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Games Entertainment

Warcraft 3 Not Until 2002 184

Thomas M Hughes writes "Blizzard said a few weeks ago that Warcraft 3 won't be ready in 2001. While Blizzard has never been good at meeting its release deadlines, usually its a good idea. They tend to put out decent games the first time and not have as many huge fixes, just small tweaks. " They've put the announcement in the FAQ.
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Warcraft 3 Not Until 2002

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  • I'm talking about Diablo 2 here. Hell, was that a hype! And it was a great game, at least until patch 1.07. From then on, it went downhill. The expansion pach is somewhat low-quality, kinda like the Hellfile add-on to the original Diablo. Somehow, they lose it when it comes to product maintenance.
    • Respectfully, I disagree. All the patches have done a decent job of fixing the more blatant bugs and attempting to address some balance problems. As someone who doesn't play barbarians, I approve.
      The expansion was fully the quality of the original game, and added much more interesting stuff. There are problems with it, certainly, but 1.09 is coming out in a few days, and that should fix most of it.

      Would you like to say exactly what you dislike about 1.07?

      • I thought the expansion pack characters made things too easy. I totally *waltzed* through the game with the Assassin, never even coming close to dying or even struggling. Even Duriel at the end of Act 2 was a piece of cake. That just doesn't seem right... the other characters still have a hell of a time in spots, but the new ones seem too powerful (or having all the charms and sockets and gems and jewels and runes makes them too powerful...)
      • The main problem with 1.07 and 1.08 is that it makes the game almost multiplayer only. Especially the changes made to difficulty-based mali on resistances make it almost impossible for some single characters to survive. I know of several people who couldn't make it past Act 1/Hell despite having rather good characters because there were lightning anchanted monsters there. Now, with the decreased resistances, you have even less chance to get past that point.

        Another severe flaw is the introduction of spell delays, especially when you have a look at the reason why they did it. The reason is, that they wanted to increase framerate in multiplayer matches. So, they changed game mechanics to cover their inability to write a decent engine (you have to admit, the engine sucks big time and even did so when the game was first released).

        Next: Runewords work in closed b.net only. Why? Someone on the net had a rather good explanation: if Blizzard made them available in any other game type, they had to store them on the players' machines which would make them vulnerable to evil hackers. I spoke about that with a lot of people, not a single one did mind a complete listing of runewords being available on the 'net.

        There are some more minor flaws in the patches, but these should have been the major ones. The expansion pack itself sports poor cutscenes and rather badly rendered monsters, but the worst thing here is the obscene amount of experience points that can be made there. I got a Necromancer from level 37 to level 40 by playing the first two levels of the Worldstone Keep four times. It's a very small area of the game and for achieving such a gain otherwise, I'd have to play several hours instead of a little over 45 minutes.

    • FYI: Hellfire wasn't released by Blizzard.
      • Sorry, my fault. But apparently Blizzard had a close look at it when designing LoD (they made LoD, their logo is all over the box ;-)). The difference is about the same, it's an experience-gathering-slaughterfest which looks a great deal more synthetic than the original game.
  • I'm more interested in what Blizzard's going to announce Labor Day weekend at ECTS.

  • This is NEWS? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by necrognome ( 236545 ) on Saturday August 18, 2001 @03:10PM (#2172867) Homepage
    Who is actually surprised by this? Did anyone actually expect Warcraft 3 to ship Q3 '01 when not too long ago they had only finished two of the races in the game, and hadn't done any unit balancing or multiplayer work? This is fine with me. I asked a Blizzard employee at a game convention years ago: "When will Starcraft ship?" He said, "When it's ready."
    • I have to agree completely. Blizzard has had a history with delivering games late, an unfortunate tradition that I expect they will continue until the end of time. This is also three weeks old! Let's have something recent in our news please!
  • Considering the amount of hit games they have put out, I'm sure they have a sizable warchest of dough.
    The only thing that comes to mind in terms of failures for Blizzard is Warcraft Adventures, which was supposed to be some animated Warcraft adventure game where you play an Orc slave. I forget exactly what happened, but the game was canceled.
    But otherwise, all of their other games have been amazing fun and were devoloped for both Windoze and Macs.
    • Actually, they canceled Adventures because they thought it wasn't good enough! This truely was a wise move, they really only want the best of the best of games. They only want perfection, thats why you'll never be sorry of buying a Blizzard game, they all become classics...

      Now all i'm just hoping for is linux support

      *Trying to find Loki somewhere...*


    • What you mention was actually Warcraft III in its infancy. About a year ago, Blizzard moved away from the RPG/Adventure aspect to turn Warcraft III into a strategy game like it's predecessors.

      I also wonder why 3 month old news is being posted on Slashdot. If you want to read up on RPG news, check out Canada Gaming [canadagaming.com], which covered this news months ago.
    • Blizzard may very well take their good old time, but they've never released a bad product. I'm perfectly happy waiting until first semester 2002, even if it's June, because I know it's going to be a great game when it's finally released. It would be nice, however, if they could wait another, say, 6 months before telling us. I know it helps sales, but I'm still pulling my hair out waiting...
  • Are there any plans to port a Linux version?

