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Taking the Fun Out of StarCraft II

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the apparently-you-can-win-without-battlecruisers dept.

Real Time Strategy (Games) 293

StarCraft II lead designer Dustin Browder recently spoke with Gamasutra about how designing a real-time strategy game for competition can sometimes be at odds with designing something purely for the sake of fun. "'It took me a year and a half to figure this out,' said Browder, an enthusiastic designer who might also be around the top 10 percent in the world in terms of speed-talking. 'I kept trying to shove stuff in that was fun but wasn't a sport,' he said. 'And everybody would tell me "no," and I wouldn't understand why. And I thought they were all jerks. I didn't know, right? I couldn't figure it out.' ... 'It took me a long time to understand why this sport value is so important,' Browder continued. The development team kept itself in check, nixing units that overlapped with the roles of other units and dumping units that were deemed too complicated. Some of the units cut were fun to use, but just didn't fit with the game's objectives as an eSport. 'It makes it so challenging for designers on the project to come up with new and good ideas,' said Browder. 'We could sit here right now, and come up with 10 great ideas for an RTS. But I almost guarantee you that all of those would get shot down for a sport.'"

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293 comments

The thing with 'adding fun' to a game is that... (1)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904324)

...the game players are already having fun playing the game as it is, and even if new features may be fun, learning to use them in itself is not so fun at all.

Re:The thing with 'adding fun' to a game is that.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904560)

dailypoopblog.blogger.com

Re:The thing with 'adding fun' to a game is that.. (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905236)

you should have done craptainsblog.blogger.com

Excuses (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904342)

Sounds like an excuse for poor game design. Good games can be fun and competitive at the same time. Look at Marvel vs Capcom. You can button-mash and not know what the hell is going on and still have a blast. You can also distill a perfect strategy and play-style and win tons of money playing the game for sport. At what point did Blizzard decide they had to pick one or the other? Maybe this isn't the same company I knew from my youth.

no. (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904348)

if you 'do not know what the hell is going on but still having a blast', you cant make an esport out of that game.

next time, read the summary attentively, at last.

Re:no. (1)

CherryLimeade (2002402) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904638)

I guess you should tell that to Evo, huh? MvC3 is the main competitive professional fighter right now. It's even ahead of SSFIV. Do research before replying to people...

Re:no. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904746)

idiot. are you aware that starcraft has basically set the concept of professional gaming and esports ? and it happened circa 1998-1999 and since ?

Re:no. (1)

rekenner (849871) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904808)

For a very given definition of eSports, maybe.
I mean, I LOVE SC:BW and SC2 progaming. But Evo has been around since long before 2002 and Counterstrike was huge in the US around the same time that SC started to become huge in S. Korea. That was definitely eSports. And even before that, there was Quake 3 and...
Starcraft didn't set the concept. SC:BW just made it HUGE in S. Korea and that's affecting the rest of the world. FPS watching never caught on. SC:BW watching did.

Re:no. (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904904)

if you 'do not know what the hell is going on but still having a blast', you cant make an esport out of that game.

Oh, that's silly. I find eating a really good Chicago hot dog "a blast" and they've made a sport out of competitive hot dog eating.

I've had a blast playing Chicago-style 16-inch softball where the pitcher has a beer in one hand and the ball in the other and that's a goddamn sport. I've had a blast bowling, riding my bike, doing martial arts, riding a horse, skiing, snowboarding, dancing, playing darts, and I'm just getting started with this list. I'm at the approximate level of "button masher" in all of these activities except martial arts and they have all been made into "sport".

What we are getting in this article is part of the campaign of excuses for why StarCraft2 is not as good as StarCraft.

Re:no. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905024)

progaming is supposed to utilize brains and reflexes. and starcraft 1 was done exactly in the same manner with starcraft 2.

Re:no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35905152)

If you need reflexes just to program, you're probably using a bad compiler.

Re:Excuses (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904452)

>>At what point did Blizzard decide they had to pick one or the other? Maybe this isn't the same company I knew from my youth.

Nuclear launch detected.
Nuclear launch detected.
Nuclear launch detected.

Yeah, it's still fun.

Re:Excuses (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904622)

You clearly don't know how to play Marvel Vs Capcom.

Good players can eat button mashers for breakfast.

Besides, in terms of "bad design" Marvel vs Capcom is pretty up there.

(Seriously between it and it's two sequels, MvC2/MvC3, it's seriously friggin' broken.)

