Blizzard can't catch a break lately, with its latest game launch becoming an instantaneous controversy. Features advertised for the game's launch are mysteriously missing, such as the re-built cutscenes, while major pillars of the original Warcraft III client have been removed entirely.
Today, Blizzard posted an update on the game's official forums detailing what it plans to address in the coming months.
- Blizzard is committed to Warcraft III for the "long term."
- Blizzard is addressing color problems found in the "classic" version of the client, which they say is caused by a bug.
- The patch will also fix portrait animations and audio bugs, UI issues, and "more," with patch notes coming soon.
- Leaderboards and clans will return in a "major" update in the future, to transition to the new MMR system. Blizzard will provide more info in the "coming weeks."
- Blizzard explained why it removed the original Reign of Chaos ruleset, citing "low usage," noting that they can return via custom games.
- Blizzard reiterated that it changed strategy on the in-game cutscenes, leaving them as they were 17 years ago, instead of the previously advertised "upgraded" versions with new camera angles and modernized story beats.
As someone who primarily wanted the campaign to be refreshed, I'm a bit disappointed that we're probably never going to see the advertised tweaks to the story, even as an option. For those who are invested in the game's multiplayer, hopefully, Blizzard will restore the client to its former greatness sooner, rather than later.
The full statement from Blizzard:
Hail War3 Players,
We've been following the discussions the past couple days and want to thank you for your feedback as well as your support. First off, we want to say we're sorry to those of you who didn't have the experience you wanted, and we'd like to share our plans for what's coming next.
There were a few hours during launch day where we experienced server-load issues that impacted players' ability to jump right in, but we were able to resolve those later in the day. Separate from that, we've seen community feedback about different aspects of Reforged that we wanted to take some time to address.
Before we go on: the team is excited that Warcraft III: Reforged is finally upon us and we're fully committed to supporting the game for a long time to come. The next few patches and updates we'll discuss below are just part of our ongoing plans. This game is an integral part of the Blizzard DNA, with a team that loves Warcraft III, and we're looking forward to pouring our hearts into Reforged and the Warcraft III community for the long term.
One of the concerns with Reforged that we've seen are the visuals when selecting Classic Mode. We've identified the bug causing the colors and shading to look different from the original Warcraft III, and we're testing a fix that will be incorporated in a larger patch addressing this issue and others. We expect to release that late this week. The patch will also address many other known issues, such as fixing some portrait animations and audio bugs, implementing some UI fixes, and more. Please keep an eye out for the patch notes for a detailed list of all the bug fixes.
Another area of concern we're seeing is regarding online features such as leaderboards and clans, which applies to all Warcraft III players, including those who haven't purchased Reforged. At BlizzCon we talked a lot about how the team is actively working on standing up the back-end to ensure a smooth transition to this new MMR system, much like we did with StarCraft: Remastered. As with Remastered, these and other features will be included in a major patch for Reforged, which will also address the issue for players of the original game. We'll share release plans as work progresses in the coming weeks—please be assured that the team is hard at work on standing these features up.
There are some individual concerns we've seen that we're not currently planning to address and we wanted to give the community a heads-up. As of Version 1.30 of the original game, we saw very low usage of tournaments and of the Reign of Chaos ruleset, so we removed both in mid-2019 (in Version 1.31). Eliminating the maintenance for underused elements has helped us streamline our overall support of the game and focus on areas impacting the most players. That said, we do anticipate that players who prefer Reign of Chaos will find custom games with similar rulesets, which we hope will help satisfy that concern.
Related to that, as we talked about last year at BlizzCon, we did not want the in-game cutscenes to steer too far from the original game. We went a little deeper into the thought process behind that at the show, but the main takeaway is that the campaigns tell one of the classic stories in Warcraft history, and we want to preserve the true spirit of Warcraft III and allow players to relive these unforgettable moments as they were (albeit rebuilt with new animations and the higher fidelity art).
We know this update doesn't address all questions, but we're committed to the development and support of this game. We hope you'll keep an eye out for this week's patch and future updates and let us know what you think as we continue fine-tuning things. Until then, thank you as always for your support and passion for Warcraft III. We appreciate all your feedback and will continue to keep the Warcraft III community updated on everything we're working on.
The Warcraft III: Reforged Team