    We are currently developing WarCraft III for the PC and Macintosh and have no plans for versions on other operating systems.

    We need to put pressure on blizzard for some linux releases. Not that it was a suprise.
    • Really! Starcraft is one game that has always worked very well with wine. Even several years old wintages worked amazingly well. I have no doubt it will be possible to get warcraft 3 running in wine - there will be quite a lot of people working on it. Like Counterstrike. The 3d-part might be cumbersome but not impossible.
      • Yeah, but Warcraft III is a directx game. It may have some compatibility problems with wine. I'll wait until Warcraft III is released and see if someone can get it to run on wine. If so, I'll buy it, if not, there'll always be a native linux port of an RTS game called Kohan [kohan.net].
    • by Danse ( 1026 )

      At least Bioware will be releasing Neverwinter Nights for Mac and Linux as well as Windows. Too bad the module creation tools will only run on Windows though. I was hoping Loki would do a port of those. Guess that's not too likely now.

      • At least Bioware will be releasing Neverwinter Nights for Mac and Linux as well as Windows.

        That's fine by me. I'll modify my worlds and play my games on my Windows PC. That's something it's particularly well suited for.

        When it comes to hosting my long term game on a dedicated box... I'll put the Linux version to work doing what Unix does best. Being a server.

        I mean, let's get real... how much uptime is a Neverwinter Nights game hosted on a Windows machine going to get? 3 weeks, 4 weeks tops, and that's only on systems run by really savvy Windows users. In most cases the servers won't get any more than a few days of uptime.
    • Why should they put ANY effort into a linux port, when they are unlikely to make ANY money from it? They're a business, not a charity...
  • by ferratus ( 244145 ) on Saturday August 18, 2001 @03:16PM (#2172899) Homepage
    I'm a really big fan of everything blizzard and War3 is something I can't wait to get my hands on. Still, I prefer that they release it 6 months late (or im this case, it's been like what, 2 years ?) and have a really stable game.

    I've been playing max payne lately and while it is a great game, it's buggy as hell! They can take all the time they want, as long as they release it stable.

    Anyway, blizzard is just like 3drealms : Release date ? What the hell is that ??? I think they've confused "release date" with "hype date". Can you say Duke4ever [3drealms.com] ?
    • How is that so? Max Payne has never crashed on my Pentium III 600 Mhz system. This is not a high-end system either. It is using Windows 98 (original), a Matrox G400 video card, 256 MB, etc. It is a great game, but very little replayability unless the addons/mods are good.

      What symptoms are you having?

      • For me, it crashes everytime I try to load a new chapter if i'm using anything else than "low configuration". I must run the game at 640x480 with no details or else it crashes all the time.

        Even at that resolution, it crashes anyway from time to time. I do run win2000 on this box so it may be the problem, but it says windows 2000 compatible on the box. If it isn't compatible, it shouln't say so!

        There seems to be a lot of people with problems with the game. It's weird since about 50% of gamers do experience crashes while the other 50% can play the game with no problem. I guess you fall in the second category.

        What's bugging me is that I am WAY over the "recommenced" specs ... Ah well, you're lucky if you were able to play !
        • Yeah, I was worried about the system requirements but it turned out to be decent. Sure it is not smooth as Quake 3 Arena, but heck it runs and is playable! Odd. I assume you tried clean boot too? My problem is Half-Life that locks up rarely and without warnings. Odd, huh?

        • hehe... if Max Payne is like that, I have almost no doubt it would fail on my computer.

          My computer is a box with lots of generic components I put together myself around a Duron. It never fails to trip on crappy code.

          This usually isn't a big problem because crappy code generally isn't something I want to run, but it can be a problem... for example, Bleem (Playstation emulator) chokes on my computer.

    • "Still, I prefer that they release it 6 months late (or im this case, it's been like what, 2 years ?) and have a really stable game."

      hrmph. i don't think they are waiting till they have golden bits to release - they are going to squeeze everything out of diablo II (including the weak expansion set for $40) before they even give us a warcraft III playable demo. blizzard releases patches for their games well after they have been released.

    • I've played through Max Payne, am just starting the Hard Boiled level, and I have encountered no bugs whatsoever. I have seen the very occasional graphics glitch but those are rare and non-reproducible (i.e. when I reload to try and see it again, it works properly).
    • Played through Max Payne last week, was thinking about doing the hard boiled level this week.

      I really liked the engine, and the effects. The weapons were fairly realistic.

      Now, they could have left out the crying baby and the nagging wife for the dream chapters. I truly got a headache from them. And, when the second round of wandering on a red line started, I considered uninstalling it and not playing again.

      Other than that though, was a very nice game, a good purchase. I'll pass it off to my kid brothers, and it becomes a $25 per person purchase..*Grin*

      No hardware problems here at all with it. Win2k, Ath 1.4, G400
  • by SilentChris ( 452960 ) on Saturday August 18, 2001 @03:16PM (#2172900) Homepage
    "They tend to put out decent games the first time and not have as many huge fixes, just small tweaks."