Re:Excuses (4, Interesting)

rekenner (849871) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904728)

And if SC2 was 'balanced' like MvC2 was or MvC3 is looking like it will be (given that the metagame is young, I hesitate to say 'is'), then some fractional amount of a single race would be used, as everything else is too bad to be used. So, maybe only the Marine, Reaper, Banshee, and Raven are the only units in the entire game worth using. That's good game design, right? Or maybe only a unit or two from each race are usable and teching to them and microing them is the entire game.
Yeah. No.
RTS balance and fighting game balance are way the fuck different. RTS balance, or at least in SC2, RELIES on having every race be balanced (or so close to balanced as to give them all decent representation, let's not argue if SC2 is balanced yet. See: Young meta) and have multiple good builds and unit compositions and strategies within each race. As compared to MvC2 where how many characters out of the massive roster were tournament usable? Hm. Magneto, Cable, Storm, Sentinel, Psylocke, Strider (if your name is clockw0rk), Doom (mostly see previous parenthetical), CapCom, and Cyclops. And all the rest are thrown out. All the rest aren't used. And how did SC2 avoid that? By what was talked about in this article. SC2 isn't super revolutionary, I'll agree. But as a competitive game? I'd say it's outstanding. As someone who liked Brood War and likes SC2, but also sucks at micro ... I enjoy watching SC games. I watched SC1 tournies and I'm currently watching NASL. Fuck playing the multiplayer myself - I know I'll suck. That's not due to the game, that's due to that I don't care enough to get good. But I love watching the pros play.

Re:Excuses (1)

PeterKraus (1244558) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904800)

I had this same with HoN (the DoTA standalone game by S2). After watching the competetive replays, it took all the fun out of gaming - you just get frustrated with the miscommunication, lack of support, poor micro and poor skills your team has, especially more so after watching some pro's going at it and seeing how SHOULD it be done.

My girlfriend always thinks it's even more pathetic to watch a replay of a game than to play the game itself....

Re:Excuses (1)

rekenner (849871) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904820)

Just like watching someone play sports is more pathetic than playing sports, right? Or watching someone sing instead of learning how to sing//play music instead of learning how to play music? Or . . .
I hate that argument, really.

But, I wouldn't say watching progamers has taken the fun out of SC1 and SC2 for me. It's akin to, well... when I play any sport. I'm not serving the tennis ball at 120 MPH, but it's still fun. I just don't expect to be a pro.

Re:Excuses (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905304)

The only time it sucks is when the efficient or pro-style of playing is just no fun. Like with pokemon when people started using all their charts and graphs to get the perfect EV points or whatever the hell, I just decided to hell with that shit. That's not fun, thats work. Starcraft 2 is fun to play even when you are using the pro strategies (if you can). That's what makes me ok with playing even though I suck. To not suck isn't the same as ripping the fun out of it, so I'm not sitting there deliberately playing below the optimum just to keep it fun.

Re:Excuses (1)

Zingledot (1945482) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904902)

Are you arguing that, in the end, he didn't help make a fun game?

He said nothing about removing the fun, just having less flexibility in creating it.

Are professional players a majority of sales? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904354)

This only makes sense to me if pro players make up a majority of *buyers*. Or if people playing multi in general have the same desires for gameplay, even if they're not competing. But frankly, as a more casual gamer who enjoys "fun", this seems like pandering to a potential minority of hardcore players at the expense of my enjoyment, and that irritates me.

Re:Are professional players a majority of sales? (1)

alambda (1851436) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904390)

I suppose Blizzard gets a cut from tournament monies as well. At least that's what they've been trying and received some flak for.

Re:Are professional players a majority of sales? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904470)

Sounds like a 90-10 sort of thing. Most folks who buy the game are sane human beings who play the game for fun a couple hours a week, and a select few are off making a big fucking deal out of it.

Re:Are professional players a majority of sales? (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904544)

I suspect that this was, at least in part, why they made the single player units and the multiplayer units somewhat different. Single player, aimed at casual gamers who don't want to get murdered online, gave them the option of throwing fun units into assorted setpiece battles that make use of their abilities. Multiplayer was designed so that South Korea could get its Zerg Chess fix.

Re:Are professional players a majority of sales? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904614)

It's not really about that. Online games have to be balanced or everyone will stick to the over powered options, and the game will be boring very quickly. Usually when people say "fun" they mean "exploitable." Which is fine for single player or co-op, but in a match its just maddening. Even those who aren't playing for sport still want a decent chance.

Re:Are professional players a majority of sales? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904812)

When I played Red Alert online, briefly, there was one stratagy that would win every time. The tank rush. Skip building a refinary, and instead spend all your starting resources on tanks - they storm the enemy base before he has even gotten his production online. It was almost unbeatable. Took the fun out of multiplayer. There was no point using all the fun buildings or vehicles - if you tried, you'd just get stomped over by a load of tanks within the first five minutes. Obviously it was an all-or-nothing gambit. If you don't find the enemy in time, you have no refinary and no cash to build one.

Re:Are professional players a majority of sales? (1)

nzac (1822298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904630)

Starcraft selling point has never been because its a fun game. Every other successful RTS I can think of has been more fun than starcraft. TA, RA, CaC, RoN, SC, CoH and so on.

It can become fun when you enjoy the competition against other players.

Re:Are professional players a majority of sales? (1, Insightful)

chonglibloodsport (1270740) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904786)

Tell that to the makers of professional sports equipment (shoes, baseball gloves, bats, hockey sticks etc.)

