Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 23, 2012

Email: To Make Starcraft 2 More Casual Friendly, They Need More Auto Casting

First, I remember you mentioning months ago how SC2 burned you out as it just required too much practice to be good enough to get to the real strategy of the game.
Second, (NSFW due to profanity) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7rH1C964uA
The guy curses a lot and may be a little offensive, but both of you have come to the same point, but looking from the top and from the bottom. SC2 is not fun enough coming from the bottom. It’s not social enough as well. B.net 2.0 sucks and we can only hope we can get back to the good old days of custom maps when Heart of the Swarm releases. 

This then gave me an idea that someone can implement in SC2 right now: use more auto-casting. We all know that each race was given an artificial APM tax besides the usual supply block stuff, the Queen, the Chrono Boost, and the Orbital Command. All these things make it so that you have to return to your base, while also giving some alternate options for their use in the mid and late game.
My proposal? Make them auto-cast. When the Queen comes out, whenever she’s already set to Spawn Larva. You’ll have to make the choice to turn that  off if you want to spread creep or heal up units during an upcoming battle. Wen the Orbital Command comes online it’ll always drop a Mule on the most healthy mineral patch near a Command Center or equivalent you own. This would make it auto drop on your newer expansions, and you’d have to turn it off if you we’re going to need the energy for scans. Chrono Boosts could just auto target whatever was building the most expensive unit or upgrade, as that’s usually what you’re focusing them on anyway.
And why stop there? You can set buildings to auto build units, so that you only have to worry about rally points. You could even set different buildings to make different units. You have to also be careful of drops still, as if you’re not careful all you’ll have enough for are zerglings when what you desperately need are zerglings with hydralisk support.
While this mode would need some balance tweaks, you could build it right now with SC2’s map creator (although I’m not touching that myself). If it gets popular enough, Blizzard could then easily make it into an official mode in the next expansion without any licensing issues while we all real the benefits. If someone wants to entrepreneur this idea quickly and try to make money off their map seller system instead, I’m giving this one for free. 
What do you think Malstrom? 

Starcraft 2 is a tragic game. Tragedy means not that ‘something bad happened’ but that ‘something bad happened that you could prevent’.Starcraft 1 showed us how it is supposed to be done. I don’t mean Starcraft 2 should be Starcraft 1 units and design with modern graphics and technology. I mean that Starcraft 2 was designed around E-Sports while Starcraft 1 was designed around fun sci-fi cliches and differentiation of three races.

Here is what I notice is different in my playing behavior concerning Starcraft 1 compared to Starcraft 2.

In Starcraft 1, I really liked the single player campaign because it was fun to play as three different perspectives. I would often replay it.

In Starcraft 2, I never replayed the missions after I beat it on Brutal. While I liked the single player gameplay, I despised the story mostly because it was locked in one perspective (Terran). The tradition of RTS single player is to offer multiple perspectives which was not done. It feels incomplete like only a third of the single player is present.

In Starcraft 1, I had fun playing some multiplayer games. Most of them were team games with friends. I didn’t try to play ‘serious 1v1 ladder’ because I did that in earlier RTS games and was burned out on things like Cases Ladder. One thing I enjoyed was how spontaneous the games could be since the people were so random. Sometimes you’d be playing against total noobs. Other times, you’d be playing against expert players. It was great fun.

In Starcraft 2, I got very bored of the multiplayer. You are forced to play ladder as there is no incentive to play non-ladder matches. The ladder puts you against 50/50 win/loss ratio which is great if you love climbing ladders but horrible if you want to play for fun. It is not fun ‘moving down’ the ladder. And it is also not fun ‘moving up’ the ladder. The higher you go, the less casual the game gets. You could start playing Starcraft 2 casually and then, by no fault of your own, the game becomes hostile to you. You want a relaxing evening where instead you are cursing yourself because you screwed up your build order which costs you the game (but didn’t cost you the game at earlier ladder levels).

In Starcraft 1, it felt like a strategy game of Chess in real time.

In Starcraft 2, it feels like a real time game of Speed with some strategy elements.

In Starcraft 1, there was no ladder anxiety even if you wished to climb the ladder. Why? You could make multiple accounts.

In Starcraft 2, there is much ladder anxiety because the user is locked to one account that is transparent to all to see. If you’re not interested in climbing in the ladder in the first place, why would this make you want to play more? It would make people want to stop and find a game that is fun which is what they did.

In Starcraft 1, much much fun was had in crazy resource maps like Big Game Hunters that were 4 vs 4.

In Starcraft 2, there are no crazy resource maps because everything is ‘Blizzard approved’ maps which are E-Sports related. Blizzard has enough RTS experience to know that most users don’t want to play E-Sports style especially in team games (ESPECIALLY with randomized teammates). Blizzard doesn’t care as they want only one style of play to be adopted which is E-Sports style. No Big Game Hunter maps are allowed.

In Starcraft 1, there was amazing music.

In Starcraft 2, the music is forgettable.

In Starcraft 1, the cutscenes sparked our imaginations.

In Starcraft 2, the cutscenes shrink our imaginations.

In Starcraft 1, the map editor was fun to use and third party programs were used if you wanted to get ‘serious’ with programming elements of it.

In Starcraft 2, the map editor is not fun to use the programming elements are shoved up in front which frustrates people even more. I remember with Warcraft 3 so many people making DOTA type maps or RPG maps and all. Yet, there is still no simplified hero system that people can use. You have to go to a lot of work to get it to work while in Warcraft 3, it was just copy and paste another hero. Just allowing simple copy and paste would be tremendous to Starcraft 2’s modding scene.

Starcraft 1 was just a game people played to have fun.

Starcraft 2 is played most often for kids to flex their egos in imaginary ladders.

After quitting WoW (for good), I tried to get back into Starcraft 2. I was really excited, doing pretty well, and then I just stopped playing cold. Why? The game wasn’t fun. That’s all that needs to be said.

People say, “RTS games are dying. Oh noes.” But I’m playing OLD RTS games and I’m HAVING A BLAST. I’m actually revisiting Dark Reign 1 and having a grand time with it even though that game came out before Starcraft 1.

What Blizzard considers value is not what I consider value.

Blizzard says E-Sports is of great value. I disagree.

Blizzard says extremely fast gameplay that is faster than the normal person can handle is a value. I disagree.

Blizzard says that Hollywood production values and story line is a value. I disagree.

Blizzard says dividing up the single player campaign to do one race at a time so they can ‘flesh it out’ is a value. I disagree.

Blizzard says the map editor being so user unfriendly because it has so much ‘depth’ is a value. I disagree.

I think Blizzard developers are out of touch with the common gamer’s wants and needs. The myth is that Starcraft 1 was some sort of ‘hardcore game’. This is completely not true. Starcraft 1 was the definitive ‘casual’ RTS game. There were many RTS games out there at the time. Starcraft was popular because it was a more casual friendly game than the other RTS games.

Starcraft 2 isn’t suffering from a ‘small detail’ problem that a fix in design or new unit would fix. Starcraft 2 is suffering from a ‘big picture’ problem that is rooted in the senior developers at Blizzard. The decision to design Starcraft 2 around E-Sports was a bad decision. The ‘ladder part’ of the game should be a branch the person can choose, but Blizzard made it the main trunk. The only course I think Blizzard has to improve the game is to turn that trunk into a branch by developing the non-E-Sports parts of the game.

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