    Have to disagree with that. Normally, with games like WarCraft and StarCraft, Blizzard has been pretty good updating frequently after the release with small fixes.

    But the Diablo series has had it's share of problems, the first with the hacking of the file on the local hard drive to boost your stats (which Blizzard never really fixed), and the second with being published clearly when the servers weren't ready to handle the load. Most disturbing is that many of these companies promising "massively-multiplayer RPGs" create 200,000 CDs for launch and then get surprised when more than half these users end up on their servers. It's a real problem, as countless editorials in gaming mags demonstrate.

    If you're going to sell 200,000 CD's, make sure your servers can handle 200,000 users. If you're waiting to release a game "until it's done", make sure it's actually done when you release it.

    • Diablo isn't just a multiplayer game, it's single player. Is it that bad to assume that all 200,000 people will not go on to the damn server before beating the original single player game? What's bad is when the makers of World War 2 online released a couple thousand copies of the game the first day and not only couldn't handle the load, but also had thousands of bugs and missing features that were promised on the box. And WW2 Online is a multiplayer only game.

    • by Jimmy_B ( 129296 ) <{gro.hmodnarmij} {ta} {todhsals}> on Saturday August 18, 2001 @03:45PM (#2172989) Homepage
      But the Diablo series has had it's share of problems, the first with the hacking of the file on the local hard drive to boost your stats (which Blizzard never really fixed), ...
      This was a conceptual problem in the first game, not an implementation problem, which is why they weren't able to fix it. In Diablo 2 they created the Realms, which fix this problem by keeping the save files out of the players' hands.
      ... and the second with being published clearly when the servers weren't ready to handle the load. Most disturbing is that many of these companies promising "massively-multiplayer RPGs" create 200,000 CDs for launch and then get surprised when more than half these users end up on their servers.
      Actually, Blizzard DID prepare for load. Before releasing they conducted a 100,000-user stress-test of their servers. What they then found was that after they released, players went directly to the realms instead of playing single-player first, creating load problems. They were quite responsible about dealing with these problems, though, working to get more bandwidth and tune the server software. Also, Diablo 2 is not and was never advertised as "massively multiplayer" (though it is multiplayer).

      Blizzard's been very careful about their reputation, and thus about what software they'll put their name on. The last five Blizzard games (plus expansions) were all successes; those that weren't (see Warcraft Adventures) were cancelled or delayed and reconsidered. I have faith that they'll use the extra time to make a better game, and that had they not done so, we would've been disappointed. No, they're not perfect; no company is. But they do deserve respect for refusing to shove games out the door when they need more time, and for correcting the mistakes they do make as quickly as they can.
      • I have to disagree. Diablo 2 has been out for quite some time and only in recent times did we see any significant work being done on boosting the realms with many realms not getting much of a boost until just before the expansion was released. That's why we had so many people from Asia and Europe playing on USEast and USWest - the performance was so awful on Asia and Europe realms that they just came here.

        Even worse, D2 realms were completely awful for some time after the game was released. Then we had hacking problems, duping problems, etc. on the realms.

        The D2 games are a prime example of Blizzard rushing. In D2 we had Barbarians' weapon mastery counting twice, bonuses not counting on bows and Corpse Explosion for the Nercomancer scaling up with monster HP (which would be nice now :P ). Fend was completely awful (and still is since it attacks at only range 1 even with a 5 range weapon), duel wielding for Barbarians didn't do a damn thing for Whirlwind.... the list goes on.

        THIS is Blizzard quality? Then they rushed the expansion out to meet their deadling of first-half-2001 and, as soon as you went to play on the reamlms, were welcomed to 1.07 and 1.08.

        We still have problems. A slapdash 50% physical resist with rather pathetic skills to compensate in some cases (the Druid... and good luck with getting the elemental spells to hit since most of the big spells hit an area randomly).

        Blizzard may be okay at times but they've let some very large problems go for too long. There are some serious problems that Blizzard could be putting out fixes for now and worrying about firewall being too powerful later (like some bugs used to kill other players, particularly devestating in hardcore)

        • >I have to disagree. Diablo 2 has been out for
          >quite some time and only in recent times did we
          >see any significant work being done on boosting
          >the realms with many realms not getting much of a
          >boost until just before the expansion was
          >released. That's why we had so many people from
          >Asia and Europe playing on USEast and USWest -
          >the performance was so awful on Asia and Europe
          >realms that they just came here.

          This is not true, all realms have had both quite huge increases in servers and in bandwidth.

          >The D2 games are a prime example of Blizzard

          I agree, both the game and the expansion were in my opinion rushed and would have needed several more months of work on.

          One have to mae a destinction though, Diablo is done by Blizzard North while the other games are done at the "main" Blizzard. Sure, same company and such, but there IS a difference, they don't even are located in the same place.

