I’m working as well as taking classes so I don’t have as much time to post as I did. I am slowly digesting the Blizzcon.
With Starcraft 1, I was a huge fan of the multiplayer and custom maps but disliked the single player campaign. The single player campaign of RTS games was essentially training wheels on how to play multiplayer (except with creating bad habits. New RTS players who played online always, always turtled because that works in campaigns).
With Starcraft 2, I despise the multiplayer except in OMGWTFBBQ mood of 4v4 or 3v3 games. Yes, I’ve climbed up the ladder to Master, but I don’t give a damn anymore. When you have an outside life, high APM games are not fun after dinner. The custom modes of Starcraft 2 is disappointing, but I do need to recheck it. The map editor does not provide enough ‘toys’ in terms of art assets or RPG systems to create something interesting as, say, Warcraft 3’s map editor did.
What I love, love, love about Starcraft 2 is the single player. Not the lame story (WE DON’T CARE ABOUT CHARACTERS IN RTS GAMES, BLIZZARD. WE CARE ABOUT FACTIONS. IT IS ‘TWO FACTIONS BATTLING FOR DOMINANCE’, NOT ‘GET TO KNOW CHARACTER EMOTIONS’ IN DUMB METROID OTHER M FASHION!) Ahem. The single player is very fun and is fun to replay after a while. You can raise or lower the difficulty to get it to be how you want. The missions always feel unique and interesting. Wings of Liberty though might be a tad too hard especially on the highest difficulty. (I’ve beaten them all on the highest difficulty and got all the stupid achievements. Actually, did it all within days of the campaigns being released.)
A Starcraft 2 campaign can give you 30 hours of gameplay time easily. I consider 30 hours of ‘high quality’ time to be optimal, about the same time as Final Fantasy 6 or another SNES RPG. The campaigns play more like a RTS RPG but not based on single characters (well, there was leveling up the Kerrigan) as in Warcraft 3. It’s fun. The atmosphere of the game is really cool. The story is hokey.
I really, really wish we had the game and expansions be all three races in each. I really despise this one race per expansion. The big reason why Starcraft 2’s story cannot succeed is that it cannot provide perspectives. RTS game stories show perspectives from different factions’ point of views. The Orc point of view is very funny in Warcraft 1 and 2 for example. The Zerg have a point of view too that is cool in Starcraft 1. Then there is the Nod point of view in the Command and Conquer games. The point of view is so important that the director of the Warcraft movie insisted that it be part of the movie as he sees that so integral to the experience. Blizzard screwed up by not providing perspective in the race campaigns and only by viewing them in a linear matter. Terran then Zerg then Protoss. None of the campaigns tell us the perspective of these races, only the perspective of three characters: Raynor, Kerrigan, and Artanis. We don’t care about the characters; we care about the factions.
The single player Protoss campaign looks to be fun as hell to play. I can’t wait for that. But let’s talk about the multiplayer changes.
The biggest change is that the game will start with 12 harvestors instead of 4 (or is it 5 or 6?). I’ve long complained how BORING the beginning of the game is. Even the E-sports announcers take a nap during this part and talk about their favorite food or some other bullshit. No one wants to see someone making harvestors. This not only brings more action faster into the game, it elminates so many FUCKING BORING BUILD ORDERS. “Build these number of harvestors and then this building, then that supply building, then some harvestors here, and blah blah, I am so lame that I practice build orders in my sci fi video game because I don’t know what fun actually is.”
The less mineral patches sounds good but will create havoc on team maps. Hopefully, it won’t apply to team maps. There just aren’t that many areas to expand to on a 8 player map.
The multiplayer unit additions and changes are interesting in theory, but we have to see them in practice. What I love is how Blizzard is aligning the gameplay of Starcraft 2 more in how I prefer to play. In Wings of Liberty onward, I liked the Terrans. Why? I love high mobility and harrassment options that marines + medivacs + siege tanks + other terran toys. Zerg is so lame with spreading creep and getting those queens to spawn larva. (In single player Zerg campaign, larva spawned automatically). Protoss aren’t fun to me because their units are dork like and don’t have much mobility. I do like the stalkers and their blink though.
More offense capabilities and harassment is what I want.
For inquiring minds, the Blizzcon panel of the Starcraft 2 Legacy of the Void on single player and multiplayer panels are available on Youtube. I do worry that Starcraft 2 trilogy will be like the Matrix trilogy and go backwards in player excitement: Awesome – Eh -Blargh. Hopefully the expansion will not be called ‘Void of the Legacy’.
With Starcraft 2 trilogy done, hopefully Warcraft 4 can get started.