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Blizzard Answers Your Questions and More

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the life-in-the-crosshairs dept.

368

Last week we asked for interview questions to help supplement our face-to-face interviews at Blizzcon. Over the course of the two-day con we were able to sit down with StarCraft II's Dustin Browder, Diablo III's Leonard Boyarsky, WoW's J. Allen Brack, and Battle.net expert Rob Pardo to answer a few questions on each of the four major camps in Blizzard at the moment. Since this wasn't a usual Slashdot-style interview, we tried to use as many of your suggestions as possible, but the conversation often took us in a unique direction once it got rolling.Dustin Browder — Lead Designer, Starcraft 2

Slashdot: How much of the team has already rolled over to Heart of the Swarm?
Dustin Browder: Almost no one. Occasional meetings with Cinematics team, who wants to get a jump on things, and the occasional water cooler conversation. Pretty much everyone is focused entirely on Wings of Liberty.

Slashdot: How much of your work from Wings of Liberty will you be able to duplicate throughout the other two installments of the trilogy?
Dustin Browder: Very little. We have tools and we have an engine, and that's huge. We also have a lot more knowledge of what we're trying to accomplish with the scenes and with the story, so we have a lot of benefit from the software that is already created and a lot of knowledge to help us move faster.

Slashdot: How many of those software tools are going to be available to the community-at-large?
Dustin Browder: As many as we can. Certainly the data editor, the map editor, and the terrain editor. That lets users create pretty much anything the design staff can create. Since the story-mode stuff is put together by one of our designers — he collects the art from cinematics and makes it all happen — all that stuff is accessible as well. I'm not gonna lie to you and tell you this stuff is easy; this guy is really smart, and this stuff is complicated, but it's totally doable. We have seen our fans do some amazing things in the past with a very limited toolset by comparison. In this case we're really hopeful that they will do a lot of cool stuff. I can't even guess what they are going to do. [Dustin gave a panel later on in the day where demonstrated some of the things that Blizzard employees had done in their spare time just playing around with the tools. A few examples were; an "Uberlisk" which had a number of spine crawlers on his back and wandered around terrorizing a board filled with hostiles, a zoomed-in third-person action game with a Ghost as the main character, with the ability to interact with "quest givers" and actually go inside buildings and underground, and a top-scrolling space shooter.]

Slashdot: There has been some talk that the streamlining of commands has been moving the focus away from actions per minute [APM]. How important is APM as a metric for you and will we see a decline in the importance of this metric?
Dustin Browder: That type of feedback is incredibly important for us. We want players making smart decisions all the time and we want a lot of skill required to play this game at the highest levels. We absolutely want the best players to be the best players. We're not looking to even out or flatten the skill curve so that "everybody can be a winner." This is not the first grade. We want this to be tennis, baseball, football, whatever, we want this to be a game that requires real skill. But at the same time we don't want this to be a bunch of bogus skill. We have definitely gotten rid of some clicks, but we have also added some clicks back in. We got rid of some clicks in terms of how you had to select your buildings and how you had to give build commands, but we also made sure that we had the finest amount of control at the same time.

When we originally put it out there we said you could double-click the barracks and hit 'M,' and you get five marines, one from each barracks for instance. The fans were outraged and we kind of ignored them, saying, "Whatever, this is a better gameplay experience," but as we played it, we realized that it wasn't a better gameplay experience. Maybe when you hit 'M,' what you really wanted was three marines and two marauders, and you couldn't do that. Instead we have said you can select all of your barracks at once, but each click sends a build command individually to each of those barracks. So now you are able to hit "M, M, M, D, D." This gave us a decent amount of clicks, but actually the correct amount of control. That's actually the control you wanted as a player. We weren't looking to hurt you by giving you too many clicks or hold your hand by taking away some of the gameplay experience. We were actually giving you the controls that made you powerful by having the correct balance between the two.

Also we have a bunch of macro mechanics in the game to encourage players to control their economy better, because as you know in Starcraft, economy is king. One of the things that we loved about the original Starcraft was not so much that we want you to click a bunch, but that there was a lot of tension between players who were micro-oriented and players who were economy-oriented. For instance, if you are playing Zerg and are micro-oriented and I'm playing Zerg and I'm economy-oriented, we're kind of playing two different races — not exactly, but a little bit. We're having a very different experience, and that style difference now becomes the interesting problem for both of us, and that is what we're really pursuing with a lot of this stuff. So, we've definitely taken some clicks away, but we have added some back, and I think the fans will be fine with it. Certainly the hardcore fans I've spoken with, who have actually had a chance to play the game, seem to be very positive about the experience.

Slashdot: It looks like the new league system is going a long way toward making the play experience much better across the board, and will allow people to grow at their own pace. What can you tell us about how this system works?
Dustin Browder: We think this system will really help a lot of players. Even if you are going to stay down in the copper league forever, at least you are playing against your skill level and can hope to win something. In Warcraft 3, minus the "Smurfs" who would come through and ruin everybody's day, we had a pretty good matchmaking system and you could win about half your games. I know most people would prefer to win about 70% of their games, but that would mean someone else has to lose 70% of their games, and we don't want that. If we can match you against your skill level, I think that's where you wanna be and you'll have a good time. So now, if I can put you in a bronze league of 100 players and all those players are your skill level, that means you have a shot of being number one in that league at the end of the season. I think that is going to be a lot more fun for people. When you go to play intramural softball, you know Sammy Sosa isn't showing up. While it might be fun for about two minutes, it would ruin the game and no one would have a good time. If we can keep everyone organized into the skill level they belong I think everyone will have a lot more fun.

Slashdot: What kind of side projects is Blizzard looking at? Any possibility of expanding things to the console, tangentially-related mobile games of any kind, or maybe another pass at Ghost?
Dustin Browder: Starcraft 2. That's about it. We're really focused and we don't mess around with a research division or anything like that. When we think of cool ideas, we build them until they are done and we don't stop. We had the mobile Armory that we announced, but that's more of a support tool than a new game or stand-alone app. For console, we certainly don't have anything that I'm aware of that's going on right now. I'm not saying we wouldn't explore it down the road; it could be a very real possibility. All of us play console games and we all love our XBoxes, Wiis, and Playstations. The gamers are there, the fanaticism exists in the building, it's just a question of when it will bubble to the surface and find a successful outlet.

Slashdot: How do you see ongoing content being developed? You have the main trilogy, but once you are done with that, do you see discrete content releases of some sort, ongoing smaller patches, or maybe even interesting things like the holiday patches in WoW? The new Battle.net framework seems to offer you a lot more options for keeping people up-to-date.
Dustin Browder: The holiday stuff is certainly something we would like to explore via free patches, just to throw it out there. Other smaller patches like new maps or bug-fixes would also certainly come quickly as it was needed. What additional content we actually choose to possibly charge for, I don't know, but I think it would have to be something of extreme value in order to get excited about that. We don't like putting out stuff that we feel dirty about. We argue about it quite a bit, what is enough value and what isn't, what did it cost us, what do we have to charge, those kinds of decisions. Most of those decisions happen above my level, which is great, but certainly the teams have a great deal of influence over those decisions. Most of that stuff, at least initially, will be more patch oriented, but if we find something that is of real value we'll discuss it.

Slashdot: With Starcraft being so data-oriented, you have already put out some really cool tools for recap and data-analysis. Is there any hope of external APIs so that third party developers can do things like scorebots, profiling, armory-type tools that don't necessarily live within Blizzard?
Dustin Browder: Certainly a lot of that stuff is exposed and is possible for players to get their hooks into. I don't know what will happen ultimately with that, but I'm certainly hopeful that we have a large, happy, thriving community of people developing third-party support tools.

Slashdot: As Linux and open source continue to gain popularity and market share, is there any hope of Blizzard allowing some of the internal Linux-based tools and clients to make their way into the public domain, even if they weren't supported?
Dustin Browder: I have no idea what the rules surrounding that are or why that may or may not happen. I don't know of any plans, but that doesn't mean they aren't happening out there. Certainly we have supported the Mac for years and years and definitely plan to continue to do so. We try to support other platforms, but at this point I don't know of any specific plans for Linux.

Slashdot: The other question that is a constant concern within the fan base of Starcraft is the question of disallowing LAN play. How are you solving problems like making sure this is a valid replacement for LAN plan; security, reliability, speed, or even people playing behind things like NAT routers?
Dustin Browder: These are issues that we continue to address as we go forward. Some of these things we have some plans for, but not all of them. It is something that we definitely plan on working on as we go forward to make sure we have things in place to handle every possible user case out there. We just know from WoW that most people can connect online and play. There are some cases out there, some legitimate-use cases — that aren't just people that refuse to buy a modem or are crazy and weird and living in a closet. We want to make sure we are able to support these legitimate-use cases for LAN play and make it accessible to those users, but we're still trying to identify all of those and decide which cases are legitimate and which are not. These are definitely legitimate concerns, and we're certainly looking to address them.

