Diablo Player's Look at the WarCraft 3 Beta
of all, I must admit that this is the first RTS game that I've
played, and without Single Player mode, I've had to learn what
I can about the game from online games, mostly vs. people I didn't
know. So, instead of comparing WC3 to WC2 or StarCraft, I'm going
use what I know- Diablo. At this point, Blizzard has not announced
another game in the Diablo world, and I think a lot of the elements
of WC3 demonstrate that they're trying to draw Diablo players
into the WC world; to merge their fanbases into one. This is obviously
the case with World of WarCraft, but I can see evidence of this
as I play WarCraft 3.
are many aspects of WC3 that will be instantly familiar to Diablo
players. The leader of your army is a "Hero," who can
level up, wear items, read books, and cast spells ("abilities"
in WC3-speak). Many of the spells, such as Blizzard ;) may look
familiar as well. Each race has three different types of heroes,
and you can have up to one of each hero type. The hero has three
which increases attack rating and hitpoints,
Intellect, which increases mana and mana regeneration, and
Agility, which increases defense rating and move speed.
attributes increase on levelup, but you don't get to choose where
to put the points. Each hero type's point distribution is fixed,
but you can find items that increase a stat while worn, and tomes
that increase a stat permanently. You can also choose which abilities
to focus on as your hero levels, and decide how many heroes to
train. Heroes don't stay with you from game to game, so the maximum
level a hero can reach is 15 (so far, I haven't gotten close to
that), and the skill selection is much more sparse than in Diablo
2. But, the strongest ability available to your hero, their "ultimate"
ability, can be learned at level 5. Since you can only put one
point into your ultimate ability (the rest max out at three),
many players have been choosing to wait until their first hero
is level 5 to train a second hero. The heroes divide experience
from a kill if they're close to the battle. Some of the abilities
are auras, which, like D2, affect all units within range.
are monsters that are generated by the game, and are hostile to
all players. You can see their type and their levels, as well
as any auras, when you get close enough. They can supposedly be
from levels 1-9, but I don't usually see creeps above level 7
(can't remember seeing one higher, but maybe they appear on a
tougher map). Generally, each "starting point" will
have a few low-level creeps guarding the roads out. Gold mines
tend to have only a few low level creeps, and "house"
type places seem to have the toughest ones (once again, this will
vary depending on the map you're using). So, it's fairly easy
for a young adventuring team to take out the creeps from nearby
gold mines and begin expanding. At night, when the creeps are
asleep, it is possible to sneak around them and use the buildings
that they are guarding.
of the "typical" creeps you will find around a gold
mine (note- you can't see all of their descriptions at once)
typical drop from the gold mine creeps.
will want to have access to the "houses" on the map
because (depending on the house type) you can buy items and hire
mercenaries. You can also find fountains that heal your units.
But, if you kill the creeps around a building, then your opponent
can use the building too, unless you guard it.
can expect to find guys like these guarding the "houses"
on the map. Shh! Don't wake them!
of the most important items that you want to be able to buy is
the Town Portal scroll. A town portal will let you teleport your
hero, and its party, to any of your Town Halls. This means that
your hero can be out gaining levels (or attacking your enemy,
of course), but still only a TP away from defending a town should
the need arise. Knowing that you have a TP handy can help you
resist the temptation to turtle. Each hero starts out with one
to the Temple of Boom! Creeps can also have auras, and the aura
enchanted creep surrounded by a pack of lower-level creeps is
reminiscent of a D2 aura enchanted boss mob.
they drop better stuff than the little guys. :)
from Diablo to WarCraft 3
think the hardest thing for me to adjust to as a RTS newbie is
getting used to having several different things happening at once.
This may sound obvious, but in Diablo, if your sorceress is fighting
Hephasto, Diablo doesn't sneak out and attack the Pandemonium
Fortress (wouldn't that be an interesting twist!). I find it very
hard to resist the temptation to both micro-manage and do only
one thing at a time before starting something else. For me, RTS
is a whole new way of thinking (at least while playing video games),
and, while I know where I tend to make mistakes, fixing them seems
to be easier said than done. Just watching your gold build up
if you're a little bit short for what you want to build/train
can be tempting, but this can add up to a lot of wasted time.
know that I spend way too much time just gathering my army before
I set out. One way to avoid this is to put your "rally point"
onto your hero. You can set a rally point for each building, and
newly trained units from that building will automatically head
to the rally point after they're created. If the rally point is
your hero, they will continue to follow your hero, even if you
haven't had a chance to (or don't want to) put them in your hero's
"group". One drawback, though, is that you have to trust
your units to use their own pathfinding and find your hero safely.
I will need to test this further, but I think that the rally point
functions like the "move" command- units will continue
to move to the rally point even if they are being attacked. They
may also move right through hostile territory, if that's the shortest
way to your hero.
how closely do you want to watch your hero when the army is out
exploring/creep killing? I tend to be either focused on the army
or focused on the town/towns, and I need get better at being both
places at once. I hear that WC3 is supposed to put more focus
on micro-management, when compared to other RTS games, but, as
a Diablo player, I need to remind myself to keep track of the
big picture. On the other hand, we may be better prepared to play
an RTS that requires careful targeting of spells and attention
to other such details.
also tricky for me to adjust to the idea of attacking my friends!
a Diablo player, I also can't resist the fun of item hunting.
:) There are not as many items in the game, but here are some
fun ones that I found while I was taking the screenshots for this
the availability of 3 different heroes per race, ability selection,
plus ground and air attack and defense, I think that there will
be ample room for us to explore variant builds, at least in private
games. The main hurdle, as I see it, will be to maintain both
surprise and balance. This can be a great opportunity for two
players to play the same variant against each other, and compare
notes afterwards. I think that team variants are also promising.
As Diablo players, we have lots of experience playing cooperatively.
Let's use that to our advantage!
testing a variant can be done in several relatively short games;
we will no longer need to play our variants through to Hell difficulty
to find out how they do. Restarting a variant to try a different
strategy is also much easier in WarCraft! :)
about it for this time around. I hope to be adding more stuff
as I learn new things, play new races, or take some interesting
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