Early Thoughts on StarCraft II

I’ve been looking forward to StarCraft II for a long time. A very long time. I was disappointed back in 2002 when Blizzard released WarCraft III. I would have much rather had another StarCraft game. In general I’m much more interested in science fiction than fantasy. Interestingly enough, I don’t actually like strategy games, but there is something about StarCraft that has always appealed to me.

The mission briefings on the command ship will offer a whole new dimension of storytelling.

In preparation for StarCraft II‘s release on July 27, I just replayed the single player missions of the original game. Talk about a pain in the butt. The game was still fun, but the single player was really lacking. There really wasn’t much of a story in the game. Well, there was a story, but it was only told in the mission briefings. The missions themselves were mostly generic destroy-the-enemy-base type missions, with only a few exceptions, and it didn’t have the in-mission storytelling that WarCraft III has. WarCraft III, however, proved that Blizzard knows how to tell a story in a single player RTS. This makes me look forward to StarCraft II all the more, because I know that this time around we are going to get story throughout the missions, not to mention that briefings are going to be totally different, allowing the player to walk around the command ship and talk (or not talk to) various advisers and friends.

I mention the story telling aspects of the game, because that is what I’m looking forward to most. I’ve waited twelve years to find out Kerrigan’s and Raynor’s fates. The first game ended with the Zerg winning. Blizzard seems to have a history of the bad guys winning. (WarCraft III ended with the Undead winning, though it is my understanding that that plot was continued in World of WarCraft.) Now I’m not one to say that the bad guys shouldn’t win, they probably do in real life, but I think I’m in agreement with a lot of people, that the Zerg shouldn’t win. They’re a parasite, and no one likes parasites (except possibly those parasites that are in symbiosis with our bodies).

Anyone that has heard anything about StarCraft II knows that it is going to be released as three games. One game for each of the Terran, Zerg, and Protoss campaigns. In July we are getting the Terran campaign Wings of Liberty (though I understand that we will get a few Protoss missions in this campaign). This doesn’t bother me at all, as long as Blizzard delivers. Blizzard has said that each of these campaigns will be the size of a full game. Wings of Liberty is supposed to have around thirty missions, which is the size of the original game, so I cannot complain about the model that Blizzard is using to release the games, except, of course, that it’s going to be another three or four years before I find out the ending to the story.

The reason I stated that the single player is what interests me in this game, is because I know how multiplayer is going to be. I’ve played the beta, and I’ve played the original game, and StarCraft II is going to be no different than any other Blizzard RTS, unless you are willing to put in hours and hours into this game, you will get killed. Frankly, I don’t have the time to play games that much. Hell, I don’t want to put that much time into any one game. I’d rather play a different game. Multiplayer wouldn’t be fun at all for me. Getting killed before you know what is going on just isn’t fun.

Multiplayer is going to be murder.

That’s how StarCraft II is going to be. People are going to like the game, but they’re going to find that they are getting murdered in multiplayer. Blizzard boasts that they have a new matchmaking system that should put players together where they can actually compete, but they said the same thing about WarCraft III, and I know from experience that that was a lie. No, you will only get competitive if you are willing to play this game for hours a day, every day, and you’ll have to study the replays too. That’s hardcore stuff. I’m sorry, but that is a waste of time in my opinion. A game should be fun, not a chore. Maybe for some people it’s worth it to put that much time into a game, maybe it makes them feel like a champion. Maybe that would be the case for me if I cared, but I don’t care, and I’ll never find out.

Now, it is likely that StarCraft II will have some good multiplayer mods. WarCraft III did, and Blizzard is saying that the toolset for developing mods is even better. I won’t be playing multiplayer mods either, because in my experience, even the most fun multiplayer games are still a waste of time. I’ve never liked multiplayer games, mostly because there is no story in them. I think video games are a good medium for storytelling, but storytelling has never worked very well in multiplayer. (Left 4 Dead is getting close to being the exception.) It is my understanding that even the MMOs don’t have much of a story.

Well, I think I’ve gone on enough about the multiplayer, I obviously won’t be putting much time into it. Maybe I’ll play a few matches, just so I can get myself frustrated and prove to myself my point. That’s why I didn’t play much of the beta, too frustrating. I’m interested in the story though. That’s why I’m getting the game, that’s why I’ll be getting all three games. I certainly hope the game is good in that regard. I don’t expect to be disappointed.

1 thought on “Early Thoughts on StarCraft II”

  1. the game is spectacular in terms of the gameplay and graphics and of course the new characters; but, i totally agree with you that they kill the enthusiasm of gamers on playing multiplayer because you can only play it thru battlenet and opinion this really sucks because many players out there still prefer playing in LAN.

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