Warcraft 3: Reforged, the ‘reimagining’ of Blizzard’s hugely popular real-time strategy game, was first announced at BlizzCon 2018. Fans were understandably excited to jump back into an updated version of the popular RTS; but less than a week after its launch, Warcraft 3: Reforged has earned the worst ever user score on Metacritic.
Warcraft 3: Reforged is currently sitting at an abysmal 0.5 out of 10 with comments such as “Full of bugs, no real improvement that can be appreciated,” and the much harsher, “This is a literal spit in the face for Warcraft 3 fans. This is nothing, but an awful cashgrab.” So, what happened?
There are several things have sent unhappy players to Metacritic in their thousands. There are complaints that there are a number of bugs, the cutscenes and units haven’t been updated enough, and changes to custom maps, to name just a few. And those that still play the original Warcraft 3, which dates back to 2002, are finding that they are being forced to update to a newer version of the game.
Blizzard have also updated the EULA (End User License Agreement) which now states: “Custom Games are and shall remain the sole and exclusive property of Blizzard. Without limiting the foregoing, you hereby assign to Blizzard all of your rights, title, and interest in and to all Custom Games, including but not limited to any copyrights in the content of any Custom Games.”
For those that just want to jump in and enjoy the campaign or a bit of multiplayer, the change to the EULA probably isn’t that huge a deal. But the emergence of the MOBA as a genre is largely thanks to the original Warcraft 3. Dota 2 is a direct sequel to one of its early custom games, Defence of the Ancients, so those hoping to cash in on custom maps or games will have to rethink those plans.
Blizzard really hasn’t been winning any prizes for popularity in the last few years. BlizzCon 2018 was hugely disappointing for many fans when the Opening Ceremony was closed out with the reveal of a mobile Diablo game, rather than the announcement of Diablo 4 that many were hoping for. And more recently, a pro Hearthstone player was handed a hefty ban (later reduced) for making a political statement against Hong Kong during a post-game interview at the Hearthstone Grandmasters Official Competition.
If Blizzard was hoping to win back some of its popularity with the launch of Warcraft 3: Reforged, it seems that the plan has backfired quite spectacularly.