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The third in a series of great games, Warcraft III extends the tradition in a nearly perfect way. Everything from graphics, to the storyline, to multiplayer capabilities, to sounds have been revamped to make this a great game.
Installation is very simple. The CD includes one installer that works with both Mac OS 9 and X, allowing you to install the game, read the read me, and more. You only get one option for installation, which takes up nearly 700 MB of hard drive space. Once installed, you are ready to play. Strangely, Blizzard has decided to forgo the pre-game options that has been present in every other Blizzard game. All options are now set inside the game.Usage:
So, just how does this version of the Warcraft series expand upon its predecessors? Well, the main upgrade with Warcraft III is the graphics. This game has beautiful backgrounds, units, buildings, animations, etc. Of course, all these pretty images take a toll on your system, and that is why a good video card is needed. If your video card can't properly run Warcraft III, you may want to look into upgrading that part of your system, even if it is just for this game.
Another improvement upon the Warcraft series is the inclusion of 4 races, instead of just two. Still included are the Orcs and Humans, and added are the Undead and Night Elves. Each race has their own specific troops, abilities, and so forth. Also added, are groups of creeps. These creeps aren't affiliated with anyone, but will try to kill your troops. The best thing about creeps is they give you gold and other items upon killing them.
These four races, along with the creeps, make for a very good single player story line. When you play the campaign mode, you get to play the story out through the four different races. This way, you get aquatinted with all the abilities and the many strategies you need, as well as getting an extra long story (video game wise). Also included in the campaign, are optional quests. Each chapter has its main quest, but you can meet new people and complete optional quests for extra experience, items, and allies.
Speaking of items, what the heck are these anyway. To describe those, we need to take a step backwards. Warcraft III focuses on heroes, or leaders of your army. These heroes are normally very strong, have special abilities, are the ones who communicate with other characters, and pick up items. Items can range from potions of healing or mana, ability enhancement, or permanent hero enhancements. Items are essential for making your hero be all it can be.
Normally, you will have a group of units to go along with your hero in a small army. Each race has its own types of units, as well as specific unit abilities. You will have to learn how to use these units and their abilities to your advantage. As for unit types, Warcraft III includes ground and air units, but mysteriously no naval units. This is surprising because Warcraft 2 focused on naval units quite a bit.
Likewise, unlike the previous incarnations of Warcraft, Blizzard has decided to put a cap on the number of units you can have at any one time. In previous versions, the main goal was to normally build as many units as possible, and then bombard your enemy with overwhelming numbers. With Warcraft III, you are only allowed to use up to 90 units of food, no matter how many food producing buildings you make (i.e. farms). This limits you to a much smaller army, especially considering stronger units need more food. You can decide whether you want a small, strong army or a large, weaker army.
Two more new concepts to the Warcraft series are time of day and upkeep. Time of day is interesting in it inhibits your sight at night, and even puts the creeps to sleep when dusk falls. While your sight is inhibited, less of the map will be revealed, letting enemies sneak up on you, or you can sneak up on your enemies. Sleeping creeps can be avoided entirely by walking right past them, or woken up if you attack them. Be careful, they aren't happy campers when you wake them up in the middle of the night.
The upkeep feature is a welcomed addition. There is already the overall unit cap in place, but the upkeep process helps to keep big armies from getting resources faster than others. When you use up set amounts of food, your upkeep will start to raise, meaning you get less gold each time a peasant harvests it. The peasants will still remove 10 gold from the gold mine, but only 7 or even 4 gold will be put in your treasury depending on how high your upkeep is. This makes the game more realistic (you need more money to support more troops), and levels the playing field somewhat.
Finally, the staple of nearly every Blizzard game is the multiplayer aspect. For the first time in the Warcraft series, you can now connect to Battle.net serves to easily find players all over the world. Blizzard has even included some Battle.net updates such as buddy lists and partner matching (finds someone at the same skill level as you). You can also have a Warcraft III LAN party if you wish, as LAN multiplayer is built in. However, one exclusion that I am unhappy about is no TCP/IP play. In the old days of Warcraft and Warcraft 2, you could exchange IP addresses with a friend, and play against each other over the internet with ease. Now, you will both have to log onto the same Battle.net realm, and try to find each other.Problems:
Because Blizzard decided to do a 100% simultaneous release for Windows, Mac OS 9, and Mac OS X, we Mac users get to enjoy the same bugs Windows users do. This could be one of the main reasons Warcraft III is not as speedy as it could be. Low-end systems will not even be able to run this, while mid-level systems will have a hard time keeping up with all the graphics. If you want to see this game in it's full glory, you will need a fast G4 with a very powerful video card.
The other problem I encountered when trying to play Warcraft III was with my Voodoo 3 card. Blizzard claims that Mac users need an ATI or nVidia video card with at least 16 MB of VRAM. While the 16MB is a little high (you can run it on 8 MB if everything is set to low detail), the 'ATI or Nvidia' part is right on the money. 3Dfx card owners will not be able to play Warcraft III on these cards, and Blizzard has no plans for updating Warcraft III to bring compatibility with those cards. The only option for these users to switch to their onboard video, or get a new video card.Conclusion:
If you play video games, get Warcraft III. It's the best game released in the past few years, and will probably continue to be the best game for years to come (until Blizzard comes up with something better). A must have for any gamer.