Monday, June 3, 2013

Warcraft 3 Reminiscence: Vampirism Revolution (9.7)

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After being introduced to the world of custom maps, I went about, playing whatever I could find. Within a matter of a week I'd screwed up so many custom games by being a total newbie and doing everything that could be done wrong in any given map was done. However, in a short time I gravitated towards maps with a survival type of feel. Maybe it's because I enjoyed the hero survival scenarios when playing through the Warcraft III campaigns or I generally find survival (especially wilderness survival) games interesting due to their frantic nature. Regardless, I gravitated towards a map, or rather series of maps, known universally as Vampirism, with Vampirism Revolution serving as the starting point of gaming experiences I remember fondly.

Awesome loading screen is awesome.
This map's objectives differ greatly depending on whether the player is a Human or a Vampire. As a Human, of which there are up to 10 of at the start, the objective is to build structures, gather lumber (the primary resource in this game), research, and construct defenses in the form of upgradable towers and walls (in this map there was only one of each "type") and hold off the Vampire(s) and try to survive. 15 minutes after the Vampire initially spawns, Human players will receive one gold and get access to stronger technology by building the Slayer's Vault structure, though slaying a Vampire also awards one gold, allowing access to the Slayer's Vault earlier. Humans can also summon a hero called the Slayer, who can help kill the Vampire and pick up the hearts they drop upon death to gain levels and stats (though they cannot be dropped after).

The starting Vampire can choose between either being a Nosferatu or Dracula, which have different playstyles and abilities. The Nosferatu excels at dealing high amounts of damage through hard-hitting strikes and can eventually gain an ultimate ability that allows him to immolate nearby structures (at the cost of Mana). The Dracula hits fast as opposed to hard, can summon a clone of himself to assist in sieges or surrounding Humans, and gains permanent invisibility as his ultimate ability. As a Vampire, the objective is to kill the Human builders (who subsequently become lesser Vampires with weaker abilities and overall power). Vampires have access to skill sets that allow them to hunt the Humans, ranging from the Far Sight ability to reveal the map (though this has a long cooldown), Wind Walk to sneak up on enemies (though Humans eventually can research true sight), and healing/nuking spells to help out in a siege or strike down enemies from afar.

Vampire(s) gain gold for destroying structures and killing Human players. They will also gain a small amount over time (as well as other assistance, such as revealing Human structures and gaining experience as the "gold penalty" of 15 minutes approaches). The gold can be spent at a shop in the center to buy items that help the Vampire(s). Buying specific items together can access special, stronger items if they are brought to the Vampire spirit also in the center of the map. The center area is also used for healing.

The game ends when either all the Vampires or all the Humans are slain. In general, as time goes on, the Humans will gain the advantage as they gain more and more resources.

Final Words

Beyond that, there's not much to say. There's numerous variants on this type of map where many defend against the few and the level of enjoyment varies depending on how well-designed the map terrain is, how well-balanced the map is, and how popular the map is. While Vampirism Revolution wasn't the only Vampirism map I played (there were several older versions as well), it stuck out to me because of its high popularity and reasonable level of balance between Vampire and Human. While the lack of technology levels and small leap between early, mid, and endgame stick out nowadays compared to the more "advanced" Vampirism maps and others like it, Vampirism Revolution was around in a simpler time.

However, despite the fact I played against the creator (and lost horribly) and had some epic moments as both a Human and Vampire player, it doesn't even remotely match up to what was to come in the Vampirism scene.

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