Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos goes gold

Game developer and publisher Blizzard Entertainment today announced that Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos has gone gold master. The company is preparing for what it calls "the biggest worldwide launch in PC gaming history" on July 3, 2002, when it'll ship 4.5 million copies to help fulfill initial orders for the game.

Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos was developed simultaneously for Mac OS and Windows, and it runs natively in Mac OS X. It's once again returns players to the war-torn fantasy world of Azeroth, where Orcs, Humans, Night-Elves and the Undead square off in their domains.

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Unlike previous installments of the Warcraft franchise, Warcraft III is billed as a "role-playing strategy" game, mixing elements of role playing games with the real-time strategy techniques made popular in other Warcraft games.

This new title picks up the pieces a generation after the end of the Second War between Orcs and Humans. A dark power has returned after thousands of years, threatening an uneasy peace that has taken hold. Players of the game's single-player mode follow a storyline that spans four successive campaigns representing each of the different dominant races on Azeroth as they follow the adventures of "Legendary Heroes," each of who grows stronger with experience, gaining spells and special abilities.

While other Warcraft games have focused on the large-scale harvesting of resources and creation of specialized battle units, Warcraft III takes a more small-scale approach, with gameplay focused on the Legendary Heroes and their own troops. The focus in this installment is on concentrated battles between groups of individual warriors, rather than wholesale destruction or domination through overwhelming force.

The game also sports multiplayer capabilities enabling Warcraft III players to duke it out online over the Internet, via Blizzard's own Battle.net online service, and through local area networks as well.

Warcraft III also incorporates the World Editor -- the same tools used by Blizzard's designers to craft the game. It enables players to develop their own 3D maps and unique missions, and it incorporates a scripting engine that Warcraft III plans can use to modifying the behavior of units, spells, and other events within the game. Players can even produce their own in-game cinematic sequences using camera controls and MP3-based audio files.

Look for Warcraft III: reign of Chaos to hit store shelves on July 3 with a street price of about US$55-$60. The game will be available for various flavors of Windows and Mac OS.

This story, "Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos goes gold" was originally published by PCWorld.

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