Leonard Boyarsky — Lead World Designer, Diablo III

Slashdot: I noticed that you have moved away from the strict left mouse/right mouse ability limitation and have created more opportunities for players to map keys and use abilities beyond the two major "equipped" abilities. What was the driving reason behind this decision?
Leonard Boyarsky: Well, we had that to some degree in Diablo II, it was just really inaccessible and not fun. Our main goal is to have the player focus on two skills and maybe that alternate ability that you can tab in, while moving some of the more passive or non-targeted abilities to the hotbar. Of course, minor refinements are going to continue to go on as we develop, but we wanted a way for you to augment your main skills. In a game like Diablo, your character is really defined by what your main attack is. Unless you are a real hardcore user, you probably aren't going to be switching up attacks constantly.

Slashdot: With the advent of the new Battle.net features and the evolution of gameplay in Diablo III, do you anticipate any major changes to the PvM Ladder setup or maybe some specific PvP elements?
Leonard Boyarsky: A lot of the stuff being developed for Starcraft II and Battle.net, we want to incorporate. All of the community features and chatting across games is very important and we'll definitely incorporate that where it makes sense. We haven't talked a lot about a PvP component, but we think it is a great aspect of the game. The part that we didn't like from the earlier games is that people could turn hostile at any time and stab party members in the back. The people who get upset that we're not going to have that aspect are generally the people who would kill their party members at a moments notice. So, maybe we'll find something where they can all go stab each other in the back apart from the people who don't want that as an experience. As far as specifics for PvP, rest assured that we're going to come up with whatever we can that is the best possible PvP experience for a Diablo-style game. Right now, we're really focused on the co-op play and using whatever we can from Battle.net to enhance that experience.

Slashdot: When you integrate with Battle.net, will that also integrate with other data streams? Recently when they were discussing World of Warcraft's integration with Battle.net, there was the possibility of a guild news RSS feed. Can we expect to see things like data export and clan support?
Leonard Boyarsky: I don't really know what the plans are for that, but I would assume if they are going to have something like that for WoW or StarCraft II and it works out, there is no reason why we wouldn't integrate that into Diablo III. I'm not the most technically-minded person; I'm more on the artistic/creative side of things, but we talk all the time about how to get all the community stuff that we can in, even if it isn't there at launch, so that it becomes this fantastic player experience.

Slashdot: Speaking of the artistic side of the house, are you looking to leverage your community for artistic injections into the Diablo III universe, like custom levels, modding, or even total conversion mods that just utilize the Diablo III engine?
Leonard Boyarsky: We discussed that early on because Starcraft II is doing so much modding support. But when you look at the style of game that Diablo is, it is based around a lot of random content. So when you look at it from that standpoint, someone might be able to make some very specific content, but the basis of what we're providing for the player is a random system. So are they just going to provide a different random system? Also, the creation of our art is very intense in terms of not only the talent and technical expertise required to get it into the engine, but manipulating it and using it with our tools. It would take a lot of work to make that friendly for the end user who didn't have a programmer there to help them figure out some of the finer points. We just didn't see the bang for the buck in doing something like that and it was never really a big part of the Diablo fan base. Having said that, if someone comes along and takes the Diablo engine and makes a fantastic game out of it, more power to them. We just didn't feel that was where we could add the most value for the players, because that just isn't what the community is about.

Slashdot: The Diablo franchise is especially iconic for things like easter eggs and secrets. Can we expect the same of depth in Diablo III? Any hints?
Leonard Boyarsky: No, no hints. They wouldn't be easter eggs then. We'll probably drop some hints here and there, maybe post some easter eggs on the web for people to dig out. Maybe some red herrings to send people in the wrong direction, but most of that stuff just comes naturally during development. As you develop areas, these things come up, and we're always throwing around ideas. So yeah, we talk about that all the time, and we are planning on doing quite a bit of that stuff.

Slashdot: I'm sure you guys are tired of the LAN dispute, but what specific things are the Diablo team looking at in terms of trying to provide value from Battle.net to assuage some of the fear that this is just an inconvenient take on DRM?
Leonard Boyarsky: Well, once again, I'm not the most technically-minded person and I want to get you guys a really good answer for that. I don't want to steer you guys the wrong way. Right now most of the implementation of Battle.net is Starcraft-focused, so I know that is our goal right now, but I know Rob [Pardo] has talked about how their fans use LANs for tournaments and the like ,so they have talked about how their fan base might need some kind of deployable LAN solution. The Diablo team is in the enviable position of letting them work out how all that is going to work and how they are going to solve all of those contingencies. Hopefully our track record will speak for itself and our fans can take us at our word that we are doing this not because of any business model or corporate mandate. We believe that we can give the best multiplayer experience by going in this direction. Just in terms of philosophy, we're all about making choices for the gameplay and then worry about the monetization later, which is great because there are many companies out there that go the opposite direction.

Slashdot: One of the things some of our readers really want to know is: what are the biggest deficiencies that you are seeing from young college grads trying to break into the industry? What words of wisdom could you impart to people trying to get their start, especially with respect to gaming?
Leonard Boyarsky: I can speak a little bit more to the artistic stuff because of the position I'm in; that's how I came up. I would say that, from an artistic standpoint, it's not about how well you use 3D Studio Max. Obviously you need background in some sort of 3D program, unless you just want to be a concept artist, but it's more about just being a great artist and having a great artistic eye. The same thing goes for creativity; it's more about having something to show that shows what you can do. If someone comes in and has something to show, it doesn't matter where they went to school or what they accomplished at school; it's what we can see. Because there are so many people out there that have resumes with great schools, it just really comes down to what they can do. If I find someone who just blew me away, I could care less if they even have a diploma. I think the biggest thing you can tell people is to do stuff on their own. It's probably easiest as a level designer, because you can get a Half-Life or a Quake and build your own levels, and then you have something to show. The more stuff you do just shows your passion, your creativity, your ability, as opposed to trying to get a job first if that makes sense.

J. Allen Brack — Production Director, World of Warcraft

Slashdot: What caused you to make the new level cap 85 as opposed to increasing it the usual 10 levels.
J. Allen Brack: Well, we looked at a lot of the things that we wanted to do for this expansion. Going back and revamping the old world and bringing the level of quality of the experience of the 20-60 game up to the level you saw in Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King was a hugely monumental task. We also looked at how much people say they like leveling, then tried to balance that with people who say the game doesn't start until max level, and tried to figure out what the right decision for the game was. We definitely didn't want to feel like we were trapped into adding 10 levels every time, because I think we could make an expansion that was very compelling where we didn't add any level increase, and I think there are situations where we would want a 20 level increase. It all comes down to what the right decision for the game is.

Slashdot: Can you describe the difference between this expansion and previous ones in terms of the time and difficulty it took to revamp an existing area versus creating an entirely new area?
J. Allen Brack: Well, this is actually, by far, the largest expansion that we have ever done. We are creating five new zones completely from scratch for level 80-85, we're also going back and retouching a lot of the existing zones. Some of the existing zones have been very good and have worked out very well and some of them we have always regretted and not worked out very well at all, but we're going back and evaluating those on a zone-by-zone basis. Many of the old zones are actually getting rebuilt from scratch just due to the massive amounts of changes.

Slashdot: How are you going to manage the difference between someone who has just purchased vanilla WoW versus someone who has all of the expansions up to and including Cataclysm?
J. Allen Brack: Well, we haven't talked about launch plan specifics, but we do want everyone to get Cataclysm. It is our intention that the world will experience the cataclysm for every player regardless of patch level. There are a couple of reasons for that, but one of the main reasons is we want people to play together and the idea of having segregated the players into the "bought Cataclysm" and "didn't" camps is really not the right decision. The other thing is that Cataclysm has lore and a reason behind it, so it doesn't really make sense to have it happen for some players and not for others.

Slashdot: There has been a lot of talk about the new phasing technology that allows entire continents to change. Was that very difficult to implement compared to what was already in Wrath of the Lich King?
J. Allen Brack: Yeah, it was. In Lich King, we didn't really have the ability to do terrain; we had the ability to skyboxes, quests, and effects, but now we have the ability to have different versions of terrain that get triggered based on other events. One example is being able to go into a cliffside dwelling and down into the storm cellar to weather a storm and when you come out, the entire cliff has been sheared off and there is nothing left. It's pretty exciting.

