Who does Number 3 work for?
I've fought in every battle since the first war between the Orcs and Humans, and still, I fight on. Maybe it's the sounds of battle, the magical carnage or the battle cries of "Why do you keep touching me?" that keep me coming back for more. Whatever the reason, the battle seems to be never-ending, but that's not a bad thing at all, especially in the case of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.
Veterans of Warcraft III will slip into the new campaign as easy as a Peon falling off a log. Many of the original goodies make a comeback along with a fistful of fresh meat to devour. The story still rocks, the gameplay is still solid and clicking on those little guys over and over again will never get stale. This is definitely another solid Blizzard expansion.
The fight begins where the last one left off. The demons have been beaten back and the splinters of Alliance groups that survived are struggling to bring order back to the land. The fallen Night Elf Illidan seems to be stirring up trouble and the remains of the Undead army are terrorizing the townsfolk of Lorderon. The situation is darker than the bottom of an Orcish latrine.
Like Warcraft III, The Frozen Throne's single-player campaign will have you joining factions one at a time, beginning with the Night, Elves followed by the Alliance and the Undead. A lesser expansion might cut this war short, but Frozen Throne offers a full 26 new missions to experience. That's more gaming than you can throw a stick at!
Interestingly enough, the Orcs aren't a part of the main Frozen Throne storyline, but they can still be found in a bonus campaign that's got some interesting RPG elements. While it doesn't fit perfectly with the rest of the game (which is probably why it was separated from the pack), the bonus campaign turns out to be a nice extra diversion as long as you can stomach all of those respawning enemies.
The Frozen Throne adds all kinds of new creatures into the mix. Most prominent are the Naga, which could almost be considered an entirely new race. These bad to the bone, snake-lizard guys are tough customers thanks to their ability to swim and brutal powers. While not playable alone in multiplayer, the Naga can be controlled in a few of the single player missions.
Making a return to the Warcraft series is a taste of naval warfare. I know some fans were a little disappointed that terror on the high seas was left out of the third installment, but it's back for a short cameo for those of you that miss the smell of the ocean.
Each of the four races also gets a boost from a variety of different units, from titanic Mountain Giants to magic-shattering Spell Breakers and radar jamming Dragonhawk Riders. Not all of them have a huge impact on the game, but you'll certainly find a few that will be handy in a pinch. Besides, new characters means a whole new set of witty comments. Bah weep granah weep ninny bong!
And what would new units be without fresh crop of heroes to lead them into battle? Each race gains a new super soldier to provide some serious support in the field. There's the Warden Night Elf, which has a handy area damage spell and the ability to 'Blink' in and out of combat. Then there's the Alliance's Blood Mage, who also has a powerful area flame spell to incinerate foes as well as the ability to summon a phoenix to fight at his side. The Orcish Shadow Hunter is great for keeping armies fresh with a healing wave and the Undead Crypt Lord lumbers on to the field with the power to raise a host of undead soldiers from your fallen enemies.
Surprisingly, the biggest change comes not with the character additions, but the single player strategy. Forget about the old building Base "A" to ultimately demolish enemy Base "B" plan - Frozen Throne will challenge you with multiple objectives and armies at once. For example, you'll control two self-sufficient armies at different ends of the map. One will have to defend itself from a constant enemy onslaught while the other must sneak in from behind to rescue an ambushed comrade. I'm glad to see the guys at Blizzard are working hard to give us a new challenge.
The only noticeable problem is still with the low unit selection limit. Even after a year of griping, you're still only allowed a handful of troops to throw into a single grouping. That means you'll still be constantly hotkeying through multiple groups in major battles, so stretch out those keys before jumping into the pool.
It's no surprise that The Frozen Throne is a no-brainer for anyone who's ever enjoyed a Warcraft game. Blizzard continues to deliver great expansions to enhance the experience of one of the most beloved RTS' in town. It doesn't change the face of the Warcraft world, but it does bump the experience up another notch. En'shu falah-nah, my brothers. See you on the field of battle.