A remaster of one of Blizzard’s most well-remembered RTS games will finally be playable this week. Warcraft 3: Reforged will go into a playable beta this week, as part of Blizzard’s lead-up to its annual BlizzCon conference.
The beta, announced today, will be multiplayer only with limited access to features. Only Orcs and Humans will be enabled, in either 1v1 or 2v2 matchmaking. Blizzard says the Night Elf and Undead factions will be enabled in the weeks ahead.
Invites are going out “over the coming weeks,” with the first wave going to those who have pre-purchased the Spoils of War edition of the game, and subsequent waves to more players, including those who pre-purchased the standard edition. The special edition will both get you access to the beta, as well as special mounts for World of Warcraft, heroes for Heroes of the Storm, a card back for Hearthstone, and some really, really cool animated sprays for Overwatch, alongside other Blizzard game goodies.
Announced at last year’s BlizzCon, Warcraft 3: Reforged has stayed mostly quiet in the time since its reveal. If it follows in the footsteps of 2017’s excellent StarCraft Remastered, then it’ll hopefully breathe some new life into Warcraft and remind everyone of how excellent it was as an RTS, before it was an MMO. (Sorry, Mike.)
But the announcement is also part of the run-up of BlizzCon, in a year where Blizzard has found itself at a troubling crossroads due to significant layoffs and controversy over its suspension of a Hearthstone player for pro-Hong Kong statements. Whether Blizzard will manage to garner any good will, either with this nostalgic throwback or with its rumored new game announcements, is yet to be seen.