Warcraft Arclight Rumble squeezes Blizzard’s classic RTS into a mobile format

Blizzard has announced Warcraft Arclight Rumble, a mobile game it is calling an ‘offensive tower’ strategy game. The game, which has you collecting characters from the Warcraft franchise and battling them across multiple levels, will be Blizzard’s third mobile game and will be available in beta soon. Unlike Diablo Immortal, the developer told me that he “has no plans” to bring Arclight Rumble to PC.

Arclight Rumble distills Warcraft’s real-time strategy format into something controllable with just one finger. Battles take place on a vertical map where you, governed by the gold you collect throughout the level, send units to the lanes to automatically face off against enemies. There is no micromanagement here. It’s about taking down your heroes, letting them roam the tracks and trying to fulfill the rock-paper-scissors rubric for flying, terrestrial and distance characters.

Arclight Rumble features a singleplayer campaign during which players gain units, or ‘minis’, to build into armies with specialized abilities. Undead units can feed on scraps scattered across the battlefield, spiders can spit venom, and rogues can stun enemies.

In a build I played before the announcement, creating armies felt like creating a simplified Hearthstone deck. You are encouraged to build them around race or class themes to deal with level-specific complications. Over time, units can gain talents to help shape the types of skills and buffs they can provide. Blizzard said there will be over 70 quests to complete, along with daily, weekly, and monthly challenge levels to complete for extra rewards.

Warcraft Arclight Rumble will feature dungeons and raids like the multi-stage fights in Hearthstone. World of Warcraft players will recognize Onyxia from the trailer, and Blizzard said other recognizable raids, such as Molten Core, will also appear. You can also team up with a friend in co-op or battle them in PvP – which Blizzard told me isn’t exactly the point of the game, but will potentially be expanded upon in the future.

In the build I played, you could use real money to buy minis, experience for your minis, and experience multipliers, but none of that felt necessary to get through the campaign levels. It was easy enough (and fast enough) to get through quest missions to level up my armies and earn minis. This can become an issue as you get deeper into the game, but monetization doesn’t seem too aggressive from what I’ve seen. It looks like Warcraft Arclight Rumble will take players through a variety of levels with tricks to unravel – like a battleship that sends artillery strikes at its units periodically – without putting up a brick wall that only money can break through.

Warcraft Arclight Rumble will be in beta soon.

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