Saturday, July 27, 2013

Warcraft 3 Reminiscence: Wilderness Survival

Click here to return to the table of contents.

(It's been awhile since I've done one of these - I've only just now found some time to write one so forgive me)

One thing that I've been a fan of for awhile but haven't talked much about is the concept of survival. Whether it's from books, games, or television shows, I enjoy reading/watching things that have survival-based aspects to it, such as foraging for food to finding shelter to enduring the elements. Even if these parts encompass but a small section of the media in question, I feel that reading or watching said parts allows me to enjoy my experience with the media more (i.e. I'm more likely to read a book that describes the characters trying to survive in the wilderness or something).

Because of this, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered Wilderness Survival on Warcraft 3.


There were many versions of Wilderness Survival floating about, but while each map had its unique quirks or objectives, such as the ability to tame animals to being a free-for-all where players kill each other instead of working together, each version has some elements common to the entire series of maps.

The first element is a general survival aspect which consists of managing health and your unit's vitals (often shown as temperature, which is usually measured by the character's mana pool). In order to retain vitality, players have to forage for food (either by hunting or gathering). Players also have to build a fire in order to stay warm and potentially cook food.

In order to make a fire and other technological-related objects or structures (such as various weapons, a tent, etc), players have to use a crafting system which can vary but is common to every version of Wilderness Survival. Basic materials will typically be scattered all over the map or can be gathered from the wildlife, both of which randomly replenish themselves periodically. Players then have to have items in a specific sequence in their inventory and use a "craft" spell or the items automatically combine into the craftable item. For instance, to make a fire in most wilderness survival games, players need to get some wood, stones, and flint and place them in the first three inventory slots, then use the "craft" spell.

The final element of Wilderness Survival is a snowy tileset (usually) to emphasize how hard it is to survive in the map.
An example of the typical snowy Wilderness Survival map layout.
Overall, the concept of Wilderness Survival maps is seemingly simple but can turn out to be shockingly complicated depending on the map's objectives and crafting system.

Final Words

Wilderness Survival was a fun map if I ever managed to catch it being hosted, since players rarely hosted the map. While it took awhile to figure out each version's crafting system and objectives, fighting to keep my unit alive was a blast. Unfortunately, these maps are almost never hosted anymore, which is upsetting (though there are some similar maps that do get hosted occasionally). However, some developers have realized the potential of a video game featuring significant levels of survivalist elements. One excellent example of this is the game Don't Starve.


  1. Wilderness Survival is still hosted daily & from what I know a user named Jay is still updating the project and has done a fantastic job on improvements you should really check it out.

    1. Nice. Glad to see the map has survived. I thought it was dead (of course it doesn't help that the legions of DotA, Island Defense, Vampirism, etc hosts are ruining the custom game scene - I sure as hell will get into that if I ever have the motivation to continue this article series >_>)

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Warcraft 3 is still fun to play, no more good strategy games out there =(, i dont like sc2 so we play wc3 funmaps often

    1. To be honest I like SC2 but the customization for map design seems lacking considering it's a much more recent release (WC3's map editor was amazing).