It's a simple fact: many people buy what the pros buy and would be insulted if told they should buy a product "dumbed-down" to their level.

Flawed (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905322)

That is sports equipment. By your anology, I would as a regular person want my game of baseball/soccer (whatever suits you) with mates to include rigerous dope testing... we would pass with ease. We are far to drunk to piss in a metal trough, let alone a cup.

Re:Are professional players a majority of sales? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904788)

They're not a majority of sales, but they (along with the serious recreational gamers) constitute the loudest subsection of the fan base. Or they're the squeaky wheels if you like.

I can't say it's ruining the low-league experience, though, since balance is a good thing to have at all levels. Although the rampant bad manners and abuse in competitive play means I generally stick to co-op and custom games with friends. On the other hand, I do watch the occasional tournament, so high-level play interests me as a spectator.

Re:Are professional players a majority of sales? (0)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905362)

I don't understand how "abuse" can ruin the multiplayer. At worst you just ignore the other team, at best you talk a bunch of shit and its fun. Are people seriously pissed off by the people at the other end of the internet telling them they're a butt-toucher, or whatever the popular insult of the day is? The people that get upset about trash talk are so much worse than trash talkers. If you're getting upset, you're taking the game or yourself too seriously. As more of a romantic player, I enjoy using taunts and insults and general shit over the chat to try to get the game to evolve in a different way than it normally would. I think its a perfectly fine way to play the game, and if you don't care for what I'm saying, stop reading my messages.

Re:Are professional players a majority of sales? (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904870)

No, what they are doing is achieving long term sales as people will continue playing it for years to come (see SC1) - this formula works well.
I play 1 hour of SC2 a month nowadays - but I watch 25 hours a month on justin.tv / gomtv.net or other sites which are showing tournaments.
Infact as I type this post right now, I'm watching GSL Code A round of 32.

The sport design is smart, especially as they seperated the SP balance of the units from the MP balance now, the SP game is .. well pretty darn good (not as good as War 3, sorry) but the MP is really great too, they will be seeing slow sales on and on and on with this game.

Re:Are professional players a majority of sales? (2)

Zingledot (1945482) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904906)

Are professional sports players the majority of people buying base/basket/footballs? I would say no, but the culture created around having professionals generates business.

Re:Are professional players a majority of sales? (1)

Waccoon (1186667) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905306)

Casual gamers don't have enough games to keep them happy?

what's wrong with letting the game be a game? (4, Insightful)

Punto (100573) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904362)

I'm stuck in bronze forever, probably because I don't care about timing and build orders and unit counters, but I have fun playing, and doing all that stuff to climb up the ladder would take the fun out of it for me. And I really don't care about being bronze. What's wrong with playing the game for fun? I wish they'd just let us use all those fun units on unranked games.

Re:what's wrong with letting the game be a game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904468)

I haven't played SC1 in multiplayer mode since 2000. If I ever play SC2, I will *NEVER* play it in multiplayer mode. I wish they'd let us use all those fun units in single player games. I'll buy the game sooner if I hear they finally made it fun. Otherwise I'll wait for it to hit the $5 bargain bin.

Re:what's wrong with letting the game be a game? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904528)

They call those custom games and let people make their own fun games and distribute it over battle.net.

Re:what's wrong with letting the game be a game? (1)

Zingledot (1945482) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904912)

And they are quite fun...

Re:what's wrong with letting the game be a game? (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904514)

I think you can use different units in certain custom game maps in an online game (the units from the campaign). Custom SC2 games seem to have quite a bit of latitude in what the game designer puts in.

Re:what's wrong with letting the game be a game? (1)

Punto (100573) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905136)

yeah, I know about the custom maps, but the units from the single player campaign are basically the terran units from SC1 plus the diamondback, and it's not like people are creating new units (can you even import custom 3D models on those maps?). This guy seems to be talking about a bunch of actually _new_ units that they created and then threw away.

Re:what's wrong with letting the game be a game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35905294)

actually _new_ units that they created and then threw away.

I believe the more accurate statement would be that a vast majority of units were pitched at each other only to be determined that they would be either unfeasible, overpowered, or pointless. Not, in fact, units they modeled, skinned, animated, set parameters for, then used only to deem them unfeasible, overpowered, or pointless.

They "threw them away" in the same way if you had an idea for a curse for cancer then didn't go through with it because it was unfeasible or just plain stupid was thrown away. It's not like you had a vial of cure-all and flung it on the scrap heap.

Now...if you want them to spend time and effort making units that would only be messed about with for a few days/weeks then not played by most of their players considering they'd be banned in competitions, well then I don't think I'd ever want you running a business.

Re:what's wrong with letting the game be a game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904534)

I wish they'd just let us use all those fun units on unranked games.

There's quite a few maps out there that allow use of overpowered or ridiculous units that you can play. Why not just play those?

Re:what's wrong with letting the game be a game? (1)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904810)

Designers are too concerned with keeping the game addictive to allow it to be fun.

