Warcraft 3 was undeniably one of the best Real Time Strategy PC games ever made and a huge success for Blizzard. But it's around for 20 years now, so where is Warcraft 4? In this article, we'll explain to you why Blizzard has not continued its highly acclaimed RTS series and why the chances for a Warcraft 4 might recently have increased.
There's an unspoken rule in the gaming market: If your game is a huge success, make a sequel to make more money, and continue to do so as long as it pays off. And in the case of most popular games, this is exactly what happens – Final Fantasy, Assassin's Creed, Mario, Zelda and many others keep on proving it. So it's no surprise that the original Warcraft game got two sequels, namely Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness and Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (as well as the add-on "The Frozen Throne").
But then, instead of continuing with another sequel, Blizzard decided to focus on another type of game, famously known as World of Warcraft, the most successful MMORPG ever made. No less than nine WoW expansions were released since its launch in 2004. But since WoW is another type of game not everyone likes, wouldn't it make sense to continue the classical strategy game series as well? We've made an analysis why there's no Warcraft 4 and why chances to get it might recently have increased.
Warcraft 4: Why Blizzard Never Made It
Warcraft 4 has never happened, and there are several good reasons for that:
World of Warcraft
The main reason why Blizzard didn't develop Warcraft 4 will most likely be the enormous success of World of Warcraft. Back in the 2000s, games monetized just once by getting bought and from an economic perspective that was basically it.
WoW on the other hand is based on a subscription model (including in-game microtransactions), which means Blizzard continuously makes money from it every month, making it far more lucrative than commercializing games the classical way. Just take the following calculation as an example: WoW costs a minimum of $12.99 per month. If you play for a year, this means about $155 for Blizzard, which is by far more than any normal game costs – and microtransactions aren't even counted in yet.
Continuing The Warcraft Story
Another challenge: Since World of Warcraft's lore is set right after the happenings of Warcraft 3: TFT and further developed the story over more than 15 years, a Warcraft 4 would probably do hard on setting a plot that fits to the end of Warcraft 3 as well as to include all that happened in WoW. And remember, also people that were never in touch with the Warcraft universe would need to understand the game's story.
Think of the huge history of orcs, humans, forsaken, night elves, blood elves and tauren, and then add all the iconic characters and heroes like Thrall, Cairne Bloodhoof, Jaina Proudmoore, Sylvanas Windrunner and dozens of other characters.
The Warcraft lore has grown so massively over the last 20 years that it's hardly possible to just link everything correctly into a Warcraft 4. The Warcraft movie "The Beginning" already showed how difficult it is to offer a story that fully fits into the lore and makes everyone happy at the same time.
The Rise Of MOBA Games
Furthermore, Real Time Strategy (RTS) games seem to have had their golden era already, with more players than ever being into MOBA's and MMO's today. This is kind of ironic actually, since the MOBA idea became popular through a custom Warcraft 3 multiplayer map ("Defense of the Ancients"), and now the MOBA king League of Legends is about to get an MMORPG – the circle closes.
New Hope For Warcraft 4 With Microsoft Acquiring Activison Blizzard
So as you can see, there are some good reasons why Warcraft 4 never happened. But that doesn't mean we'll never get a new Warcraft RTS game – we got Warcraft 3: Reforged three years ago, although WoW still had Millions of players, paying for it month over month.
Unfortunately and surprisingly, Reforged was a big disappointment and has not been fully fixed until today. But with the remake being such a mess, Warcraft 4 could also be a chance for Blizzard to make the community forget about this dark moment of Warcraft.
But there's another recent development that could result in making Warcraft 4 eventually happen. Microsoft has acquired Activision Blizzard. Now that the deal is done, Microsoft will obviously reflect further possible ways to make use of the franchise besides WoW – and a new RTS could be one of them.
Warcraft games have been PC exclusive ever since, and while it seems very unlikely that WoW will come to consoles due to its complexity (there is a reason that the game offers you about 50 action bar spots and endless key binding options), a Warcraft RTS game could very well work on Xbox. It would probably offer microtransactions and may be additionally pushed through DLCs, though, to constantly monetize like WoW.
For the moment, Warcraft 4 remains a theoretical construct, one that could possibly happen in a few years. But in the long term, the franchise is obviously too big to limit it to World of Warcraft alone. We'll see a new Warcraft game anytime soon – be it an RTS, a MOBA or something completely new.
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