Friday, June 14, 2013

Warcraft 3 Reminiscence: Vampirism (7.5, 7.9)

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After being introduced to the Vampirism scene, I spent a lot of time playing similar versions of Vampirism maps when I could. While I did try other custom maps out as well (I'll go over these later), it was obvious that playing Vampirism was my forte and epic play after epic play piled before me and the friends I played with. During my hunt through the custom map list, I came across another version of Vampirism that was much like the Vampirism Revolution I'd play a majority of the time, but with significant extensions. This map was simply known as "Vampirism 7.5" and later on, "Vampirism 7.9."


In many ways, this map is similar to Vampirism Revolution. Most of the structures and technology for the Human builders is retained and core mechanics that are common to Vampirism remain in place. However, besides the new terrain, there are some major differences, as listed below.
  • The first biggest difference is the main builder has the Blink ability, allowing them to teleport a short distance. This was actually explored in earlier iterations of other Vampirism maps though usually it was a long-cooldown escape. In this case, Blink has a short cooldown and costs 1 mana, but the builder has only 2 mana and doesn't regenerate it fast enough to sustain endless Blink usage. While this will allow the builder to escape hairy situations or leave the base to build, it can't be relied on to evade vampires forever.
  • Speaking of vampires, the game starts with two Nosferatu, with Dracula completely removed. This becomes a staple in the later Vampirism maps. The skill set is also slightly altered.
  • Vampires gain access to some new items and the secret recipes (from Revolution) are nonexistent. The one major item worth noting is the Dracula Helm, which increases Health and Damage by a staggering amount (3000 Health, 300 Damage), but they are rather costly.
Slayer with a Dracula Helm. Note that this could never happen in a real match.
  • Humans gain access to some additional technology, specifically the Long Tower structure. Other technology, such as the true sight, have been removed.
  • Slayers now have a global Blink on a short cooldown (as opposed to a short-ranged, long cooldown blink like in Vampirism Revolution). In addition, there's an area known as the "slayer fountain" where Slayers that patrol around in it gain a level every minute up to the level cap of 13. 
The "Slayer fountain" that became a staple in later Vampirism maps. Note that Slayers start at level 2.
As mentioned in the facts above, this map was a very influential piece of work with numerous mechanics making their way into later Vampirism maps. However, the map in itself was full of balance issues.

This is mostly because human basing spots are not created even remotely equal. There's like two or three good base spots and the rest are inferior by comparison. The infamous "top left" spot, as shown below, was rapidly considered the strongest spot since one could build enormous amounts of Long Towers (easily over 50) and cut down the Vampires before they can touch the walls, which can go as many as  10 or more layers deep before even reaching the main base area, which is a good many layers deeper than most other bases can allow for.
An example of why this base spot was absurd. Note that there are more Long Towers (they look like the normal Human towers while the Spike Towers, shown as Orc Water Towers, are short range) above and below as well.
To make things worse, stalemates can happen because a Human can constantly juke a single Vampire for pretty much eternity with proper Blink usage since there are places the Vampire cannot reach (though they do have ranged nuking abilities which essentially ensures the Human has to keep moving).

Final Words
    Despite my negative criticism, this was a map I enjoyed playing, if only because I had many friends who also hosted and played as well. There were also many fantastic memories of plays that my friends or I made, such as when I rushed a base at the top-left spot and managed to not only hold against a double Nosferatu siege, but actually wall them in and kill them both, ending the game in a short time.

    While the map was slated a bit against Vampires, the new items they could get, as well as Human-built Feeding Blocks in 7.9, helped to keep a game going. Nothing beats trying to hold against a Nosferatu with 6 Dracula Helms.


    1. I miss Warcraft III.
      Also Dacula's Curse > Vampirism.

      1. Dracula's Curse was pretty great too. Unfortunately, it was barely ever hosted by comparison. If I was still publishing articles on this stuff (maybe I should've done that one on Werewolf after all) I might've mentioned it at some point.