First of all, I am not
on the Reforged hate wagon. I'm having fun with it, but I do acknowledge that a tonne of things have been removed, and more things aren't working yet. So I've been playing around with how to run pre-Reforged versions of the game, for posterity, whilst still having Reforged installed. This is not
about piracy. It tells you how to run things if you own the original retail CDs or have previously downloaded versions from Blizzard. And this guide is for Windows. Versions
How to do it depends on which version you want.
The major version milestones are as follows:
- 1.00: The original Reign of Chaos CD release.
- 1.07: The Frozen Throne CD auto-patches to this version.
- 1.00–1.27b: "Standalone" versions. All of these versions have freely available patch .exes that can patch the game without connecting to a server. Also each of these, from a certain point onwards (1.21b?) had stand-alone .exe installers that you could download from the Blizzard website, if you legally owned the game, to install the game without connecting to a server. Those are no longer legally available. These versions auto-update when connecting to Battle.net.
- 1.28–1.31: "Launcher" versions. All of these versions install and update themselves through a launcher app (not the Battle.net client). They auto-update at launch and there is no way to install or patch to them any more. Other than the launcher, they have no DRM.
- 1.32 and up: "Reforged". Installed and updated through the Battle.net client. Full DRM.
Major technical changes across versions:
Running "standalone" versions
- 1.21b: CD is no longer required to play.
- 1.28: Saved game location moved from the game directory to your app data directory.
- 1.28.3: Reign of Chaos and Frozen Throne are now combined into a single executable, with a switcher button in the menu.
- 1.29: Proper widescreen support; now supports 24 players.
- 1.32: Reforged. Note that older saved games are incompatible.
There are two ways to get these:
- If you have ever downloaded a standalone installer for one of these versions, install that.
- If you have the original RoC and TFT CDs, install both of those.
You can apparently still access the old standalone installer for 1.27 from the Blizzard website if you know the URL (I haven't tried it). You will still need a CD key or to have previously purchased the game digitally. See this post
for details. This may stop working at some point! Thanks u/beforan
- Run the installer from the download or the CD. These installers ignore Reforged (for example, the CD installers think the game is not installed if you have Reforged installed). You can simply install them into a different folder and they will work.
- Patch it up to the desired version (up to 1.27b). You can get the 1.27b patch direct from Blizzard or mirrored from PC Gaming Wiki. I'm sure the older patches can be found online, legally for free. When I ran the patcher, it failed because it was looking in the Reforged directory. I don't know why, but I fixed it by temporarily renaming the classic directory to the reforged one. (For example, I had Reforged in "Warcraft III" and classic in "Warcraft III Classic". I renamed "Warcraft III" to "W3R", "Warcraft III Classic" to "Warcraft III", running the patcher, then renaming everything back again.)
- In the game, don't click the Battle.net button (which will update it to Reforged).
- Note: If you had previously played 1.28 and above, your saved games will not be found because they were moved in that version. Go to the folder "%USERPROFILE%\Saved Games\Warcraft III". Back it up first, then move the contents of that folder into a folder called "Save" in the Warcraft III install directory, and they should appear in the game. The in-mission saves may be incompatible, but the campaign progress should work.
Voila! You have a working 1.27b. Unfortunately, I didn't end up liking this because it predates the widescreen support. Running "launcher" versions
Unfortunately, if you have previously downloaded the installers or patches for these, they are useless because they are tiny programs that connect to Blizzard servers and download the latest version (now Reforged).
However, if you happened to have made a backup of the installed game directory
(not the installer), you can still run it without updating. I happened to make a backup of 1.31 (because I kinda thought this might happen ;)).
If you don't have a backup (or your backup is an older version than 1.31), you can apparently still get 1.31 by downloading the public test client, as explained in this post
, or direct links here: Windows
. I haven't tried it. Remember, this may stop working at some point! If you want to back it up, back up the installed game directory
, not the installer (which is just a downloader and may stop working). Thanks to u/Vahron
for pointing this out.
- First of all, back up your backup. For example, just make a ZIP file of the directory. If it accidentally updates itself, you can start over.
- Just go into your game directory. All of the .exe files in this directory will either update the game to Reforged, or they just error on startup. But, go into the x86_64 subdirectory, and run Warcraft III.exe. (Optionally make a Desktop shortcut to it.) This will run Reign of Chaos.
- A dialog box will pop up asking if you want to update. Say No! (Unfortunately this happens on every launch.)
- Optionally, use Windows Firewall to block internet access to Warcraft III.exe, to avoid it asking for updates at launch. Thanks to u/Strydhaizer for this tip.
- There is a button in the menu to switch between Reign of Chaos and Frozen Throne (they don't have separate executables).
Voila! Classic Warcraft III with widescreen support.
Now that I've figured that out, I'm off to play WC3: Reforged :). But I'm glad to have these old versions backed up and always available without DRM. I hope this was useful! Edit
: Added some more tips from the discussion below. Thanks to u/beforan
for comments below contributing to the above content.