Warcraft III

I dug up some old RTS’s the other day, something for my son and I to play together, when I came across Warcraft III.
Now, I’ve always known I sucked at RTS’s, but holy cow… we played skirmish against AI on easiest settings, and we were rushed and destroyed. We’ve tried several skirmishes and have yet to win one on easy. What basic concept am I missing? We play LOTR:BFME2, RoN (+ Legends), Dawn of War, with no problem. What’s different about Warcraft III?

Are you creeping?

What do you mean, rushed?

Were you hero harassed, or were you rushed?


You also have to remember that this game was meant to be the successor of Starcraft. Ergo, it’s balanced towards Korean players that could destroy your base with a zealot and three probes.

Other than that, build an altar and get a hero before you do anything else. Also, all the races have built-in defenses of some sort. Make generous use of those.

If he’s played Rise of Legends, then he is probably creeping, though the term might be unfamiliar.

Also, forget skirmishing for now. Go to the storyline. It’s really a tutorial.

WC3 had an awesome skirmish AI. Very aggressive and AFAIK, doesn’t even cheat on easy/normal.

You can’t play passive. You need to pump out a hero and some units right away and then kill the neutral critters for hero experience and extra cash.

Make sure you install the Frozen Throne expansion and patch. IIRC, one of those 2 adjusted the difficulty settings.

I had a similar experience – the easiest AI skirmish setting for Warcraft III (even with the expansion) is probably 5x more brutal than the easiest setting of any other RTS I’ve played.

If you want to stick with it - not necessary, IMO, since other games offer competition without as brutal of a learning curve - I found the humans to be the easiest race to learn. Orcs were second.

Reading up on build orders was useful for me. I eventually wrote them down somewhere, but the sites I used to develop them don’t seem to be around anymore. Other general strategies that I found to work well against the AI are:

  • Attack with a small force early
  • Don’t do an early expansion to a new base
  • Develop a defensive wall of towers, & then bait the AI forces to run into them. I eventually got pretty decent at building a few friendly towers just outside the AI’s base that would occupy their strike teams. This allowed me to build up the tech of my core base & I could overwhelm the AI with more advanced units.

For what it’s worth, I finished the entire storyline of the base game & expansion before diving into skirmish, & I don’t feel it helped me it all. Maybe I would have gotten spanked even worse without basic familiarity with units.

The diffference is that warcraft III isn´t a game about units, but about heroes. Units are mostly enablers for your heroes to gain xp faster.

So I´d start with focusing your gameplay on microing heroes and using items.

Another difference is that Blizzard actually did a good job with the AI. There is really no comparison to BfmE 2 where the Ai even with the latest patch doesn´t use roughly half the stuff in the game ( most importantly spell powers) due to easily fixable bugs in the ini files.

Blizzard skirmish AIs are pretty hellish from what I recall. On the other hand, the Warcraft III campaign was the first one I managed to play all the way through without cheating. (Not that I can say the same for The Frozen Throne.)

Yeah, Warcraft 3 “easy” skirmish mode destroyed me every time I tried it. That’s after having played a lot of the campaign missions and being reasonably good at some other RTS’s. I never even came remotely close to beating the easy AI, heh.

If you want to play a game with heroes that might have a similar feel, try the Warlords Battlecry series. All of them are available from Gametap, but they are also cheap online somewhere (try gogamer). The skirmish is more forgiving, and with WB2 you can play a dynamic campaign…well, maybe not dynamic, but it has a strategic layer above the tactical battles.

Funny, I just picked this one up as well; got the Battlechest based on some advice that it has the big multiplayer base with enough players to quickly get average/below-average players like me into a challenging place on the random match up system. So far, I have not been disappointed.

I did a little better against the normal AI, but that sounds like it is because I knew more what to expect from the game type. I got slaughtered the first time, but picked it up fairly quickly. Good advice here so far, and repeating somewhat what has already been said:

  1. Play the humans or orcs, not the elves or undead. As I understand it, the undead in particular are very micro heavy and even more hero/twitchy focused than the other races;

  2. Think “warbands” and not “huge armies.” Your hero and some units (and for weaker things, just your hero and some spell effects) should be out kicking ass very early on.

  3. Manage your population limit buildings well; the game does not provide you with the time to sit up against a cap while you remember to build the next building.

  4. At least for the orcs (the side I’ve played so far), but I imagine for others, it is not just the heroes, but some other creatures that give aura effects, that you need to mix in right to make your warbands stronger.

  5. ABC - Always Be Closing. Coffee is for closers. You need to always be taking on that next set of creeps, harassing, attacking. This is general RTS advice that not enough people (including myself) follow, but seems more important in Warcraft than some (like Rise of Nations, for example).

The AI doesn’t do hero harassment or “rushes” (read: early do-or-die attacks that bust its economy), so I think he probably just lost to one of its periodic attack waves.

One thing you (the OP) could try is watching your replays with fog of war off, to see how the AI is doing its build orders and tactics. You could also find replays played by human beings.

This is a bit of an exaggeration, but it does help you get in the right mindset. I found that hordes of dryads, for example, were a pretty powerful destructive force in their own right. (Before they were nerfed, anyways.)

But even with my dryad flotilla… micro-management is the key. And heroes, with their multiple abilities and large number of hitpoints, are perfect for microing.

On the down side, if you don’t like micro-management, WCIII kinda sucks.

Not entirely true. Warcraft III added abilities that you could set to automatically cast, so not every unit needed micromanagement. As an example, with an undead army I could set my four necromancers to automatically cast Raise Dead to bring an army of skeletons down on my foes, one obsidian statue to automatically restore health around it, one obsidian statue to automatically restore mana around it, and then concentrate on using my hero’s abilities to dispatch the group of enemies I was battling. There’s still micromanagement, but they do automate a lot of the process for you.

I recommend turning down the gamespeed, too – it’s much easier to manage on the slowest game speed than the highest. You won’t feel as harried.

That’s with right clicking on the spell, right? For some reason, that does not seem to work for me. I right click on things (like chain lightning) that I would think would be perfect candidates for autocast, but they don’t fill in with the little square border like the instructions said they would.

Ah, attack spells won’t auto-cast. What you’re looking for is this:


Take a look at the difference in icons on the Heal ability and the Dispel Magic ability. The Heal ability is boxed in by the yellow corners, and that means right-clicking sets it to auto-cast. Abilities that do not have the yellow corners can’t be set to auto-cast.

not all spells can be auto-cast. Only limited ones, like faerie fire, inner strength, bloodlust, heal, dispel magic.

I don’t believe Chain lightning is an auto-castable spell.