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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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Unlike your normal units, Heroes have special qualities
A completely new addition to WC3 is the addition of Heroes. Each race has access to three Heroes, each with their own strengths and abilities. In order to summon Heroes, each race must build an Altar. To make things easier on players, the first Hero is free of charge and can be summoned as soon as an Altar is constructed. The second and third Hero, however, cost the usual amount of resources in order to summon.

Heroes basically act as leaders and superunits. Each Hero, regardless of race, boasts magic resistance, inventory slots, and four spells or abilities. Heroes also have the ability to level up, which requires the acquisition of experience points by slaying hostiles. To make things easier, a Hero need not slay enemies individually – any units accompanying the Hero can also score experience points for the Hero with their kills. As a Hero levels up, he or she will gain more health, Mana, and Hero Points, which are used to purchase or upgrade spells or abilities.

As mentioned earlier, each Hero gets potential access to four spells or abilities. When a Hero is first created, they get one Hero Point, which can be used to learn one of three spells/abilities. Whenever a Hero goes up in level, they get another point by which to either learn a new spell/ability or upgrade an existing one to a maximum level of three. The fourth spell/ability, which each Hero has, is called an Ultimate Ability, and is typically either devastating to its enemies or hugely beneficial to its allies. The Ultimate Ability cannot be learned until a Hero reaches level six, but can often be the deciding factor in a battle, making the attainment of level six a priority with many players.

In addition, Heroes also bear six inventory slots, allowing them to carry items. Items, which can be bought from neutral merchants or scavenged from hostile Creeps, consist of myriad types. Some items need simply be carried and grant the Hero bonuses to attributes or attacks. Other items must be used and can grant bonuses to either the Hero or surrounding units. Still other items can be used to permanently increase the Hero’s attributes or experience points.

If the unfortunate happens and a Hero is vanquished in combat, that Hero can simply be resurrected at a player’s Altar, albeit at a cost, with all their items and experience intact. So, resurrection aside, it really seems to be in a player’s best interests to keep their Heroes alive, even at the expense of their lesser units.

Their tribes have become increasingly hostile…
Another feature thrown into the mix of WC3 is the addition of various unaffiliated units and structures. The most significant of these are the Creeps, which consist of various computer-controlled units that are hostile to anything but each other. Just think of them as beasts that wake up on the wrong side of bed, find a cockroach in their coffee, and suddenly discover that their cave has been robbed, their food stolen, and their in-laws have come to visit.

Though grouchy by disposition, Creeps serve an admirable function – they prevent players from whipping up a bunch of combat units quickly and sending them off in hopes of finding a player still in the early stages of building for a quick and easy kill. This is due to the fact that Creeps of all sizes and shapes are stationed in strategic places in each map. While they don’t seem to wander much, their placement virtually guarantees that they have to be dealt with before confronting another player.

And make no mistake – Creeps can be tough. There are a huge variety of them, ranging from centaurs and giant spiders to satyrs and rock golems. Many of them wield special abilities while others can spellcast, making for some pitched battles. Players unused to dealing with Creeps early on may find even their low-level Heroes getting their butts kicked across the map by a Red Dragon upset because its afternoon tea was interrupted by a bunch of nosy Humans.

For those that wish to bypass Creeps altogether, the cover of nightfall usually sees Creeps snoozing peacefully away, dreaming about lands unspoiled by races that have nothing better to do than make war. However, not only do Creeps provide quick and plentiful experience points, but they also often drop Items of great value, meaning that they will forever be harassed by so-called Heroes looking to score a few levels and maybe an Ankh of Resurrection.

For those that would rather barter than fight, there are several neutral structures that can be taken advantage of. Goblin Merchants, when found, will sell various Items to Heroes for the right price. For those that have need of machinery, a Goblin Laboratory will typically sell both Goblin Zepplins and Goblin Sappers as well as reveal map areas for profit. The Zepplins in particular are sought after, as they are the only air transports in the game capable of carrying multiple units. For those that prefer to have a few Creeps on their side, Mercenary Camps are the place to purchase them. Once purchased, a mercenary is yours until it perishes in combat.

Also to be found on certain maps are Fountains of Health or Mana. As their names suggest, units close to either of these structures will slowly regain either Health or Mana, depending on the type. The Fountains provide unlimited bounty, cost absolutely nothing, and typically become control points on a map for players that like to deny the good life to their opponents.


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