Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. is an American video game developer and publisher based in Irvine, is a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard. The company was founded on February 8, 1991, under the name Silicon & Synapse, Inc. by three graduates of the University of California, Los Angeles: Michael Morhaime, Frank Pearce and Allen Adham. The company concentrated on the creation of game ports for other studios' games before beginning development of their own software in 1993 with games like Rock n' Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings. In 1994 the company became Chaos Studios, Inc. Blizzard Entertainment after being acquired by distributor Davidson & Associates. Shortly thereafter, Blizzard released Warcraft: Humans. Blizzard created several other video games, including Warcraft sequels, the Diablo series, the StarCraft series, in 2004 the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft, their most recent projects include the first expansion for Diablo III, Reaper of Souls, the online collectible card game Hearthstone, the seventh expansion for World of Warcraft, Battle for Azeroth, the multiplayer online battle arena Heroes of the Storm, the third and final expansion for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Legacy of the Void, the multiplayer first-person hero shooter Overwatch.
On July 9, 2008, Activision merged with Vivendi Games, culminating in the inclusion of the Blizzard brand name in the title of the resulting holding company. On July 25, 2013, Activision Blizzard announced the purchase of 429 million shares from majority owner Vivendi; as a result, Activision Blizzard became a independent company. Blizzard Entertainment hosts conventions for fans to meet and to promote their games: the BlizzCon in California, United States, the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in other countries, including South Korea and France. Blizzard Entertainment was founded by Michael Morhaime, Allen Adham, Frank Pearce as Silicon & Synapse on February 8, 1991, a year after all three had received their bachelor's degrees from UCLA. To fund the company, each of them contributed about $10,000, Morhaime borrowing the sum interest-free from his grandmother. During the first two years, the company focused on creating game ports for other studios. Ports include titles such as J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Vol.
I and Battle Chess II: Chinese Chess. In 1993, the company developed games such as The Lost Vikings. In early 1994, they were acquired by distributor Davidson & Associates for $6.75 million. In May that year, Chaos Studios was renamed Blizzard Entertainment, citing that they could not pay the rights to use the name, as it was owned by New York-based Chaos Technologies. Shortly thereafter, Blizzard shipped their breakthrough hit Warcraft: Humans. Blizzard has changed hands several times since then. Davidson was acquired along with Sierra On-Line by a company called CUC International in 1996. CUC merged with a hotel, real-estate, car-rental franchiser called HFS Corporation to form Cendant in 1997. In 1998 it became apparent. Cendant's stock lost 80% of its value over the next six months in the ensuing discussed accounting scandal; the company sold its consumer software operations, Sierra On-line to French publisher Havas in 1998, the same year Havas was purchased by Vivendi. Blizzard was part of the Vivendi Games group of Vivendi.
In July 2008 Vivendi Games merged with Activision, using Blizzard's name in the resulting company, Activision Blizzard. In 1996, Blizzard acquired Condor Games, working on the game Diablo for Blizzard at the time. Condor was renamed Blizzard North, has since developed the games Diablo, Diablo II, its expansion pack Lord of Destruction. Blizzard North was located in California; the company originated in California. Blizzard launched their online gaming service Battle.net in January 1997 with the release of their action role-playing game Diablo. In 2002, Blizzard was able to reacquire rights for three of its earlier Silicon & Synapse titles, The Lost Vikings, Rock n' Roll Racing and Blackthorne, from Interplay Entertainment and re-release them for Game Boy Advance, a handheld console. In 2004, Blizzard opened European offices in the Paris suburb of Vélizy, France. On May 16, 2005, Blizzard announced the acquisition of Swingin' Ape Studios, a video game developer, developing StarCraft: Ghost; the company was merged into Blizzard's other teams after StarCraft: Ghost was "postponed indefinitely".
