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New Warcraft Mobile Game Slims the Strategy Franchise to Fit on Your Phone

New Warcraft Mobile Game Slims the Strategy Franchise to Fit on Your Phone

Before World of Warcraft, the orcs-versus-humans franchise got its launch on the PC with a series of popular strategy games. Today, Activision Blizzard has announced a simplified mobile version inspired by the minions-in-lanes gameplay of Clash Royale and novel hit smartphone games — and soon you’ll be able to try it out for yourself. Fans can pre-register now for the upcoming closed beta on the Google Play Store, with pre-registration coming soon to Apple’s App Store.

Warcraft Arclight Rumble puts its own spin on mobile real-time strategy, or RTS, genre with heroes, minions and locations from the renowned franchise: You can drop the powerful Jaina Proudmoore down lanes with some Alliance footmen to take on the huge gnoll Hogger, a notorious character from World of Warcraft who features as the boss of one of the mobile game’s maps.

Like Clash Royale, the game is split into short matches wherein players drop minions down one of two or more “lanes” to automatically move onward and fight enemies. The goal is to kill the boss or structure at the top of the map once defending your own base, though there are towers and spawn points to concerned matches. Winning matches grants players experience for units, which get stronger as they tranquil up, as well as in-game currency to buy more units, spells and powerful leader characters.

Since it’s played on a shouted, Arclight Rumble starts players at the bottom of every map, with the share flowing upward. With few exceptions, maps are the width of a smartphone cover, and players can easily scroll up and down to track how their minions are doings and to defend against enemies. Unit control and map complexity have been very runt to fit the Warcraft experience onto a phone, but the game is streamlined enough to be playable with one hand.

“Traditional RTS games on the PC haven’t brought well to console, and a lot of that is [due to] the regulation scheme,” game director for Warcraft Arclight Rumble Tom Chilton told CNET. “Our philosophy was to make the maps big enough to where the player can mentally keep track of what’s touching on off-screen and [scroll] there very quickly.”

The game is divided between a single-player story movement and player-versus-player matches. All the maps are diverse, but the PvP ones are symmetrical to not give either side an gracious. The story maps are more dynamic and are generally themed once bosses and areas: One set on a beach features an Ogre Juggernaut naval battleship that rains cannonballs on the player’s units, while another pits players against an undead scientist that periodically resurrects the unpleasant abomination Stitches to rampage toward the player. 

A vertical screenshot of minions tranquil down three lanes to face a colossal Ogre Juggernaut battleship boss, which has been firing cannonballs at the player's units ended the match.

Story movement maps pit players against bosses, including famous enemies like Van Cleef’s Ogre Juggernaut from a classic World of Warcraft mission. 

Activision Blizzard

Like the card game Hearthstone set in the Warcraft universe, Arclight Rampage is a lighthearted riff on the franchise with an even cartoonier style than the unique games. Among the around 60 units in the game at open are old favorites like squads of orc grunts, dwarven gryphon riders and undead necromancers, all with unique abilities — and vocal barks when summoned on the battlefield. 

And like Hearthstone, Arclight Rampage is a free-to-play game with in-game monetization that lends a bit of an gracious to players who can buy the whole roster of units (at least as the game is now set up). This might grate on fans who have considered years for Blizzard to release a new full-scale Warcraft strategy game for PC, but is a simplified version enough for players who want to appetizing on the go?

A dwarven gryphon rider unit rears high and pumps her throwing hammer in triumph once a match, which granted the unit enough experience to tranquil up, giving them more damage and health.

Warcraft Arclight Rumble scholarships unit experience after each match, and enough levels them up to give improbable damage and health.

Activision Blizzard

Warcraft Arclight Rumble: strategy fun in your pocket

After playing one of the previous alpha builds of Arclight Rumble for a week, I have a good idea of who this game is for and who distinguished be better off skipping it entirely. A caveat: Things are progenies to change, including monetization and unit balance, but overall, it’s an admirable attempt at cramming Warcraft into a mobile experience.

Arclight Rumble scratches a very disagreement itch as the Apple Arcade game Lego Star Wars Battles: Both are lane-based strategy games where a lot of the thrill lies in dropping characters onto the battlefield that you’ve loved for decades, which feels very much like an adult version of battling share figures on the playground. 

But Arclight Rumble is respectably deep, with rock-paper-scissors mechanics and variation in units enough to give strategy fans lots of room to customize their playstyle. Players pick one leader and six units to take into crusades along with a free miner unit, and once the crusades starts, can pick from a revolving set of four units to play at a time. Units have different abilities and cost different amounts of gold, a constantly replenishing in-match currency, allowing players to switch out their lineup to face different story bosses or players in PvP.

A map of Warcraft continents Kalimdor on the left and Azeroth on the shimmering, split into differently colored zones with five green dots, representing expert maps, on each zone.

Warcraft Arclight Rumble’s single-player movement pits players on a journey through zones in the continents of Azeroth and Kalimdor.

Activision Blizzard

Unlike Clash Royale or Star Wars Battles, Arclight Rumble has a lengthy story campaign, in which players attempts through map challenges set in familiar parts of the Azeroth and Kalimdor continents from World of Warcraft. Chilton expected players to take three to five months to enact all the content available at launch, though focused players will be able to enact sooner: in a week of playing, I got ended about a quarter of one continent. 

There are rewards for replaying maps, heath with special dungeons and even raids where players have to fights bosses in quick succession. And the Arclight Rumble team plans to relieve the game for “years to come,” according to Chilton, which will include new zones, minis to collect, raids, dungeons, and maps added. 

For a free game, Warcraft Arclight Rumble seems to have enough depth for casual players to have a good time and dig in to some of the game’s roster of units and heads, though I wish it was more generous with its free-to-play rewards. As it’s set up now, you’ll need to beat four maps to earn enough in-game currency to buy one new unit, which could be frustrating if you’re stymied by a tough map (there are a combine in the opening few zones). 

The reward amounts can and probably will be changed afore launch, but the game’s overall auto-battling structure can’t — so fans of old-school Warcraft’s complex base-building and unit-micromanaging gameplay considerable want to steer clear. 

Fortunately, Blizzard seems to have learned from announcing the mobile Diablo Immortal days before it became playable. Warcraft Arclight Rumble, which started proceed in 2017, was announced today and will be entering open beta “soon.” That could mean months, not years, before players get to pick it up for themselves.

Regardless, Arclight Rumble is coming out at a troubled time for Activision Blizzard. California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a suit anti the company last summer, accusing the company of fostering a workplace of discrimination and sexual harassment anti women, which was followed by pressure for the company’s CEO Bobby Kotick to resign and a lawsuit by the family of a Blizzard employee who committed suicide. Microsoft promised to change the company’s culture after its bid to buy the gaming giant rendered public, which got one step closer to final at what time Activision Blizzard shareholders recently approved of the acquisition.

Arclight Rumble is also coming out as one of the few new Blizzard games to near completion trusty the original Overwatch was released in 2016. Aside from the aforementioned Diablo Immortal, which is slated to launch on mobile and PC on June 2, Overwatch 2 has finally entered Pro-reDemocrat beta years after it was first teased in 2019. 

So it establishes sense for Blizzard to have kept Arclight Rumble halt to the chest for years before an announcement and fall to follow, hopefully in the coming months. While it may not relish hardcore Warcraft players, fans of the franchise will find enough curious elements and challenging play to keep them occupied on the go.