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Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment    Genre: Strategy & War
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: G3 @ 400 MHz    RAM: 128 MB    Hard Disk: 700 MB    4x CD-ROM

WarCraft III
July 15, 2002 | Eddie Park

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The Ordering of Azeroth
As with most RTS titles today, WC3 offers several races to choose from, each one possessing their own unique attributes, Heroes, units, and structures. Each race has their own unique approach to offer, and players will no doubt settle upon a favorite once they get to know the game. However, in true Blizzard tradition, the game is open enough to where players using the same races still have more than enough freedom to create and use vastly different strategies based on their own style of play.

The Human Alliance is considered the most versatile race in the game, with decent ground forces, air capabilities, siege equipment, and spellcasters. They also possess the unique Call to Arms ability, which allows them to convert their Peasants into armed soldiers. Their Heroes also reflect the good balancing of the Humans' power, with players being able to choose from the spellcasting Archmage, the powerful Mountain King, or the defensive Paladin.

The Orc Horde, boasting some of the most powerful warriors in the game, specializes in ground combat. They can upgrade their structures with Spiked Barricades, which deal damage to any enemy melee unit that attacks them. In addition, they can also Pillage, an ability that adds both gold and lumber to their coffers every time certain Orc units score a hit on a building. Their Heroes consist of the whirling Blademaster, the spellcasting Far Seer, and the mighty Tauren Chieftain, which is the most powerful melee unit in the game.

The Undead Scourge is built upon endurance and numbers. This is enhanced not only by their regenerating troops, but their ability to raise corpses in the midst of battle to continue the fight. They also have the unique ability to summon, rather than build, their structures, freeing their Acolytes to perform other duties. While they must create Blight on the land in order to build, the Undead regenerate their energy more quickly when within the Blight’s demesnes, solidifying their defense. Adding to their horrific troops, their Heroes include the Death Knight, the magic-wielding Lich, and the Dread Lord, a unit that hails from the Burning Legion itself.

Rounding out the races are the Night Elves, deft in combat and experts in spellcraft. Nearly all of their units have ranged attacks, their female units possess the Shadowmeld ability, which lets them blend in with the night when standing still, and their tree-like structures can uproot themselves to fight, travel, and even consume trees for health when needed. Leading their forces are the Priestess of the Moon, who wields the power of the stars, the druidic Keeper of the Grove, and the Demon Hunter, who possesses the power of the Burning Legion itself.

They shaped the form of their worlds…
WC3 is classified as a Real-Time Strategy, or RTS title. At its basic level, the game consists of gathering resources (gold and lumber) and building structures, which in turn allows the training of units, which in turn are used to explore and expand territory as well as vanquish foes.

What this simplistic description fails to convey is the magnificent way in which Blizzard has crafted its gameplay system. Given their track record of massively popular RTS titles, they’ve had plenty of time to refine the process, and it shows. Readers will have to forgive me for the numerous StarCraft references coming up, but in my eyes, WC3 addresses and fixes many of the issues I personally had with StarCraft, all of which will hopefully make the game accessible to newbie players as well as put a new spin on things for seasoned veterans.

Each race has its own unique way of gathering resources, and this factor alone may determine which race players ultimately settle on as their personal favorite. The Humans and Orcs have Peasants and Peons respectively, which are capable of individually collecting gold and lumber. In addition, however, the Orcs can learn the aforementioned Pillage ability, increasing their gold and lumber stores every time they mount an attack on an enemy town. The Undead use Haunted Gold Mines to mine gold, each of which can support up to five Acolytes who “summon” the gold into their reserves. Lumber is harvested by Ghouls, which also serve as the frontline ground troops for the Undead. The Night Elves utilize Wisps to both mine gold and harvest lumber, with five Wisps also being the maximum on the number that can be assigned to a gold mine.


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