Re:what's wrong with letting the game be a game? (2)

Zingledot (1945482) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904948)

Everyone says that..... until a unit gets abused, and the only way to beat it is to mass more of them than your opponent.

People making the argument you make remind me of people talking about government spending. Everyone wants less of it, but everyone expects the trash to go away when it gets put on the curb. Once you actually get down to the specifics, suddenly this 'competitive balance' is actually what makes the game fun for EVERYONE.

Re:what's wrong with letting the game be a game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904952)

I'm a starcraft NUT and I still have 48 'practice' games available. I've never played a single league game that counted for anything, only two practice games in the noobie rank (I don't even know how the ranks work).
Meanwhile I play SC2 about 2 hours per today. All I ever play is custom maps.
For me it's micro vs macro. I hate micro/twitch playing, but love the strategy aspect (it is an rtS after all). There's plenty of custom maps that eliminate the "actions per minute" BS in favor of more macro strategy.

Re:what's wrong with letting the game be a game? (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905226)

You just said you have fun playing. That means they've already succeeded in keeping it competitive at the high level and fun at the low level. That's win/win as far as I'm concerned.

Weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904366)

Weird how they failed both aspects with starcraft 2.

Sport...pfft. (1, Troll)

Chas (5144) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904368)

It's a damn computer game.

Sure, you're always going to have people for whom these games are REEL SRS BZNS! But everyone else looks at these hypercompetitive button-pushers with something faintly resembling pity (with a large dose of impatience and disgust mixed in for good measure).

Re:Sport...pfft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904386)

But everyone else outside of South Korea

Fixed that for you.

Re:Sport...pfft. (2, Insightful)

Kabada (1436459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904436)

I'm pretty sure that this "everyone" you mean is confined to the same group of jerks who look down on people who "read" and, omg, those losers who actually post on uber-geek-loser sites like slashdot.

Re:Sport...pfft. (1)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905112)

I agree with hidden context the parent (though not the pity part) and I'm a tech geek. It may take a lot of skill to do 500 clicks a minute but I don't consider it a sport. A sport IMHO requires a physical component and mental component. So when people tell me their sport of choice is poker I also raise an eyebrow (I don't discriminate). I think in today's society lot of people try to call things sports so they feel better about their lack of physical skills (i.e. poker).

On the flip side I also consider physical activities not a sport. I don't think power lifting is a sport (sorry to all the power lifters). Is it easy? No. Does it require training? Yep? Does it require an ounce of brain power? No, if I go by all the power lifters I've ever meet at the gym, school, etc.

Does that mean things like poker, games, darts, whatever are easy? Not at all especially at high levels of play. But, for me, I don't consider them a sport. Yes you can make a gob of money in them so I don't look down on anyone with the time to be good in their area and bring home the bacon.However that level of play is an exception.

Just my 2 cents...

Re:Sport...pfft. (1)

Fearan (600696) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905316)

If we changed the word "sport" to "professional hobby" would that make you feel better? But even the non-physical activity description is valid

sport
[spawrt, spohrt] Show IPA
–noun
1.
an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.
2.
a particular form of this, especially in the out of doors.
3.
diversion; recreation; pleasant pastime.

Yesterday IGN had their for Pro League matches, I recommend you watch set 3 to know what eSports is about. People who don't do this professionally cannot reach that level of play, and that's why it's a sport.
http://www.ign.com/ipl/videos [ign.com]

Re:Sport...pfft. (1)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905140)

You are so wrong. It's because of the manic button-pressers that game developers routinely nerf the shit out of games and game elements to get "balance"

Screw balance, I want my massively overpowered and overgunned characters because they are fun to play with.

Re:Sport...pfft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904458)

Sure, and while you're laughing your ass off about them, they're laughing because they're pulling in six figure incomes in half the time it would take an Engineer in Silicon Valley to make the same amount.

Re:Sport...pfft. (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904502)

Yet, they can only do it for a couple years until their career is over, while an electrical engineer can do it for a lifetime.

Re:Sport...pfft. (5, Insightful)

Sky Cry (872584) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904488)

There are plenty of games that are fun. It's not surprising, that there's a niche for games that are a sport.

Football, volleyball, tennis, etc. - all are both games and a sport. What's wrong with some computer games also being an eSport?

Re:Sport...pfft. (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905106)

There are plenty of games that are fun. It's not surprising, that there's a niche for games that are a sport.

Football, volleyball, tennis, etc. - all are both games and a sport. What's wrong with some computer games also being an eSport?

What's wrong is that it's not physically demanding! Sports must demand a certain degree of physical prowess that only a rare few can obtain. What's next? Nerds playing board-games like checkers is a sport? Chess?! Oh... wait... That's right: Mental prowess, esp. speed of thought is required in both games of skill and (some) physical sports.

Silly me, here I was about to make an ass of myself like the GP did...

To be fair I find watching others play a game boring (esp. on TV). I would much rather enjoy a friendly game of football against my friends than watch someone else do so. I can not play against professional football players, boxers, etc.; They would crush and injure me. However, I CAN play mentally demanding games of skill like chess and RTS or FPS games against anyone -- even the pros...

