Warcraft 3 has been around since 2002, but it is still popular, thanks in part to official and user-generated custom maps. Maps are terrain-dependent areas of Warcraft 3. Based on existing models and terrain, you can create your own map/game with custom characters and abilities. Maps range from the basic (tower defense, Bejeweled-like stuff) to the complex. One great example of how a map can extend a video game’s life is Defense of the Ancients or DoTA, a custom Warcraft map which now has its own tournament and fanbase.
Custom Warcraft 3 maps are made using the World Editor, a built-in program that lets players tweak characters, units, terrain, abilities, spells and even gameplay using a graphical interface or the JASS scripting language. The World Editor lets you edit virtually any aspect of the units, buildings, spells and environment. The level editor in The Frozen Throne expansion pack was improved to allow players to create cut scenes and even voice-overs. The editor also lets players make custom models, weather effects, tilesets and icons. Here are some popular custom maps for Warcraft 3:
Defense of the Ancients (DotA)
Defense of the Ancients is real-time strategy custom map for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. It was based on the Aeon of Strife map from StarCraft. Since its release, the map has been a fixture at several worldwide tournaments, including BlizzCon. The objective of the game is to destroy the opponent’s central base called Ancients, using heroes and other computer-controlled fighters. There are many variations of the original map, including DotA Darkness Falls and DotA All Stars. DotA 2 is currently under development.
The objective of the game is to destroy the opponent’s Ancients, heavily defended structures at opposite corners of the map. Players use heroes and computer-controlled fighters to achieve this. The game pits two teams—the Sentinel and the Scourge—against each other. Sentinels are based at the southwest corner of the map, while Scourges are based at the northeast corner. Surrounding each base are towers and masses of units that defend the crucial “Ancient” at the center of each base.
Defense of the Ancients allows up to ten players in one game in a five versus five scenario. Each player controls one hero, the main character with special abilities. Players choose one hero out of a list of 108 heroes. Each hero has different abilities, strengths and weaknesses. No matter how skilled, it is difficult for one player to win the game. Team effort is prized over individual prowess.
Heroes can level up during the course of the match. Unlike Warcraft 3 where the focus is on resource management and base-building, DotA heroes focus on leveling up to improve their strength, increase the damage they can inflict and upgrade their spells and skills. Players manage only one resource: gold. Gold is used to buy items that increase the heroes’ abilities. The key is to buy items that suit a particular hero.
Warcraft 3 Gunman
Warcraft 3 Gunman (Right Click to Save and Download) is based on the Nintendo game called Wild Gunman. The goal is to shoot your opponent first and shoot when you are allowed to. The map has 20 levels.
King of the Castle
The objective of King of the Castle (Right Click to Save and Download) is to defend your castle from intruders while trying to destroy your opponent’s castle. You can train units like wizards and archers and construct a tower to defend your castle. You must click the enemy units to kill them.
Ryoko TD (Right Click to Save and Download) is a game played by teams of two. A team must build towers and kill computer-controlled enemies. Players can also play mini games like fishing and racing. Ryoko TD has 30 levels and five races.
Naruto Wars (Right Click to Save and Download) is based on the popular manga and anime Naruto Shippuden. The map has over 55 characters including characters that need to be unlocked. It features several modes and a newbie mode for first time players.
How to Download and Use Warcraft 3 Maps
If you’ve downloaded the map while playing on Battle.net, the map should be saved in your Warcraft 3 downloads folder (usually in C:\Program Files\Warcraft 3\maps\downloads). If you’ve downloaded the map outside the game, you need to move the map file into the Warcraft 3 downloads folder. Right click the .w3x file you’ve downloaded and click “Copy.” Paste the file into the Warcraft 3 maps folder. To load the map, start Warcraft 3 and select “Custom Game” in the “New Game” menu. Click the down arrow to select the map file you want.
Where to Download Warcraft 3 Maps
Official Blizzard Maps: http://classic.battle.net/war3/maps/
The official Blizzard Maps download page has all the popular Warcraft 3 maps including DOTA – Defense of the Ancients, Frozen Throne bonus maps, Warcraft 3 map contest winners, Reign of Chaos bonus maps, Frozen Throne ladder map pictures and Reign of Chaos ladder map pictures.
Additional Warcraft 3 Maps: http://www.epicwar.com/maps/
Epic War hosts Warcraft 3 maps for download. Maps are made by players worldwide so you’ll see some maps in a language other than English. There’s a browse feature and a search feature to help you find the map you want.
How to Create a Custom Map in Warcraft 3
1. The first step is to define the map size. Open the Warcraft III folder and click “World Editor.” Click “File” and then “New Map.” You will see an open dialog box. From here, select the terrain tileset, map size and the initial cliff level from the options. Note: “Default” settings will create a medium-sized map covered in dirt.
2. Next, customize the layout of the map. To select a terrain, go to “Layer” and click “Terrain Palette.” Place the terrain on the map by clicking the ground of the map. Repeat this process until you have the terrain you want. When finished, click “Layer” and go to “Doodad Palette.” Select the palette and place some doodads on the map to make it look distinctive.
3. Identify the starting location for players. Click “Layer” and then “Unit Palette.” From the drop down menu, select “Start Location” unit. Go back to the map and click where you want the player to start. Repeat the steps for each player using different locations.
4. Create resource nodes for your players. Click “Layer” and then “Unit Palette.” Change the player to “Neutral” and select the “Gold Mine” unit. Place a Gold Mine next to each player’s start location and click “Layer,” then “Doodad Palette.” To create trees, go to “Destructible” and choose “Trees.” Place these trees close to the player’s start locations.
5. Finally, save and test your map. Go to “File” and click “Save as.” Name your map and click “Save.” To test your creation, click “File” and then “Test Map.” The map will open in Warcraft 3.