Warcraft returned to me with the second incarnation of the game. That took some time, because to be honest I never had that first edition on my ow pc. I had to go see my friend for that.
I think the way I got the game Warcraft II is already rather iconic for that time. Remember that glorious days when the internet was still rather new and far off? My dad would go to computer nights to get software. Basically, he would let me tag along and everyone was waiting for the guy with the Twilight discs. Remember those? If you had acces to them in that time, you were the bomb. I managed to get my hands on one at some point in time, which had GTA London on it.
So we were scrolling through lists of installable content when my eye caught the glorious title I needed (I wasn’t looking for it, but there it was): Warcraft II and Warcraft II: Beyond The Dark Portal. The game was installed on our PC and the glorious quests to defend Azeroth could finally start from our own home.
The story of Warcraft II becomes more dense and coherent. Characters emerge and re-emerge, like the fabled Lothar and ofcourse the newly introduced Paladin class with Uther The Lightbringer at their head. More units, more complexity and also much more fun. What I liked most were the heroes, that gave more depth to the story, the variation in terrain and the possibilities to persue air, water or land battles.
Names like Terron Gorefiend, Korgath Bladefist, Ogrim Doomhammer and many more sounded great. I love how they all sometime in the future would show up again, but it sparked my interest and imagination. What I liked particularly much in this version of the game, was the ability to create your own levels. This was also a feature of the later Starcraft, which allowed you to deply hero units (not hero’s as in WCIII, more like unique characters) and all sorts of special stuff. Ofcourse, the levels I build were shit and not at all fun to play when it came down to it, but no matter. The ability to be part of this world and create in it was enough at the time.
We played it together, in turns or just watching eachother play it. It was discussed with my close friends even. The story was kinda being made up on the spot. The story telling was not that clear as yet, but we were fighting Orcs! With Knights! It was epic.
It’s hard to explain today with the old footage why it got to me so much. Why this game defined my gaming experience for the next decades and why I still rarely play other games. It was the epic quality of the music, the grand story and the ability to be in control of all that. It’s the complete product that Blizzard creates, which is so important in teh experience you have as a player. It was awesome. Warcraft I captivated me, but it was Warcraft II and that amazing expansion ‘Beyond The Dark Portal’ that cemented my love for this game.
I don’t often dedicate a post to someone, but I’d like to dedicate this one to my brother. He was, is and always will be a better gamer than I am, but has never shied away from taking the time to take me along on his quests. I’m very grateful for that, for sharing the magic, even today.