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Page history last edited by Softmints 1 year, 5 months ago

Welcome to the Rise of Winterchill Homepage!


This game now has a standalone sequel called Causeway! Go check it out!



Stable Versions:

RoW_71n.w3x (July 2016)

RoW_57w.w3x (December 2010)

RoW_43h.w3x (May 2008)

Other Versions


Useful Stuff:

How To Play

Hosting Bots

Streaming on Twitch.tv



Rise of Winterchill (RoW) is a custom scenario for Warcraft III of the AoS genre (commercially known as a MOBA, or lane-pushing-game). It was developed from 2007-2014 by Softmints.


Here is a quick list of how RoW differs from similar games:


  • Thirty well-crafted heroes with an emphasis on complicated skill-shots.
  • There are no stuns. 
  • There are no wards. 
  • There are no last hits.
  • There are no random effects. 
  • The jungle is a team-oriented objective, rather than a solo pursuit.
  • Towers give team gold as they are damaged, rather than on death.
  • A varied selection of items, including several which customize hero abilities. 


The Sidebar on the right contains other useful links for navigation.



Some gameplay highlights compilation videos by user Separation:



For more RoW videos, visit http://www.youtube.com/user/shields118



Click to enlarge



The Playable Characters aspire to provide a variety of fun playstyles which reward player skill. Unavoidable, easy-to-use abilities such as Storm Bolt are kept to a minimum, as are complete disables such as stuns. Abilities often have ludicrously abstruse (but hilarious and very-satisfying-when-you-nail-it) aiming, such as Caber Toss which requires alignment with a tree, Thunderbolt which needs a unit to be standing exactly between Tempest and where he wants to hit, and Arc Arrow, which curves more based on how much Pythoness turns before firing it.


  • Disables are at best effort not stuns. Heroes will find ways to limit your options without removing all of them at once, which keeps gameplay more dynamic.
  • Trees and other terrain features see a lot of interaction. Knockback is a major contributor (as being knocked into trees deals hefty bonus damage), but several heroes have special interaction with the landscape.
  • Some abilities are classified as 'attacks', and benefit from attack modifiers such as life/mana leech, or cleave. This allows for much greater item customisation.
  • Powerup items such as the coins which are dropped by troops can be picked up remotely by some abilities, and some heroes and items can create powerups which heal or restore mana.
  • Ability effects (most commonly damage) can vary based on stats, and several items can additionally customise abilities to improve their damage, duration, radius of effect, or add extra effects such as inflicting poison.



Resources come in from a few routes:


  • As the troops die, they give gold and experience to nearby enemy heroes (no killing blow required).
  • The troops occasionally drop a coin when they die, which can be picked up by anyone! Coins give gold, but disappear after a short time, so it's a race to grab them.
  • Player kills gives a nice gold bonus, which is evenly split between all participants. The experience from hero kills is weighted offset level advantages.

  • Towers give gold to the enemy team for every point of damage they take! This mechanic is called 'Pillage Gold', and it makes pushing (early or late) very lucrative and encourages offensive, risk-taking gameplay.
  • Creep Camps are hostile monsters in the jungle which can give gold and experience when killed. They have a special set of mechanics.
  • Players will receive some gold and  experience per minute passively.
  • Players can pool or be pooled up to 200 gold from their allies. This creates the potential for more starting item choices, as well as allowing lending to finish an item quickly, without making pooling rampant.



Items can be difficult to learn in any lane-pushing game. RoW likes to keep it simple. There are currently 83 items, and none of them have compatibility issues like "attack modifiers" or "orb effects". It's usually okay to buy the same item more than once, which means more potential builds with less learning curve.


In most other lane-pushing games, it is rarely viable to buy the recipe of an item first. In RoW, recipes have an auto-complete function which will check the items you have and your current gold, and finish the recipe if you can afford it. Not only does it make shopping quick and easy; this feature can be used anywhere: buying a recipe as a placeholder to later complete the item on-lane is a common tactic. This replaces the need for a courier and its micromanagement. RoW also introduced the very handy -i command, where typing "-i dmg" buys the basic +damage item.




Firstly, RoW does not have a large (or competitive) enough community for there to be a well established meta. The following are simply common trends:


  • Matches last for about 50 minutes.
  • Roles are much less concrete than in other genre-games, because heroes are generally versatile. Players can comfortably stick to playing a small pool of their favourite heroes. 
  • Laning is often exclusively focused on killing or zoning out enemy players (attacking enemy heroes does not draw troop aggro + no last hits).
  • Team fights tend to last longer and are largely decided by who lands their abilities. Fights typically cover a lot of ground as heroes manoeuvre or flee.
  • Pillage gold from towers means that (unusually for the genre) a pushed lane is optimal for gold income. 
  • Pushing wins games much more reliably than hero kills.


Other neat stuff:

  • If you hate shuffling teleport scrolls around your inventory at base, RoW's Autoportal makes life a lot easier.
  • There is no unconditional invisibility, and no passive anti-invisibility. There are much better mind games surrounding the mechanic this way.
  • Rather than an announcer for kill streaks, RoW rewards players for getting particularly difficult kills with their aimed abilities. Often even the dead player can appreciate that at least they died to a good shot.
  • Plenty of bonus and hidden content for fun.




RoW is the successor to Softmints' old project, DotA Outland, which was started in 2003 and ended in 2006 (when work on RoW began). Some content has been carried forward, but most importantly the style in which it was made. Dota Outland was never a success in terms of bugs, balance, or efficient coding, but many people loved the character of the map, and it served as a great learning experience.


There have been over 550 versions of RoW released to date (many of them deprecated after a Warcraft patch), and the project file has undergone over 12,000 saves. All of these versions are available for download in archive format from the Files & Pages tab on this site.


For insight on RoW's development process, and other lane-pushing game design, check out Lane-Pushing Games.


Browse the wiki: 




Rise of Winterchill is free for anyone to play. It is not free to be redistributed commercially (that includes any website with advertising or any form of making profit), to be altered, or to have any of its content copied or used in any manner without explicit permission from Softmints. All rights reserved! If you wish to contact me, my details are available from the Lane-Pushing Games site.


The game file includes short audio segments from various sources, which belong to their respective owners and are included under Fair Use.

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