Before World of Warcraft (WoW), the massively successful MMORPG game, there was Warcraft III. Warcraft III is a game with events set before the events in WoW happened, and has been around for 15 years. Most games that have been around even a fraction of that time are left stale and stagnant with little or no developer support.
That lack of dev support typically means no updates, any bugs remain unsquashed, and you certainly don't get any new maps or map updates. That's not how Blizzard rolls and after a decade and a half of availability, Blizzard has added a bunch of overall improvements and new features to Warcraft III. The full list of general improvements and gameplay objectives is listed below:
- Balanced creep camp difficulty progression from early to late game
- Balanced creep drop tables for better item progression from early game to late game
- Item diversity: Varied Level 1 though 6 charged items and Level 1 through 6 permanent items
- Balanced all start locations: total amount and starting distance from lumber, equal amount of spacing, equal size choke points, et cetera
- Balanced expansion distance from start locations Decluttered points of interest to reduce visual competition during gameplay
- Retextured map surfaces for better visual clarity - both on screen and mini-map
- Minimized the size of trees and doodads that obstructed player view of points of interest
- Added cliff lines or deep water to edges of the map - removing hard edges (aesthetic choice for immersion)
- Properly placed trees and doodads on the pathing grid: full-cell Medium Grid to half-cell Medium Grid alternate
- Removed the rolling shoreline waves from rolling hills to remove the noise the waves created - remains for cliff shores
A bunch of map changes and updates have landed for the 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, and Free for all maps. Some of the original maps in these categories were left alone, but others have modifications like new taverns, new mercenary camps, and new green creep camps. Some map buildings and locations have been changed as well. These changes should give fans of the game incentive to explore some of the maps they may have abandoned years ago.
Blizzard notes that there are some known issues that will be improved at a later date. Specifically the devs note that Warcraft III matchmaking "is a bit long in the tusk." The devs promise an update for matchmaking in the game in a later patch. Automated Tournaments and Ladder Board are not functional in the PTR. Latency was improved, but Blizzard says that it still needs work to meet the standard of modern gamers. Warcraft III isn't the only older game that Blizzard has given some love, back in December of 2016 it celebrated the 20th anniversary of Diablo with a special gaming event.