On August 1, 2005, Blizzard announced the consolidation of Blizzard North into the headquarters at 131 Theory in UC Irvine's University Research Park in Irvine, California. In 2007, Blizzard moved their headquarters to 16215 Alton Parkway in California. On November 23, 2004, Blizzard released World of Warcraft, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. World of Warcraft is the fourth released game set in the fantasy Warcraft universe, first introduced by Warcraft: Orcs & Humans in 1994. Blizzard announced World of Warcraft on September 2, 2001; the game was released on November 2004, on the 10th anniversary of the Warcraft franchise. Having peaked at 12 million monthly subscriptions in 2010, World of Warcraft subscriptions sunk to 6.8 million in 2014, the lowest number since the end of 2006, prior to The Burning Crusade expansion. However, World of Warcraft is still the world's most-subscribed MMORPG, holds the Guinness World Record for the most popular MMORPG by subscribers. In April 2008, World of Warcraft was estimated to hold 62 percent of the MMORPG subscription market.
In 2008, Blizzard was honored at the 5
GamePro was an American multiplatform video game magazine media company that published online and print content covering the video game industry, video game hardware and video game software. The magazine featured content on PC computers and mobile devices. Gamepro Media properties included their website; the company was a part subsidiary of the held International Data Group, a media and research technology group. Published in 1989, GamePro magazine provided feature articles, news and reviews on various video games, video game hardware and the entertainment video gaming industry; the magazine was published monthly with October 2011 being its last issue, after over 22 years of publication. GamePro's February 2010 issue introduced a redesigned layout and a new editorial direction focused on the people and culture of its gaming. GamePro.com was launched in 1998. Updated daily, the website’s content included feature articles, previews, reviews and videos covering video games, video game hardware and the entertainment gaming industry.
The website included user content such as forums and blogs. In January 2010, the website was redesigned to reflect the same new editorial changes being made in the print magazine; the website was based at Gamepro's headquarters in San Francisco from 1998–2002 and in Oakland, California from 2002–11. Gamepro.com had international variants that have now outlasted their parent publication in countries such as Germany, France. Gamepro was first established in late 1988 by Patrick Ferrell, his sister-in-law Leeanne McDermott, the husband-wife design team of Michael and Lynne Kavish, they worked out of their houses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area before leasing their first office in Redwood City, California at the end of 1989. Lacking the cashflow to be able to sustain growth after publishing the first issue, the founding management team sought a major publisher and in 1989 found one with IDG Peterborough, a New Hampshire-based division of the global giant IDG. Led by a merger and acquisition team comprising IDG Peterborough President Roger Murphy and two other executives, Jim McBrian and Roger Strukhoff, the magazine was acquired a few months spun off as an independent business unit of IDG, under the leadership of Ferrell as president/CEO.
The addition of John Rousseau as publisher and editor-in-chief Wes Nihei, as well as renowned artist Francis Mao, established Gamepro as a large, profitable magazine worldwide publication. Francis Mao, acting in his role as art director for the nascent GamePro, contracted game illustrator Marc Ericksen to create the premiere cover for the first addition of the magazine. Ericksen would go on to produce five of the first ten covers for GamePro creating eight in total, would continue a secondary role creating a number of the double page spreads for the popular monthly Pro Tips section. Over the years, the Gamepro offices have moved from Redwood City to San Mateo to San Francisco and lastly Oakland. In 1993, the company was renamed from Gamepro Inc. to Infotainment World in reflection of its growing and diverse publication lines. The magazine was known for its editors using comic book-like avatars and monikers when reviewing games; as of January 2004, Gamepro ceased to use the avatars due to a change in the overall design and layout of the magazine.
Meanwhile, editorial voices carried over to the community on its online sister publication, www.gamepro.com. Gamepro was most famous for its ProTips, small pieces of gameplay tips and advice depicted with game screenshot captions, it features a special corner section known as Code Vault, where secret codes are all posted. These particular features have since vanished. Code Vault was published in print format and sold as a quarterly cheats and strategy magazine on newsstands. There was a TV show called GamePro TV; the show was hosted by J. D. Brennan Howard; the show was nationally syndicated for one year moved to cable for a second year. In 1993, Patrick Ferrell sent Debra Vernon, VP of marketing, to a meeting between the games industry and the Consumer Electronics Show. Realizing an opportunity, the team at the now-entitled Infotainment World launched E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo; the industry backed Ferrell partnered with the IDSA to produce the event. It was one of the biggest trade show launches in history.
