After a very rocky launch and even more disappointing esports debut, Warcraft III: Reforged fans band together to make a statement by backing financially a pro player who lost an important DreamHack match due to a fault in the game.
Not a good start
Fans seemingly abhor Warcraft III: Reforged, Blizzard’s remaster of the classic RTS game marketed as a complete reimagining. After its recent release, the title got players angry due to missing features (such as clans), changes in EULA giving Blizzard ownership of all custom maps made in the game’s editor (one such game being the original DOTA), and changes to gameplay that retroactively affect even the non-remastered, 18-year-old version of game.
Reforged’s esports debut, the DreamHack Warcraft 3 Open Anaheim 2020, was also a complete PR disaster, with multiple games dropped due to a disconnect in the offline client of the game. According to tournament rules, games interrupted due to a disconnect needed to be completely restarted rather than continued from a replay.
Tension escalated when Swedish Human player Marcus “ThorZaIN” Eklof was dropped not once, but twice from a game in which he had an edge versus Night Elf pro Jang “Moon” Jae Ho, renowned as one of, if not the best player in the world.
After taking the advantage both times and being cut by the game, ThorZaIN was ultimately defeated by Moon, losing the element of surprise and allowing his opponent to adapt to his strategies.
The community's response
This unfortunate series of events enraged the community who felt that ThorZaIN was robbed of a well-deserved victory and a place in the Top 8 over a problem that was not his fault. That’s why a GoFundMe campaign dubbed “We love you, Marcus 'ThorZaIN' Eklof” was started.
The fundraiser had a goal of $750 – the difference in winnings that ThorZaIN would have made if he qualified for the quarterfinals of DreamHack Anaheim, which had a total prize pool of $25,000. As of this writing of this article, the target money amount has been exceeded and currently sits at $880.
The campaign was very much a political statement by the Warcraft community, who is not happy with the state of their favorite game and the perceived retroactive downgrade that Reforged introduced.
The Human pro graciously accepted the sum. In an emotional tweet, the 29-year-old Swede had this to say:
“I honestly can't express how heartwarming it is to see this reach it's goal so fast. It's not really as much about the money as it is about the love and compassion from the community. I did NOT expect this kind of support. Thank you @TeamDuSt and all Warcraft 3 friends :).”
The player seems to agree with the sentiment of the community that it’s not a matter of money – it’s all about sending Blizzard a message that people care about the cult game and want it improved.
All in all, this is a great form of protest. The perceived wrongdoing was corrected by the efforts of the entire community in a constructive and civil way, instead of boycotting and review bombing.
Hopefully, we’ll have more good Warcraft news to share from now on, as Reforged has seen an unprecedented amount of negativity for a Blizzard game.