First impressions

Home Forums Previous Months 19 – August 2018: Warcraft 2 First impressions

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #1643

    I’ve played Warcraft 2 quite a bit back in the day (I was a big RTS fan), so I thought I knew pretty well what this game was all about. But now that I’m playing it again, I’m actually a bit shocked by just how basic it is, haha.

    It’s not a bad looking game, but I certainly remember the graphics being a lot more detailed and the animations being more fluid.

    I also remember how cool the fire looked when a building was getting damaged… but now that I’m seeing it again… it’s just a gif on top of it, isn’t it? Haha. Also how the arrows are only rotated in steps of 45 degrees, man, it’s really more bare bones than I thought it was.

    But! Of course that’s just how it looks. The gameplay is still solid. I’m up to level 9 now and it’s starting to get a bit interesting in terms of difficulty.

    This game is a bit of a test of your patience though, as gathering resources and waiting for stuff to be built takes ages. Luckily I’m a patient man, haha.

    dr_st
    dr_st
    Participant
    #1644

    There are cheat codes to speed up construction and resource gathering, but they affect all players, so it’s definitely NOT recommended to activate them when playing against the AI, because the AI WILL overrun you. Haha. 🙂

    Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #1645

    Haha

    Pix
    Pix
    Participant
    Podcaster
    #1652

    I finished the single player campaigns back when I was a student but haven’t been near this since. At the time, I remember being underwhelmed compared to Command & Conquer but I was expecting I’d appreciate it more going back. It’s not terrible but if anything I’m liking it less now than I did then.

    The interface is really quite labour intensive and requires lots of micromanagement with units getting stuck, not using abilities automatically, not being able to stack builds, etc.. The opponent A.I. is frankly terrible. As far as I can see, the CPU never actually puts up new buildings once they are destroyed. This means for instance that in the later levels you can just go around clearing out the oceans and your base on another island has impunity from attack from there on out.

    The Command and Conquer CPU enemies cheated like blazes rebuilding anywhere they liked but they offered more of a challenge than this. The whole level setup basically acknowledge how useless the AI is with a huge base with loads of units built in advance. If the CPU didn’t keep sending one or two units at a time and just attacked flat out at the start every level would be completely impossible.

    This sort of gameplay can still be fun but it doesn’t do any favours to the pacing of the game. The start of a level offers some challenge in establishing a base and surviving the early attacks. Having got through these stages though, the levels drag on for ages when you are clearly in a winning position. In fact, I reckon that’s where I’ve probably spent most of my time, with the speed set to maximum trying to clear up units and buildings all over the map. There isn’t any strategy involved to this and it’s just a matter of patience.

    I’m up to what I think is the last mission in the orc campaign now and it barely feels like the game has got going. The campaign has felt almost like a tutorial in all honesty. I’ve never tried it but I can only assume Warcraft 2 comes into it’s own as a multi-player game. It is no doubt a very different experience against a real opponent but I’m really not struck with it as a single player game so far.

    Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #1653

    Yeah, I must admit that playing Warcraft has only made me realise what a C&C fanboy I am 😀

    DavidN
    DavidN
    Participant
    Podcaster
    #1654

    I went through the human campaign a few years ago (but I remember very little about it) so I’m doing the orcs this time!

    I definitely agree that it takes ages to get up and running – I wondered if it was just me, but chopping lumber in particular seems to take an enormous amount of time until you have a small army of workers. And in the orc campaign, it seems like you often start off using more food than you’re actually growing, so you have to spend your first resources on about four farms before you can really get started.

    Comparisons to Command and Conquer are definitely inevitable – something I was surprised by in C&C was that it had a lot of varied missions beyond “destroy the enemy base”, like the one where due to budget constraints you have to clear the area using a bunch of mouldy old tanks and a repair bay. Warcraft’s missions, despite having slight variations like “destroy the castle and get to this rune stone”, seem to be fairly repetitive like Pix says. Once you’ve got your armada sorted out there’s little the enemy does to stop you beyond throw its starting units at you.

    It’s interesting that “fog of war” is an option in the preferences, rather than a cheat code! I prefer to play with it off, C&C-style, but I imagine the game would be very different with it on – usually, I spend a while at the start of the mission flying a scout around to reveal most of the map, but that wouldn’t be as useful with the fog turned on.

    dr_st
    dr_st
    Participant
    #1655

    I must admit I only ever played Warcraft with the “on screen” cheat that shows the entire map. I felt like I do not want to play “hide-n-seek” with the AI, preferring to play “chess” instead. The AI does not explore; it always knows the location of your base and sends the units directly to it.

    The AI also does not really manage resources; its economy is simpler – as long as it has peons/peasants collecting gold/lumber it can create new units. If you kill all of its peasants and destroy the town hall – it will never build more units and never send any more to attack you, so you can safely gather your forces until you are ready to destroy them. This is true per individual player color – if playing against multiple AI “players” each of them has its own economy.

    There is also a bug where for whatever reason all AI players simply stop creating troops and attacking your base. I haven’t figured out how its triggered, but saving/reloading can either trigger it or “release” it.

