Agree with you on vagabond. He wad my favorite in wc3 followed by eisen. I didnt really care for the rest. I really hoped one of radio Rollins conspiracies played into the narrative but they never did.
As a fan of the Last Jedi like me, the rise of skywalker was just a bunch of mismatched ideas that lead to nothing. although I still wouldn't mind seeing the supposed director's cut If there really is one.
I agree and it's something I've been thinking about - why don't the WC3 characters work as well for me as their counterparts in WC1? It's not a question of character complexity - none are super deep or complex. The problem I think, is the move from "game" to "game + movie" that WC3 is attempting.
In WC1 the main characters besides you are the AI wingmen. As characters they all fit into pretty simple archetypes:
The quiet, if not so flashy pros - Spirit and Knight
The mavericks - Hunter and Maverick
The old hands - Paladin and Bossman
The detached brainiac - Angel
The killer - Iceman
These are people who have been designed to be supporting characters in a video game. Their personalities seem to be created first and foremost to give the player a unique AI script to fly with during different missions of the game. As the player goes thru the Vega campaign and basically writes their own story, the behavior of the AI wingmen helps make that story unique and memorable.
I'll never forget my run through Hubble's Star 1 when I lost all my fighter's weapons during the duel with Dakhath and the Dorkirs at Nav 2 and flew interference while ordering Bossman to pick off each enemy ship in succession. True to his character and AI script he followed orders, we knocked out the targets, and went home to well-deserved praise from the Colonel. Even more, look at people's expressions of frustration whenever they fly a mission with Maniac - his script constantly seems to screw up and put you in danger, but every time his **** ship interposes itself between me and the Kilrathi I'm tailing his character seems more alive. Maybe we don't know what their childhoods were like or what they plan to do after the war, but they feel like real comrades aboard the Claw.
Now let's look at WC3 - once again the characters you interact with are mostly your supporting wingmen.
Hobbes - Kilrathi defector who faces both enemy guns and the suspicion of your shipmates
Cobra - former slave, HATES Kilrathi, her suspicions of Hobbes' treachery aren't believed due to this same prejudice.
Vagabond - drifter with a tragic past who finds a home on the Victory
Vacquero - the citizen soldier who wants to finish the war and begin his "real" life
Maniac - still the maverick
Flint - 2nd-generation pilot who is torn between her by-the-book instincts and desire for revenge
Flash - the mouthy transfer from the rear echelon who grows up a bit under your guidance
See the difference? These seem to be characters intended for a novel or movie, with backstories and arcs that are intended to play out over the course of the story. While their AI script behavior does differ in the missions it all just feels "mushier" to me because there's not as direct a correlation between the AI behavior and what we see out of the cockpit in the cutscenes (with the exception of Maniac).
Even worse, because WC3 is trying to be both a movie and a video game it has a lot of constraints on it. Running through all these arcs just isn't doable with ~3 hours of footage available. Having to take player choice into account is a huge burden, and the space limitations of CDs meant that even some of the crucial footage that was shot had to be left out!
So yeah, in short: Making a video game is a great big artistic/technical project, making a movie is a great big artistic/technical project. Making a video game movie multiplies your problems and gives you competing demands. Thus, I found a couple of drawings and text used for the WC1 characters more compelling than the performances of some very good actors in WC3.