          >In D2 we had Barbarians' weapon mastery counting

          Never heared of that one, it was factored in as an over all damage bonus though and not applied just to the weapon damage as it should have been, in addition it had a hidden critical hit feature. It is now working as it should and the critical hit is mentioned in the skill description (althuogh toned down some).

          >bonuses not counting on
          >bows and Corpse Explosion for the Nercomancer
          >scaling up with monster HP (which would be nice
          >now :P ). Fend was completely awful
          >(and still is since it attacks at only range 1
          >even with a 5 range weapon), duel wielding for
          >Barbarians didn't do a damn thing for
          >the list goes on.

          It didn't count for many skills. I agree, there were many bugs and problems that took an awefull lot of time to get fixed. I suspect many were just pushed until the expansion for fixing as they really had an enormous ammount of problems and bugs to work on.

          >THIS is Blizzard quality? Then they rushed the
          >expansion out to meet their deadling of
          >first-half-2001 and, as soon as you went to play
          >on the reamlms, were welcomed to 1.07 and 1.08.

          The expansion shiped as 1.07, the 1.08 was ont he realms, it was not only for the expansion but also (unfortunately in my opinion) applied most of the game changes of the expansion to the normal game.

  • Von Rex (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Von Rex ( 114907 ) on Saturday August 18, 2001 @03:18PM (#2172909)

    They tend to put out decent games the first time and not have as many huge fixes, just small tweaks.

    I guess Hemos hasn't checked out the Battle.net message bases lately. Maybe after he reads his first 500 messages complaining about the endless delay for the upcoming huge patch that will fix the dozens of current bugs he'll alter his position.

    And we're not talking about tweaks here. We're talking about bugs that allow certain users (druids and barbarians, I believe) to crash any other user. There's also a nasty bug that allows the stealing of entire accounts, though that won't work on all servers. These bugs have been exploited for weeks and there hasn't been any response from Blizzard. I wish they would issue some small tweaks instead of telling people to wait for the mega-patch.

    And then there's the class balance issues. A lot of people think that the expansion set, along with the 1.08 patch for the normal game, have pretty much destroyed all gaming potential of Diablo 2. I don't hold quite as extreme an opinion myself, but then again, I play a sorceress, the class most people think is dramatically overpowered. If I was a warrior, trying to hack my way through hordes of "physically immune" (what a concept, what is this, DC comics?) monsters, I'd probably have a different opinion. In fact, I doubt I'd even bother playing the game.

    • You stupid jackass. Comments written in italics are NOT written by the slashdot editor.
      • Yes, I scanned that too quickly and attributed the quote to the wrong person. My fault. Is that any reason to call me a stupid jackass? It's not like I attacked Hemos, I just said that he probabably hadn't read the battle.net message base. Now I transfer that opinion to Mr. Hughes.

        Your words are unwarranted and reflect poorly on you.

  • Actually I think it's more along the lines of July 23, but this is old news. Sorry.

    In other Blizzard news, they're supposed to make not one, but two announcements at ECTS [ects.com] this year. So we'll see how that works out.

  • Hurry, we need you! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ezubaric ( 464724 )
    The lack of a recent Blizzard release has crippled the traditional college LAN party. While you can depend on a Blizzard RTS game to get off the ground quickly and finish within a couple of hours, most other strategy games either are twitch fests that finish before you can get comfortable with your laptop teetering on somebody's mini-fridge or Sim Base extravaganzas that take all night to resolve.

    Starcraft can only last so long, and people are already going back to Warcraft II . . . good, balanced RTS games that don't require everyone to have a copy of the CD are quickly running out, and we're left playing dusty games, crappy RTS games, or ughh . . . first person shooters.

    I want a quality Blizzard release as much as the next person, but the sooner the better . . .
    • Kohan [kohan.net] -- which /. pimped last week -- is a fantastic RTS game, and I'm told that one only needs 1 CD for a LAN game. (It may be 1 CD for 2 or 3 people, not sure. Check the message boards at the above link.)

      WC2 was a fun RTS, but it was truly a clickfest. Kohan (and for that matter, Total Annihilation) were both much more robust games. But neither really became SimBase games; either would make an excellent LAN party game.
  • by JoeShmoe ( 90109 ) <askjoeshmoe@hotmail.com> on Saturday August 18, 2001 @03:30PM (#2172942)
    I have been a fan of RTS games since, well, Blizzard practically invented them with Warcraft on the Macintosh.

    But the big downfall of RTS games, and why I think many people hate them, is that as the genre has progressed, the interfaces have not. Ultimately victory comes down to not managing resources or having brilliant strategy, but being nimble enough to control the interface.

    Take StarCraft, for example. To control your troops you assign them to hotkeys. The problem is that when you mix unit type within a group, you lose the ability to give them advanced commands. So you have to assign separate hotkeys by type and you end up using five or six of them just for one attack.

    Unit grouping is another factor. You can carefully arrange your troops in a formation that gives them the advantage, but when you order them from point A to point B they arrive in one big jumble. Often times, unit will arrive at a destination one by one and get slaughtered.

