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Blizzard Entertainment
Strategy & War
Release Date

WarCraft III Multiplayer Beta
March 4, 2002 | Andy Largent

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In keeping with the idea of a living, RPG-like world, Blizzard has also added other NPCs to WarCraft III. These "Creeps" are strewn about the map, guarding mines or tredding often-used pathways. They make great fodder for your heroes to fight against and level-up. Also included are more friendly NPCs like Goblin houses to purchase items for your heroes or mercenaries willing to fight on your side for a price. Like gold mines and lumber, these neutral buildings are valuable resources that should be protected from enemies at all costs.

Night Elves, Undead, and Orcs. Oh My!
Fans of WarCraft will certainly be familiar with the Human and Orc races from the previous two games. Both share similarities with their predecessors, though a good amount of updates ensure they will stay competitive. Completely new to the series are the Night Elves and Undead. Much more than just a carbon-copy of each other with different unit graphics, the four races in WarCraft III require completely different mindsets in order to play well.

I think most pleasantly surprised by the game will be the many StarCraft fans (who are crying out for a sequel), as WarCraft III incorporates many features found in their familiar Zerg and Protoss races. Here's a quick rundown of all four:

The most technologically advanced of the races, Humans must use wit and brainpower in order to survive. They are allied with Dwarves and Elves to help bring magic and firepower to their arsenal. The familiar and lovable Peasants are back to do the dirty work of gold mining, lumber collecting, and building structures. This all works pretty much as you would expect.

The three human heroes include the Paladin, Archmage, and the Dwarven Mountain King. While the Paladin and Mountain King each become deadly foes, the Archmage's teleport spell shouldn't be overlooked as a quick way to get up to 12 units around the game map. Other notable units include the mighty Steam Tank and Water Elemental.

The race of Orcs has received more changes from previous 'Craft games than their human foes. Like the Peasant, the Orc Peon is used to gather gold and lumber, as well as construct and repair buildings. The Orc strategy is similar to the Zerg in StarCraft; to multiply quickly and win with fast and brutal melees. Bloodlust is also back for those who couldn't live without this powerful WarCraft II standby.

The Blade Master, Tauren Chieftain, and Farseer make up the three Orc heroes. While the Blade Master is 'lowest' on the rung, his powerful Mirror Image spell and Wind Walking ability make him a tough opponent to pin down. The Tauren Chieftain is also difficult to kill, as he can resurrect himself from the dead (assuming he has enough mana). The Orcs' variety and 'zug-zug' personality make them a fun race to play. While strategically different from the humans, their mechanical similarities also make them an easy race to pick up and play.

Night Elves
This is where WarCraft III begins to diverge from its past. Linked closely with nature, all of the major Night Elf buildings are actually trees. They can all be uprooted to move or even fight for their lives. Like Tolkien's Ents, these giant creatures are slow-moving, but mighty foes within themselves. They can also eat trees in order to regenerate health.

Similar to the StarCraft Protoss, Night Elves use star-like Wisps to gather resources. One nice benefit is that they don't need to move back and forth between the main Tree of Life in order to do so, speeding resource collection. Wisps also become a part of any building they are ordered to construct.

Night Elves are true to their name in that during the nighttime, many of the units will become invisible. So long as they don't move or attack, opponents cannot see them. The flying Hippogryph and Chimaera units give opponents of the Night Elves good reason to boost up on air defense.


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