Topic: Mezzo Plays Warcraft III: Reforged
0-1: Chasing Visions
"We never paid any heed to the ancient prophecies."
"Like fools we clung to the old hatreds."
"And fought as we had for generations."
"Until the day the sky rained fire."
"And a new enemy came among us."
"We stand now upon the brink of destruction... for the Reign of Chaos has come at last."
Even if you've never played a strategy game in your life, you've likely heard of the Warcraft franchise in some capacity. This was a trilogy of real-time strategy games before getting totally overshadowed by the MMORPG juggernaut World of Warcraft, and the card game Hearthstone. The third Warcraft RTS in particular is known as a classic, and a remaster of it just came out, so what better time is there to LP it?
I'll be going through all the campaign stories in sequence, starting with the prologue, Exodus of the Horde. I've never really played Warcraft I or II, so I don't know that much of the historical background (and I know that literally entire novels have been written about it), but I'll try to point out relevant bits of lore if I can.
We open up with another pre-rendered cutscene.
"The sands of time have run out, son of Durotan."
"The cries of war echo across the land."
"The remnants of the past scar the land..."
"...which is besieged once again by conflict."
"Heroes arise to challenge fate, and lead their brethren to battle."
"...and lead your people to their destiny."
"Seek me out..."
All right, let's get into actual gameplay.
Thrall here was planned to get his own game at one point, called Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans. While it was cancelled, the story was adapted into a novel, and it's still canon to his backstory. He was raised by humans as a slave, but eventually broke free, organized the clans of the Horde into a singular force, and succeeded Orgrim Doomhammer as warchief. He's also the Shaman class hero in Hearthstone.
Thrall decides to play along for now.
Normally I would skip the tutorial, but A) it has plot relevance, and B) it lets me talk about mechanics a bit. And it's a strategy game, there are a lot of those. The Move, Stop, and Attack commands are pretty self-explanatory. Hold Position has a unit stay in place without pursuing enemies or fleeing from attacks, and Patrol orders the unit to move between two points. Right clicking gives a move order, or an attack order if you right click an enemy.
Far Seer: Mystical hero adept with lightning and earth magic. Rides a great wolf.
Hero units are a new gameplay element introduced here, and have a few attributes that normal units don't. I'll get into most of that later on.
Fog of war is a common element to strategy games. Black fog represents areas you haven't explored yet, while gray fog is for places you have been to but don't currently have surveillance of.
Thrall arrives at an encampment and is joined by some of his soldiers. Multiple units can be selected at once, up to 12 at a time. That limit's kind of annoying, but not that bad since the focus of this game is generally on small armies.
Grunt: Basic warrior of the Horde. Has high HP and attack power compared to other basic units, but is also slightly more expensive.
All right, time to get into some combat. This weak little gnoll is no match for Thrall's forces.
If you give an attack order targeting an area, your units will move there and attack anything that appears in their path. This is quite helpful for when you just want to kill everything in your way.
The experience gained from fighting off the gnolls leveled Thrall up to level 2. This improves all his attributes and grants an extra skill point. In the campaign heroes will keep their levels between missions, but can only level up to a certain level in each one.
Heroes each have four different abilities they can learn using their skill points. In this case Thrall only has two, since this is just the tutorial. Each can also be improved by spending additional skill points on them.
Chain Lightning: Zaps an enemy with a lightning bolt that jumps to multiple enemies in range. Each jump deals slightly less damage. Additional levels increase damage and number of chains.
Far Sight: Reveals an area anywhere on the map, also revealing invisible units for a brief period. Additional levels reveal a larger area and cost less mana.
Mrglablblgh. The narration points out that these things make good targets for Thrall's Chain Lightning.
Electrocuting things solves everything.
There's a day/night cycle in this game, which usually goes by in real time. At night your units have reduced vision. Thrall also picked up a potion of mana from the murlocs. This item can be used to restore 150 mana points, and can only be used by heroes. There are a lot more different items in this game, and each hero has 6 inventory slots to hold them with.
Some neutral enemies will also sleep during the night, making it easier to avoid fighting them. I decided to fight this one anyway, though.
After a few more fights, Thrall eventually reaches the mysterious raven. It lands and transforms into a human.
This guy's name isn't really a spoiler, especially now since this game is so old, but for whatever reason he goes by "The Prophet" for 90% of the story.
Thrall asks why he should listen to this human.
He can feel the foreboding presence in the air.
The Prophet turns back into a raven and flies away.
That concludes this mission.
At the end of each mission you're given a score based on units, heroes, and resources used, but it doesn't really matter much in the grand scheme of things. Next time, we move on to another mission.