A cup of Starcraft, a dash of Diablo…
On the surface, Warcraft 3 contains the same RTS that Blizzard is famous for, with other well-known Blizzard features thrown in. The feel and strategies are Warcraft 2, the races have the variety of Starcraft, and the game play has RPG elements as well as the collectable item aspect of Diablo. Yes, Warcraft 3 even has traces of elements from Diablo!
You can really see bits and pieces of the different games in Warcraft 3. For starters, the camera angle resembles Diablo's isometric view more than Warcraft's or Starcraft's top-view. This adds to the 3D aspect to the game.
Controlling your heroes will be similar to controlling Diablo characters (more on that in the hero section). Heroes can carry items, and give off auras to surrounding units.
What's old and what's new?
Humans seem to again be decently strong and well-rounded, but somewhat defensive like the generic paladin. Orcs are heavy into melee and very aggressive. We didn't see much of the other races, but we can probably guess that the Undead center on death, life stealing and raising dead corpses while Demons are probably just pure evil.
Unlike Starcraft, Warcraft 3 has more of an emphasis on unit quality instead of unit quantity. Judging by the unit stats and from what we saw at Blizzard, Warcraft 3 will be as fast-paced if not more fast-paced than Warcraft 2 in how quickly your units become outdated. Climbing the ladder to reach more powerful units hasn't slowed. A few Taurens (Minotaurs, the replacement for the Ogre unit in Warcraft 2) can easily romp over early Footmen units.
While unit strength is important, spells and the auras surrounding units have the most impact on a battle's outcome. Just like in Warcraft and Starcraft, when your unit count becomes low, spells have much more of an impact on the battle as crippling or enhancing a single unit often has a clutch effect in the battle.
Of course, heroes will be available in single player. Your hero's level and spells will probably carry over between scenarios. The level your hero can attain in each scenario and how many troops you carry over will probably be limited, however.
Ready to throw down?
A bit more, please
From what we could see in our demonstration, Warcraft 3 has just as many and possibly more unit commands than Starcraft. You have the standard move, patrol, stand ground, attack, spells, and special abilities. We also saw a Red Cross icon. It may have been a place holder graphic, but one can only wonder what that command that is (we forgot to ask). Can you now tell a unit to go home to heal, or maybe find the closest healer to have himself healed?
Blizzard has also put more work into the movement AI. This may eliminate pathing problems like the one in Starcraft where units had trying to find the shortest distance between a curvy path, or the issue with the attack command in Warcraft 2.
As of now, the only resource in the game is gold, which is collected by peons. However, Warcraft 3 lead designer Rob Pardo told us that it's not out of the question that another resource might be added to the game. In any case, you will still be able to chop down trees. Pardo let in on the fact that there will be maps like Web World and Nowhere to Run in which you will have to chop down trees if you want to melee with your opponent.
The towns are going to be much smaller in size as the focus will be more on the battles and town management. Warcraft 2 fans will also be happy to hear that the peon still walks into a building and builds it from scratch. The food limit will also be a lot tighter than Starcraft and Warcraft.