Slashdot: We have heard a lot about how StarCraft II is going to integrate with Battle.net, and a little about what World of Warcraft is going to do. Is there more coming?
J. Allen Brack: Sure. Battle.net is going to be the way that all players log into Blizzard games in the future. We have optional Battle.net conversion right now, but that will be mandatory at some point in the not-too-distant future. Once we have that integration, we'll layer the Battle.net features on top of World of Warcraft. We're not talking about changing the way that Guilds or Friend Lists work for Battle.net; it's more of just adding a layer of Battle.net features and community features on top of the existing game.

Slashdot: Has there been any talk of making APIs or data feeds that would allow fan sites or forums to integrate game data directly?
J. Allen Brack: That is an interesting idea. Yeah, we have seen a lot of neat little apps come out of the armory, to a degree that I don't think we really anticipated. There are now loot apps, community aggregation apps, and others, but we certainly were not prepared for the amount of traffic that is just to gather data from the armory for other apps.

Slashdot: The EVE team recently announced a project called Dust 514 that is a separate game that hooks into the EVE universe. Has Blizzard considered any side projects that might have some tie in to existing games?
J. Allen Brack: We typically think about things as a team — in my case, World of Warcraft — and what we could do within the existing WoW universe. Something like that offers a lot of wish fulfillment for me as a gamer, and we definitely talk about what kind of gameplay experience that we want to offer with each expansion, so we definitely have a lot of new things that we're talking about for Cataclysm, just not quite that extreme.

Slashdot: How about a console version for WoW?
J. Allen Brack: Console is one of those things that we probably talk about once every six months. I have probably met with Microsoft two or three times to discuss what it would be like to have WoW on the console. Where we are today, and I can't say we'll always be here, but right now WoW is very much designed for the mouse and keyboard interface, and doing another type of control scheme would be very challenging. I think it will be done, and if we had started WoW with the idea that we would move to console, I think it would be a much different game and the control scheme would support that.

Slashdot: Once the Battle.net integration is complete, you'll be able to talk to friends from different servers and even different games. Has there been any talk of being able to form instance groups across servers?
J. Allen Brack: Yes, and we're actually doing that in an upcoming patch. In 3.3 we're going to revamp the Looking For Group interface to allow that. The idea wasn't necessarily for existing players that are in a guild at high level, it's more for the people who want to run Wailing Caverns on a character that is level appropriate.

Slashdot: Lately there have been some problems with instance server congestion; is that something you are focused on?
J. Allen Brack: We're hugely focused on it. I mentioned the cross-server instancing — that is also a part of that solution as well. We have some technology that allows multiple servers to share certain instance blades and that gives us a lot of efficiency. We're going back and reconfiguring all of our servers for this, so it should be done before we launch 3.3.

Slashdot: There is always a call for increased support (even if it isn't official) for Linux, Wine, etc. Is there any possibility that future support for WoW on the Linux platform could grow?
J. Allen Brack: We have been a long time supporter of alternate platforms with the Mac, and have supported many of our games on both PC and Mac, so we're a big supporter of platform independence. We have experimented with a Linux client back in the day, but right now it is a resource problem. We have to consider how many resources it would take to put out a Linux client versus how many people would actually use something like that. We have to consider how many people aren't playing WoW right now and would if we had a Linux client. Or is it people who play already and just want support in their preferred operating system? If we decided to support a new platform, we would have to figure out how many game features we had to give up development on in order to develop a new client.

Rob Pardo — Executive VP Game Design

Slashdot: Is there any any possibility that Battle.net might interact with other systems like XBox Live, Steam, or other games?
Rob Pardo: I think there is the potential to do something like that, but there are certainly no immediate plans. We certainly are trying to engineer the platform in a way that it could do those sorts of things, and we have talked about trying to link in things like Facebook, Twitter, and mobile applications. We definitely have kept in mind that if we do go to console, we can still use Battle.net, in which case we would have to talk to things like XBox Live. So while there are no plans to do something like that, we certainly are keeping it in mind.

Slashdot: Are you thinking about making any APIs for Battle.net that would allow the community to start scraping some of the data directly?
Rob Pardo: That is a question I'm not entire sure of the answer, so I don't want to screw it up. Probably not extensively, but I know that in the past we have done things with game results and similar things, plus we have the Marketplace, which is a pretty big area. But we don't have plans to allow people to reconfigure Battle.net in a major way like that add-on system for WoW.

Slashdot: Now that you have mentioned the Marketplace, is there going to be an approval/rejection system for the things that are uploaded?
Rob Pardo: Yes there will, although our philosophy will probably be more of an iPhone philosophy and less of an XBox philosophy. We really want to try to have the community itself manage that, but we will probably still need some sort of light approval system to make sure that there aren't any viruses or wildly objectionable content. I really don't want us trying to make a quality call; that's where I don't want us to be.

Slashdot: Apple has been taking a lot of heat lately for how opaque they are when they reject a particular app. When you reject something, is there going to be some indication or explanation why?
Rob Pardo: I would hope so, but it's all new to us, so I can't tell you how it's all going to work. We have never done anything like this before, but we know where we want to be philosophically. We have done a lot of research on the other services, but I'm sure there will be lots of surprises to us when we start rolling it out.

Slashdot: We have heard a lot about how Starcraft II is going to be affected by Battle.net. Can you tell us a little bit about how Diablo III and WoW might be integrated?
Rob Pardo: Nothing specific yet, because all of our focus is on StarCraft II. But certainly, since I have been really involved with Battle.net, it's something that is always on my mind. A lot of the Starcraft II design was done so that it could be agnostic to our other games, so I would say that assuming everything goes well and the new service is as great as we want it to b,e I would imagine that you would see something very similar. There will obviously be Diablo-specific features that don't make sense for StarCraft II and vice versa, but as far as the always-connected experience and being able to talk across games, I would expect the same experience.

Slashdot: The LAN-play question has been a major issue. What are you doing to facilitate gameplay between people who are in the same room?
Rob Pardo: There are definitely some things we are investigating. Whether or not they will be in at launch, I don't know. I really think that the vast majority of people wont have an issue. Even if you look at Warcraft 3, which did have LAN play, the vast, vast majority of people played on Battle.net and that was what, seven years ago? So I think that it is a very small percentage of people that will be affected, and only a small percentage of the time. That said, we are looking at some technology that would allow us to detect a peer-to-peer connection if we detect something like a high latency over a certain amount. Unfortunately, this would only be able to work for custom games, since we need to ensure the accuracy of competitive or ladder games via Battle.net.

Slashdot: Are there any plans to build in some sort of reputation tracking to see how often someone has disconnected from games in progress or partakes in harassment of some sort?
Rob Pardo: No, there isn't at the moment, although it is something I'm interested in looking at in the future. We have talked a lot about it; it was one of those features that when we tried to develop a good social rating system we didn't see a great one out there that we could point at. It is a pretty tricky system to design, but it is something that I would like to tackle; maybe in the expansion.

Slashdot: With World of Warcraft, there are regional server groupings. How is Battle.net going to integrate with different parts of the world?
Rob Pardo: I believe the current plan is to do a similar approach to the way WoW is set up, so there will be large regional breakdowns. Hopefully in the future we will even have the ability for you to move around, but that isn't decided yet.

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368 comments

Biased source (5, Insightful)

falckon (1015637) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177123)

We just know from WoW that most people can connect online and play.

I wonder how many people play WoW offline?

Re:Biased source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177161)

My son does. In his IMAGINATION! He's playing video games even when he isn't playing video games.

Re:Biased source (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178211)

I used to have disturbingly in-depth dreams about the games when I was MUDding. What made this especially disturbing, of course, is that MUDs are text-based, so I would be dreaming entirely in text.

Re:Biased source (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177199)

I wonder how many people play WoW offline?

That sentence is a STATEMENT, not a QUESTION. Therefore, you DO NOT USE A FUCKING QUESTION MARK.

Re:Biased source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177275)

I wonder how many people play WoW offline?

That sentence is a STATEMENT, not a QUESTION. Therefore, you DO NOT USE A FUCKING QUESTION MARK.

Can I use a SODOMIZING QUESTION MARK?

Re:Biased source (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177443)

I'm guessing \N{SODOMIZING QUESTION MARK} is not in the BMP?

Re:Biased source (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178257)

I'm not sure a question marks isn't appropriate in this case, as an indicator of a rising, questioning tone? Similar to the use of a comma as a pause?

Re:Biased source (3, Insightful)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177459)

We just know from WoW that most people can connect online and play.

I wonder how many people play WoW offline?

Those are called "Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games", son.

Dungeons and Dragons [wizards.com] is the most popular one. If it seems superficially similar to WoW, it is because it predates it for 30 years and many of the WoW concepts were inspired by it.

