Hello and salutations! Due to some oversight on Blizzards part, it now falls upon the end user to fix their mistakes!
In this post I will explain how to download and setup the classic Warcraft 3 client so you can all revert and play with your friends again as well as some options for playing LAN over the internet.
(Note: this guide is not for playing on battlenet, only LAN.)
Before I get into it, for those who do not understand the motivation for wanting to play on the old Wc3 Client, I will do my best to convey my arguments and feelings below.
- Many of us were playing Wc3 fine for decades without issue. Forcing the Reforged client on us (some of which are still having issues playing) even though we didn’t pay for it or don’t want it is tyrannical.
- Sign in is now required to even get past the main menu.
- Your CD-Key is now linked to your account, meaning it cannot be reused or shared. If you account is banned, you lose access to the keys.
- World Editor and Custom games have been effectively gimped. No copyright material, custom models are allowed (anime games, basically any games with custom models) as well as maps deemed inappropriate by Blizzard.
- IP of your maps belong to Blizzard and there is now a report function, making me believe censorship will be rampant.
- ?No LAN functionality? Correct me if I’m wrong, but there is no LAN menu in the Reforged Client. I believe you need to be “online” to play offline.
- Some voice lines have been taken out of the game. (Dryad’s “I’m so wasted”) Not too sure what else has been taken out.
- The main menu is a web app running on chrome which runs worse than the actual game.
- Lazy animation work on Blizzards part results in missing animations for certain units. Animation Variety / Quality is Very Disappointing
- If you refund the game, you lose access to the Warcraft you initially purchased as Reforged is the only client.
That’s basically the gist of it. If you want a comprehensive list of things removed in Reforged, take a look at this guy’s post. Reforged is a forced downgrade for classic users
Now on to how to setup the old client.
Find a download of Warcraft 3. (pastebin below)
I won’t link any downloads, however its not hard to find (just google warcraft 3 download). There are a bunch of ways to get it, whether it be direct download, torrenting, etc. You can install any of them, even cracked ones or legitimate CD copies you still own. You can also check out Internet Archive for a download as well.
Install the game and make sure it works. Check the version.
The version I found started at 1.2. Take note of this, because it’s important.
Patch the game up to 1.27b.
Depending on which patch the initial install was, you will need to patch to 1.27b. Unfortunately you cannot patch to anything above this, as I believe 1.28 was the patch Warcraft started using the newer launcher. If you try to patch past 1.27b, it will attempt to install the Reforged client on your PC.
Note: YOU CANNOT SKIP PATCHES. You are required to install each patch in order. Here’s a good website for downloading the patches.
UPDATE: There are versions above 1.27b out there on the internet. You cannot patch past 1.27b, however If you manage to find some of these builds you will be able to play at a higher patch. I recommend 1.29 and above, as they fixed the widescreen issue in that patch. I will update the pastebin to reflect this new information.
Once you patch to 1.27b, you are done!
You can now play both single player and over LAN. The Maps folder is located in the base directory. For those who don’t want to lug their PC’s everywhere to play, I will now discuss some options to play LAN over the internet.
For the non-technical users, you can try out some third party software like Hamachi or GameRanger. WC3Connect is also a popular option (on entgaming). Google is your friend, I’m sure there are plenty of services out there that you can use with your friends.
For the technical users, you can install your own VPN using a Raspberry Pi, a server (local or not), or even a virtual machine on your own PC. I would highly recommend PiVpn as it is a relatively streamlined process that uses OPENVPN and can be used on most Linux distros. (pivpn .io) To save you alot of trouble, make sure you are using TCP as well as have the VPN in “bridge” mode.
That’s about it. I’m going to post a pastebin with some good stuff in it. Make sure you save this post because I’m sure at some point it will be taken down. Enjoy!
Edit: I forgot to mention, I tried using the PTR 1.30 build. While I could access single player and LAN, I could not get anyone on my VLAN to connect to my games. I don’t know if it was the particular build or if PTR doesn’t allow for LAN. If someone could figure it out, I’m sure it would be very useful as downloading the PTR build is much more convenient.
Edit 2: There seems to be a platform called netease that supports 1.31, however it is all in Chinese so it may not be an accessible solution.