    The question I have...how hard would it be to develop some kind of basic programming language for these type of games? In StarCraft, Reavers cause an enormous amount of damage. I would want my characters to attack them first, overriding any previous attack orders. Or, for Zerg troops, if their health dips below a certain point, automatically burrow.

    I know there are free software version of many strategy games in the workd (like FreeCIV) but are there projects attempting to recreate open source versions of RTS type games? So that this type of functionaly could be added?

    And to Blizzard if there are any employees reading, why not work on this as a nice standby to WarCraft III? It should be very simple to develop a way of giving commands from scripts instead of point and click.

    - JoeShmoe
    • Because I'm bored, I went and found you a correction [gamespot.com]. Dune II is what most people tend to think of as the first RTS (it was the first to be called such), though apparently there was something RTS-like for the Sega Genesis before that.

      Oh, and as for an open RTS, there's FreeCraft [freecraft.org].

    • You can check out www.freecraft.org [freecraft.org] for an open source implementation of warcraft. It's been a while since I've tried it out, it may be quite usable now.

      At any rate, you've got some great ideas on usability. Stop by the site and make your suggestions to the maintainers, or step up to the plate and start coding it in.

    • how hard would it be to develop some kind of basic programming language for these type of games?

      I don't think the problem is with the difficulty of making a small scripting language for the game, the problem would be in balancing issues. The person with the best script would win and it would discourage newbies from even trying to play the game.

    • I completely agree that the UIs are the main problem with today's RTS. There are actually some opensource RTS games. The two that I'm aware of right now are FreeCNC [sourceforge.net], a Command and Conquer clone/port, and Freecraft [sourceforge.net], a WarCraft II clone, with some improvements.

      I haven't tried FreeCNC yet, so I don't know what it's like, but last time I tried Freecraft (a while ago), it wasn't quite there as far as stability. It's interface is mostly the exact WarCraft II interface, but with some minor improvements. Nothing as major as you are suggesting, but it's a small step in the right direction.
    • Kohan is a real time fantasy strategy game with a lot of design enhancements that solve problems that have plagued RTS games.

      It deals with forces on the company level, not individual troops. Most similar games like Warcraft, Age of Empires, etc. would require you to give orders to each individual in a troop, which results in annoying clickfests. In this game, you form companies of seven individual units each (one leader, four front line troops, two specialists) and simply give orders to the companies as a whole. Most of the time you're only dealing with half a dozen companies or so, so unit management is infinitely easier than it has been with any game of this type before.

      Also, companies replace their losses on their own over time, including specialists, which takes a lot of the micromanagement out of combat. It also makes the computers tendency to kill your special units a lot less annoying. You won't have to do a minute of furious clicking to replace your losses, you'll just to direct your surviving companies to a safe place to heal.

      Finally, they've done away with the most of the annoyance of upgrading bases. You don't have to place individual buildings, you just direct your towns to build whatever improvements you can afford. Again, most micromanagement is removed.

      All that being said, Kohan feels a little flat. Most missions aren't really that difficult, and upgrade paths are obvious and rarely diverted from. Visually, the game is lacking, too. For instance, your companies troops form up in hexagons, a formation rarely found on the battle field :)

      From a game design viewpoint, though, it's an amazing piece of software. I bet the next true classic of the genre will be the one that shamelessly rips off the good ideas in Kohan and weds it with a more visually appealing combat engine like the one in Age of Empires.

    • The question I have...how hard would it be to develop some kind of basic programming language for these type of games? In StarCraft, Reavers cause an enormous amount of damage. I would want my characters to attack them first, overriding any previous attack orders. Or, for Zerg troops, if their health dips below a certain point, automatically burrow.

      It shouldn't be that hard. In Linux, anyway, many shell scripting languages come with C or C++ interfaces, and you can pass back and forth variables, and have the ai determination put into scripts. I can't imagine something like that in Windows would be too hard to find...

    • by ddt ( 14627 ) <ddt@davetaylor.name> on Saturday August 18, 2001 @07:57PM (#2173665) Homepage
      It's very odd, but I feel RTS is a rare genre which has actually peaked and is now in deline. Total Annihilation had an outstanding user interface, and units did largely what they're supposed to do. And there were no artificial 12-man limits on the number of units you could select.

      For instance, you could send a building bot around the base on patrol, and he'd automatically reclaim metal, energy, repair units, repair buildings, help build units, or help build buildings, depending on the availability of resources. It's not just about flexibility but about sensible heuristics and testing and balancing, all fields that have been badly overlooked.

      I played Kohan, and it's a wonderful first title, but neither it nor anything I've played in a very long while comes close to TA.

      TA has its flaws, but I have not seen its equal in RTS for years now, and the fans are *still* generating new units, new maps, and even new games out of TA.

      Check out http://www.planetannihilated.com if you want to learn more.