Re:Biased source (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177611)

Warcraft even has a campaign setting for 3.0 Dungeons and Dragons. It was originally called the "Warcraft" setting...but they released for 3.5 it with titles that implied more content (for instance, instead of "Magic and Mayhem" it was called "More Magic and Mayhem"). Except it didn't have any new content. The updates were practically non-existant as well. But all the art, icons, etc... and the name of the game was redone from "Warcraft" to "World of Warcraft"...

Re:Biased source (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178129)

Dungeons & Dragons 4.0 was designed to be more like an MMO with features such as Tanking and ability cooldowns.

This is now perfect for WoW players.

Video Games Are For Children (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177125)

I know a guy who plays video games and he is literally a child.

A child.

Literally.

That's why you're all computer janitors and offshore fodder. Cause you're stupid.

Golf is for PHB assholes. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177597)

I know a guy who plays golf and he is literally PHB asshole.

A PHB asshole.

Literally.

That's why you're all corporate cocksuckers and middle management RIF fodder. Cause you're all void of imagination and individuality.

My question (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177131)

I want to know who exactly conducted this interview. Was it kdawson? Was it He of the Micropenis (Rob Malda) himself? Whoever it was, I bet it was a dorkfest to rival all others.

Re: My question (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177723)

I know, right? What's with the fucking Linux questions? Seriously, there's no point in even asking this question. Why in the world would a world class developer like Blizzard be interested in porting games to the Linux platform? A whole of 2 people would be interested in buying it, and even then, they're so used to "open" source bullshit that most would pirate it anyway. Free-way or the highway, MAN!

Digital divide FTW! (4, Insightful)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177171)

We just know from WoW that most people can connect online and play. There are some cases out there, some legitimate-use cases -- that aren't just people that refuse to buy a modem or are crazy and weird and living in a closet.

So I guess all those gamers who live in a rural, dial-up only area (and there are more then one might think) are just crazy and weird closet dwellers? The more this guys talks the more I think SCII will be a pass for me.

Re:Digital divide FTW! (5, Insightful)

beef curtains (792692) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177267)

We just know from WoW that most people can connect online and play. There are some cases out there, some legitimate-use cases -- that aren't just people that refuse to buy a modem or are crazy and weird and living in a closet.

I believe what you're describing ("all those gamers who live in a rural, dial-up only area") would fall under the "legitimate-use cases" to which he refers, and very clearly dissociates from the "crazy and weird" contingent.

Reading comprehension for the win?

Re:Digital divide FTW! (3, Insightful)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177565)

Reading comprehension would lead one to the conclusion he thinks SCII should be the same as "WoW". Guess what, people with dial-up don't play WoW.

"We just know from WoW that most people can connect online and play."

No, actually, most people cannot "connect online and play". That guy, and apparently you, have some pretty serious brain damage if you think that dial-up is that rare. Not to mention having LAN parties in places that flat out don't have a network connection, or at least not one accessible to all players at the party.

We often have LAN parties at my work. We're allowed in a secured meeting room that is large enough for plenty of players. Those people however are not employees, and as such are not allowed on the corporate network.

Blizzard might as well just come right out and say it "If you don't have broadband, we don't care about you.". Guess what, I have broadband and I STILL won't be buying the game for the simple fact I *HAVE* to have a WAN connection to have a LAN party. Quite frankly, I'll likely drop WCIII from the list of games we play for the simple fact that I don't want to support blizzard in any way, shape, or form after this debacle.

Re:Digital divide FTW! (-1, Flamebait)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177765)

Do you ahv eany factual information to back up "No, actually, most people cannot "connect online and play". That guy, and apparently you, have some pretty serious brain damage if you think that dial-up is that rare." ?

If it comes down to your opinion versus his opinion, I have to personally give the win to him, not you. Probably because I am willing to wager that his opinion is based on some research.

Re:Digital divide FTW! (2, Informative)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177905)

Uhh, yes. The part where I just told you we have LAN parties in my office with NO NETWORK CONNECTION. Apparently reading the entire post was entirely too much work for you.

Of course, I'm sure all the outrage across the internet is people just making stuff up. Or maybe they're all pirates! Oh wait... the pirates will still hack SCII to play without WAN access, and legit players will just not buy it. Win-win!

Re:Digital divide FTW! (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178149)

How does your office relate to "most people"? your office, your whole family, and even all of your friends could not have anything better than dial-up or no connection at all and it still woudl not be factual data to support your claim.

Re:Digital divide FTW! (1)

Amorya (741253) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178383)

We have LAN parties at university regularly, and have a net connection. However, last one we had, the LAN got IP-banned from battlenet. As far as we know, it's just because too many people were connecting from one IP.

Hopefully they can solve that kind of problem before removing LAN play!

The outrage... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29178449)

It's not that we think you're making this up or that you're pirates. It's really more that you're a small group of whiny bitches that we can safely ignore. I mean seriously man, we wipe our asses with hundred dollar bills. Do you seriously think we're going to miss your $50? Ha ha, peace out!

-- Blizzard

Re:Digital divide FTW! (4, Informative)

WagonWheelsRX8 (1282738) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178263)

Since Parent didn't provide a link, I will...hopefully it will enlighten people but he is correct...as of June 2009 broadband is in only 60% of households in the U.S. (so yeah...it kinda is a big deal). http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/06/us-20th-in-broadband-penetration-trails-s-korea-estonia.ars [arstechnica.com]

Re:Digital divide FTW! (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178345)

Thank you for the link; It was certainly an eye opener.

I wonder how that 60/40% correlates to those that would buy/play PC video games.

However, just the basic numbers of 60% being able to connect via broadband and 40% not being able to refutes the posters claim that "most people cannot "connect online and play". . as most people can.

Re:Digital divide FTW! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29178505)

you're a dipshit. you think majority of gamers have lan parties? wrong. only a tiny subset of virgins who think its still 1994 have lan parties, and blizzard would be financially irresponsible to even think about that tiny handful of backwards nerds like you when designing their games.

oh, my bad, everything you do is the norm, and anyone who agrees with you has "serious brain damage".

why the fuck are you worried about scii anyway? don't you have a bunch of fellow nerds lugging their "boxen" & crt's over for a marathon doom session?

dumbass.

Come out of the woods, Mr. Kaczynski (1, Flamebait)

Rix (54095) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177273)

Yeah, anyone who really is still stuck with dialup is a hopeless recluse. Have you heard of indoor plumbing? It's the bee's knees.

That doesn't excuse the lack of LAN play, but claiming to want to play Starcraft in the past is not a valid argument.

Re:Come out of the woods, Mr. Kaczynski (3, Informative)

MicktheMech (697533) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178461)

The entire world doesn't live in the suburbs you know. In rural areas plumbing relies on wells and septic tanks, since the distances involved are too large to lay municipal/county water and sewage lines. The distances are also too large for even DSL to become economical, so internet access is through dial-up or, if you have the money and/or are lucky enough to be within LoS, satellite or radio, which generally isn't much faster.

So yes, people in rural areas can have access to indoor plumbing, but not high-speed. I've lived in that situation and it's probably more common than you think.

Re:Digital divide FTW! (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177371)

Exactly, there are a -lot- of places in the USA where there are avid gamers who are stuck with sub-par connections. And using WoW is a terrible example, its like saying because there are a lot of people who play on Xbox Live don't have a single player, local multiplayer or system link option.

In a game, it makes no sense to leave out options that are obvious, LAN play is pretty obvious, even if 95% of the people buying your game won't use it, if it isn't difficult to code and maintain you have nothing to lose.

Re:Digital divide FTW! (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177637)

So let me get this straight...

Your argument here is that there are plenty of places that are so issolated that dial-up is the only connection option. Yup, I can buy that.

The implied conclusion then, is that there are untold numbers of people out in the boondocks that are just itchin' for LAN parties..... Sorry, you lost me.

I happen to live out in the middle of nowhere, and I have broadband. But even disregarding that little inconvenient truth, the populace around me wouldn't be able to give a definition for 'LAN'. Lack of ability to host something they mostly dont know exists isn't going to turn them into career software pirates or bankrupt Bliz.

You're talking about a company that has made a mint at least partly by making the system specs for their MMO so much more accessible to so many more people than other companies. And you're suggesting that they didn't consider the market impact of this decision? Sure, it sucks for those people who are actually impacted. But the reality is that the impacted people are such a miniscule market force as to be nearly a non-factor. Who we're hearing from far more are knee-jerk reactions of people who don't want to have to pay for multiple game copies. The internet connection issue is just a tenuous argument to cling to out of desperation.

Re:Digital divide FTW! (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177847)

Middle of Nowhere? And you have broadband? I don't think you know where the middle of nowere is.