Early in its lifespan, the magazine included comic book pages about the adventures of a superhero named Gamepro, a video game player from the real world brought into a dimension where video games were real to save it from creatures called the Evil Darklings. In 2003, Joyride Studios produced limited-edition action figures of some of the Gamepro editorial characters. Gamepro appeared in several international editions, including France, Spain, Italy, Australia and Greece; some of these publications share the North American content, while some others share only the name and logo but do feature different content. Early in 2006, IDG Entertainment began to change internally and shift operational focus from a "Print to Online" to "Online to Print" publishing mentality; the first steps. Enter: George Jones, industry veteran. In February 2006, Gamepro's online video channel, Games.net, launched a series of video-game related shows. The extensive online programming is geared towards an more mature audience.
In August 2006, the Gamepro onli
Microsoft Windows is a group of several graphical operating system families, all of which are developed and sold by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry. Active Windows families include Windows Embedded. Defunct Windows families include Windows Mobile and Windows Phone. Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985, as a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces. Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal computer market with over 90% market share, overtaking Mac OS, introduced in 1984. Apple came to see Windows as an unfair encroachment on their innovation in GUI development as implemented on products such as the Lisa and Macintosh. On PCs, Windows is still the most popular operating system. However, in 2014, Microsoft admitted losing the majority of the overall operating system market to Android, because of the massive growth in sales of Android smartphones.
In 2014, the number of Windows devices sold was less than 25 %. This comparison however may not be relevant, as the two operating systems traditionally target different platforms. Still, numbers for server use of Windows show one third market share, similar to that for end user use; as of October 2018, the most recent version of Windows for PCs, tablets and embedded devices is Windows 10. The most recent versions for server computers is Windows Server 2019. A specialized version of Windows runs on the Xbox One video game console. Microsoft, the developer of Windows, has registered several trademarks, each of which denote a family of Windows operating systems that target a specific sector of the computing industry; as of 2014, the following Windows families are being developed: Windows NT: Started as a family of operating systems with Windows NT 3.1, an operating system for server computers and workstations. It now consists of three operating system subfamilies that are released at the same time and share the same kernel: Windows: The operating system for mainstream personal computers and smartphones.
The latest version is Windows 10. The main competitor of this family is macOS by Apple for personal computers and Android for mobile devices. Windows Server: The operating system for server computers; the latest version is Windows Server 2019. Unlike its client sibling, it has adopted a strong naming scheme; the main competitor of this family is Linux. Windows PE: A lightweight version of its Windows sibling, meant to operate as a live operating system, used for installing Windows on bare-metal computers, recovery or troubleshooting purposes; the latest version is Windows PE 10. Windows IoT: Initially, Microsoft developed Windows CE as a general-purpose operating system for every device, too resource-limited to be called a full-fledged computer. However, Windows CE was renamed Windows Embedded Compact and was folded under Windows Compact trademark which consists of Windows Embedded Industry, Windows Embedded Professional, Windows Embedded Standard, Windows Embedded Handheld and Windows Embedded Automotive.
The following Windows families are no longer being developed: Windows 9x: An operating system that targeted consumers market. Discontinued because of suboptimal performance. Microsoft now caters to the consumer market with Windows NT. Windows Mobile: The predecessor to Windows Phone, it was a mobile phone operating system; the first version was called Pocket PC 2000. The last version is Windows Mobile 6.5. Windows Phone: An operating system sold only to manufacturers of smartphones; the first version was Windows Phone 7, followed by Windows Phone 8, the last version Windows Phone 8.1. It was succeeded by Windows 10 Mobile; the term Windows collectively describes any or all of several generations of Microsoft operating system products. These products are categorized as follows: The history of Windows dates back to 1981, when Microsoft started work on a program called "Interface Manager", it was announced in November 1983 under the name "Windows", but Windows 1.0 was not released until November 1985.
