Rival Nations is a custom map for Warcraft III in which there are three teams of three, pitted against each other in a free-for-all Aeon of Strife format. Each player begins the game with one hero of their choosing, and battles computer controlled armies until becoming powerful enough to destroy the opposing teams' Castle. The biggest difference between Rival Nations and other AoS styled maps is that in Rival Nations you are able to purchase and control more than one hero. This leads to increased strategy and micro requirements in order to be victorious. Started in the summer of 2002, it was developed by MicrosoftXP until June 2004. The last version released by MicrosoftXP was x2.0b for The Frozen Throne. After a few months AwaKening took over development. The map was renamed to 'Rival Nations Reborn' and is currently at version 1.03d as of 2007-03-13.
Rival Nations pioneered a number of features now seen frequently in custom maps. Unfortunately there are so many features, that the learning curve of the map is quite steep and does not lend itself well to new players versus more experienced ones. This is perhaps the greatest flaw of the map and the biggest reason why it has gone down considerably in popularity.
- Multiple Hero control and combat
- (see multiple heroes section below)
- Free-for-all gameplay
- some people like free-for-all, some don't. In Rival Nations it can make every game unpredictable and challenging even for the best of players. It allows weaker teams who might not stand a chance in a 1v1 vs another team the strategic option to focus on the stronger team and possible overpower them with the help of the 3rd team. A very few of the most elite players who have a reputation for being very good would typically be double teamed. And if their skill was great enough, they may still be able to overcome both teams.
- Bounty System
- the bounty system is what determines the reward that a player gains for killing another player's hero in battle. It is influenced by various things, but largely reflects how a player has been doing in the current game. The better the player has been doing, the larger their bounty and vise versa. The system was designed to keep the game interesting from start to finish as it provided a means by which a losing team can gain a significant advantage and turn the tables. Many a game has been headed in one direction, however a few hero kills on a high bounty player later and the game can turn on a dime.
- taunts are a selection of sound clips from the game such as the Far Seer's "Outlook not so good," or the Blade Master's "My blade can cut through armor, and still slice a tomato." They can be directed a player by typing -taunt <player color> and they occasionally happen automatically when one player kills another's hero.
- Set Items
- its not accurate to claim this as an original concept, as it was most likely copied from the Diablo games, however it was one of the first to implement a Set Item bonus for certain items (the Dragon Set).
- Moving Shops
- there is a traveling merchant which sells rare and exotic items. His inventory is randomly generated from a list of 20-30 items each time he appears in a team's base. He stays for a few minutes then gets into a zeppelin and heads to another random base. He also has a wagon, from which even more powerful items may be gambled.
- some of the most powerful items available in the map were not even sold in shops had to be gained by gambling. The odds of getting a particularly rare item could be as low as 1 in 800.
- Rival Nations has a very rich Upgrade system, in which everything from unit strength/armor to increased/custom units to unlocking attack upgrades for units could be attained. In addition, some upgrades provided other miscellaneous advantages such as increased building strength, an improved fountain of healing, magic sentry and temporary building invulnerability.
- special units can be purchased which will give a town increased troop production. These units are called trainers and should be placed next to a barracks to increase production at that barracks. Some players like to mass trainers and attempt to overwhelm their enemies. Sometimes this can work, particularly if they can destroy their enemies' barracks, however versus more experienced players, it can merely serve to fuel their income.
- Ending Sequence and Awards
- originally seen in the map Valley of Death, Rival Nations implemented the cinematic/awards concept and improved upon it by having a sort of parade with each of the heroes that a player controlled, as well as a final battle at the end in which all players, even the ones previously on your team, are now all hostile and battle it out as the awards scroll.
- Custom Rules
- Rival Nations is actually various forms of the same map combined into one. There is an option which allows the host player to set custom rules for the game which can determine everything from a time limit, to forced random heroes.
- Random Weather and random tree regrowth
- Random Heroes
- Rival Nations was one of the first maps to provide the option of selecting a hero randomly for players who are confident enough in their skills to prevail under all circumstances.
- -take command
- Rival Nations not only divides resources and shares control of a dropped or quitting teammate between the remaining teammates but it also allows the ability to take full ownership of that players heroes and other units. By typing '-take' hero ownership is transfered, and prevents a loss from what should be a win if some player drops or decided to leave unexpectedly.
- Town Boss
- the Captain, like much of Rival Nations is not designed to be incredibly powerful, however he is more than enough to repel standard troops for a decent amount of time. As well some players with a paladin hero will kill or wait until he is killed, then resurrect him (resurrected units have their ownership transfered), and use him as additional combat support for their heroes.
Rival Nations primary focus is heroes and hero to hero combat. There are other strategic options that can be explored, such as town and troop upgrades, as well as non-hero mercenaries, however ultimately
Popular Hero Combos
- Stun crew
- this combination was designed to trap one or more heroes in a 'stun lock' preventing them from running or even teleporting away. It is very effective and was the combination favored by the game's creator MicrosoftXP.
- Tauren Chieftain (war stomp)
- Mountain King (storm bolt)
- Dreadlord (sleep, inferno)
- Shadow Hunter (hex)
- the strategy here was to exploit the 66% increase in direct damage cause to a banished target. Executed correctly, one could instantly kill an enemy hero before they have time to do much of anything.
- Blood Mage (banish)
- Death Knight (death coil, frost nova)
- Mountain King (storm bolt)
- one of the least popular combinations, this one was weak to direct attacks from nuke and stun combinations, but could be a very effective backup/support group due to easy and high damage focused fire. Load up each hero with as much damage increasing items/tomes as possible, such that one volley can easily take a sizable amount of an enemy hero's life.
- Keeper of the Grove
- Priestess of the Moon
- Far Seer
- Shadow Hunter
- Blood Mage
- Naga Sea Witch
If a player gets the 4 primary heroes from the same race, they would get additional benefits for themselves and their team. If a player gets five heroes and they include the four primary heroes plus a neutral hero of the same race, further additional benefits are rewarded. The benefits included a general town bonus and a powerful magic item. The bonus later came to include a racial shop that would be created in the player's base which contained useful and powerful items.
The Human Alliance enhances the army by training a random specialty unit at each barracks. Possible units include Sorceress, Priest, Spell Breaker, Dragonhawk Rider and Gryphon Rider.
Specialty Item: Magic Forged Gauntlets
These magical gauntlets grants their owner inceased Armor, Movement Speed, Strength, Intelligence, and Agility. They also grant the ability to cast Inner Fire and can be used to summon aid.
Summons: Blood Elf Lieutenants
Powerful lieutenants from Prince Kael's Blood Elf army. Experts at destroying spellcasters.
The Lich was for a long time nothing more than a myth to many players, very few knew it even existed and fewer knew how to actually get it. This was done in the interests of balance, as the Lich's ultimate ability was Death and Decay, which is by far the best building killing spell in the game, and it would have caused many complications to allow this spell to be available at the start of the game. Thus, in order to acquire the Lich, one first had to have the other two available Undead Heroes: the Death Knight and the Dreadlord. Once these two were acquired, if another hero was purchased, a message would appear that said 'Can you find the secret hero?' The trick then was to simply wait approximately 60 seconds for the Lich to spawn.