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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 BuyBlizzard ShopAmazonWalmart
Release DateJuly 3, 2002
  • 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.
    Reply
  • bloodroses
    Hacking issues resolved? If not, don't bother. Online play was absolutely worthless due to it. :(
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • bloodroses
    20061480 said:
    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.

    That is a definite that there hasn't been very many quality RTS games lately. I wasn't impressed with StarCraft 2, so Warcraft 3 is about the only RTS game I play anymore; and not online...
    Reply
  • Eximo
    Sins of a Solar Empire is probably the last RTS I had any real interest in. And the mods are glorious. I occasionally play a round of STA III.

    I kind of didn't like Starcraft II. I hate it say it, but it was just too familiar, didn't feel new.

    I agree on C&C, the simplicity of the older titles was something to retain while doing UI improvements. There may have been too much focus on graphics and storyline, oddly.
    Reply
  • bloodroses
    20061592 said:
    Sins of a Solar Empire is probably the last RTS I had any real interest in. And the mods are glorious. I occasionally play a round of STA III.

    I kind of didn't like Starcraft II. I hate it say it, but it was just too familiar, didn't feel new.

    I agree on C&C, the simplicity of the older titles was something to retain while doing UI improvements. There may have been too much focus on graphics and storyline, oddly.

    The simplicity factor of SC1 is why I didn't like SC2. In SC1, you had 'bread and butter' units, then different groups of specialty units; but not a ton. In SC2, it felt like every unit was strictly a specialty unit and you built strictly based on what your opponent had. It was way overboard unit type wise. Too much 'paper-rock-scissor' imo and just a click-fest as a result. It reminded me more of Total Annihilation than Starcraft.

    With the Command and Conquer, I only really got into the original and Red Alert. Both were great games, but I got 'hooked' into Blizzard's universe at the time... lol
    Reply
  • Eximo
    OpenRA is a great project if you like C&C. Also runs the old Dune games, though slightly modified.

    I think my first experience with SC2 was really soured, first by the price tag, then the player community. Basically all the people who had been playing SC1 for the last decade and just used tried and true methods that resulted in very short games. Had to go to single player just to even look at more then the first five minutes of unit building. And then I was like, hmm, neat graphics.
    Reply
  • derekullo
    Would a hypothetical Warcraft 4 just be a recap of WoW:Burning Crusade and any other expansion they felt like including?

    They sort of painted themselves into a corner not releasing dedicated Warcraft titles in addition to the WoW expansions.

    But I can understand the focus they needed to have for every WoW expansion and Diablo 3 along with the D3 expansion.

    In any case, I'm sure Warcraft 4: Burning Crusade, Warcraft 5: Cataclysm, ... and the rest would have sold.
    Reply
  • Eximo
    What they should have done is make it a companion game so that tournament battles in the RTS made faction/territorial changes in WoW.
    Reply
  • LB3
    Is there any way to still play WC3? The last time I played was years ago and it was such a horrible experience with hackers using the lag-out hack and map vision hacks. But apparently people are still playing? Anyone know?

    Like above, SC2 did not keep me interested for very long.
    Reply