15 Years Later, 'Warcraft III' Gets A Public Test Realm

With some online multiplayer games, developers create a test server for fans to try out new content and gameplay changes prior to their public release. This allows the development team to receive feedback about some of the changes and how they might affect specific mechanics or characters. Last week Blizzard added one of these test servers, which it called a Public Test Realm (PTR), to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos.

The PTR will introduce multiple changes to gameplay, such as balanced start locations so that all players have the same distance to resources and space for expansion, multiple variations of charged and permanent items, and an improved progression of difficulty for creep camps. Graphical improvements are also coming, including a decrease in clutter in points of interest in order to “reduce visual competition during gameplay.” Map surfaces also have new textures to make it easier for players to discern different types of terrain. In addition to these improvements, Blizzard outlined numerous changes to the game’s many maps, which you can read in detail on the studio’s forums.


In addition to these changes, Blizzard briefly mentioned some of its long-term plans to further improve the Warcraft III experience. These include improving the matchmaking system and further reducing latency.

Warcraft III is the latest title to receive a PTR. Other games such as Battlefield 1 and The Division use a similar feature to test out new features and changes to gameplay. Even some of Blizzard’s other titles, including Diablo III, StarCraft 2, and Overwatch (which is currently testing new Deathmatch modes) have their own test servers. However, Warcraft III is a special case because the game was initially released 15 years ago.

The sudden implementation is exciting for fans, but it could also be a sign that Blizzard has some plans for the franchise. It could launch a remastered version (similar to the original StarCraft), for example, or even announce an entirely new entry to the series. The annual Blizzcon event takes place in Anaheim in November, so we might hear some interesting news there.

If you want to read the PTR notes in full, you can visit the Blizzard forums. The test server is available for both Windows and macOS users.

NameWarcraft III: Reign of Chaos
TypeFantasy, Real-time strategy
DeveloperBlizzard Entertainment
PublisherBlizzard Entertainment
PlatformsWindows, MacOS
Where To Buy
Release DateJuly 3, 2002
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  • zippyzion
    Actual Warcraft RTS possibly making a comeback!? Color me interested. I loved Warcraft 1 and 2. Warcraft 3 was pretty, but not quite as fun as 2. Man, I'd love to see a new Warcraft that isn't an MMO. RTS games are so much better in my humble opinion.
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  • bloodroses
    Hacking issues resolved? If not, don't bother. Online play was absolutely worthless due to it. :(
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  • Andy Chow
    Yeah, I'd love another Warcraft RTS, not the WoW type. Except for starcraft 2 and grey goo, we haven't had anything good in years. C&C had been destroyed.

    I still play Warcraft 2 and Command and Conquer 3 from time to time, because there just are so few available quality RTS games available. If you're a fan of the genre it's really been frustrating this last decade.
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