    Pix
    Pix
    Participant
    Podcaster
    #1656

    I finished off the orc campaign last night. There were two more missions as it happens which were certainly bigger and more challenging with air based units being sent at my bases and the introduction of dragons on my side. The levels definitely did get better as they went on but there was also more setup and destruction required so they took forever.

    If there is a bug with the AI not building units, I ran into it every single time. It would still build workers and oil tankers but rarely anything agressive. It would never rebuild buildings other than town halls and oil wells. It seemed like once I started attacking (usually clearing out the sea first), it stopped sending anything new at me but I don’t really know where the units came from before this since I couldn’t see the map.

    I’m not going to go and play the human campaign now as I’ve kind of had enough already. I do have the expansion pack so I could carry on the orc campaign which would be more tempting but for now at least I’m just going to stop here.

    I’m really struggling to see the big appeal with Warcraft 2 and feel like I must be missing something. Strategy games aren’t exactly my thing which may be a large factor – X-Com is torture as far as I’m concerned. I’ve played a good few RTS games over the years though from Ancient Art Of War, through Dune 1&2, the C&C series, Total Annihilation, etc and I honestly prefer all of them. I’ll have a dig through my old magazines next instead and see how many reviews I can turn up.

    dr_st
    dr_st
    Participant
    #1659

    I think the main appeal of the Warcraft series is the fantasy world setup.

    But if anything, you just made me want to play C&C.

    Corgibuttz
    Corgibuttz
    Participant
    Podcaster
    #1670

    I’m having a lot of fun w/ the revisit so far! I’ve used dosbox to get it working off my original CD! I still have the box, and disc, but no manuals or goodies. Just a box and disc. I was lucky about 6 months ago I found the expansion at a thrift store for a buck!

    I’m currently on the last level or the orc campaign. While taking a while to get used to the lack of control groups for units, and buildings, I’ve actually learned to appreciate the rhythm of trying to keep the macro going w/ frantic clicks and hot keys alone.

    I see some people pointing out flaws, which yeah it has, but I think it’s important to remember what this grew out of. I loved Warcraft 1 as a kid, and Warcraft 2 just came w/ so many quality of life improvements and beautiful graphics.

    When I play it now, it’s not hard for me to remember what it was like to experience it back in the day, and appreciate it despite it falling short in certain areas all these years later.

    It’s still early enough in the month that I think I’m going to try to play through the orc campaign expansion. I never had it as a kid and I would love to see some levels that I hope are more difficult.

    My only “problem” w/ the game is that so far it hasn’t been too much of a challenge.

    dr_st
    dr_st
    Participant
    #1671

    From what I remember, the expansion levels indeed do get more difficult.

    Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #1713

    I definitely agree that a large part of the appeal of Warcraft is the setting, and also how polished it all is presented. Especially the voice acting of course, but also the creative way the buildings and units are designed. It’s just a pleasant world to be in, I think.

    In terms of pure gameplay however, I must say I’m a bit disappointed. I’m at level 13 in the Human campaign now, and there’s only been 1 or 2 levels that posed any kind of challenge. I expected it to become more difficult near the end, but actually the last 2 levels turned out to be extremely simple. It’s all a matter of just building a big army and then overrunning the enemy. Because the AI lacks aggression, this strategy works on basically every map.

    So all in all… it’s quite enjoyable to be around all these characters in this fantasy world, but it doesn’t seem to offer much in terms of actual strategy.

    sorceress
    sorceress
    Participant
    #1714

    The campaigns are mostly telling a story, and the AI scripts they use are only mildly aggressive, with most units on stationary guard duty, and they don’t get replaced if they are killed.

    Some say that the campaigns are for teaching you about all of the units and developing play skills, and the REAL game is the custom 1v1 melee matches: versus computer opponents at first, and later versus other human players.

    So the next step for you Tijn, is to try some custom melee games vs computer opponent(s), as these use more aggressive AI scripts, which will offer a greater challenge.

    Computer opponents actually select one of three different strategies at random: Focusing on either Air, Sea, or Land dominance. Though if the map has very little sea, it’s possible it makes a terrible choice there 😛

    Just make sure you pick fairly open plan maps, that work properly with the game’s lousy pathfinding. Otherwise your cpu opponents will get stuck launching their attacks, enabling you to dominate the map.

    Mgoddard
    Mgoddard
    Participant
    Podcaster
    #1757

    I’ve always found my love with the Warcraft and Command & Conquer franchises a mixed bag.

    Warcraft 2 I love the fantasy setting however it didn’t seem to take me long to get to a point where it felt repetitive. I get this a lot with RTS games, and even though it was more than we got with Warcraft it felt to come a lot quicker for me.

    Command & Conquer it felt to me like it took longer to build up to the bigger units and the vehicles seemed more diverse.

    I think this is why when I had the chance I would gravitate back to Total Annihilation. Loved the theme and SO MANY UNITS.

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Home Forums Previous Months 19 – August 2018: Warcraft 2 First impressions