I have to stress: the original
Warcraft III turns 20 years old this week: just let that sink in. The strategy classic originally arrived on July 3, 2002, and changed the genre (and eventually, other subgenres) forever.
I can vividly recall when Warcraft III came out, as a friend of mine took off school for several days, and declined to hang out with my gaming group that weekend in favor of playing through the entire campaign. That act of isolation ensorcelled me into running out and buying it, and once we had a LAN setup going at his house, the rest was history. By then Warcraft III had fully caught on in the zeitgeist, and was on its way to becoming one of the most popular strategy games of all time.
Before long, we were playing hundreds of hours of custom games. Entire weekends were spent (with Diablo 2 hell mode breaks) trying to find the best custom games possible, and we’d all go out in these little individual excursion missions downloading them before taking turns presenting the group with the coolest, most-lasting maps to play. Eventually, someone found DOTA, and that turned into its own game (and genre) — but you know that story!
Years later, when we met my wife, one of the first things we did was surf custom games together (lots of tower defense!). It’s been a unifying element throughout my entire life as long as it has existed.
All of the above is why it’s such a shame that Reforged replaced the original client going forward. While the re-release did finally get an update recently, it’s not only too little too late, but it’s not enough. Hopefully if Blizzard hasn’t gotten around to it but the time Microsoft takes over, the new owners will make it right. If all else fails, just de-couple Reforged entirely: the classic version of the game deserves to live on beyond file sharing.