Warcrafting my own games
Warcraft II was the first game I was obsessed with. As a gobby little kid with a childlike sense of superiority characteristically embedded in all under 10s, I remember showing off my video gaming prowess – only to be proven that my gaming to that date had by and large been edu-tainment software. My monstrous parents had tricked me into bettering myself through gamerfication!
After this playground faux pas, someone lent me the sequel to Blizzards’ inaugural Real Time Strategy (RTS) title. I certainly enjoyed by adventures in Azeroth, even if I abandoned my race to be Orc through and through. Whilst it doesn’t have the gameplay sophistication of other strategy titles, given the two factions are largely mirrors; it had a certain charm along with Blizzard’s legendary storytelling and cut scenes.
It also introduced me to level editors. Eons before Minecraft, Warcraft II’s primitive but powerful creation tool allowed the younger me to put away my treasured lego and create my own worlds. For me, this was my first gaming moment. I played the single player campaigns – but I’ll confess through I never finished the last level without “It is a good day to die”. But with the tools provided by the game I spent hours crafting my own adventures.
Becoming a storyteller
I finally owned the game with the release of the Blizzard anthology, which granted me access to a more powerful Starcraft level creation tool, introducing scripting and the ability to craft a short campaign. Whilst you won’t find my proudest creation “The Red Highway”, as I never released it beyond a CD I gave to a friend and only played it twice myself and in fairness it was probably rubbish, this project gave me more enjoyment than anything else in the fantastic game!
My last foray into Blizzard level editors was 2002’s Warcraft III. The third installment was the precursor to World of Warcraft (WOW), particularly with regards to lore with Azeroth’s schism laying the groundwork for the world and dungeons in the multiplayer titan. Despite my troll R’zoogu, I never really journeyed into the WOW – largely because of terrible internet during my second year of university, and obviously there’s no level editor.
My triumph in Warcraft III was “Seven Kingdoms”, again unreleased! In which I created seven human factions across seven islands. Whilst I’m almost certain it was widely unbalanced, the editor allowed me to create a short story linking maps to create a campaign with unique characters. Given my experience with Blizzard’s level editors – I understand the popularity of Minecraft, Mario Maker and Little Big Planet.
Blizzard makes fantastic games and never had to offer these editors – by far their professional versions where better than any of my attempts. But regardless, through these generous tools I had more fun by exploring my own creativity.
Featured image is official wallpaper released by Blizzard over Battle.net.
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