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Warcraft 3: Reforged Is Facing Some Graphics & Custom Game Ownership Ire [Update]

Update: As expected, users are review-bombing the game. Warcraft 3: Reforged now has the lowest Metacritic score of 0.5. Let’s hope that this becomes a wake-up call for Blizzard to fix its game.

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Original story

The long-awaited remaster to the 2002 strategy classic that created games like Dota is now out on Blizzard’s Battle.net. And already the game is facing some flak about its graphical “downgrades” and custom game issues.

Let’s break down Warcraft 3: Reforged’s recent news:

Graphical Changes

According to some folks at Resetera and Blizzard’s official forums, the game has seen some graphical downgrades since the demo a few years back. Some UI changes, old classic graphics arguably looking better and “fresher” than the 2020 remaster, and some comparisons between 2018 and 2002’s in-game cutscenes.

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There are also complaints on Reddit touching on the bugs and foibles of this remaster, like Ultrawide-but-windowed-fullscreen support only, unpleasant-looking unit animations and fonts, and more. There are even some posts that teach players how to get a refund for it.

About Custom Games

So remember the whole custom game and mod system that Warcraft 3 was famous for? It’s back on the remastered edition, but with a pretty obvious caveat. Blizzard updated its acceptable use policy for Warcraft 3: Reforged. Basically:

  • Any custom game that uses copyright material from third parties are banned.
  • All ownership of custom games in Warcraft 3: Reforged belongs to Blizzard and not the creators.
  • Any custom game made in Warcraft 3: Reforged cannot be replicated anywhere else.

While stipulation #1 isn’t uncommon, it’s #2 and #3 that will rub people and would-be modders the wrong way. This gives Activision-Blizzard all the power to claim your custom game as its own AND shut down any standalone version of said custom game that originated in Reforged.

Our Takeaway

First off, demos and betas aren’t indicative of the final product at all. Having said that, if this is all thoughts from past Warcraft and RTS fans who want nothing more than a faithful remaster, this is not looking good for Blizzard and Activision. After all, this is following their previous attempts at an apology in the last BlizzCon due to banning a Hearthstone player for free speech and the whole Diablo Immortal debacle.

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Oh, and if you think for one second that Malaysian company Lemon Sky Studio “had done effed up” since they’re in charge of the remastered assets, then you have no idea how the games industry work. If we had to speculate, this could be the common-but-unfortunate case of a parent company and IP holder (Activision-Blizzard, with more of the “A”) slashing the game’s budget to a piffle and Lemon Sky working with what they got against all odds.

But again, this is all hearsay.

Concerning the custom games bit, I can see where Blizzard is coming from. They don’t want another Dota/Dota 2/League of Legends-like game running away from their hands and being its own thing. Valve and Riot Games are making their wealth with mods from the original Warcraft 3 if I’m being blunt here.

I’ll close this off with a (possibly ironic) quote from Warcraft 3: Reforged lead designer Matt Morris (via PC Gamer).

“[We opened up custom games to empower creators]. Anything we could do to give more power to the user who wants to make these maps and continue to push that custom mode forward.”

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