After the defeat of Orcish horde at the hand of the Alliance in the second war and the destruction of the Dark portal, the remaining orcs were rounded up and put in internment camps. The game starts with the Orcs being freed by a new warchief from their internment camps and leave for a new continent across the sea. The Humans are troubled by a mysterious disease that turns people into living dead. Meanwhile the undead are preparing for a way to let their Demon masters enter the world of Azeroth. The game features five campaigns and four playable races: Humans, Orcs, Night Elves and Undead with unique units and buildings. Several heroes that can level up and learn new skills support your troops in battle. The game was followed by an expansion called The Frozen Throne.
The game was originally to have six fully playable races. The sixth race was never revealed, and the first to be dropped. The Burning Legion was originally to be a playable race as well, but due to the effect it would have on their appearance in the game (the idea of having to give them peon units and balancing them out with the other races would diminish their "all-powerful" image), they were dropped down to being non-playable.
WarCraft III originally debuted at ECTS 1999 as a much different game than the final product. The original idea was to make it a RPS, Role Playing Strategy game, incorporating both RTS and RPG elements together. Although some RPG elements are still present, many were cut. Originally you exclusively controlled heroes, with your extra units being "attached" to them. The game was in more of a 3rd-person perspective (which you can see if you zoom the camera in all the way), and you would explore with your hero (camera fixed on him), completing quests and defeating your opponents. However, due to various reasons (one being that the game was turning out to be very similar to their MMORPG, World of WarCraft which was being worked on as well), the camera angle was scaled back and the game was turned into more of a traditional RTS with some RPG elements.
For those who ordered this game from EBWorld.com (now EBGames.com), they got an extra WarCraft III DVD that contained all three trailers for this game, plus the cinematic trailer for World of WarCraft.
Blizzard put three Starcraft units into the game. These units are Zerg Zergling and Hydralisk and Terran Marine.They can be accessed from included map editor or at the end of the last campaign.
In chapter 7 of the Orc Campaign, your tauren units will eventually encounter a lizard named Hungry Hungry Lizard, a pun on the old board game Hungry Hungry Hippos.
References: Full Metal Jacket
The game features at least three references to Stanley Kubrick's Vietnam war film Full Metal Jacket:
The Tauren Chieftan in the game claims that "Only two things come from Texas, and I've got horns". This refers to a line in which drill sergeant Hartman tells a Texan recruit that "Only steers and queers come from Texas. And I don't see your horns"
"This is my owl, there are many like it, but this one's mine", spoken by a Night Elf Huntress, is based on a mantra used by recruits to refer to their guns.
The Orc Grunt says "Me so horned. Me hurt you long time", based on a line I can't repeat in the potential presence of children.
The character Thrall has origins in the cancelled Warcraft Adventures game, which was to explain how he escaped from captivity, freed many captive orcs and helped rid them of demonic corruption.
2002– Best PC Game of the Year
2002– Best PC Strategy Game of the Year
2002– Best PC Game of the Year (Reader's Vote)
2002– Best PC Strategy Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)
Computer Gaming World
April 2003 (Issue #225) – Strategy Game of the Year (Readers' Choice)
April 2003 (Issue #225) – Best Cinematics of the Year
2002 – PC Game of the Year (Readers' Choice)
2002 – PC Strategy Game of the Year (Readers' Choice)
2011 – #18 Top PC Game of the 2000s
February 01, 2003 - Best Strategy Game in 2002 (Readers' Vote)