At my parents home a few years back:
1: could not get cable.
2: could not get dsl.
3: could not get dialup
4: could not get cell phone service, no towers nearby.
5: could not get a voice land line (oh, the phone company was happy to charge for one, but you could barely hear the dialtone strait from the box outside due to the static).

At my friends house while in college: The cable company promised broadband "real soon" for over 5 years, the phone company did the same. They were IT majors and had a shitload of network gear.

Re:Digital divide FTW! (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177673)

Exactly, there are a -lot- of places in the USA where there are avid gamers who are stuck with sub-par connections. And using WoW is a terrible example, its like saying because there are a lot of people who play on Xbox Live don't have a single player, local multiplayer or system link option.

In a game, it makes no sense to leave out options that are obvious, LAN play is pretty obvious, even if 95% of the people buying your game won't use it, if it isn't difficult to code and maintain you have nothing to lose.

Or how about places where Internet access is a ripoff? Say, at an airport - you and your friends have an hour or two or four to kill. AIrport WiFi is normally $ARM or $LEG per minute, so a little ad-hoc WiFi LAN play seems doable. Hell, since most pay WiFI do DHCP but won't route packets out, you can probably game in infrastructure mode (it may not block packets on the network). Ditto on some hotels as well - many offer free wifi, a number is still pay access.

I'm pretty sure there's also plenty of valid locations where a bunch of friends are together with laptops but not necessarily internet access. Maybe even a university campus or something where not everyone has access. Or a road trip (WiFi works between cars). Or maybe even a field trip via greyhound bus or something.

Of course, the other question is... can you have more than one client behind a firewall? Known Battle.net issue was just that - someone would play SC, and another person can't get into b.net because of it.

Re:Digital divide FTW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177457)

make more money so you don't have to live in some hick town stuck in 1994

Do I have to do all your thinking for you?

Re:Digital divide FTW! (0, Troll)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177463)

This whole debate about "you can't play Starcraft on LAN!" reminds me of the Fallout 3 detractors who constantly yelled "Fallout 3 won't let me kill children!"

Yeah, yeah, we get it: you enjoyed that feature in the past game. But is it really that big a deal? Is this really the number one thing you base a purchase decision on? I mean, I'm not going to go as far as saying "get a grip," since, at minimum, it's at least a much bigger deal than the idiotic Fallout 3 complaints, and frankly I don't know how big LAN play is. I do know that I've personally used it... once? Ever?

At the very least, let's see some NEW bitching. This one is getting old, and I'm sick of reading it over and over again.

Re:Digital divide FTW! (2, Insightful)

BassMan449 (1356143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177591)

Those aren't similar at all. Sure people complained about the changes to Fallout 3 but that was a minor change to something you couldn't do during gameplay. This is intentionally crippling a basic feature of the game for no good reason. There are many people who are unable to play games online. One thing I've failed to see mentioned by many is people with satellite internet. You really think someone with satellite internet is going to be able to play a real time strategy game when your average latency is upwards of a second? That is a very legitimate reason to want LAN play in a game where as the complaints about not being able to kill children is irrelevant as to who can play the game.

Re:Digital divide FTW! (3, Insightful)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177709)

Yeah, yeah, we get it: you enjoyed that feature in the past game. But is it really that big a deal? Is this really the number one thing you base a purchase decision on? I mean, I'm not going to go as far as saying "get a grip," since, at minimum, it's at least a much bigger deal than the idiotic Fallout 3 complaints, and frankly I don't know how big LAN play is. I do know that I've personally used it... once? Ever?

Yes it is a big deal son.
Some of us really liked getting together with other humans in the real world and playing Starcraft and are rightfully pissed at the growth of DRM and built-in-obsolescence.

Re:Digital divide FTW! (-1, Troll)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177857)

Ok, dad.

Then please respect my second point, and stop complaining about because I'm getting fucking sick of hearing it over and over and over whenever the topic comes up. Just cope and move on.

Re:Digital divide FTW! (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177993)

I'm getting fucking sick of hearing it over and over and over whenever the topic comes up.

Well maybe you should ask Blizzard to put the LAN back in so people will stop bitching about it then?

Just cope and move on.

This is slashdot, just because you are a fanboy with your mommies credit card numbers doesn't mean the haters are going to stop bitching...

Re:Digital divide FTW! (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178103)

They aren't going to and all the whining in the world isn't going to change that. There is only so many times you can whip a dead horse before it just becomes nothing more than a pile of bloody meat.

Re:Digital divide FTW! (3, Insightful)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178435)

They aren't going to and all the whining in the world isn't going to change that. There is only so many times you can whip a dead horse before it just becomes nothing more than a pile of bloody meat.

O I know they aren't going to put it back.. which is why everyone will be downloading this via torrent and feeling good about it...

Re:Digital divide FTW! (1)

pwfffff (1517213) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178423)

"Some of us really liked getting together with other humans in the real world and playing Starcraft and are rightfully pissed at the growth of DRM and built-in-obsolescence."

What?! Not only did they take out LAN features, but they implemented anti-human-proximity features? How will my computer KNOW that the others connecting to Battle.net through my IP are next to me? What's that you say? It utilizes an anti-internet force field? Those BASTARDS.

Seriously, you could probably could the number of internet-less LAN parties held last year on one hand.

Re:Digital divide FTW! (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178483)

It's a much bigger deal than bitching about killing children in Fallout 3.

It would be as if Bethesda wouldn't let you play Fallout 3 without authenticating on their own servers every time it started. That would be outrageous!

Re:Digital divide FTW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177661)

It's a good thing that people are being reasonable about this whole LAN-play thing and not going to completely ridiculous lengths to be offended.

There are some cases out there, some legitimate-use cases

that aren't just people that refuse to buy a modem or are crazy and weird and living in a closet.

But please, don't let the fact that what you're taking from what he said is completely contrary to what he actually said stop you from feeling like a victim.

You CAN play Wow on dialup.. and enjoy it (1)

Xanthvar (1046980) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177971)

I know that this will come as a huge shock, but you CAN play Wow on a dial up link, and enjoy it. I have a buddy of mine that works the graveyard shift, and he will jump on Wow, and fire up team speak, and can play with the rest of the guys. yeah, voice quality isn't the best, but it works OK.

WoW is not that bandwidth intensive, and is fairly forgiving latency wise.

The people that seem to have the most problems, are the ones who are playing over a wireless connection, and the lag induced from that type of infrastructure is what frustrates them the most.

The biggest problem people are experiencing with WotLK is the video requirements and the frame rate that their computer produces. I know that I was unhappy with the additional eye candy that made the game almost unplayable ( I would start to get about 5 fps on boss fights) on my budget PC (I think I had spent about $300 US on it total) that I had been using before the expansions, but then again, it was a good excuse to get a new system (yeah, I use it for other stuff than just Wow).

I am guessing they will end up doing something that will require you to authenticate with BN, but will let you play on a LAN hosted game, so you can have your LAN parties.

Before I go frothing off at the mouth, you might want to actually see what the game will and won't allow.

Oh well, to each his own.

SC2 Lan Play (5, Insightful)

oracleguy01 (1381327) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177185)

We just know from WoW that most people can connect online and play. There are some cases out there, some legitimate-use cases â" that aren't just people that refuse to buy a modem or are crazy and weird and living in a closet. We want to make sure we are able to support these legitimate-use cases for LAN play and make it accessible to those users, but we're still trying to identify all of those and decide which cases are legitimate and which are not. These are definitely legitimate concerns, and we're certainly looking to address them.

So they think since the people that play WoW, which is online only, have Internet that SC2 players don't need LAN support? That's great logic.

Re:SC2 Lan Play (2, Interesting)

Lightwarrior (73124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177479)

Starcraft has sold 11 million units worldwide. That's pretty good, it's one of the best selling games of all time.

World of Warcraft has over 11.5 million monthly subscribers. More people play WoW in one month than the copies of SC sold in a decade.

So, when you consider target audience, and whether or not they're likely to have an internet connection... yeah. SC2 is going to sell really well.

Not including LAN play is a calculated risk that I think will pay off just fine. Reduce the pirates, increase revenue. Works for me!

Re:SC2 Lan Play (3, Insightful)

BassMan449 (1356143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177629)

Not including LAN play is a calculated risk that I think will pay off just fine. Reduce the pirates, increase revenue. Works for me!

But that's the issue. It will not reduce the pirates. If anything it is more likely to increase the pirates. Someone will crack the game and add LAN play in or someone will publish a battle.net emulator like bnetd. The game will be pirated the same with or without LAN. This is just Blizzard intentionally crippling functionality.

