I decided to do some research with gaming going on in South Korea (AT THIS MOMENT) as well as how people are playing Starcraft 2 years after it has been released. Here are my results:
>Americans are introverted when it comes to video games compared to the rest of the world.
>Starcraft 2 was one of the top ten games played in South Korea for about a month when it launched. It dropped and never returned.
>Diablo 3, recently launched in South Korea, is currently in the top ten games played in South Korea and has been for several months. How long it lasts remains to be seen. However, it has surpassed Starcraft 2 in popularity as a game being played.
>League of Legends is currently the number one game played in South Korea. It is estimated that League of Legends will surpass Starcraft: Brood War’s height in popularity.
>League of Legends is doing some interesting things in its Korean marketing. They have it set up where you have a better time with LoL in the gaming cafes than you do at home. You gain more points in the cafes. This drives people out to public and into the cafes where more non-LoL players see the game and become interested.
>MMOs are still very popular in South Korea.
>South Koreans play their games very casually like anywhere else. The hardcore South Korean player is a niche just as hardcore are niche anywhere in the world. However, South Koreans play their games very socially. People will think there is something wrong with you if you play a single player game. People go to Internet cafes after work and play game with their co-workers.
>Brood War became very popular in South Korea in part due to its low system requirements but also due to piracy.
>The DRM on Starcraft 2 along with Free to Play games such as LoL and MMOs have made Starcraft 2 non-existent in South Korean cafes.
>Most Brood War games in South Korea were not played by Korean kids dehydrating themselves in expert 1vs1 matches. Most of the games played were BGH games like anywhere else in the world.
>Part of BW’s popularity was the map editor and the UMS scene. The obtuseness of SC 2′s editor and Bnet 2.0′s custom games finder and all ruined much of the fun. Bnet 2.0 can be described as removing what made original Bnet social and replacing it with Facebook links… and half functional chat channels that only have at max 200 people.
>Starcraft 2 is more successful in the West than in South Korea. Many people viewed Starcraft 2 in the West as a way to ‘catch up’ to the Koreans and is many Westerners’ first acquaintence with E-sports.
>Since Starcraft 2′s market is the West, which actually pays for its games, it is unlikely Starcraft 2 will go ‘free to play’. However, it is said that Starcraft 2 must go ‘free to play’ in South Korea in order to compete. If Blizzard does something like this, it may be just for Korea and probably targeting their cafes.
>Due to Starcraft 2′s success in the Western markets, South Korea isn’t as relevant as before.
>However, Starcraft 2′s success in the West is tepid at best. It has the RTS market all to itself. Starcraft 1 faced an ocean of competitors and smaller populations in the markets.
>Starcraft 2 is considered a massive disappoinment to Brood War fans in South Korea. Starcraft 2′s current fans, especially with so many being in the Western market, is due to not being as familiar with Brood War. You can’t get disappointed if you aren’t as familiar with the first game.
>The top twenty games for August 2012 in South Korea are:
1. Blade and Soul
2. League of Legends
3. Diablo 3
4. Sudden Attack
5. FIFA Online 2
7. Starcraft BW
9. Warcraft 3
11. Dungeon Fighter
13. Lineage 2
14. Kart Rider
15. Special Force
16. No clue
17. Starcraft 2
19. Counter Strike Online
20. World of Warcraft
Warcraft 3 is being played more than Starcraft 2!
Blizzard’s current problems with Diablo 3 and WoW point to a company wide problem. However, people say ‘Starcraft 2 did well.’ Did it? I’ve always had gut problems with Starcraft 2 and so did you reader, you just didn’t realize it yet.
Here are some of the gut problems I have in Starcraft 2.
1) The storyline is horrible. It is so character driven like it was made by talentless Hollywood writers (which apparently looks like this was the case). RTS story has always been a story about the give and take of factions. Character stories don’t belong in video games let alone in RTS games.
2) The editor is as fun as sticking a fork in your eye. I’ve done a ton with the editors in Blizzard’s other RTS games. SC 2 editor is annoying, not fun to learn, and gives more depth to things I don’t want. Depth should be another layer to the editor like going into JASS for Warcraft 3.
3) The new units are lame. The immortal is boring compared to the reaver. The roach is boring compared to the lurker. I’m all for new units, but the goal is to make a more interesting game, not a more boring game. The only reason why those boring units are there is because Starcraft 2 developers believe they are entitled to ‘creativity’. It is not fun to work on a game and not add anything creativitly. Guess what? Too bad. Game development is a job, not a time to be fun. Gamers are the ones who are supposed to have all the fun. And does anyone like the Thor?
4) The iconic units don’t behave like they used to. Zerglings seem totally different than what they are. Hydras certainly are different and are worthless off creep.
5) Babysitting mechanics are the worst. Does anyone find ‘creep spread’ to be an exciting choice? Is managing your queens an exciting choice? Is making sure the chrono boost is being used an exciting choice? These are frustrating process elements that aren’t very fun in the game.
6) Starcraft 2 funnels everyone into ladder games for the primary way of playing the game. Most people play multiplayer games to hang out with their friends, not to climb ladders. RTS games have always been primarily social games, not competitive games.
7) The DRM in that everything multiplayer is online does ruin much of the fun. Starcraft 1 was all about having LAN parties. And I’ve noticed that DRM lowers the value of the game. DRM, even if invisible, does affect the value and affect the fun.
Hindsight is 20/20. I think the DRM is really hurting the game especially in the Eastern Hemisphere. It’s not that the game has a price tag (Starcraft 1 had a price tag). It is that piracy did help spread the game and might actually have some beneficial effects.
HOTS seems to be doing some steps right. There are unranked ladder matches, adding clans, being able to play in any region (it’ll be fun to play against Koreans), and the Zerg look more ferocious than ever. However, if the leaked ending is accurate, the story is going to be worse than ever.
What made RTS so much fun was the fun universes that Warcraft and Command and Conquer created. I am stunned that Blizzard seems interested in destroying their own universe. Why, oh why, are they letting Hollywood tradesmen anywhere near their IPs?