ReluctanceCraft is a custom map for Warcraft III with certain modified gameplay elements. It was done using Blizzard's prepackaged Warcraft III World Editor software, and requires "Warcraft III" and "Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne" to run. It is intended to be played as a normal game of Warcraft III against a computer opponent would be.
There were four main changes I made to the ordinary gameplay experience of Warcraft III in this piece. First, I replaced all of the human unit sounds with recordings of myself. Secondly, I changed the AI and units of the computer opponent so that it is completely disarmed, being preprogrammed and only able to create "peaceful" units and a non-violent Orc society. I also lowered the amount of gold in the goldmines across the map, such that natural resources required to create and expand are much more scarce. Finally, I removed all of the "neutral creeps" that populate the stage so that the only opposition on the map is the peaceful AI. This ultimately preserves the gameplay for the player, since none of his units or abilities have changed, yet the game is certainly different. One minor change I made was that I deleted the victory conditions, making it impossible to "win" or "lose" in this map.
This piece is ultimately an experimentation in appropriating and recontextualizing not a game, but an act of gaming. I very intentionally left the gameplay mechanics of the player intact, for I am not trying to create a new game but a new way of playing the game. First, by cutting down on the resources the player has at his disposal, the need to expand becomes much more urgent. As the player expands into new gold mines however, they too collapse too quickly and sooner or later the player must invade the peaceful village of the Orcs. The game is no longer about competing and warring, but about the act of killing and the pleasure of destruction. Yet in offering no resistance, how can we get pleasure in gameplay? Simply by watching our troops march in and lay waste to everything it sees? Warcraft III and it's predecessor, Starcraft, are two RTS games that stress the necessity of expansion and controlling resources in order to win. But now suddenly your units question your authority with every click, and your only companions are non-violent green freaks who hold the only plentiful source of gold, the one thing you constantly need to consume to expand. By shifting the focus and disarming the computer, I am questioning the game's "procedural rhetoric" (Ian Bogost's term) and trying to demonstrate that a game about war, expansion, and competition is not apolitical.
The map may be downloaded under this page's attachments page.