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Warcraft3 Preview

Brian_Gee By:
GENRE Real Time Strategy 

It's raining orcs, hallelujah!

Many moons have passed since the humans first faced the wrath of the Orcish hordes. The Tides of Darkness have risen and fallen and many warriors have even traveled Beyond the Dark Portal. Now, a new enemy has surfaced, one that will stop at nothing until the war is won. Sharpen your swords and prepare yourself for battle, warrior - the Reign of Chaos is coming.

Over the last few weeks, I've been getting plenty of hands on time with Blizzard's highly-anticipated strategy game. This build only contains the multiplayer matchups, but it was more than enough to show me just how interesting Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos is shaping up to be. And now it's sharing time.

The development of Warcraft III has certainly been an interesting ride. Originally, we were expecting a fully 3D game in the vein of Myth. Then, it ends up basically like the other Warcraft games, but with 3D units. Next we get hit with delay after delay after delay, making many people wonder if the game is ever going to be released. But things finally look like they are coming together, and thank the gaming gods, it all looks good.

The other new race is the Undead Scourge. As you would expect, these vile demons are the ones causing all of the trouble in Azeroth with their nasty taste for death and destruction. They've got strong basic units as well as some heavy hitters, so beware.

Starting off the carnage is the Undead Ghouls. They're cheap, easy to mass produce, and are pretty solid fighters when they've got numbers on their side. Throw a few Crypt Fiends and Gargoyles into the mix and things get wicked quickly. The Undead also take advantage of the Black Arts. Necromancers can raise the dead to fight again and cast unholy frenzy and corpse explosion to provide some all around brutality.

Undead structures are very similar to the Zerg and Protoss from Blizzard's other RTS, Starcraft. Your home base will spread some unholy ground, which is a required foundation for your buildings. Also, these buildings are summoned in and do not need to have a worker unit constantly dealing with it. Not a bad deal. If you're looking for a little defensive bang for your buck, check out the Undead "farm" structures. Known as Ziggurats, these buildings can be upgraded to provide tower support against both land and air targets.

In my experiences with the multiplayer beta test, the Undead seemed to be strongest. Cranking out a lot of Ghouls early on is easy and often produces favorable results. In fact, I was nearly undefeated with Undead rush tactics. But as this is not a final product, we'll see if a better balance can be achieved by the time the game launches.

I'm glad to report that the good ol' Warcraft humor has remained intact. Remember those wacky lines you heard when clicking on the same unit over and over again? Well, it's rampant in Reign of Chaos and better than ever. The GR office would literally gather around the gaming rig while clicking maniacally on every unit just to hear the responses.

It has been a bumpy ride, but if you're a big Warcraft fan, I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Despite a very long development process, it looks like Blizzard is going to hit PCs with yet another killer title. Beat the war drums and summon all soldiers - Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos is headed your way this June (we hope).

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