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News video games 04 July 2022, 17:52

author: Adrian Werner

Blizzard's Questionable Actions Cast Shadow on Warcraft 3's 20th Anniversary

Warcraft 3's twentieth birthday was somewhat spoiled by Activision Blizzard's threats to the creator of one of its fan projects.

Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, one of the best RTS in history, celebrates its 20th birthday. The game debuted on PC on July 3, 2002 and became a huge hit, selling more than a million copies within a month of its release. Today such a number is not shocking, but at the time it made Blizzard Entertainment's strategy game the fastest-selling game in the history of the PC market.

Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos's spoiled birthday

The classic's birthday should have been a joyous day, but it was spoiled by bad news regarding WarsmashModEngine, an open-source project offering an improved engine for Warcraft 3. Its author, Retera, received a C&D letter from Activision Blizzard's lawyers, demanding that the project be abandoned.

The lawyers are demanding an end to the infringement of the publisher's rights. However, this is a somewhat absurd accusation, because WarsmashModEngine does not distribute or copy any elements from Warcraft 3 in itself. It is only an engine, and to use it it is necessary to take all the data files from the full version of the game, which must be manually done by the users themselves.

The problem lies in the fact that even if Activision Blizzard is wrong in this dispute, it is likely to get its way. After all, it's hard to imagine that Retera can afford a costly court battle with the company.

The publisher's actions are all the more disappointing because fans of Warcraft 3 have not been spoiled recently. A refreshed version of the game in the form of Warcraft III: Reforged turned out to be a major disappointment and to this day has not been fully fixed.

Blizzard has forgotten, but fans remember

Blizzard ignored the 20th birthday of Warcraft 3, but the anniversary of the release was not forgotten by the fans. One of them, going by the handle Grigoreen, prepared a lovely picture that shows how the game could have looked if it had been made in pixel art 2D, and the movement took place only in two dimensions, like in a platform game.

The game's birthday was also remembered by people from studio Frost Giant, currently developing the RTS Stormgate, which is not surprising, since it employs many of the developers responsible for Warcraft 3. The company's CEO, Tim Campbell, who was the lead designer of the game's story campaign, marked the day with the following message to fans.

"Thank you to all my old teammates from Warcraft 3 who helped bring the game to life - and the community, content creators and players who made sure it stayed strong for two decades.

Warcraft 3 is the culmination of my career, and I am grateful to have been able to contribute to a game that means so much to so many people. The original WC3 can never be replaced, but we hope to honor its legacy."

WarsmashModEngine is not the only new open-source engine for an old game.

Projects of this type enable classic productions to be played comfortably on modern PCs, and often introduce gameplay and visual improvements. Such mods are available for games like:

  1. Caesar III (Augustus)
  2. Cannon Fodder (Open Fodder)
  3. Chris Sawyer's Locomotion (OpenLoco)
  4. Diablo (DevilutionX)
  5. Dune 2 (Dune Legacy)
  6. Heroes of Might and Magic II (Fheroes2)
  7. Syndicate (FreeSynd)
  8. Syndicate Wars (Syndicate Wars Port)
  9. The Settlers (Freeserf)
  10. The Settlers II (Return to the Roots)
  11. UFO: Enemy Unknown (OpenXcom)

Adrian Werner

Adrian Werner

A true veteran of the Gamepressure newsroom, writing continuously since 2009 and still not having enough. He caught the gaming bug thanks to playing on his friend's ZX Spectrum. Then he switched to his own Commodore 64, and after a short adventure with 16-bit consoles, he forever entrusted his heart to PC games. A fan of niche productions, especially adventure games, RPGs and games of the immersive sim genre, as well as a mod enthusiast. Apart from games, he devourers stories in every form - books, series, movies, and comics.