That's the difference. If I see a move in a physical sport that is physically impossible for me to perform, I am not impressed... If I see a skillful trap sprung by a chess master, or "pro" RTS or FPS game player, I'm more impressed because that's something that I could have, but didn't think of.

Re:Sport...pfft. (1, Insightful)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904590)

It's a damn computer game.

Honestly, I feel the same way about 'real' sports such as Football. They're just games. I don't understand why people take them so seriously.

Re:Sport...pfft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904724)

This feels like a troll post but whatever.

Watch this if you wish to see what high level sc2 looks like, and tell me after with a decent argument why you can't call this an esport.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OzpWbNohhQ

New Super Mario Bros Wii (3, Interesting)

cgomezr (1074699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904374)

Designing a game that would be fun for beginners/casual players and challenging for experts at the same time is extremely difficult. Ten or twenty years ago there were no games like that. Now, with the popularization of things like tutorials and achievements, we are getting closer, but we still aren't there in most genres.

I think the game that does the best job at this (out of those I have seen) is New Super Mario Bros Wii. It has several layers of complexity and can be played at various levels of challenge, from using the bubble or the Super Guide to get you out of the levels to getting all the star coins in the game or finding tricks for infinite lives. I have seen both absolute beginners and old-school hardcore gamers having loads of fun with this game (even when both kinds of players are playing *together*!) and that is truly remarkable, and something to mark in the history of game design.

Now, how could this be applied to Starcraft II? No idea...

Re:New Super Mario Bros Wii (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904574)

"Designing a game that would be fun for beginners/casual players and challenging for experts at the same time is extremely difficult. Ten or twenty years ago there were no games like that."

Chess

Re:New Super Mario Bros Wii (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904610)

Designing a game that would be fun for beginners/casual players and challenging for experts at the same time is extremely difficult. Ten or twenty years ago there were no games like that.

What are you talking about? Many games are like that: chess, tennis, tetris, and so on.

Re:New Super Mario Bros Wii (1)

FrangoAssado (561740) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904718)

Designing a game that would be fun for beginners/casual players and challenging for experts at the same time is extremely difficult. Ten or twenty years ago there were no games like that.

Funny you should day that, because Starcraft 1 (which existed 13 years ago) is still a huge professional sport in South Korea (there are two cable TV channels specialized in it). :-)

But I think that most of what you said is actually true, but is not what the interview is about. The challenge for experts is in playing with other people, because all professionals and most hardcore players find the single-player campaign ridiculously easy (in both Starcraft 1 and 2). The story is about the balance of making a game that is fun for beginners (in single-player and maybe multi-player) and also has the qualities that make it suitable for high-level competition between professional players.

Re:New Super Mario Bros Wii (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35905068)

Uh, players don't play Super Mario Bros against each other.

It's not a competitive game so is not comparable to games that are.

The truth is game developers... (5, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904404)

... have lost their ability to have confidence in themselves. The games are now designed around what they perceive 'the audience' wants, starcraft 1 was such a hit BECAUSE the design team did not have pressure of korean pro gaming to stifle their creativity.

Starcraft 2 had to be the most conservative and underwhelming sequel of all time. Not only that the single player story felt like an alternate starcraft universe that had very little to do with the first game. It just goes to show that 12 years is too long a time to wait between sequels for a hit game to keep continuity since most of the original developers of Starcraft 1 were long gone by the time SC2 was released.

The internet has become an echo chamber for ignorant fans and developers to heap praise on themselves when the games they are putting out are conservative to mediocre at best simply because there are so many blind fanboys these days.

Re:The truth is game developers... (1)

Kabada (1436459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904448)

That is your opinion. I find the SC2 multiplayer really fucking amazing, as do millions of other people.

Re:The truth is game developers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904482)

Starcraft 2 had to be the most conservative and underwhelming sequel of all time.

True. Admittedly I only played it for a few hours but to me it seemed like a carbon copy of Starcraft 1 with nicer graphics and unacceptable DRM. Big whoop.

Re:The truth is game developers... (4, Insightful)

Alioth (221270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904524)

I don't really agree with this (except in so much that SC2 is a fairly conservative follow-up). I happen to find SC2 multiplayer awesome, I enjoy the competition even though I'm dreadful at it (struggling not to be demoted back to bronze). I think the game itself is well designed and is a lot of *fun* (otherwise I wouldn't play it).

I also enjoy seeing the pro-gaming aspect of it, some of the TSL games last weekend were awesome.

I think Blizzard have designed a good game here, not only do people like me who just play casually find it a lot of fun, but also the pro-gamers like it too. It's an achievement that the game is easy enough to pick up for a casual but deep enough for the pro.

Re:The truth is game developers... (1)

Zingledot (1945482) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904988)

They transformed the game, without losing it. A lot of sequels to good games become crap because they didn't do a good job of realizing their successes, and their failures.

