Feedback: Graphics don't feel like Warcraft III

Edited with my most recent and relevant thoughts on this topic:

Just to clarify, I’m not opposed to updating graphics at all. I know that for a lot of people, this isn’t the kind of remaster they wanted, but it’s the one we got. And I think we can try and make the best of Blizzard’s new artistic approach with only a few changes.

What changes those are may differ from person to person, but I’ve decided to simplify my own list down to a few brief suggestions that I’ve been thinking about:

1. The game has lost its color. It looks like someone turned up the gamma. Everything looks washed out and desaturated. It harms visual clarity and makes it harder to see team colors at a glance. Some here on the forums have demonstrated how easily this can be fixed by editing screenshots in Photoshop. New models are great, but please keep the color and feel of the original.

2. Metalness seems out of place. What is it? It’s a B&W texture map used in PBR (Physically-Based Rendering) materials to tell a mesh to appear metallic. It’s relatively new especially in terms of Warcraft. WoW and HotS don’t use it. It’s meant to add realism, but it’s not required for WC3’s new “realistic” look. I think it makes the humans contrast too much with the other races.

3. The new user interface: Lots of people like it but just as many don’t. I personally prefer the original and would love to see some options to get that back while also being able to enjoy the new models.

4. Nit-picky things: Peasants run in slow motion. Some units need more team colors when viewed from certain angles. Heroes maybe too small (despite being realistically-sized, it feels weird.) Footmen shouldn’t look more heroic than knights or paladins.
My original post is below, opinions and all unchanged:

A lot of people have mentioned an uncanny valley or just “not right” feeling about some of the new models and textures for Warcraft III Reforged and I’d like to offer my own observations.

It looks like WC3R is using physically-based rendering to create a metalness look for the plate armor you see on the humans. This is the biggest disparity I have seen from the former War3 style.

Games like Warcraft III, WoW, and Heroes of the Storm don’t use metalness. Plate armor and metals are toonish and matte with distinct hand-painted colors. Warcraft III Reforged is the first time we’re seeing these new PBR-like textures and materials and it doesn’t feel like the same game.

You can see what I’m talking about here:

Spoiler: Image links
 *Modern World of Warcraft Plate Armor:

 *Heroes of the Storm Plate Armor:

 *Current Plate Armor of Warcraft III Reforged:

This new shiny look is called metalness and it’s important these days in games that go for a realistic style. But Warcraft’s style has never been realistic. I don’t think that’s what people want in a remaster.

Some people have said the new visuals look more like the Warcraft movie and less like the Warcraft style we all know and love. The orcs looked great in that movie but the humans’ armor just didn’t feel right and I feel exactly the same way with WC3R.

I also think this contributes to a lack of visual clarity in the new game. Looking down at the units in the Culling of Stratholme playtest, it was much harder to tell units apart than ever before.

Now, the metalness stuff is a big concern of mine but it’s of course not the only concern. Visual clarity and staying faithful to the original art direction is really the biggest topic for discussion here.

That’s pretty much all I wanted to say though. Warcraft III is my favorite game of all time so I want it to succeed. I’m very much excited for this remaster but knowing all that I’ve said here leaves me wishing it were different. I really just want that tried and true Blizzard art style back and I know I’m not alone.


Of course, the graphics are not finished yet… and Blizzard asked for our feedback. It’s the one big opportunity for us to come together as a community and tell them what we would like to see. There’s no reason to attack someone for having an opinion.


Personally, I think what makes the graphics look odd is that the characters appear more realistic, yet the scale of buildings is just as wacky as before. This creates a greater contrast. I also hope they work on some of the animations and effects. The blademaster’s Bladestorm (spin attack) stood out as being a step backwards, but with some added wind effects it should be fine.

As nice as it would have been to use the SC2 engine, this is great for millions of people around the world who have poor hardware. They can save the impressive graphics for Warcraft 4.


I think Grubby does a good job explaining it, the graphics don’t work well in a melee rts like warcraft. Realistic and highly detailed models don’t make sense in a game where you’re gonna look at everything from a distance anyway. The details become hard to see and a lot of the added stuff to the characters make them blurry and hard to distinguish.
The new graphics are nice, when you look at them up close. But from the distance you’re gonna be playing the game at, they just don’t work. Lower poly models that keeps the anatomy of the original WC3 and with higher quality textures would have been better imo.
Art style and graphics have a purpose and should serve the gameplay and I don’t think the new graphics do that.


The humans looked like dwarves in WC3, now they look like proper humans…
It doesn’t make sense either to analyze and turn their models around like people are doing now, 99% of the time you will be playing this, it is from a top-down perspective, which is what they are designing them for, which requires things to maybe look alittle weird from down-up or looking directly into its eyes.

+Even if I don’t think things look that weird, all pre-beta content have always looked awkward and stiff, just watch Heroes of the Storm.

It’s like music, people don’t how a clue how powerful the last polishing process of “mastering” is to a song, it has nothing to with changing anything in the song, but when a sound engineer put more sonic energy into the song while balancing the tiny details of frequencies, you get the professional sound that everyone has now become so used to, that when they hear a song in the mixing process, it sounds bad and far from unfinished even though it maybe only require a mastering


Absolutely spot on. I’d also add that the proportions are more than a little off; Warcraft has always had what on the tabletop is called “heroic” scale, with exaggerated proportions and wide bodies. The lanky realism we’ve seen so far is a far cry from it and frankly looks comically out of place.


I agree top-down visuals is what is the most important thing here, aiDen. But that’s exactly the problem. I feel like a lot of it just isn’t working. As said in Laryr’s post, Grubby and several other known and dedicated Warcraft III players don’t think that the current design has the visual clarity needed for a functional game.

