An Open Love Letter for Warcraft III
Let me take you back in time. Back through the hallowed halls of gaming, to a simpler time. A time before iPhones, if you can imagine that ever being so. A time when Friends was still on the air.
The year was 2003. I was eleven, and one day I was out and about with my ma, and we chanced across an EB Games. EB Games was a marvelous place for a young'un like me. It was the only real competition for GameStop and it was geographically closer to my house.
Inside the store I kept pestering my mom to buy me something. I wanted a new game! Finally she relented, and I picked up something that would change my whole gamer life.... THE MOTHERFUCKIN' WARCRAFT III BATTLE CHEST.
I'd like to say that it was a random pickup, that it was a predestined force, cosmic in nature, that prompted me to select this game among all others in the store. I'd like to say that, but it isn't true. I knew about Warcraft because of a couple of my friends; one really loved Starcraft, the other, Warcraft. Both parties tried to convince me to get their respective favorite, but I was ultimately sold on fantasy over sci-fi.
So my ma bought me the game. Honestly, had she known what that would mean for me, what it would entail, she probably wouldn't have. She probably would've walked right back out of the store. But she didn't, so she didn't.
It started a new chapter in my young life. The game opened me up to gaming on my family's PC. I honestly can't remember if we had a console in the house yet at this stage. My memory of that time of my life is defined by moments, and not necessarily the continuity between them. Either way, WCIII was the defining game of that period of my life.
I fell immediately in love with the game. RTS made sense to me. Having also loved Legos, I really dug the the building of the base and the strategic defending of it. I liked the variety between units and the different ways it meant you could accomplish objectives.
More than all that, I loved the narrative. It was an awesome story about a mystical land on the edge of demonic extermination. Arthas' fall from grace into Death Knighthood, Thrall's quest to preserve his people, Malfurion's attempt to fight against the encroaching evils, and the way it all came together was the dopest thing to me.
More than all that, it introduced me to online gaming.
Just seeing this image of the old Battle.net screen brings the nostalgia on with some force. I want to just click on Play Game and get back into it. I loved playing against other kids. I wasn't really all that good, but shit, it was fun.
It was the custom games that I loved the most, though. The variants that allowed the players to design a different game entirely. There were a bunch of different ones, from tower defense to a fight with anime characters.
My favorite of all of them was undoubtedly DBZ Tribute. No question about it. I tried to find a good image for it, but it's hard to find. Basically, it was a custom game where you could play as any of the major z fighters, or some of the major villains. As I remember it, you could play as either Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, Gohan, Future Trunks, or Goten and Kid Trunks as a twosome deal for the heroes, then Cell, Broly, Buu, Metal Cooler, Android 13, or Bebi for the villains.
It's hard to tell people that my favorite DBZ game isn't strictly a DBZ game. XD I play League of Legends now, and that's also because of WCIII. It's where DoTA started, and LoL is effectively just a DoTA clone. DoTA is now a Valve game and makes them plenty of money I'm sure, I don't know, I don't play it.
Coming up on WCIII as my intro to PC gaming makes me a little later than some others in the PC gaming circles, but I still have to be thankful for it. Without it, I may have been doomed to an entirely console life. Not that I don't like consoles, but there's so much more that can be done on PC.
So thank you, Warcraft III. And also Blizzard, I guess, but I don't know why you waited so long to get into the MOBA business considering you had em first, you dumb-dumbs.