Starcraft 1 isn't fundamentally different now than when it came out, but the direction the multiplayer took on an evolution of its.

Likewise, Starcraft 2 single-player is every bit as fun as Starcraft 1 single player (perhaps moreso), but why start over from square 1, or take a new direction in the multiplayer when they've learned so much?

But then, there is the universal rule of haters gunna hate.

LURKERS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904422)

You certainly took the fun out of Starcraft with the decision to nix the Lurkers.

Shame on you, Blizzard.

My Kind Of Game... (1)

KagatoLNX (141673) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904446)

This is why I really like Minecraft. Fun stuff can slide in without concerns about it interfering with it being a "sport".

That explains where all the fun went... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904462)

We knew this was the case during development, but I wish they'd been more honest about it then. Blizzard seem fixated on the Korean esports market. Normally I'd approve of a creative product chasing niche appeal but... esports seems like a really small niche, and I can't see how this is a good long-term business model for the franchise.
I've certainly lost all interest in buying any of the follow-ups. I used to play a lot of Warcraft III multiplayer. Win or lose, it was good fun. But SC2 multi-player is a stressful, joyless experience for a semi-casual gamer like me. Maybe I'm getting too old for this! Back to Company of Heroes again... ( still fantastic fun after all these years )

Starcraft and Fun (1)

Derosian (943622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904478)

People played the first Starcraft because it was fun. People played it because it was also a sport.

I play Starcraft 2 from time to time, but not nearly as much as I played the first Starcraft, and mostly because I don't have a lot of fun playing the multiplayer. From the article it looks like they built SC2 to cater directly to the sport play. If it wasn't for the single player, I would think twice before buying future games from Blizzard. Don't want to spend money on something I won't have fun with, but the single player aspect of SC2 was fun, just not sure it was worth the amount I spent. Might wait a while for the price to go down or consider other options when the next expansion comes out.

they left my fun out early (5, Insightful)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904486)

Once they took out one of the only two play modes I would ever use (LAN play), and threw in the DRM, I was never going to have "fun" with it, since I wasn't going to buy it.

I either need to get SC/BW running under WINE, or get a dedicated VM going for it, so I can repurpose the Win2K box that I use for playing the original.

Re:they left my fun out early (2)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904594)

For the record, SC:BW runs great under Wine, including the official NoCD patch and battle.net (or LAN). Some people have complained that it has higher latency than on Windows, but it also crashes less than on the latest Windows versions, so it may be a wash. (I'd forgotten how bad the play drop experience was in SC, and even WC3, after so much time playing RTS with better handling of this event... these days, it's just "Pause please, I need to reboot my computer to fix the lag" and he's back in a couple minutes.)

Re:they left my fun out early (2)

emanem (1356033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904750)

Not only SC, SC:BW runs great on wine, but even SC2 runs very good.

Re:they left my fun out early (5, Informative)

SpazmodeusG (1334705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904864)

If you hate region locking you made the right move. The region locking of Starcraft 2 takes it to insane levels. eg. If you make a map using the in-built editor you can only upload it to your region!

So those of us in the more obscure regions simply aren't allowed to play the custom maps made by people in other regions.

Re:they left my fun out early (1)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905196)

Once they took out one of the only two play modes I would ever use (LAN play), and threw in the DRM, I was never going to have "fun" with it, since I wasn't going to buy it.

So, you don't buy any games, ever? It's 2011 and only a tiny tiny minority (5% or less) have any sort of LAN support and the vast majority (95%+) have some sort of DRM.

Re:they left my fun out early (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35905280)

To be fair, it isn't really DRM for DRM's sake. Starcraft II has or is a subscription plan in many markets, and the unified login scheme makes the system work much better for people who don't have their own computer (such as Korean PC bangs), so their account and single player saves move across machines far more easily than the days of Brood War.

It just appears really weird here, where we pay $50 for a game and $30 for expansions up front.

God exists! (0)

Trivial Solutions (1724416) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904520)

This logic can be used to prove God, the Creator, exists.

So can getting Him to talk :-)

God says...
restlessly principally dreadful lowly clothing smoothed
respite gave turbulent duty txt thinks unravelled forms
helpful many readers tenets supplied deed An demonstrate
real actually Nature Commandments object wicked knocketh
subtle restrains tattlings meditations recurring carry
thyself person slay Forum purposing DISCLAIMER asunder
remained redistributing store bred pleasurable intercession
Hundreds go extent tragical pant fearing variable appear
forcibly unto contrition forceth weigheth fifth bestowed
deserve countenance calleth smoothing redeemer grounded
recount king liveth devour lower crafty realities breathedst
hunting vocally distances green nowhere questions warreth
royalties clearness unmeasurable door ease Of smarting
widow states masses desired talking Euodius renew'd species
births relieve attractiveness hoar undisturbed noon stores
begannest secret prudent lowliness solemnise direct deliver
magnify sets Thrones Euodius bury MERCHANTABILITY abridged
matters source injury Michael apparently humane contradictions
concealed broad hesitated which beautified utmost touched
allay ascension uncorrupted mention sons lulled presidest
gloried everfixed

Re:God exists! (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904664)

Well, of all religions, I give you that your God at least likes his shrooms. Not the worst of them...

