I had lots of good memories playing this game. Before WoW even became popular, I was a pretty big fan of the Warcraft franchise. Especially from playing Warcraft 2 on dial-up and tying up the phone line for hours so I could precariously play a multiplayer game with a friend.
By the time Warcraft 3 came out, I actually had no one to play online with, but I had lots of fun taking my time with the campaign. I don't care that the mission objectives weren't as diverse as SC2's. Sometimes I liked that the sole objective of the mission was to destroy every last building of the enemy base. Having four different campaigns was awesome. And then the expansion set was really fun too. Overall I just liked the pacing of the game and how each mission wasn't totally rushing you to do a thing before it was too late.
I even really liked the lore of the game. Nowadays I don't care at all for the Warcraft universe but back then I actually kind of cared about the Orcs and whatnot.
Maps were indeed fun in Warcraft 3. A little more challenging to make than in the first Starcraft game with the 3D landscape, but still I loved even just adding trees to existing maps, creating additional barriers for the enemy to have to get through before they can attack you.
I actually thought the story in SC2 wasn't that bad. But the characters I was having some problems with. Mostly Jim Raynor's character actually. I didn't like so much the way he developed and his obsession with saving Kerrigan seemed illogical to me as she killed tons of people and many of his closest friends. And I hated that she turned human again at the end. Way too much plot convenience there.
But anyway, my favorite campaign in WC3 was definitely the Orc one. I was kind of sad by the Frozen Throne that the Orcs didn't have a full story campaign like the other three races did. And the Human campaign had too much to do with Elves, but overall Frozen Throne was awesome.
Some of those technical things you're talking about I really don't know much about. And you're probably right about how imbalanced the difficulty was at times but I used a few cheat codes here and there like I can't help doing in most RTS games. But I always try and go back later and beat the mission without using any cheat codes at all.
The custom games sound really fun. More stuff that I never got into though cause I wasn't really good at creating maps or custom campaigns and stuff.
Other things though that I love about the game include even just the original menu screen. And somehow I didn't mind the cartoonish graphics at all. I thought I would, but the game was really colorful in a good way. I really strayed away from the Humans and the Night Elves though. Too many magical abilities and too much micromanagement to really enjoy them. Orcs and Undead were a bit more straightforward though.
I probably could never bring myself to start playing again. Still though, I have many fond memories playing it. Strange now to think that there was a time where things related to Warcraft didn't actually annoy me.
I've heard that about SC2. I'm not sure why things worked out that way. Maybe it's because so much emphasis was for SC2 was placed on competitive gaming that custom games were left out of the spotlight. SC2 lacked a lot of endearing qualities that I found in Warcraft 3. I did like that SC2 had less micromanagement to deal with though. At least with units anyway. When playing online against someone you still have to micromanage every other aspect of the game. This is probably true with most RTS games online though.
In the first Starcraft one of my all time favorite things was making maps my friends and I could play on. I would do some things with the triggers as far as I knew how. Then I'd spend a ton of time making the landscape look as random as possible with the doodads and raised terrain.
I was thrilled by wc3 and really liked the dimension of the heros that defined it apart from starcraft. TFT diminished that somewhat, but delivered a much-needed shot of unit-balance. Overall I thought it was a good experience as someone who held the RTS genre dear to his or her heart. Also, wc3 was a great progenitor of the MOBA genre (that I never got much out of, but it is massively popular these days).
I'm fairly disenchanted with sc2 so the warcraft rts family isn't something i'm hungering for at the moment. The first order of business for Blizzard should be putting down WoW in the most humane way possible and focusing their attention (and rediculous bank-roll) on innovation again. I think they'd be best served stepping outside of the box again.
Warcraft3 brough us a very cool combination of rpg and rts. WoW combined some of their great rts lore with a bog-standard mmo (not all that innovative, but at least compelling). Perhaps there is new ground to be broken in some yet-untapped genre and story-telling twists?
I'm thinking a sandbox style 3rd person mmo with a splash of rts resource management/exploitation brought to us in the compelling universe of Starcraft or a Diablo-like world (post-apocalyptic is a bit played-out though). Blizzard seems to be preening WoW in a manner that's avoiding the old traditional grinds so a sandbox platform makes the most sense. How they add their touch of imagination from that point would be interesting indeed.
I totally loved Warcraft 3. I remember the concept of Undead and Night elf was so mind blowing after coming off Warcraft 1 and 2. I've never really been that great at RTS games, so it was all about the custom maps for me. I easily played 10 x more DOTA matches than Warcraft 3 matches.
Damn WC3 brings back memories. D2 was my first Blizzard game, but WC3 was the first Blizzard game I actually completed.
I remember back in the RoC era of WC3 where maps such as Curse of Time, DotA (the original by Eul), Footman Frenzy, Line Tower Defense, DoBRP, and Real Life where popular. And of course Lordaeron Tactics, Azeroth Wars, and DAoW. Damn...
To be honest, I really feel this WoW franchise has been running for too long.. -.- I believe that mainly WoW is responsible for Warcraft 4 not coming out! (But! Blizzard still can squeeze cash out of WoW, so whats stopping them from not doing WC4?)
Loved custom maps so much. I think WC3 custom maps were so nice because it had support for RPG and RTS stuff at the same time. I remember playing those gauntlet games with passwords and ton sof TDs. Loved WC3 from the begnning to the end !