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Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games

This page is for the original game client up to and including the v1.31.1 patch. For the v1.32.0 patch and above, see the 2020 reimagining Warcraft III: Reforged.

Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos cover
Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard Entertainment
Europe Vivendi Universal
Japan Capcom
Release dates
Windows July 3, 2002
Mac OS (Classic) July 3, 2002
macOS (OS X) July 3, 2002
Metacritic 92
Monetization One-time game purchase, Expansion pack
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives Bird's-eye view
Controls Multiple select, Point and select
Genres RTS
Themes Fantasy
Series Warcraft
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos on HowLongToBeat
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos on IGDB
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos guide on StrategyWiki
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos on MobyGames
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos on Wikipedia
Warcraft: Orcs & Humans 1994
Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness 1995
Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans Cancelled
Warcraft II: Edition 1999
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos 2002
World of Warcraft 2004
Hearthstone 2014
Warcraft III: Reforged 2020

Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos is a fantasy RTS game developed by Blizzard Entertainment with singleplayer and multiplayer content, and is the first fully 3D game by the studio.

The game was released in July 2002, with The Frozen Throne expansion pack following in July 2003. They both use the same executable, with Reign of Chaos accessed with the -classic command line argument. Like prior Blizzard games, both titles were supported simultaneously. The initial support cycle lasted until March 2011 with patch 1.26a, during which time the disc check was removed, basic widescreen resolution support was implemented, balancing was refined, new maps and neutral heroes were added, and The Frozen Throne's Rexxar campaign received its second and third acts. The game's support was restarted in March 2016; patch 1.27b from December 2016 is the last patch applicable to the retail version of the game, as all subsequent ones were distributed through exclusively.

With patch 1.29.0 from April 2018, the game started using different formats than before, and more quality-of-life improvements were added (such as support for more players in skirmish and multiplayer, improved widescreen support, etc.) laying the foundation for the "classic" mode of the then-upcoming Warcraft III: Reforged. The last pre-Reforged version was 1.31.1 from June 2019. Redeeming the serial keys of the retail version on will grant access to Reforged, but restricted to its "classic" mode.

The original version of the game is no longer available digitally nor can it access the multiplayer service, as it was replaced entirely by Reforged. As there are significant changes between the two and valid reasons to keep using the retail version, this article retains relevant information for users of these builds. The game remains stable on modern systems after patching to version 1.27b.

General information

Official Blizzard Store Page For Warcraft III
Official "Classic" Games Support
Mojo StormStout's Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne Strategy Guide - Strategy and Game Guide by Blizzard - Warcraft III & Warcraft III: Reforged Map Database
Epicwar - Large Warcraft III Map Database
HIVE - A Warcraft III community site with a focus on modding, and a map database.
WarCraft III section on Liquipedia


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
CD key
SecuROM 4 DRM on Windows; removed as of patch 1.21b, retaining only serial key requirement.
Most copies pre-2007 install on all three operating systems.
Icon overlay.png
Mac OS
macOS (OS X)
The original version is no longer sold digitally as of November 2018 in favor of the remaster.
If a retail copy is already owned, access to the classic version of Warcraft III: Reforged (which allows access to the original Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne campaign content as well as Reforged multiplayer) can be gained for free by entering the serial key here on and then downloading the installer from here.
With patch 1.21b, the game no longer requires the CD to play.
A free demo version is available from GameFront: Windows, OS X. While its missions were added in the full version of The Frozen Throne expansion, the voiceovers were not migrated.

Version differences

The Warcraft Battle Chest retail release includes Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne, and is patched to 1.21b.


Type Notes
Expansion pack The expansion pack includes new campaigns, maps, units, and mechanics.
One-time game purchase The game requires an upfront purchase to access.

DLC and expansion packs

Name Notes
The Frozen Throne
macOS (OS X)

Essential improvements


List of 1.27b patches

Version 1.27b is the most up-to-date standalone installer version for the retail release, as well as the the Czech release.[citation needed].
Official support for Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 as well as Mac 10.10 and 10.11 was added with version 1.27a, though Mac 10.9 remains unsupported.
The 1.27b patches for a specific language can be downloaded from Blizzard's FTP server using the links below, or from the PCGW download mirrors (Windows, Mac).
Install the Reign of Chaos patch only if The Frozen Throne is not installed.
Patch Language Reign of Chaos The Frozen Throne
English Windows, Mac Windows, Mac
Simplified Chinese Windows, Mac Windows, Mac
Traditional Chinese Windows, Mac Windows, Mac
Czech Windows, Mac Windows, Mac
French Windows, Mac Windows, Mac
German Windows, Mac Windows, Mac
Italian Windows, Mac Windows, Mac
Japanese Windows, Mac Windows, Mac
Korean Windows, Mac Windows, Mac
Polish Windows, Mac Windows, Mac
Russian Windows, Mac Windows, Mac
Spanish Windows, Mac Windows, Mac

Conversion to Reforged build

Updating to the latest version requires the use of the "Warcraft III Launcher" program. Clicking on "" in the main menu will automatically attempt to patch the game to the latest version, and will download and run the "Warcraft III Launcher."