Implying it's not fun? (1)

Vixe (1846608) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904578)

I play StarCraft II quite a bit, and while by no means am I a professional player, I get a little competitive with it. (High Ranking Diamond player, currently.) I don't think they are absolutely on the wrong path, because a large part of the fun (for me) is having a balanced and relatively simple game to compete in. So while it may seem a bit odd to take out the new and intuitive ideas, for the sake of keeping the game balanced, it may be best. Though perhaps not for the types that don't take pleasure in winning? There is something to be said for the custom games, though. There is a /large/ variety to be had there, that could easily cater to the less-competitive players.

But but but... (1)

RenHoek (101570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904604)

I don't want to play an eSport.. I want to play something _fun_.

Re:But but but... (1)

emanem (1356033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905074)

_fun_ and balanced are very hard to get... one would say they've been so good at doing it that now who wins is who has best build order...using external softwares to compute it btw :P
Or the opposite... Lol

Well (1)

rasmusneckelmann (840111) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904612)

I don't understand all the e-hate directed at Blizzard for this in these comments.

In order for the game to be viable for competitive play, the game needs to be extremely balanced. If it wasn't the case, Blizzard would lose the favor of a huge number of competitively minded players plus the whole of Korea :P.

Keep in mind that the title of this slashdot news post is clearly designed to troll you. Multiplayer SC2 is fun because it's so balanced. The skill cap of SC2 is insanely high because of it. If you want to play with "fun" units, there are loads of special unbalanced units in the singleplayer campaign. Furthermore, there's a huge number of custom maps with custom units available on battle.net.

Even if you for some reason don't like SC2 multiplayer, the singleplayer campaign still offers as much content as any similarly priced PC game.

SC2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904644)

Limited queue sizes, Resources taken when issueing the order as oppose to when it starts.
It's all a bit backwards tbh.

So many confused people confusing others... (1)

TzaGear (2001790) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904646)

We, Starcraft 2 Players, would love to have many of you join us. However if the game has to be compromised for some of the reasons I have seen in these comments, then continue entertaining yourself otherwise. There are a significant number of people who are able to make a living off being a profession Starcraft 2 player. Their livelihood and the entry of others into that realm of survival are dependent on Starcraft 2's competitive nature as an eSport. Those who are unfamiliar, the eSports scene for Starcraft 2 is huge and just getting bigger. Off the top of my head a few going on: Global Starcraft 2 League ( http://gomtv.net/ [gomtv.net] ), North American Star League ( http://nasl.tv/ [nasl.tv] ), Major League Gaming ( http://mlgpro.com/ [mlgpro.com] ), IGN Pro League ( http://www.ign.com/ipl/ [ign.com] ), TSL, various local tournaments happening everywhere, King Of The Hills with open invite to various divisions with cash prizes. Just look at the coverage on YouTube and Justin.tv The linked article this refers to, I feel, is that the game designer realizes the error of his cool additions purely for the sake of fun. A good example of this in action is take a look at the success of Nightmare Chess as a game and if you look into how difficult it has been for many to keep tournaments going. Balance and stability is more important than cool and crazy for long term fun. Blizzard's willingness to keep the stability of Starcraft 2 over chasing hype is admirable in my eyes.

Re:So many confused people confusing others... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904824)

This post sums up everything perfectly. The big issue a lot of people int he general public don't look at sc2 for the lens of esports. The see it from the view of a causal gamer. The thing is SC2 was never meant for causal gamers at all, it was target towards the core SC1 fan base / pro scene , and hard core completive gamers.

This cause a rather amusing cultural divide, when you have you stander causal gamer looking at sc2 and having an valid opinion that the sc2 campaign kind of sucks. Then you have people like me who simple doesn't care if the campaign is good or not it simple not a factor for me liking the game. Since the game for me is about multi-player.

 

Re:So many confused people confusing others... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35905110)

Whenever your livelihood is dependant on a game, then you have a problem.

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904712)

No matter what the guy in the summary did, the game would have essentially turned out as a competitive one. It is the nature of the genre. Maybe he could have fucked it up enough to not have SC2 be the best competitive game of any type on the face of the planet, but it is not likely.

The multiplayer game is fun when played only... (1)

emanem (1356033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904768)

...with friends.
Me and my friends have actually fun, we're ranked gold/silver in 2v2, 3v3; the main issue with SC2 is that is not as varied as WC3 or SC, SC:BW so you end up winning or losing just because of 10 seconds or sometimes bad luck.
On top of that there's people who use genetic algorithms to improve their build... where's the skill here?

Cheers,

Re:The multiplayer game is fun when played only... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35905288)

On top of that there's people who use genetic algorithms to improve their build... where's the skill here?

