimate spell that your hero has. It makes for a very different kind of gameplay and quite honestly, one that we feel reflects upon what we heard from a lot of Starcraft players and what their favorite types of fights were. Seldom do you talk with a high-end Starcraft player who says 'oh there was this one time where I took a hundred guys and threw them at the other guy'. It's always about how they came in with a science vessel and they used its special ability, and then they brought in their ghost and used lockdown, and then they called in a nuke.
When asked about WC3's relation to World of Warcraft, Roper explains that the entire series will tie together in one flowing timeline, starting with the original Warcraft game and continuing all the way through WoW, which takes place four years after WC3.

The rest of the interview covers plenty of other aspects of Warcraft III, including its long development cycle, reasons for the lack of naval combat, and why Korean players are considered to be "ubergamers" in the RTS field. Those interested in the full read can find it at Atomic.

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