      I would love to see someone make a new RTS that learned all the user interface and most of the heuristic lessons from TA along with the matchmaking and community support lessons from Battle.net, but I feel that right now, we're in a rut where alpha-blended 3D accelerated special effects and enough camera angels to rival a porno DVD are being prioritized over the real design issues.
      • "peaked and is now in deline. "

        Hardly, Age of Kings and extension packs from Ensemble Studios are still ( 2 years after release !!!) on 10 top selling titles list.
        Of course, it is one of the best games ever created by even then its commercial lifespan is simply amazing.

      • The peaks in the RTS genre, for me, however, have been those games that actually managed to add something truly unique to it. Shogun: Total War was the game that saved RTS, for me, simply because it managed to escape the incredibly monotonous tried and true RTS formula and RTS "look" and, instead of just creating new units to battle each other in groups of a dozen or so at once, allowed hundreds of warriors to battle in huge 3D landscapes, subject to weather conditions, fatigue, morale and terrain (planning the precise location, on plains, an downward slope, a forest glen, a valley, etc., at which you will fall on the enemy army is absolutely essential in Shogun).

        A lot has been said over the years about the virtues of mixing genres and some of it is just hype, but when it comes to RTS's, I consider it the solution.

        Battlezone is another game that acknowledged that solution (and before Shogun did). It managed to revolutionise the RTS genre by throwing in elements from FPS and Arcade genres. Too many RTS games look like just a new skin someone hacked for the Warcraft interface. I give a great deal of credit to games like Battlezone and Shogun that threw that interface away altogether.

  • I'll wait (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Big Montana ( 315852 )
    Aside from the delay, which comes as no surprise, I think that Blizzard has a good chance to make a truly impressive 3D RTS, that will blow away its peers and match the performance of their other games.

    All of their other titles have relied on 2D (even Diablo 2, which is 2D and enhanced with 3D). StarCraft ran well even on non-bleeding edge gaming hardware. I have always loved their attention to detail in performance. They are the anti-Funcom (anyone who plays Anarchy Online with its 1FPS in towns even with a GeForce 2/3 knows what I mean). People who knocked Diablo 2 for its lack of "revolutionary" graphics were missing the big picture, IMHO.

    Total Annihilation was an impressive 3D RTS in its time, however when the units filled the screen, performance fell through the floor. I'm optimistic that Blizzard, in committing to 3D in WCIII, will find a way to avoid this.

    Still searching for my Inner Adult...

  • by UserChrisCanter4 ( 464072 ) on Saturday August 18, 2001 @03:34PM (#2172957)


    a Blizzard or 3D realms game that's "Just around the corner!"
  • In other news, these other games have been delayed again until *insert random date in the future*

    1. Duke Nukem Wait Forever

    2. Daikatana II

    3. Battlecruiser 2002AD

  • What is the deal? You would think that with Blizzard's boatloads of cash that if they wanted to get a game out by it's advertised release date that they could just hire on some more programmers and get the job done. But, I guess that would be logical and sometimes big companies don't seem to follow the logic standards.

    But, on the other hand, I guess pushing back the release date is better than releasing a crappy/buggy game.
    • You would think that with Blizzard's boatloads of cash that if they wanted to get a game out by it's advertised release date that they could just hire on some more programmers and get the job done.

      Ummmm...right...and you've done how much software development?

    • by dangermouse ( 2242 ) on Saturday August 18, 2001 @04:11PM (#2173057) Homepage
      ... could just hire on some more programmers and get the job done.

      There are books written about how doing this fails to help.

      • Yes, but the more programmers you hire to push it out, you start losing quality. Projects can get so big that it bogs down. You can also have it too small that nothing ever gets done, but I don't think that's the case here.

    • That's under the assumption that more manpower is the solution. There is a happy medium where manpower and output are @ their best. When you add more and more developers you may even hit a point where you are counterproductive IMHO.
    • if they wanted to get a game out by it's advertised release date that they could just hire on some more programmers and get the job done.

      Throwing extra programmers at a projects to meet release dates seems like a good idea on the surface, but can reduce productivity.

      When new programmers are brought into a project, they need to be trained and brought up to speed on the project before they can do useful work. This means that some of the current development staff have to stop working on the project and spend time training the new guys. The net productivity of the project will decrease in the short term, while the new staff are being trained.

      In the long term more programmers equates to more productivity (with good management) but throwing extra programmers at a project to make quick productivity gains in the short term actually has the opposite effect.

      I don't think Blizzard have enough time before the release date to bring new programmers in on the project and gain the benefits.

  • buy Kohan now!
  • by agdv ( 457752 )
    2002? Gee, by that time the characters will have developed new technology, and it will be nothing but Starcraft all over again...
  • by banka ( 464527 )
    Who plays these Warcraft games?? I thought all true buchos played Counterstrike.
  • Good for them. We're living in an era of "just get it out the door" software. Blizzard stuff, on the other hand, just works, and works fine. Updates are minor, few, and far between.

    If it was anyone else I'd be complaining, but Blizzard stuff is usually worth the wait.

    • You obviously haven't played Diablo 2 yet.