Windows 1.0 was to achieved little popularity. Windows 1.0 is not a complete operating system. The shell of Windows 1.0 is a program known as the MS-DOS Executive. Components included Calculator, Cardfile, Clipboard viewer, Control Panel, Paint, Reversi and Write. Windows 1.0 does not allow overlapping windows. Instead all windows are tiled. Only modal dialog boxes may appear over other windows. Microsoft sold as included Windows Development libraries with the C development environment, which included numerous windows samples. Windows 2.0 was released in December 1987, was more popular than its predecessor. It features several improvements to the user memory management. Windows 2.03 changed the OS from tiled windows to overlapping windows. The result of this change led to Apple Computer filing a suit against Microsoft alleging infringement on Apple's copyrights. Windows 2.0
Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares
Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares is a 4X turn-based strategy game set in space, designed by Steve Barcia and Ken Burd, developed by Simtex, who developed its predecessor Master of Orion. The PC version was published by MicroProse in 1996, the Apple Macintosh version a year by MacSoft, in partnership with MicroProse; the game has retained a large fan base, is still played online. Master of Orion II won the Origins Award for Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Computer Game of 1996, was well received by critics, although reviewers differed about which aspects they liked and disliked, it is used as a yardstick in reviews of more recent space-based 4X games. Long before the time in which the game is set, two powerful races, the Orions and the Antarans, fought a war that devastated most of the galaxy; the victorious Orions, rather than exterminate the Antarans, imprisoned them in a pocket dimension before departing the galaxy, leaving behind a powerful robotic warship, the Guardian, to protect their homeworld.
Some time after the game starts, the Antarans, having broken out of their prison dimension, begin to send powerful fleets against the players' colonies, to destroy them rather than to invade. The only way they can be stopped is to carry the battle to their home universe through a Dimensional Portal. Master of Orion II is more complex than the original game, providing more gameplay options for the player. Three new alien races have been added, there is the option for players to design and add their own race. Instead of the one planet per star system found in the original there are now multiplanet star systems that can be shared with opponents. Spaceships can now engage in combat, marines can board enemy ships, planets can be blown up. Multiplayer mode includes one-on-one games with up to eight players. Victory can be gained by diplomatic means. Major elements of the game's strategy include the design of custom races and the need to balance the requirements for food, production and research; the user interface provides a central screen for most economic management and other screens that control research, ship movement and warship design.
Conquering the Orion star system does not automatically win the game. There are three routes to victory: conquer all opponents. To be elected, a player needs two-thirds of the total votes, each empire's votes are based on the population under its control. Star systems have at most five colonizable planets, a few have none. Players can colonize all solid planet types, while gas giants and asteroids can be made habitable with the planet construction technology. Colonizable planets vary in several ways, making some more desirable than others:The most desirable systems are guarded by space monsters, much less powerful than Orion's Guardian but still a severe challenge in the early game, when fleets are small and low-technology. Without food, a colony will starve to death. If an empire has an overall food surplus, it can prevent localized starvation by sending food in freighters, which are produced just as any other ship and require a small amount of upkeep when in use. However, a single hostile warship of any size can blockade an entire system, preventing the delivery of food.
Each player can change each of its colonies' outputs by moving colonists between farming and research, except that natives can only farm. All normal colonists pay a standard tax to the imperial treasury, but in emergencies a higher tax rate may be set at the expense of reducing industrial output. Players can use surplus money to accelerate industrial production at specified colonies, but not to increase agricultural or research output; the maintenance of buildings costs money. Ships of different sizes require different numbers of "command points"; these are provided by orbital bases. This limits the size of empires' fleets in the early game, where one can have only one frigate per starbase or one battleship per four starbases without having to "buy" command points, expensive. Research followed by construction of appropriate buildings, can improve all types of productivity, including cashflow and command points, can reduce or eliminate pollution, Falling behind in technology is to be fatal. There are eight research areas divided into several levels, each of which contains one to four technologies.
To research a higher-level technology, players must first have researched the previous level. Players can acquire technologies by exchange or diplomatic threats, hiring colonial leaders or ship commanders with knowledge of certain technologies, planetary conquest and dismantling enemy ships, random events, or by stumbling upon it in a derelict craft orbiting a newly discovered planet. All weapons and some other combat-related components benefit from miniaturization, in which further advances in the technology area that provides them will reduce the size and production cost of those components. Miniaturization makes available modifications for most weapons, which entail a significant increase in their cost and size but can improve their effectiveness in the right situations. Master of Orion II provides a wide range of diplomatic negotiations: gifts of money or technology or all the colonies in a star system.