This requires the App to be installed.
Versions above 1.28 will automatically update to Warcraft III: Reforged "classic" the next time the game is launched. Versions at or below 1.28 will automatically update the next time is chosen from the main menu. "Reforged" visuals will only be available if the user's account has that version of the game purchased.
As of version 1.28, support for the Czech version of the game has been dropped,[citation needed] and new standalone patch installers are no longer provided by Blizzard.

Game data

In-game general settings.
In-game general settings.

Configuration file(s) location

System Location
Windows HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Blizzard Entertainment\Warcraft III\
Mac OS (Classic)
macOS (OS X) $HOME/Library/Preferences/com.blizzard.Warcraft III.plist

Save game data location

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Saved Games\Warcraft III\
Mac OS (Classic)
macOS (OS X) $HOME/Library/Application Support/Blizzard/Warcraft III/Save/
Saved games were migrated from <path-to-game>\Save in patch 1.28.[1]


In-game graphics settings.
In-game graphics settings.

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Widescreen option added in patch 1.25b, however it would still display at 4:3 aspect ratio, resulting in a stretched image.[2] Native widescreen support only available starting from patch 1.29.
Native support added in patch 1.29.
Native support added in patch 1.29.
4K Ultra HD
Native support added in patch 1.29.
Field of view (FOV)
Defaults to 70 degrees.
Toggle with Alt+ Enter or use the -windowed parameter.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Enabled by default since patch 1.28. Use the -nativefullscr parameter for exclusive fullscreen.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
Can be enabled by modifying a registry key.
Only works in exclusive fullscreen using the -nativefullscr parameter until version 1.29.2. See Enabling Vsync for exclusive fullscreen mode.
60 FPS
Capped near screen refresh rate when in borderless windowed or windowed mode. Capped at 64 FPS prior to patch 1.30.
120+ FPS
Uncapped when running in exclusive fullscreen using the -nativefullscr parameter.
High dynamic range display (HDR)
See the glossary page for potential alternatives.

Run the game at screen refresh rate

Fullscreen mode defaults to 60 Hz, even if the screen refresh rate is set higher than that.
Set screen refresh rate in registry[3]
  1. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Blizzard Entertainment\Warcraft III\Video.
  2. Double-click on refreshrate and select Decimal.
  3. Change 60 to the screen refresh rate and click OK.
Set screen refresh rate with Special K[3]
  1. Install Special K by following the Special K Unofficial Guide. Manual local installation may work better.
  2. Start the game once and close it to allow the configuration file of Special K to be created.
  3. Open <path-to-game>\d3d9.ini or %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Mods\SpecialK\Profiles\Warcraft III.exe\SpecialK.ini, depending on the used installation method.
  4. Change RefreshRate=-1 to RefreshRate=0 under [Render.FrameRate].

Enabling V-sync for exclusive fullscreen mode

Change the v-sync registry key
  1. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Blizzard Entertainment\Warcraft III\Video.
  2. Double-click on vsync and select Decimal.
  3. Change the value to 1 and click OK.
  4. Run the game with the -nativefullscr parameter.
As of version 1.29.2, V-sync seems to be active by default, also setting vsync=0 does not disable vsync, which implies the switch has been deprecated altogether. This solution is meant for fully updated retail versions.


Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Details can be found in the CustomKeyInfo.txt file in the installation folder.
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
Scroll speed only.
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support


In-game audio settings.
In-game audio settings.

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
EAX 2, Support removed with 1.30 update and replaced with software.
Royalty free audio


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
American English and British English available.
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Retail only up to 1.27b; 1.28 and higher not supported.[citation needed]
Fan-made localization, supports 1.27b; download.
Supports versions 1.26, 1.27b and 1.29.2. Link to the creator's topic.


Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
Local play
12 Up to patch 1.29, use Nucleus Co-op.
LAN play
Online play
24 The official servers were shut down on January 28, 2020[4]; use Warcraft 3 Loader to play in unofficial servers.[5]

Connection types

Type Native Notes
It's was shut down along with the official servers.
Direct IP
Use LanCraft.


Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP 6112, 6113-6119
UDP 6112
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) support status is unknown.

VR support

3D modes State Notes
User created game profile, (DGVoodoo2) see requirements in the vorpx forum profile introduction.

Issues fixed

Running the game on Intel-based Macs

Even with the patch, the map editor will not be compatible with Intel Macs

As of patch v1.27a, the game can be installed natively on Intel Macs without requiring PowerPC application support.

"Windows NT is not supported"

Only early builds of Reign of Chaos did not officially support the NT line of Windows operating systems.
The related warning when running the installer from pre-2007 discs can be ignored.
Install the latest retail patch

Windows Vista, 7, 8.1, and 10 compatibility

Official support for Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 was added in patch v1.27a.
Install the latest retail patch

The Frozen Throne installer does not recognize a Reign of Chaos installation

This may occur if the Reign of Chaos installer fails to deploy its uninstaller in %WINDIR%, which is the case with the 2007 BestSeller Series re-release, which has an altered setup. The Frozen Throne checks for Reign of Chaos by querying the existence of the uninstaller file and will refuse to proceed until those files are present.