Re:SC2 Lan Play (2, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177531)

I think you are misreading their answer. I'm not satisfied with their answer either, but it helps to understand it. They are saying MOST of their customers are connected to the internet, and this is obviously true - the vast majority of people who play computer games have online connections. They do admit there are legitimate users who will be hurt by this, and they are looking into it. The reason why I am not satisfied with this answer is that I do not believe they will do anything about it.

I just hope when I play my roommate in 1 vs 1 LAN play that they won't require the data to go through their servers. The additional ping would just be wasteful.

Re:SC2 Lan Play (1)

Lorcas (1299955) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177623)

I noticed that myself. They keep saying that because people are playing online, offline mode LAN play is not required. They repeat the same thing using Warcraft 3 for reference and say that it 'did have LAN play, the vast, vast majority of people played on Battle.net'. At this point I just facepalm ragequit the article.

Re:SC2 Lan Play (2, Insightful)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177687)

Yeah...I found that odd as well. Wow is about the community and centralized server controlling everything so of course it makes sense to have it online only. If you were playing with your friends and a homebrew wow server, it would be pretty boring to do anything besides 5 man instances.

Games that are based on static maps however have a need for more connection options. The few LAN parties I have been to relied pretty heavily on LAN play. Sure a few people can all go and get on the same CS server and play around but when you start adding too many people, it gets laggy as all hell. Cheapo home network hardware and low upload cable connections are not meant to have 8 people playing on online game on them. LAN play is the only sensible answer to this. If piracy is a concern, I suppose you could still have some authentication to battle.net before starting/joining a LAN game (although I would imagine any such system is easy to spoof/crack). It also hurts those big mega-LANs which AFAIK often do not provide full internet connectivity...

Re:SC2 Lan Play (2, Insightful)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177859)

And you are saying most people don't have access to the Internet who play video games?

Re:SC2 Lan Play (1)

oracleguy01 (1381327) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178081)

No, I'm saying that the issue with Internet access is different between a MMORPG and an RTS. With an RTS having LAN play facilitates LAN parties where there might not be Internet access or the bandwidth would be relatively limited for the number of people on the connection. Not to mention the silliness of having 2-8 people in the same room and on the same network playing the same together and all having to go out onto the Internet unnecessarily. If they make the game smart enough to realize the other players are on the same local network, that would at least eliminate the bandwidth argument. But there is no evidence they will since it sounds like they don't even know what they are going to do yet.

Or situations where Internet access is unavailable, I've played RTS and FPS games with friends before using an ad-hoc wireless network when there was no Internet access available or the Internet access was prohibitively too expensive for the short time we wanted to use it. Obviously that particular example falls into a relatively uncommon use case.

Of course Blizzard is free to not include LAN play, it's their game but I think they don't really know why they aren't. Or at least not everyone has the same story. My complaint is that their logic in comparing an MMORPG's usage to an RTS.

Grapefruits and baseball bats. (5, Insightful)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177203)

What's that, you say? Most people playing WoW have Internet connections? Unbelievable!

Seriously, though, I'm not putting down money for SC2. This is just not okay.

And you will only harm yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177819)

This game will be bought, and loved, by millions.

The design deicsion was obviously selfish. They cripple the software in order to make piracy harder. Yeah, that sucks. The honest consumer loses. No doubt about it.

But...and here is the kicker...the market will bear it. You can boycott the product if you want. You will be part of a very small few who would enjoy this game but aren't playing it. Most people will buy it.

Blizzard will get their money, and they won't feel any pain from your boycott. But you will.

Re:And you will only harm yourself (1)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178511)

Oh, yes. The pain of an extra $60 in my wallet! I don't know how I'll possibly be able to carry around that kind of weight! I might actually have to eat food that I purchase from the market! I might have to attract a female mate and take her on a date! The possibilities are paralyzingly endless!

Moreover, I don't know what I'll do with my spare time! How will I ever be able to spend my nights slaughtering Zealots with my armies of 'Lings and Hydras without StarCraft II at my side? The feeling of excitement as I build my economy up, the mix of anger and anticipation as I hear the monotone voice in my ear declaring, "Nuclear launch detected." How will I ever have the StarCraft experience without StarCraft II?

These guys should run for office... (5, Insightful)

Firemouth (1360899) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177211)

"...our fans can take us at our word..." ... because they're sure good at dodging the LAN question.

WoW:C sounds pretty cool (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177245)

Almost makes me wish I hadn't sold my account with 2 70s during BC :P O well.

Re:WoW:C sounds pretty cool (1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177417)

In a way, it's a chance to start fresh since things are being reworked so much from start to finish in the leveling process with those kind of changes.

TL:DR (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177365)

except for this:

Slashdot: The other question that is a constant concern within the fan base of Starcraft is the question of disallowing LAN play. How are you solving problems like making sure this is a valid replacement for LAN plan; security, reliability, speed, or even people playing behind things like NAT routers?
Dustin Browder: These are issues that we continue to address as we go forward. Some of these things we have some plans for, but not all of them. It is something that we definitely plan on working on as we go forward to make sure we have things in place to handle every possible user case out there. We just know from WoW that most people can connect online and play. There are some cases out there, some legitimate-use cases â" that aren't just people that refuse to buy a modem or are crazy and weird and living in a closet. We want to make sure we are able to support these legitimate-use cases for LAN play and make it accessible to those users, but we're still trying to identify all of those and decide which cases are legitimate and which are not. These are definitely legitimate concerns, and we're certainly looking to address them.

Translation: Our WoW players say lan play is over-rated, so that's why we're not including it. *facepalm* AN RTS IS NOT AN MMORPG!! RAAAAAAEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEGGGGGGG.

Anywho This is not an excuse for leaving out lan play and does nothing but insult lan parties. If you don't have a modem, you must be crazy and wierd and living in a closet.

Just saying that this reply feels like a massive FUCK YOU to every person who owns multiple star craft 1 keys for use at a lan.

Re:TL:DR (1)

jacob1984 (1314123) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177813)

I don't know why I expected so much from this interview. Surely the know the type of crown Slashdot caters to. I was hoping they would give legitimate answers. Instead, it was a bunch of drivel with a lot of snide insults to their prime customers. It's par for course for me to buy Blizzard games. I hope this blows up in their face when people like me refuse to do so because of Bullshit corporate policies.

Re:TL:DR (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177953)

But the problem is that there are so many workarounds to use a single key for essentially limitless Lan plays, which means that Blizzard gives out 20 free Singleplayer & LAN versions of their game when they sell 1 copy. With an MMORPG, you can ensure that everyone who plays has purchased a version. Thats all they really want to achieve - and Battle.net appears to be their only way at the moment.

But like they said, they're feeling their way through it.

My bet is that if SC2 doesn't sell well, they'll add LAN to boost sales.

I Am Not Sure They Are Wrong (Re:TL:DR) (1)

EXTomar (78739) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178397)

While cleaning up the PC, I saw that WC3 was still installed. I remember when I was playing this "hard core" I always went through Battle.net. After thinking about it a little more, the thought moving machines (my gaming PC is somewhat expensive) from my home to another location and use a LAN that maybe crawling with malware and god knows what else, even if I use super hardened settings and fully updated AV and firewall protection, is totally unappealing and I came to realize why I never cared about LAN. Once Internet became was ubiquitous it rendered LAN play moot. It is simply safer and easier to play from home.

As far as I can tell from my gaming habits: LAN support isn't even a factor for my choice of online games so I don't mind it going away. Or to put it another way, if it comes down to "features in Battle.net" or "LAN Support" there is no question I'm choosing Battle.net. The idea that a lot people are only going to play Starcraft 2 on LAN is pretty preposterous and only the dreams of super hard core players. The millions of casual players out there aren't going to care and would rather hit the "quick match" button off of Battle.net.

The Most Important Question Was Unasked (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177399)

How do you feel about NIGGERS?!

How times change (4, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177405)

How many questions there would have been answered by bnetd already, had Blizzard not sued them for daring to be compatible with Battle.net? And nary a mention of the debacle - nice to see how these days Slashdot as a whole rolls over on Free Software as soon as they are bribed with something shiny.

Re:How times change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177527)

Yes, how dare Blizzard try to stop people from pirating their games.

(You know damn well that was the only point of bnetd.)

Re:How times change (2, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177733)

(You know damn well that was the only point of bnetd.)

Scroll up and read the questions. There's plenty of interest there for features that an open-source server could provide without waiting around for Blizzard to implement it. Data feeds. APIs. Federation. Solutions to congestion. Alternative platforms. Interoperability with other services. The problem of app rejections. LAN play. Reputations.

If you seriously think that the only reason for an open-source server is so people can copy the game illegally, then you are an idiot.