      D2 was rushed. We're already at 1.08 on D2. Some of those were significant updates. The expansion was even more rushed. What happened? 1.07 and 1.08 downloaded at the same time for D2X. Lovely. Why?
      So Blizzard could meat their July 29th deadline for the game being on sale.

      They rush things. Maybe not all but they still rush things.
  • But isn't this the second (or third) time they've delayed the game?

    I thought it was supposed to be out earlier this year...then October of this year...and now, next year?

    I'm still looking forward to it...if the addiction level is anything like WarCraft I&II and StarCraft then I'm in real trouble ;)...but if they're not careful they're going to go the way of Star Wars:TPM...so much dragged out over-hype that there's no way it will live up to the expectations of the public.

    But in the end I would much rather have a sweet, stable game then a crappy game they just shoved out the door. It's nice to see that they actually want to give us our money's worth...an unpopular trait in today's corporate world.

  • IMHO, looking at the low quality of alot of games out there that do get released (*cough* Myst III *cough*).

    I am personally fine with waiting for complete, mainly correct, runnable, optimized and fun game rather than a piece of cruft. The gaming industry has a habit of producing alot of junk at the expense of quality. So far as I am concerned, get it right, and I'll be a dedicated customer for life. Companies like Dynamix, Id, and Blizzard do their absolute best to produce games of quality - for that I thank them and always purchase their games. Think about it too...some other game developers will release a decent game, then lock it up so it can never be expanded to enhance the game in the future.

    Much like Aliens vs. Predator - GREAT game - but it just stagnated after a while because the game was locked very, few mods etc and I stopped playing it.
    Not that I didn't like the game, it just died. I can't say that I have had that experience with any of the above mentioned companies. I play their games often, I purchase their products gladly - because they make great games period! They seem to have balanced the marketroid interference with quality products in an intense, horribly stressful, fast paced, and unforgiving market. Gamers are the worst critics I think you'll all agree...

    I am a programmer by trade too - and you couldn't drag me kicking and screaming into the gaming industry - I'll stick to developing scientific applications for Linux thanks very much! But I have an enormous amount of respect for these developers...so hurrah!

    When Warcraft 3 comes out it will kick ass and I'll be playing it for years...heck I'm still playing warcraft2!

    • When Warcraft 3 comes out it will kick ass and I'll be playing it for years...heck I'm still playing warcraft2!

      Just in case, don't be so sure about it. I used to be a huge fan of Civilization 2, one of the most ingenious games imho (in fact, I still play it sometimes), I was really waiting for the sequels but when they came out I was deeply disappointed. Take 'Call To Power', for example, it had a bunch of added animation and effects but the actual playability was really poor. The number of different approaches and strategies that one could try to win was just a fraction of what was available in Civ 2. So don't promise anything before you have actually seen it.

  • by Restil ( 31903 ) on Saturday August 18, 2001 @04:55PM (#2173167) Homepage
    This is how software is SUPPOSED to be written and released. You work on it until its ready. Until its perfect. Until everything works exactly the way you want it to, with no flaws. THEN you release a beta test to find those issues that nobody in the development or testing team could find. If designed correctly, most flaws will simply be specific hardware issues that weren't completely tested in house or balancing issues with gameplay. But I played Starcraft and I never saw any major bugs.

    Keep up the good work Blizzard.

  • True (Score:2, Interesting)

    I've played a large number of Blizzard games, and while they DO tend to not have to release a large number of patches, they did kinda drop the ball on Diablo 2 as the multiplayer side of it was hosed up royally.

    There were also huge problems with Battle Net when starcraft was released. Battle Net now is MUCH better than it used to be.

    Another thing going for Blizzard is they don't drop their games quickly. Starcraft, which was released around 3 years ago now, is still supported, and they recently released a new patch to fix some issues. Diablo is still being supported too.

    Too bad they don't seem to like Linux since Blizzard seem to be one of the few game companies that give a damn about their customers, and aren't just out to ship product.

  • Yes, I know, it's wonderful that Blizzard is waiting until the game is stable and perfect and bug-free. Good for them. But while they work on this one game, other developers are working like mad trying to shove out the most graphically intensive games they can, as quickly as they can. "Damn the bugs! Full speed ahead!"

    The problem this could create for blizzard is that when Warcraft III is released, it will look graphically dated compared to buggier, less fun games that came out a month before and only spent a year in development, thus working with newer hardware and software right from the get-go. Consider Daikatana, for example. Yes, I know it had a bunch of issues above and beyond crappy graphics, but just consider those graphics for a second. Why did Daikatana use the old, Quake II engine? Because when they were starting work on the game (actually, a little after they started work on it) that was the best engine available. By the time newer hardware and software came out, there was already so huge a committment to QII engine, and so much more work to do, that it just wasn't possible to move to a better engine. This "engine lag" is a risk all games with really long development cycles run, and games like Warcraft III and Duke4ever might fall prey to it. Admittedly, a lot of games with long dev cycles are very successful, but many aren't.

    If warcraft II suffers from engine lag, will it still be attractive to the average (not hardcore) gamer? I don't know.