Future US, Inc. is an American media corporation specializing in targeted magazines and websites in the video games and technology markets. Future US is headquartered in New York City with small offices in Minneapolis. Future US is owned by parent company, Future plc, a specialist media company based in the United Kingdom, its magazines and websites include: PC Gamer Official Xbox Magazine TechRadar Maximum PC Electronic Musician Guitar Player Guitar World Multichannel News Broadcasting & Cable TWICE Founded in 1985 in the UK by Chris Anderson Future Publishing was the fastest growing UK publisher of the nineties. From a start in computer and video games magazines, Future diversified into sports, entertainment and general interest magazines becoming the UK's fourth largest publisher. Anderson wanted to expand Future into the United States, bought struggling Greensboro video game magazine publisher GP Publications, publisher of Game Players magazine in 1993; the company launched a number of titles including PC Gamer, relocated from North Carolina to the Bay area, occupying various properties in Burlingame and South San Francisco.
When Anderson sold Future to Pearson PLC he retained GP, renamed Imagine Media, Inc. in June 1995, operated it as his sole company for a few years. However, when Future bought itself out from Pearson in an MBO, Anderson came back on board, when Future floated on the stock exchange in 1999 Imagine's print magazines were merged with Future Publishing to form the Future Network PLC, a company floated on the London Stock Exchange; the on-line properties, including IGN, were put into a separate company snowball.com. Buoyed by the Internet economy and the success of Business 2.0 in the US, Future rode the boom of the late nineties. During this period the company won the exclusive worldwide rights to produce the official magazine for Microsoft's Xbox video game console and cemented its position as a leader in the games market. In the spring of 2001, buffeted by economic factors and the market downturn, Future Network USA went through a strategic reset of its business that included the closure of some titles and Internet operations and the sale of Business 2.0 to AOL/Time Warner.
By early fall 2002, Imagine Media had refocused on its core business, publishing five games and technology magazines: Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer, PSM: 100% Independent PlayStation 2 Magazine, Maximum PC and MacAddict. It was that Imagine became Future Network USA, adopting the name of its parent company, Future plc. Future used this strong portfolio and its strength in creating media for young men as a platform for growth into the action sports and music markets. In December 2005, after three years of organic growth and strategic acquisition, Future Network USA became Future US, to reflect its diversification into markets beyond games and technology. In 2005, Future US made its first venture into the women's market with the launch of Scrapbook Answers and with the addition of Women's Health & Fitness and Decorating Spaces, to its portfolio of titles with the Future plc acquisition of Highbury House plc. On September 19, 2007, Nintendo and Future announced that Future US would obtain the publishing rights to Nintendo Power magazine.
This came into effect with the creation of issue #222. On October 1, 2007, it was announced that Future US would be making PlayStation: The Official Magazine, which ended up replacing PSM and first hit newsstands in November 2007. With this launch, Future US is the publisher of the official magazines of all three major console manufacturers in the US. In 2012, NewBay Media bought the Music division of Future US. In 2018, Future reacquired majority of the assets sold to NewBay by buying NewBay outright for US13.8 million. Future used this acquisition to expand its US footprint in B2B segment. CD-ROM Today Daily Radar Games Radar Decorating Spaces Do! Future Music Future Snowboarding Magazine Game Players Guitar One Guitar World Acoustic Guitar World Legends Guitar World's Bass Guitar Maximum Linux Men's Edge Mobile PC netPOWER Next Generation Magazine Nintendo Power Official Dreamcast Magazine PC Accelerator PlayStation: The Official Magazine Revolution Scrapbook Answers Skateboard Trade News Snowboard Trade News T3 The Net Total Movie Women's Health & Fitness Official website
Mplayer, referred to as Mplayer.com by 1998, was a free online PC gaming service and community that operated from late 1996 until early 2001. The service at its peak was host to a community of more than 20 million visitors each month and offered more than 100 games; some of the more popular titles available were action games like Quake, Command & Conquer, Rogue Spear, as well as classic card and board for more casual gamers. Servers and matchmaking was provided through a proprietary client; the service was subscription-based, but by early 1997, they became the first major multiplayer community to offer games to be played online through their network for free. This was done by relying on advertisement-based revenues. Mplayer was a unit of a Silicon Valley-based startup; the demand for online gaming in the late 1990s resulted in huge growth for the service. They became known for supplying a range of features integrated through their software, including their successful voice chat feature; this feature proved so popular that it was split off as a VoIP service to cater to non-gamers, dubbed HearMe, which would become the new name of the company.