First of all, the genetic algorithm thing was for SC1 only using the AI plugin thing, and most of its best results are impossible for a human to recreate due to the fact that a person only has one mouse pointer where the software can basically directly control the units. Second of all, build order does not instantly win or lose you a game. Watch some high level SC1/SC2 matches and you see people making mistakes in build order all the time, or not even making mistakes but using what could be considered a non-optimal build order very frequently, yet still beating their opponent pretty easily due to better macro, micro, or both.

People who think build order wins games are the same people who will never make Diamond (or at least, will only get to Diamond with some cheesey build order that has a simple counter, and then shortly get knocked down once the counter is well known).

You are missing the point (1)

roguegramma (982660) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904972)

Not having unbalanced units, especially early in the game, is not simply an "eSports" thing, it is a multiplayer thing.

If you are building up a decent base, and then suddenly get a drop of unbalanced unit of type X early on, which wipes out your production, and then the opponent repeats this until you are dead, you will not have fun in multiplayer and will stop playing it at all.

Clearly that isn't good for a game that is known for its multiplayer although the campaign is good too.

Sports on computers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35905008)

Sorry, there are no "sports" on computers. (imho). Then again, I don't consider golf, darts, anything where a panel decides the score, or anything involving cars a sport. (Us couch potatoes have all kinds of opinions about sports.)

SC2 MP (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905018)

I don't really play SC2 multiplayer. Every time I do I get stomped into the floor because the other guy's drilled his build order to a fine art. It just rubs me the wrong way that most games of SC2 (in the minor leagues, anyway) are decided almost entirely upon who has the best build order.

For the record, I did beat the campaign and thought it was a blast, and I'll still play against the AI (on easy and medium) from time to time.

I dunno, I just don't have fun losing (at least, for reasons I perceive as arbitrary). Guess I'm one of those jerks.

Re:SC2 MP (1)

emanem (1356033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905060)

That is one of the major issue. Given the less variety of game (differently form WC3 you don't have heroes which can result in a determinant fight as something that might decide it) getting the perfect BO has become matter of genetic algorithms... I'm not joking... this is so sad...

Re:SC2 MP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35905302)

That is one of the major issue. Given the less variety of game (differently form WC3 you don't have heroes which can result in a determinant fight as something that might decide it) getting the perfect BO has become matter of genetic algorithms... I'm not joking... this is so sad...

you are misinformed. Build order's are not the end of be all for SC2, and the BO algorithms don't really help that much outside optimizing an opening. But that not going to win you many games.

Re:SC2 MP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35905096)

WTF? A build order loss is not "arbitrary", its failing to scout and react appropriately.

Re:SC2 MP (1)

Fearan (600696) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905344)

People who use the I suck too much therefore it's not fun completely miss the point. I'm not a chess pro, but still enjoy playing at my level. Losing sucks, but at least you learn something in the process.

FYI you are completely wrong about BOs deciding who wins or not, that might be applicable Diamond+, but below that, just solid macro mechanics and general use of your army will get you very, very far.

Please don't spout something about a game you obviously don't understand.

Different types of fun. (1)

Skywolfblue (1944674) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905086)

competition can sometimes be at odds with designing something purely for the sake of fun.

Not entirely. What's being described here is the difference between perspective-based "fun" and competitive "fun". Perspective based "fun" is something along the lines of one player getting to use something absolutely overpowered to decimate their opponent. This is a pretty key cornerstone of single-player. Some examples (Halo's Tank sequences, CoD Helicopter/Tank sequences, Nuclear Frikkin' Bombs, The Laser Drill on The Dig in SC2) This is bad for multiplayer. Competitive "fun" means that everyone has a more-or-less level playing field, and it is skill/strategy/reactions that win the day. This is great for multiplayer, but can make single-player rather dull.

Campaign vs. team mode (1)

mozumder (178398) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905274)

The campaign has a lot more unit types and upgrades than the multiplayer mode.

It's obvious the enhancements are there and useful for the game, but Blizzard is holding it back.

SC2 is simply not fun (3, Interesting)

Co0Ps (1539395) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905340)

I've played ~50 matches and the only feeling I get when I win is a sense of relief and "I don't want to do that again". It feels like the time I spent on the match was wasted. After all you get just as many points from rushing an opponent after 2 minutes as you get from carefully constructing a wall of defense and spending time to build an unbeatable late game army. Star Craft 2 is simply not entertaining. The pace of the game is two high for me to play it in a relaxed state. I guess that means I'm not an e-sports person. I love games though and I've played every major PC game... Probably spent several months of game time combined on TF2 and CS... but SC2? Where's the innovation really? It's just chess with more complex rules and much faster pace. I don't get any kick out of it at all. The multiplayer could have been a zillion times more fun by something as simple as making the ranking system more complex than points and ladders. For example, add some simulated large wars, factions and generated story... map regions and whatever. Make a win or a loss count more than getting a few arbitrary points added or removed. SC2 is a game ruined because it was made into an "e-sport" instead.
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