Re:How times change (4, Insightful)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178185)

Pirating was the main reason for bnetd. Period. If you can't come to terms with this, then you aren't living in reality.

Yes, there are tons of things that an open source server could provide. But they aren't doing this to help solve Blizzard's problems, they are doing it for the intellectual challenge and to allow people to play pirated copies of the game online. Listen, this is Blizzard's game. If they provide a service 10 years after a game is released, it shows a hell of a commitment to that game. Yet instead of acknowledging how much support they give for a really old game, you want to cry and moan about something that was designed to allow people to play the game without paying the people who created it.

Quite frankly, it is people like you who give the open source community a bad name. You refuse to admit the reality of the situation. You refuse to understand the other side (i.e. software developers should be able to protect their software from pirates). You expect everything for free...because Blizzard quality games can be produced by anyone? Give me a break. If these bnetd guys were so fantastic, then maybe they should have created their own RTS. Instead, they chose to build off of proprietary software. This is their stupidity. If they wanted to do this, they should have went to Blizzard and got written documents that said that they could. They didn't, they are stupid, and Blizzard acted the same way any sane software developer would have.

Slashdot breeds a culture that allows you guys to thrive. It is this groupthink attitude that just because something is open source it is inherently good and that all proprietary software is bad. It is garbage. There is a balance to everything. If people want to make a living off of software, this is how it is going to be. If the world was the way you wanted it to be, Starcraft would have never existed in the first place. Grr, people on here...it is like there is a Fox News for open source. It makes you all extreme and retarded.

Re:How times change (1)

MrLint (519792) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178177)

Nice job of ignoring the fact that when bnetd was being devloped Blizzard battlenet was down at least 30% of the time because it couldn't handle the load.

Re:How times change (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178399)

"nice to see how these days Slashdot as a whole rolls over on Free Software as soon as they are bribed with something shiny."

THESE days? As opposed to?

I remember the days of Rob "CmdrTaco" "Debian rulz" Malda running off to run Halflife-2 under Windows, rather than saying "Screw that - if you don't support Linux I ain't playin'".

The /. crowd always has taken teh shinee over Free Software, when the two were mutually exclusive.

Dodging the question (4, Informative)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177497)

Slashdot: The other question that is a constant concern within the fan base of Starcraft is the question of disallowing LAN play. How are you solving problems like making sure this is a valid replacement for LAN plan; security, reliability, speed, or even people playing behind things like NAT routers?

Dustin Browder: These are issues that we continue to address as we go forward. Some of these things we have some plans for, but not all of them. It is something that we definitely plan on working on as we go forward to make sure we have things in place to handle every possible user case out there. We just know from WoW that most people can connect online and play. There are some cases out there, some legitimate-use cases -- that aren't just people that refuse to buy a modem or are crazy and weird and living in a closet. We want to make sure we are able to support these legitimate-use cases for LAN play and make it accessible to those users, but we're still trying to identify all of those and decide which cases are legitimate and which are not. These are definitely legitimate concerns, and we're certainly looking to address them.

Translation We have no damn idea, but were going to make it up as we go.

Duplication (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177529)

Slashdot: How much of your work from Wings of Liberty will you be able to duplicate throughout the other two installments of the trilogy?
Dustin Browder: Very little...

This is true. Just the engine, game sounds, 90% of the models, mapping tools, online match making system... that leaves what? cinematics, map creation, story telling, voice work, special campaign specific units to create... sounds like an overdeveloped mission pack to me.

Not that it's wrong in any way. If blizzard wants $180 for the full single player experience for starcraft 2, let em go nuts, but saying that very little of the work in the first game will be duplicated across the other 2 is insane, and obviously PR speak to avoid fanboy rage over being gouged.

You buy 3 times, and they'll do anything they can to monetize the online portion (pay for maps) to justify the costs they sink into starcraft over WoW or WoW2.

I wonder what the cost/benefit analysis is on SC2 vs WoW? I bet WoW comes up way ahead.

I like rambling.

Re:Duplication (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177977)

Yeah, I really don't see how the SC2 "trilogy" is going to work commercially. Expecting players to pay full price for an expansion pack would be a huge "fuck you" to anyone who likes their games. But they've stated that all three will be equal when it comes to online play. So...they'd really better be going for broke in offering *huge*, exciting single player campaigns with new gameplay mechanics that aren't available in online play. And still drop the price to about $40 on release.

What the hell? blizarddot? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177543)

How many more 'storys' about blizzard are we going to have this week.. This astroturf crap is just getting sad.

And this article? Wooo. Such a large block of text that doesn't actually say anything. They should be politicians.

And now for a small block of text describing what i will be buying from blizzard in the near future. ... ...

Yep. Sums it up well. Just yet another game company who lost my business by being greedy. They don't care at all. I don't care too much. I'll get over it.

SC2 for the new Dota? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177581)

It dawned on me just now that there isn't a new RTS Warcraft game - and given how much customization will be in SC2, do you guys think DOTA will get transformed into something workable in SC2?

I'm curious what kind of user generated content will be created, and I'm glad to see that Blizzard is finally embracing it for how much it really does contribute to their games.

Re:SC2 for the new Dota? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177907)

I'm glad to see that Blizzard is finally embracing it for how much it really does contribute to their games.

They've been supplying tools for content generation since Starcraft - what are you talking about?

Re:SC2 for the new Dota? (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178439)

DotA is terrible, and the DotA community is even worse. It's weird and creepy how people bought an RTS game just to obsessively play a wannabe Diablo mod that only lets you control one unit at a time while screaming in all caps at "nubs" who did something to unleash the wrath of their spergy nerd rage.

It's Not About DSL Connections (1)

jacob1984 (1314123) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177617)

Blizzard, I think you've been in your ivory tower too long. This isn't about fast internet connections. This is about not being able to play LAN on a game that is at its heart multiplayer. What the fuck are you people smoking?

Re:It's Not About DSL Connections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177869)

Most peeps qqing about SC will be buying the game anyway. If a bnetd comes out, Blizz will snuff it out just like the original bnetd and wowglider.

If Blizzard started charging $500 for SC, you know you will be buying it.

Re:It's Not About DSL Connections (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178035)

I think they're smoking the wads of cash they rake in from WoW, and they don't want to restrict said cash flow by providing a method for cracked versions of the game to play together without an internet connection.

It seems to me that they could solve this with a handshake that set up of the game over Battle.net, but then allowed the majority of the game data to flow directly between the computers. Unless of course there's some other flaw in this that I can't see.

What the hell? (4, Insightful)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177735)

They said "we know a majority of people played Warcraft on the internet and not on a LAN". First and foremost, I've only seen the LAN question asked for Starcraft. I've only seen Starcraft played on a LAN. People prefer LANs for high speed, security, and the ability to connect multiple people through a single router without choking their poor internet connection and/or configuring everyone's different laptop to work with that specific model of router (a nightmare with WiFi).

Second of all, how would they know? LANs aren't connected to the internet. They are likely to be played on computers not connected to the internet. There is no way of knowing how many people play LAN games over Internet games, other than surveys. Which is silly since most LAN players aren't likely to see these surveys, as they are likely taken online. Online when you log into the game/game's website. And if you don't use the internet to play, why would you check the website?

I just wish they'd cut the crap and say they are concerned about piracy and want to be able to boast higher numbers on their servers. They want everyone connected to Battle.net even if they aren't playing their games (see Steam's default auto-launch feature). They aren't satisfied with having the #1 pay-for-play American MMORPG in the world (I wish they'd stop claiming 'most populous MMO'). They want to claim they have the most players in the world playing their games by claiming everyone is logged into Battle.net.

Also, as someone who only plays SCII on a LAN at LAN parties, you guys can go straight to hell.

Re:What the hell? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29178153)

"Also, as someone who only plays SCII on a LAN at LAN parties, you guys can go straight to hell."

You'll be able to play SCII on a LAN at LAN parties, I can't believe the shrill, sad, and pathetic FUD being spewed about all this.

Re:What the hell? (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178167)

I've only seen Starcraft played on a LAN.

While Blizzard sees only those playing on line. In numbers which can be counted.

There is no way of knowing how many people play LAN games over Internet games, other than surveys. Which is silly since most LAN players aren't likely to see these surveys, as they are likely taken online.

It's even sillier to argue that the gamer with access to a LAN doesn't have at least some minimal access to the net -

if only over a publicly accessible terminal.

Re:What the hell? (2, Insightful)

felipekk (1007591) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178341)

or configuring everyone's different laptop to work with that specific model of router (a nightmare with WiFi).

First of all, I don't consider configuring WiFi a nightmare hell, and I work on IT, doing it frequently. It is one of the things that simply just work.