The company was listed on NASDAQ as MPTH and HEAR. Despite the growth of their gaming unit, Mplayer was never profitable. HearMe continued to refocus themselves on VoIP technologies and, in late 2000, had sold off Mplayer to competitor GameSpy. In addition, some technologies were sold to 4anything.com. HearMe continued to operate independently. Mplayer was taken offline and integrated into GameSpy Arcade in 2001. HearMe shut-down in mid 2000; the company first began as Mpath Interactive, a venture capital start-up co-founded in early 1995 by Brian Apgar, Jeff Rothschild and Brian Moriarty, based in Cupertino, California. It was renamed to HearMe. Mpath Interactive moved to Mountain View, after acquiring Catapult Entertainment, Inc. and their online gaming service XBAND. Mplayer began as a division in October 1996 to provide online gaming to subscribed users. A few months prior to launching Mplayer, Mpath announced their goal for the service in a job description: Not only will people go to the Internet for information, they will go to it to meet and interact with other people.
Mplayer, scheduled to debut 1996, will bring the excitement of real-time multi-player gaming to the Internet's World Wide Web for the first time. It will feature popular PC-based games from well-known game publishers. Mplayer's features will include voice-capable games and chat rooms where players can converse as they play the games, watch games in progress and choose teams or opponents. In February 1997, they began to offer internet play for free for their major commercial games such as Quake, as well as card and board games such as Scrabble and Spades. In this, they were one of the first major commercial communities on the internet to offer such a service, they continued to add many new games to their offering. The slogan, used from its founding was "Wanna Play?" By the end of 1998, the company had a staff of 111 employees, about 80 by late 2000. The company was listed on NASDAQ beginning April 29, 1999 as MPTH, which changed to HEAR by late September of the same year. Games first offered over Mplayer were by subscription.
In addition to the Gaming Service, Mpath launched a "preferred" ISP service, WebBullet, reselling InterRamp ISP accounts on the PSINet network, the backbone which Mplayer.com's production services were hosted on. By 1997, their growth allowed the service to be offered for free through support of its advertising network, which became known as the Mplayer Entertainment Network. However, the subscription model was retained, known as Plus, gave special privileges to these member who subscribed; the yearly rate was $29.95 for two years. Subscriptions had been $20 per month, but upon changing their business model to offer many services for free, MPlayer decided to switch to a yearly rate so that they would not have to market to their subscribers every month in order to keep them. While certain releases were kept as "Plus Only" features for a brief time, in many cases the Plus game rooms were games hosted by Mplayer's own servers. With the rapid growth of Quake fans, the increased server load, Mplayer opened the door to the QuakeWorld network, exponentially increasing the number of available game servers, offering someone a chance to get a faster connection to a game.
The downside was that there was little control of cheat codes in these systems. Mplayer tried to increase the appeal of the Plus subscription, offering a "secure" Mplayer owned Server hosted Game, offering Rankings and customizable Clan Skins. With the Internet user demographic changing, a growing market emerged for classic games, with Scrabble and Battleship leading the charge. Mplayer turned more into an aggregator, hoping to attract as many users as possible with free, ad-supported games and software, including Checkers and Chess. Despite this, the company had been losing money, $11.9 million in 1998 alone, by late 1999, had yet to break even. MPath was forced to look toward different venues. Proprietary technologies that were developed as features for Mplayer, known internally as POP. X, were licensed to third parties; this was meant to help other companies create their own internet communities using existing technology. Third parties that licensed this technology included companies like Electronic Fujitsu.