  • I was really waiting for Starcraft 4 anyway.
  • If it takes longer to release a good game then that's fine, but the thing I'm a bit burned on is the fact that all the people who purchased warcraft II now have fast computers and it's not playable. You have to re-purchase the game as the battle.net edition to fix the mouse and scrolling speeds. Shouldn't that have been a free patch? Why on earth should I have to buy it twice?

    Granted it's an older game, but there nothing as fun as marching into a village with an army of trolls throwing axes. New Troll here! Who you want me kill?

    I should go download it from a warez site to show my disaproval.
    • You bring up an interesting point. Repacking happens on all sorts of media, do you think the license you purchase means that you own that title (be it a game, movie, music, whatever) do you own the right to that content on all future media devices it may be released on. Like when you purchase a copy of Die Hard (the regular edition) on DVD, are you then entitled to the new transfer of the Special Edition (which has better sound, video, etc.) without paying for the new packaging\media\extras which you may or may not even want? I personally believe that I pay for the right to personally own a copy of a title, and I can upgrade that copy when available. Software updates of the same verison should always be free, and I would support your decision to download a copy of Battle.net edition.
  • A lot of people have been dissing on diablo (understandably) but I'm sure some of them have forgotten that diablo is not CREATED by blizzard. They market and distribute it and call the shots on some issues in it but diablo is blizz north's baby and obviously blizz north has never cared about balance because both the diablo games have been horribly imbalanced.

    Blizzard itself is another story all of their games have concentrated on balance HEAVILY. If you've played all the games and take a deeper look you'll see theirs a big difference in design quality. The only thing the two companies seem to share in common is a boss who's been dedicated to only releasing AAA titles.

    Don't let the past fool you though companies are out to make money and blizzard has changed owners now and those owners have doubtless made changes of some sort and may not be as dedicated to quality (notice how fast the d2 expansion came out and how bad it sucks). If your pinching your pennies you might want to wait for a review of war3 instead of taking your chances on blizz's sterling reputation. All and all though the delay is probably a good thing(TM).
  • Reading through the Warcraft III character summaries, I came across the Demon Hunter [blizzard.com], a character whose voice is brought to you by the signature of evil from Ys, Darm.

    Perhaps few people other than myself remember it, but the game Ys book 1 and 2 for the TurboGrafx has a long legacy - it was probably the first CD-ROM roleplaying game.

    And in case you were wondering, the fantastic anime Escaflowne contains a number of scenes of Folken conversing with Lord Dornkirk over a communicator, in exactly the same pose and setting as Dalles speaking to Darm in the famous cutscene...

    Anyway, that's today's trivia.

  • I've been to the past 3 E3s and seen Warcraft 3 at each one. First time, it looked pretty badass. Losta units, full 3d. Second time, it looked ok. Less units, still 3d. 3d wasn't as big a deal anymore, since basically every development RTS was going 3d. Last E3, it looked pretty bad. Even less units, smaller maps, and the gameplay was pretty horrible. To picture the gameplay, take Warcraft 1, make it 3d and really pretty, and then reduce the amount of units on the screen to about 4, and throw in some super unit that destroys everything and never loses health.

    Ensemble Studios' Age of Mythology looks about 50x better then War3. Empire Earth, created by Rick Goodman, lead producer of Age of Empires (tm)(c)(sm), looks better then War3 as well. By 2002, War3 will be old hat. Hell, its old hat now. I'm not holding my breath for it and I don't suggest you do either.

  • Hmm. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Linux: When will 2.4 be ready? (Linus: When it's done.)

    Warcraft: When will WC3 be ready? (Blizzard: When it's done.)

    Random console gamers: When will the Dreamcast be done? (Sega: As soon as we drop support after the initial sales and make plans to screw over our fanbase.)

    :) Sorry. Had to get my whack in on Sega.

    But seriously, waiting is a good thing. Although most consumers are idiots who dance around, leaving puddles on the floor like an over-excited puppy, and screaming at companies for a release..

    Well, they shouldn't. That causes management to say, "Hey! Shipshipship! MONEYMONEYMONEY! Bugs? Isn't that what 50 mb patches that people on 56k's can download easily are for?!"

    Honestly, I wish more software (Both gaming and 'normal' software) (And hardware, in terms of consoles) would ship when it's ready instead of trying to meet release dates.
  • I would rather... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Special J ( 641 )
    Wait for a game thats late than play one that was pushed out the door.

    Blizzard is constantly late on games. Some people rake them through the coals for it. Thats a load of crap. There are very few producers out who each and every one of their games have met huge acclaims.

    They consistantly produce the best games out there and I'm glad they take the time to make sure its a winner. Late releases are frustrating, but at least with a Blizzard game I know when it finally comes out I won't be disappointed.
  • Dammit!

    I can't sleep without games!

    This delay is going to cause me to go mad!

    I've been waiting for this one for ages!!!

    I'm gonna have to find something to do in the meanwhile.

    Hmmm...I heard smoking crack is supposed to be pretty cool...

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard