Thursday, May 30, 2002

I'm not sleepy. Isn't it obvious? And I'm not exactly in a mood to read.

Well, maybe I could rant at how enrollment is only a week away. Or perhaps whether I'll be going to Franco's despidida (did I spell that right?) tomorrow (later) or not. And let's not forget my first foray into cosplaying (something will go wrong...). There's also the topic of my crush. But since I want to do something different (yeah right), I'll just talk about Blizzard's upcoming game, Warcraft 3.

It's not yet out but it will be by June 25. 2002. Yes, that's twenty six days away. Blizzad has a tenacity to not come out on time but with the Beta release and the single player screenshots, I think Blizzard will come through with the release date.

Blizzard's foray into PC gaming has resulted into two genres: real time strategy and adventure/RPG. I'm sure Garrick will comment me here on how Diablo and Diablo 2 aren't RPGs but that's why there's a slash and adventure before it. It has RPG elements but isn't a full fledge RPG. Anyway, why did I mention this all? Because unlike Blizzard's other real time strategy games like Warcraft and Starcraft, Warcraft 3 is a mixture of both genres.

The introduction of heroes that level up is a fun and interesting twist in Warcraft 3. Add in the fact that you face various NPCs called "creeps" that give you treasure and level you up adds to the "RPG flavor". However, I think the real proof of Blizzard's meshing of two genres will be more evident in the single player scenarios. From what I heard, each campaign has several sidequests so it's not just about who's better at building an army. Your hero meets NPCs and they give you quests such as saving the mother's son from gnolls and the like. They even give you treasures as a reward. It's clearly reminiscent of Diablo.

In Warcraft 1, you played two races, the orcs and the humans. Aside from the look, they were identical in nearly every way. It's like Ryu and Ken in the original Street Fighter 2. There were still two races in Warcraft 2 but there were subtle differences and they were less carbon copies of each other. Starcraft changed all this with three distinct and unique races. Warcraft 3 is the next step as four different races are playable: humans, orcs, night elves, and undead.

Humans and orcs are played more or less the same in the previous warcraft except humans have the ability to "speed build" which is done by repairing structures that are being constructed. Night elves are similar to the Zerg from Starcraft in the sense that their buildings can move on their own (and attack even) and that their "peasants" become the buildings. The undead are a mixture of Zerg and Protoss as they can only build on areas which are infested by the blight but can build multiple buildings at the same using only one peasant.

Perhaps the most innovative thing in the game is the addition of resource management. When you start out in the game, you don't have an upkeep but as soon as your population increases to more than forty, you're at low upkeep and there's a 30% penalty on the resources you acquire. Later, that penalty increases to 60% when you exceed seventy food. There's an additional strategy involved in this since you gain less resources by having more units. One favorite tactic of mine is to get most of the upgrades and buildings when you still don't have an upkeep and go to high upkeep when all your resources are exhausted.

Micromanagement is also important here since you have less troops (a maximum of 90 food units worth). You can't waste troops as they cost you a big percentage of your army.

One of the achivements in the place I play Warcraft 3 is how they hacked the program. Normally, you would be playing Warcraft 3 in Blizzard's server called Battlenet. In the local gaming network I go to, the network is considered as Battlenet. They're not using the network command but the "connect to Battlenet" command. Well, you got to give Filipinos credit. They are good with computers.


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