HearMe, the internal audio chat feature in Mplayer, split off accounted for 50% of all of the compa
Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness
Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness is a fantasy-themed real-time strategy game published by Blizzard Entertainment and released for DOS in 1995 and for Mac OS in 1996. It was met with positive reviews and won most of the major PC gaming awards in 1996. In 1996, Blizzard released an expansion pack Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal for DOS and Mac OS, a compilation Warcraft II: The Dark Saga for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn; the Battle.net Edition, released in 1999, provided Blizzard's online gaming service, Battle.net, replaced the MS-DOS version with a Windows one. Players collect resources, produce buildings and units in order to defeat an opponent in combat. Players gain access to more advanced units upon construction of research; the majority of the main screen shows the part of the territory on which the player is operating, the minimap can select another location to appear in the larger display. The fog of war hides all territory which the player has not explored. Terrain is always visible once revealed, but enemy units remain visible only so long as they stay within a friendly unit's visual radius.
Warcraft II was a commercial hit, with global sales above 3 million units by 2001. Two-thirds of its copies were sold in the United States; the game influenced Blizzard's successful StarCraft, released in 1998, in gameplay and in attention to personality and storyline. In 1996 Blizzard announced Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans, an adventure game in the Warcraft universe, but canceled the game in 1998. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, released in 2002, used parts of Warcraft Adventures characters and storyline and extended the gameplay used in Warcraft II. Warcraft II is a real-time strategy game. In Warcraft II one side represents the human inhabitants of Lordaeron and allied races, the other controls the invading orcs and their allied races; each side tries to destroy the other by creating an army. The game is played in a medieval setting with fantasy elements, where both sides have melee, ranged and aerial units, spellcasters. Warcraft II allows players to play AI opponents in separate Human and Orc campaigns, in stand-alone scenarios.
Most of the campaign missions follow the pattern "collect resources, build buildings and units, destroy opponents". However, some have other objectives, such as rescuing troops or forts, or escorting important characters through enemy territory; the game's map editor allows players to develop scenarios for use in multiplayer contests and against AI opponents. The editor runs under the Mac and under either Windows 95 or, if the WinG library was installed, under Windows 3; the scenarios can be played against the AI or in multiplayer games with up to eight players participating. The DOS version provided multiplayer games by null modem cable, modem or IPX, Mac players could play via TCP/IP or AppleTalk. Blizzard released a facility to connect with Kali, which allows programs to access the Web by means of IPX. Warcraft II requires players to collect resources, to produce buildings and units in order to defeat an opponent in combat; the Human Town Hall and Orc Great Hall produce basic workers that dig gold from mines and chop wood from forests and deliver them to their Halls.
Both buildings can be upgraded twice, each increasing usable resources per load from the workers. Players can construct Shipyards, which can produce both combat ships and Oil Tankers. Tankers build construction offshore Oil Platforms and deliver the oil to buildings on the shoreline; as all three resources are non-renewable, players must use them efficiently. Workers can construct Farms, each of which provides food for up to four units, additional units cannot be produced until enough Farms are built. Farms, being tough for their cost, are employed as defensive walls. Humans and Orcs have sets of buildings with similar functions, but different names and graphics, for producing ground and air units. All but basic combat units require the assistance of other buildings, or must be produced at buildings that have prerequisite buildings, or both. Many buildings can upgrade combat units; when advanced units appear, the Orcs have a strong advantage in ground combat, while the Humans have the more powerful fleet and spellcasters.
The most advanced ground combatants on each side can be upgraded and taught some spells, which are different for the two sides. Some campaign missions feature hero units, which are more powerful than normal units of the same type, have unique pictures and names, must not die, as that causes the failure of the mission; the main screen has five areas: Along the top are the menu button and counts of the player's resources and Farm capacity. The largest area of the screen, to the right, shows the part of the territory on which the player is operating; this enables the player to select friendly buildings. The top left is the minimap, which shows the whole territory at smaller scale and highlights the part on which the player is operating. By clicking or dragging in the minimap, the player can select another location to appear in the larger display; the unit descriptions in the area in middle on the left buildings. If units of the same type are selected, this area have an icon for each unit, showing the unit's vital statistics including the unit's health.
If a single unit or building is selected, the area at the bottom left shows the actions the object can perform and all completed upgrades that apply to this type of unit or building. Most of the main map and minimap are blacked out, but the visible area expands as the player's units explore the map; the fog of war hi