Another entry into a long line up of classic real-time strategy games on the PC, Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos (to give it its full title) is famous not only for being an utterly engrossing strategy game, but for laying the foundations for the incredibly popular World of Warcraft online role playing game. Play as either Orc, Human, Undead or Night Elf as you command your heroes and struggle for control of vital resources across Azeroth. Time may have dulled the games visuals, but it remains as playable today as it was in 2002.
Warcraft 3 should install without any major issues on a modern PC. The installer may warn you that “Windows NT is not supported” but it should let you proceed anyway. At the end of the installation procedure you may see an error message that complains about an “undefined symbol”. In this case, the installation has completed but you will need to manually create shortcuts to the program on your Start menu, Start screen or Desktop. When creating a shortcut, point it to “Warcraft III.exe” which can be found by default in “C:\Program Files (x86)\Warcraft III”.
If you have further problems installing from your original CD-ROM, you can download a replacement installer directly from Blizzard software. To do this, you will need a free Battle.net account. Visit this page, log into Battle.Net or create a new account and then register your games serial number. You will then be able to download a fresh copy of Warcraft 3.
Before you attempt to play this game on a modern system, you should install the latest patch. Blizzard software still provide patches for their classic titles and Warcraft 3 is no exception. Visit this page to download the latest patch. Once the patch has downloaded, simply double click on it or choose “Open” or “Run” from your browsers download manager. The patch will then install automatically and then start the game.
Tweaking visual quality
Before crafting some war, you should take the time to correctly configure the games visual settings. Start the game and from the main menu, choose “Options” and then “Video”. The first thing to set is the games screen resolution. With the latest patch applied, Warcraft 3 supports widescreen and 4:3 screen modes, so choose whatever resolution suits your monitor or TV best. When choosing a screen resolution, be sure to select one with a 32 bit colour depth. If a screen resolution selection has “x32” at the end of it, then it is a 32 bit mode.
There are a number of other options available on the video settings menu too. Since Warcraft 3 is such an old game, even relatively modest PCs should run the game at maximum settings without any difficulties. Turn all the settings to either “High” or “On”. You’re now done configuring the games video options.
Tweaking sound quality
Audio settings for Warcraft 3 can be found by selecting “Options” on the games main menu and then choosing “Sound”. Like many games from this era, Warcraft 3 took advantage of hardware accelerated audio. Since support for hardware accelerated audio was dropped in Windows Vista, the game will only give you the choice of software audio on this menu.
If you have a suitable sound card, you should use the Creative Labs ALchemy software before you start to play, this will restore full hardware accelerated sound capabilities to the game. Simply start the ALchemy tool and Warcraft 3 should be detected automatically. Select it from the list of “Installed Games” on the left of the ALchemy window and then click the “>>” button. Warcraft 3 should then appear on the list of “ALchemy-enabled Games” on the right of the window. Restart Warcraft 3 now and the hardware accelerated audio options will be available on the Sound settings window.
Problems saving games or other settings – Like many older games, Warcraft 3 places its save game files and various configuration files in the same directory that it is installed to. This can cause problems on more modern versions of Windows as programs are not normally permitted to write to the program files directory. To avoid this problem, either install the game to an alternate location (e.g c:\Games\Warcraft 3) or manually edit the permissions on the games folder. A tutorial on how to do this can be found here.