The company known for both defining and refining the genre returns to real-time strategy with this third full release in its longest-running series. Billed as a "Role-Playing Strategy," Blizzard's WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos offers a bit more than the standard resource management and army building common to contemporary RTS games. Players control smaller parties of troops and heroes who must interact with NPCs and accomplish quests, as well as out-fight and outwit the forces of the enemy.
The game's prologue is set several years after the monumental battle at the end of WarCraft II. Several orcs were trapped in Azeroth when the Dark Portal was finally destroyed and many have been forced to live as slaves to the humans, who have grown rich and restless in the ensuing years. But tedious manual labor does not come naturally to all orcs. One such slave, a young orc named Thrall, feels the warrior spirit burning deep inside his being. He breaks free of captivity and sets off across the countryside, gathering fellow lost orcs among his ranks. Rising as a powerful leader among these expatriate warriors, Thrall vows to lead Azeroth's orcs back to the honor and greatness their heritage demands.
WarCraft III features four distinct races - human, orc, undead, and night elf -- each with unique units and special abilities. Manageably small parties of warriors are led by impressive heroes who carry over through the game's missions, bringing further continuity to the storyline. Heroes gain experience as they progress through missions, becoming increasingly powerful as the story moves forward. Special weapons and magic items may also aid the heroes as they fight towards their final destinies.
WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos includes a map editor that supports all of the game's tile sets as well as unit scripts and event triggers, allowing inspired gamers to create their own professional-quality adventures. Like all recent Blizzard games, WarCraft III supports multiplayer gaming over the proprietary Battle.net system of servers. In addition to ruthless head-to-head warfare, multiple modes of online play also allow for cooperative team adventuring.