Second of all, you would need to go through this nightmare for LAN play as well, unless you intend on hosting a lan party to play the game on single player?

Pardo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177739)

"Rob Pardo: There are definitely some things we are investigating. Whether or not they will be in at launch, I don't know. I really think that the vast majority of people wont have an issue. Even if you look at Warcraft 3, which did have LAN play, the vast, vast majority of people played on Battle.net and that was what, seven years ago? So I think that it is a very small percentage of people that will be affected, and only a small percentage of the time. That said, we are looking at some technology that would allow us to detect a peer-to-peer connection if we detect something like a high latency over a certain amount. Unfortunately, this would only be able to work for custom games, since we need to ensure the accuracy of competitive or ladder games via Battle.net."

The vast majority of people played WarCraft 3 online?. WTF do you know, Pardo?. Have you been sniffing EVERY LAN in the world, perhaps?.

And WTF does WoW, an ONLINE MMO have to do with the fact of adding LAN to an RTS game?.

Fucking idiot. If you're disrespecting your fans, at least be man enough to say so, instead of all this BS.

Consoles and controllers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177741)

Slashdot: How about a console version for WoW?
J. Allen Brack: [...] right now WoW is very much designed for the mouse and keyboard interface, and doing another type of control scheme would be very challenging.

So... don't.
Just sell your game in a big fat box that includes *drumroll* a keyboard and mouse. Problem solved.

Consoles are becoming more and more like regular ol' PCs anyway (play music/dvds, browse the web, chat with your friends, etc.).

Blackrock mountain changes (1)

egburr (141740) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177779)

*sigh* I missed the question session. :(

What I would really like to know is if Blackwing Lair will still be available to run. I have been holding for 2 years now a quest to go there, but I have yet to find anyone on my server interested in going. I just want to be able to see it and complete the quest. Even 20 levels too high for the raid, I can't go by myself, because the first fight requires at least 5 people and probably more just due to the mechanics of the fight.

If /LFG weren't so worthless, I would be permanently queued for a BWL run, just in case.

not an answer, except in the subtext (1)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 4 years ago | (#29177809)

SC2 LAN play?

There's no answer there, except a "keep your money, 'cause we don't give a damn about customers that we can't nickel and dime over the 'net" in the subtext.

"... but we're still trying to identify all of those and decide which cases are legitimate and which are not"?

LAN play for purchased games/licenses is ALWAYS legitimate you corporate weasel.

100% of battle.net users can connect to battle.net (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177975)

We just know from WoW that most people can connect online and play.

Even if you look at Warcraft 3, which did have LAN play, the vast, vast majority of people played on Battle.net and that was what, seven years ago?

No doubt they collected their usage statistics from battle.net. Of course, given that everyone on battle.net can connect to battle.net, it seems like a bit of a biased sample.

In any event, even assuming their premise is true - that most people can connect to battle.net - it does not follow that they always can or indeed would always want to. I can get cell phone signal if I step outside of my office, for example - that doesn't mean it's convenient for me to do so.

Re:100% of battle.net users can connect to battle. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29178075)

That sure got butchered. Let me try again.

We just know from WoW that most people can connect online and play.

Even if you look at Warcraft 3, which did have LAN play, the vast, vast majority of people played on Battle.net and that was what, seven years ago?

No doubt they collected their usage statistics from battle.net. Of course, given that everyone on battle.net can connect to battle.net, it seems like a bit of a biased sample.

In any event, even assuming their premise is true - that most people can connect to battle.net - it does not follow that they always can or indeed would always want to. I can get cell phone signal if I step outside of my office, for example - that doesn't mean it's convenient for me to do so.

Yet another LAN post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29177995)

As redundant as I know this is - add me to the list of "No LAN play, no sale" customers.

I'm not angry, I don't think Blizzard necessarily owes us anything... but that is one enormous feature to leave out, and if they want to throw the baby out with the bathwater - fine. I keep my money, they keep their game.

Given how important LAN play was to the success of Starcraft I, I'm pretty sure I'm not alone and it's in Blizzard's interest to listen to us.

Battle.net DRM scheme (1)

imunfair (877689) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178067)

I really wonder what manager decided that taking LAN support out of the game was a good monetary decision. There is no reason for it not to degrade gracefully to a "could not connect to battle.net, would you like to start a LAN game?" option. (aside from DRM, which is a silly argument since pirates will patch battle.net out of the game in a heartbeat) Even Steam has an offline mode, and the ability to play your games on the LAN.

It clearly offends people to be told how they can use the game they legitimately purchased. How many developer hours would it cost them to properly implement LAN play, compared to the sales they will lose?

There are plenty of RTS and unless they offer some genre-breaking features I don't see any reason to purchase. When I play games with friends we usually have a selection to pick from, so not being able to play SC2 is no big deal.

It seems to me they're aiming toward rabid fans that will buy the game anyway, and gamers interested in online tournaments who will obviously have internet connections. This overall seems like a bad design decision to me though - games have always had an option for online play vs LAN play. If they don't like the "complexity" of having two obviously separate options then they should come up with a seamless option that allows both, without restricting LAN play.

If this decision loses them even 5% of potential sales on the game it is a horrible call. People will probably still play SC2 at LAN parties, they will just pirate it instead, the opposite of what Blizzard is trying to accomplish.

Un-sincere answer... (1)

denobug (753200) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178221)

Slashdot: The LAN-play question has been a major issue. What are you doing to facilitate gameplay between people who are in the same room?
Rob Pardo: There are definitely some things we are investigating. Whether or not they will be in at launch, I don't know. I really think that the vast majority of people wont have an issue. Even if you look at Warcraft 3, which did have LAN play, the vast, vast majority of people played on Battle.net and that was what, seven years ago? So I think that it is a very small percentage of people that will be affected, and only a small percentage of the time. That said, we are looking at some technology that would allow us to detect a peer-to-peer connection if we detect something like a high latency over a certain amount. Unfortunately, this would only be able to work for custom games, since we need to ensure the accuracy of competitive or ladder games via Battle.net.

I hate to be critical. But this VP basically just admits that he has never had a true gamer's experience. He has zero clue why many gamers has such passion on a LAN capabilities on a good multiplayer RTS game like StarCraft. Also who would care about their ladder ranking when playing in a room in a LAN party? Some of the best SC games I've played one player is constantly playing defense (at a level of being sacraficial) and another player on the team is focusing on generating resources. Their stats looked terrible but guess what, who cares! It's about the fun of trying different ways of playing. Many friends who will never be an avid game player had fun playing SC only because he can feel comfortable playing under someone's wing without the pressure to perform. Game experience on Bnet is simply not the same.

The statistics of total play hours using LAN are not really measurable since they are not connected to their servers during the game play. If they want to make a throw-away game that cease to be played in a year or two maybe that's the way to go. But to make a game worth playing for years like the StarCraf? You be the judge.

My take: (1)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 4 years ago | (#29178413)

Slashdot: There has been some talk that the streamlining of commands has been moving the focus away from actions per minute [APM]. How important is APM as a metric for you and will we see a decline in the importance of this metric?
Dustin Browder: That type of feedback is incredibly important for us. We want players making smart decisions all the time and we want a lot of skill required to play this game at the highest levels.

Reading the answer here left me a bit amazed at the hubris that Blizz has. Don't get me wrong SC was a great game for it's day but do they honestly think that RTS games did not evolve past it? RON's feature set alone when dealing with buildings and units blows SC's very very dated method away. And RON is even pretty dated at this point. (Sadly I've yet to find a decent replacement for it however as the RTS genre seems to have been watered down quite a bit, but that's another rant.)

Slashdot: How about a console version for WoW?
J. Allen Brack: Console is one of those things that we probably talk about once every six months. I have probably met with Microsoft two or three times to discuss what it would be like to have WoW on the console. Where we are today, and I can't say we'll always be here, but right now WoW is very much designed for the mouse and keyboard interface, and doing another type of control scheme would be very challenging. I think it will be done, and if we had started WoW with the idea that we would move to console, I think it would be a much different game and the control scheme would support that.

That last sentence is a bit of a puzzle. He seems to say that at some point WoW will be ported to a console? Gah?

Bluntly, consoles are where games get dumbed down. There are a number of reasons why they need to be dumbed down and it's ok. There is room in the market for dumbed down console games and more complex PC games. But to expect people who want the more complex PC type games to be ok with the dumbed down console games is to ignore a proven market.

If anything WoW has proven that there is a significant market for people who enjoy, and will pay for, complex PC games. For a company as smart as Blizzard has been over the years I sure hope they see that screwing with that market segment would be a bad idea. (Queue bi-yearly /. post about how PC gaming is dying and we should expect to game only on consoles soon.)

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