Here's some odd news coming out of the Blizzard Entertainment front: there's a major update for Warcraft III that involves a brand new test server. Yes, Warcraft III has a public test realm setup so that Blizzard can test new updates for the 15-year-old RTS game.
The news about the public test realm was made available over on the official Battle.net forums, where Blizzard developer Pete Stilwell made an announcement stating that a PTR has been launched for Warcraft III for Windows and Mac owners. This is not to be confused with World of Warcraft, which is the MMORPG based on the Warcraft property, but the original third game in the real-time strategy game series.
The public test realm features all new map tools for a variety of play-types and modes. Version 1.28.6 also includes all new updates and balances to the gameplay for Warcraft III as well, which includes creep camp difficulty throughout the entire session from the early to late game. Drop tables have also been modified for better item progression, along with improving and expanding item diversity.
The team also took some time to balance all the starting locations, along with the resources and how they span near the starting locations.
A few other changes to the game included decluttering points of interest in order to reduce "visual competition" during the gameplay. This likely means clearing out some areas or making them less graphically busy so that players will be able to easier see what they need to do or how they can take advantage of the area.
It wasn't all just under-the-hood changes that Blizzard made to the 15-year-old RTS game. The developers also addressed some texturing issues by re-texturing map surfaces for better visual clarity, making it easier for gamers to see what's going on and being able to easier distinguish what's on the surface of the map.
The team also minimized the size of the trees and other entities within the multiplayer maps that may have worked against the visual clarity of points of interest. A couple of other aesthetic choices were also made along with fixing up the pathing grid to make things a little easier to read, as far as tactical possibilities are concerned, for unit placements and attack/defense vectors.
The updates won't end there, though. Blizzard will be using the PTR to roll out more future updates for Warcraft III, including improvements for the game's online matchmaking, along with implementing fixes for the automated tournaments and ladder boards. Future updates will also address the latency issues that became apparent in update 1.28.
For a game as old as Warcraft III and was the catalyst for the mod Defense of the Ancients, which ironically spawned Valve's own Dota 2, Blizzard is rather insistent on keeping the game running smooth and fresh all these years later.