Place dummy files in the Windows directory[6]
  1. Create blank files named War3Uninst.dat and War3Uninst.exe
  2. Place them in %WINDIR%
  3. Reattempt installing The Frozen Throne

The Frozen Throne installer stuck on "Waiting for files to close"

This may occur if Reign of Chaos was installed and opened just prior, as the executable will still be active in the background even after exiting the game.
Open the task manager and end the war3.exe process

Black screen with audio for in-game cinematics

Blizzard's video codec does not get properly registered during installation on newer operating systems.

Manually registering the codecs[7]
  1. Run the Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. Type regsvr32 "<path-to-game>\"
To manually unregister it, run the same command but with the /u parameter before the file path.
Alternative solution: download and install the LAVFilters[8]

Low performance in Wine

Force the game to run with OpenGL rendering[citation needed]
  • See the API table for details.
Run the game in Windowed mode[citation needed]


This fix has reportedly worked well on older Intel integrated GPUs.[citation needed]

Microstutter on modern machines

Use RivaTuner to limit the FPS to 64[9]
Prevent front buffer locking
  1. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Blizzard Entertainment\Warcraft III\Video.
  2. Double-click on lockfb.
  3. Set the value to 0 and click OK.


This approach will only work up to patch 1.26a and affects the d3d8 renderer.

Other information


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 8, 9, 11 Version 1.26a and older use Direct3D 8
OpenGL 2 Use the -opengl or -graphicsapi OpenGL2 command line argument to force OpenGL rendering in Windows.
Shader Model support 2
ExecutablePPC16-bit 32-bit 64-bit Notes
Support for later versions of Windows after XP was added in 2007.
macOS (OS X)
Initially PowerPC-only until patch 1.21, which converted the game to a universal binary, but dropped Classic support in the process.

Later on in patch 1.27a, the game's app was made 64-bit to support 10.10+.
Mac OS (Classic)


Middleware Notes
Audio FMOD Dolby Surround, Miles Emulated 3D and Creative Labs EAX2before patch 1.30.
Multiplayer Classic Official servers were shut down in 28 January 2020. Since 1 June 2021 update from retail version WC3 classic to Reforged don't work anymore. Use Warcraft 3 Loader to play in unofficial servers.

Command line arguments

Command[10] Description
-window Runs the game in windowed mode
-fullscreen Runs the game in borderless windowed mode
-nativefullscr Runs the game in fullscreen mode
-nowfpause Prevents the game from pausing upon losing focus
-d3d Runs the game using Direct3D (obsolete as of 1.29)
-opengl Runs the game using OpenGL (obsolete as of 1.29)
-swtnl Runs the game using Software T&L (obsolete as of 1.29)
-graphicsapi [option] Runs the game using selected graphics API (as of 1.29): OpenGL2, Direct3D9. Using other options is reported to crash the game.
-classic Runs the base game (Reign of Chaos) instead of The Frozen Throne.
-loadfile [filename] Immediately runs the game from the specified save file. When applied to the map editor executable, it applies the same functionality to the specified map file
-datadir [path] Forces the game to load all files from the specified folder (useful for mods)
-crash Intentionally crashes the game to test the crash log output
-locale [locale] Switches the game's language

System requirements

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 98
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium II 400 MHz
System memory (RAM) 128 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 700 MB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia RIVA TNT
3dfx Voodoo 3
Intel i810
ATI Rage 128
8 MB of VRAM
DirectX 8.1 compatible
Sound (audio device) 16-bit sound card
Other 4X CD-ROM
macOS (OS X)
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 10.3.9 to 10.6.8
Processor (CPU) PowerPC G3 400 MHz
System memory (RAM) 128 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 700 MB
Video card (GPU) 16 MB of VRAM


  1. Warcraft III/Patch 1.28 - Wowpedia - Your wiki guide to the World of Warcraft - last accessed on 2023-01-06
  2. Verified by User:KyoriAsh on 2023-01-03
    1280 x 960 vs 1600 x 900 running on Simplified Chinese version of
  3. 3.0 3.1 Verified by User:Keith on 2017-09-19
  4. Warcraft III: Reforged Missing and Removed Features - last accessed on 2023-06-08
  5. Warcraft 3 Loader for PvPGN - last accessed on 2023-06-08
  6. [SOLVED] Warcraft 3 The Frozen Throne : WC3 Required to Install - last accessed on 9 June 2023
  7. Verified by User:Plok on 2022-02-09
  8. Forums - Warcraft 3: Cinematics are black - last accessed on May 2023
  9. Verified by User:Flang on 2018-09-06
  10. Complete Command-Line Arguments Guide | HIVE