And video game assets usually do not see much polish once created unless something very specific would call for that, such as our feedback. They did state they will be working on lighting and other engine-related features but unwarranted changes to actual models and design principles are not likely.

I kinda feel like all this will fall on deaf ears anyway but it’s worth a shot…


I don’t agree, at all.

I’ve been playing since warcraft 2. I am as nostalgic as anyone else if not more.

But we can’t make the game successful on our own. New players from the new generation are drammatically needed.
And a new, modern, updated style is the cornerstone for that. Sure there are things that can be slightly improved, but you must move on.

I have read people saying that the original blocky low res models avere “more espressive” than the new ones. That’s just blind, obtuse nostalgia and is objectively wrong.
Let the nostalgia go and embrace the rebirth. Original, legacy Warcraft 3 will always be safely backed up on your PC and you can replay it at your heart’s content whenever.


I believe we can still appeal to newer generations while staying true. World of Warcraft does and Heroes of the Storm definitely does. These games embody the modernized Warcraft style that Reforged has completely departed from. Liking and disliking is all subjective. But what’s better for the game?


I agree. The graphics don’t look like Warcraft.


That only works for a short term until they have to start playing the game and the graphics end up actively fighting against them. I know a lot of people have a hard time distinguishing “detailed” art from “good” art.
Good art serves a purpose, detailed art can be good, but if the purpose is lost in it then no matter how intricate or detailed it becomes it will end up being counterproductive to its purpose.
I don’t think the blocky models are neccesarily more expressive, I’m saying that they served their gameplay purpose better than some of the new highly detailed models.
I think the new troll headhunter models are nicely done, their new shoulder pad makes them easy to distinguish, whereas the new grunts, footmen, knights and wolf riders have the issue where they aren’t distinguishable enough.

If you’re arguing that less detailed artstyles don’t work with a new audience then I would like to point to modern games like Undertale, which with minimalistic art designs have gathered a large crowd of players and to critical acclaim.
Another game where the artstyle has the same type of simplicity working for it is FURI where visual distinguishment of attack types, models, etc. Is an important component to its gameplay.


I disagree with this hate on shiny armour - you can have shiny armour and perhaps shift the textures a nudge towards the cartoonish too, the knight is a good example of a solid HD remake.

Shiny good, proportions and muddy textures perhaps need a look at however


at first i didnt like the new art style.

ive watched about 3 hours of coverage, and now i really dig the new art style.

the new art style looks exactly like the cinematics - can this be wrong?

of course they need to improve readability for multiplayer, but i believe it can be done with the new art style and they wont drop that art style anyway. they started with cartoonish graphics and scrapped it because they didnt like it. current graphics is 2nd iteration - they wont go back again.

there are alot of cartoony style budget free to play mobile games. i can understand they opted for a more sophisticated more cinematic style.

and it really refreshes warcraft 3 to an insane amount. give yourself some time with the new graphics.

im sure even grubby will grow into it, when they also do some minor adjustments.


I understand how you feel Elrena. I love Warcraft 3. I’ve played the heck out of it every since it came out. I love the art style. The Reforged art style, was jarring at first, because it wasn’t what I was expecting… but after checking out some screenshots and more videos, I actually love it too. Even more than the original. It reminds me of the Mists of Panderia cinematic. Which is what they were going for. I think given time you’ll be able to distinguish the units from one another. So far I haven’t had a problem telling the difference between the Footmen from other units.

I think the older more cartoony style still looks great, but I actually prefer the new direction. Some of the designs of the characters from Warcraft 3 I personally don’t feel hold up and the models and textures themselves are inconsistent on various units. Some look better than others to me… so I’m glad they changed that and made all the units more evenly proportioned. With that said, would I be okay with them to making the proportions more exaggerated? Sure, but I’m very happy with what they have now and I’ll be happy to… well extraordinarily excited to play with all the shiny new models.

This is all just my opinion, though. Who knows what the game will finally look like when it comes out. Just have to wait and see.


Also, another reason for the Hi-poly models could be for the mod community. If someone wanted to make a third-person action game like God of War or an RPG like Dragon Age: Inquisition or a Tomb Raider type game with Sylvanas Windrunner, they could do that and have it be on par graphically with those games.

I understand you may not care about that at all (or you may want beautifully painted textures in the game) and that’s fine. But the Classic games crew has to cater to a lot of people with different tastes and such. Trying to make as many people happy as they can (and themselves.) and that’s hard.


So my thoughts…

First one is very bad, and second is very good, is it even THE SAME game ? :smiley:
And the final version should be more Warcraft 3 imo, I like what I saw in Stratholme but those hills and deserts don’t really look so good IMo, not even the grass from first clip, so If you are wondering which style you should push for in the end, my voice is on the second one.


the first video is out of an older version of wc3 reforged. “the culling” is a more recent build.


I like the new graphics. They are different than the typical “half serious-half comic” graphics what we see in HotS, Starcraft and WoW, but they dont look bad. They will polish somethings for sure, the game still in early alpha. My only complain is the paladin hero and the kodo beast are a bit too small.


Did anyone really want hd versions of the triangle heads and sliding mouths? I actually wanted a more realistic version of the old game, not a high res version of puppets on strings.


I have to say, I agree with Grubby and some of the others here. As a long time Warcraft 3 player, I’d really prefer they stay as true to the original graphical style as possible while still making it look modern. This includes keeping the unit silhouettes for the most part as they are now, so they’re as recognizable as before. Warcraft III is a game I love dearly, and I’d really like to maintain its core style.