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Can Blizzard Top StarCraft?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the better-than-ezra-anyway dept.

Real Time Strategy (Games) 144

MSNBC is running an interview with Blizzard designer Rob Pardo discussing a number of facets of the upcoming StarCraft II. Informational tidbits include the fact that, unsurprisingly, the game won't be released this year, and some background on the game's long development cycle. "Penny Arcade figured it out! We keep games under code names and we teach developers to refer to games by their code name. And we're just really careful about talking about the game internally. We don't bring external folks through unannounced product areas. But I think even I'm surprised that we were able to keep it under wraps all the way to the end."

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144 comments

Top starcraft? (3, Insightful)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 6 years ago | (#19341753)

No, the hype machine is to great for star craft 2 to ever live up to. Not saying it won't be good just well...hype ruins things.

Re:Top starcraft? (1)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 6 years ago | (#19341831)

Exactly.. Look at the doom3. Need I say more.

Re:Top starcraft? (4, Insightful)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342133)

Yeah, look at Half-Life 2 -- oh wait, it did better.

We're not talking about not id or Valve or anyone else, just Blizzard.
They can pull it off.

Re:Top starcraft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19342175)

Exactly.. Look at the doom3. Need I say more.

Yes. Take a look at Baldur's Gate 2. Or Civ 2.

A sequel usually means that the designers are just trying to milk a product for more money. But occasionally an impressive sequel will emerge that outdoes the original in every aspect and meets its hype. Not often, I'll grant you, but that doesn't mean never.

Re:Top starcraft? (4, Insightful)

geekster (87252) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342523)

Also Starcraft came out in 1998. It's not like Blizzard rushed out a sequel just to cash in.

Re:Top starcraft? (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342501)

Because everyone expected a high-res fast paced run n' gun shoot-em up when id delivered a slower-paced survival horror FPS?

Re:Top starcraft? (2, Interesting)

phildawg (1104325) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342825)

I thought half-life 2 and doom 3 were outstanding games! And I think it's bullshit some want to lump them into the sequel category. I think what you are forgetting is how long it takes for these sequels to come out compared to others.

A company who is milking a franchise releases the sequels relatively quickly, not 5-10 years down the road... When a sequel is released 5 years after the first one... I'd say those are typically going to be amazing games, because it took so long because they were trying to make it right, not milk it.

If you want to milk a title, you release it ASAP and patch content later... along with sell them tons of expansion packs. Look at the MMO genre. Blizzard has put out 1 expansion in the time their competitors will put out 3-5 expansions. Is it no wonder why the other games suck? It's obvious the 3-5 expansion guys are trying to milk the customers. Blizzard is all about quality, and their games can last for many years for an expansion or sequel release.

Re:Top starcraft? (1)

SvnLyrBrto (62138) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343345)

Well... yeah.

As a standalone game, D3 holds it's own pretty well. As the successor to Doom and Doom 2... not so much.

In D1 and D2, there were oh so many times you'd be cruising along, pumping some buckshot into the occasional imp, generally making your way from point A to point B with no worries... Then you open the next door, and you're in a room with a few DOZEN imps, a pinky or two, and a cacodeamon or two, firing lost souls at you for good measure. Ohshitohshitohshit... you run for cover, switch to the chain-gun or the plasma... maybe even the BFG if you can spare the cells, and generally hose the MFers every spare second while run and hide and take cover and circle and generally try to survive long enough to pare the odds down to something a little more reasonable, Then, you switch again to the rocket launcher to shoot the cacodeamons out of the sky; and finally to the chain-saw to finish off any surviving pinkies. And if iD were feeling particularly sadistic that day, they'd include someplace for you to step that would spawn an arch-vile or two to start raising everything you just killed. Ohshitohshitohshitgaddamnshithelldamnfuck!

That whole excitement was missing in Doom 3. Okay... it's a different kind of game and all... survival horror. But they marketed it as Doom 3, not "Alone in the Dark on Mars".

cya,
john

Re:Top starcraft? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 6 years ago | (#19344085)

Ohshitohshitohshit... you run for cover

too many gamers these days cry when you tax them like that. there all slamming it into god mode. i'm not a fan of the "2 shells" 20 imps maps but making it scary enough to fear for your life is an id trademark thanks to doom. imho doom3 was right on the mark.

Re:Top starcraft? (1)

Shinmizu (725298) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343357)

My reply would be "We Love Katamari."

I'm sure there's a slim possibility that Blizzard can top Starcraft. I'm not confident enough at this point to bet money on it, however.

Can Blizzard Top StarCraft? (4, Funny)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19341845)

Short answer: "yes" with an "if"
Long answer: "no" with a "but"

Re:Can Blizzard Top StarCraft? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19341985)

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Re:Can Blizzard Top StarCraft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19342709)

Medium answer: "maybe" with an "and"

Wouldn't the better question be... (4, Interesting)

the computer guy nex (916959) | more than 6 years ago | (#19341937)

.. can Blizzard top Wow?

Starcraft sold a ton of copies, but it is now a moneysink. It is free to play on Battle.Net and not many new copies are being sold. They are continuously losing money from a game created many many years ago.

The $15/month from a MMO cannot be understated. The decision to make a non-MMO game after the success of WoW is very puzzling.

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (3, Insightful)

twitchingbug (701187) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342147)

No new Starcraft copies are being sold? Dude. They still sell the Battle Chest at Fry's for an outrageous $20. Outrageous in the fact that the game has been out 10+ years. And you gotta think it sells some to be on the store shelves for that long.

Of course, $15 a month is probably a lot more money...

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (3, Interesting)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342155)

I'm not sure that's such a fair comparison: Starcraft isn't likely to cannibalize sales and if Blizzard gets a good ROI from this new project, the success of WoW in comparison is moot... IF the teams developing aren't being pulled away from maintaining and enhancing WoW in a way that matters. Looking at the later half of EQ, most of the staff wound up replaced by less experienced (read: cheaper) developers to maintain it since at that time the code base was mature enough that nothing could be messed with that would destroy the world as players knew it.

I'll assume they did the math and figured it'd be a good investment. Blizzard is a business first, after all.

Meanwhile, if they made a new MMOG to top themselves with WoW, they risk the new project cannibalizing their own subscribers. Back in the day I played Everquest and with new-at-the-time games like Anarchy Online and Planetside I still couldn't bring myself to pay for more than one online game since A) the new game consumes time, B) time is linked to progress in MMOGs by design, C) I'm paying full price regardless of how many hours I actually use each period.

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (4, Interesting)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342929)

I'd agree, If Blizzard were to make a new MMO I would assume they'd probably make something for the 360/PS3 platforms where they could grow an entirely new userbase without sacrificing their current ones.

Despite the fact that WoW has been out for quite some time I think most of the users would feel the game was being abandoned before it's time if they turned out another MMO. Starcraft on the other hand is long overdue for a new addition to the franchise. The advancements in technology alone give them a lot of room to improve.

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (1)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343167)

If only they had made a skillbased, instead of item/level/classbased, PVPcentric MMORPG, that would of been truly awesome.

Instead we get stuck with a slight graphics update to Starcraft involving richer textures and particle effects.

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19343751)

Ever hear of Guildwars? Make a PvP character with perfect gear and all you can blame success and failure on is personal and team skill.

OK, so some might dispute its status as a MMORPG since ANET calls it a co-op rather then multiplayer game, but it really doesn't matter if you're going for PvP anyway.

Oh, and no monthly fee either.

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (1)

juanitoescarcha (969103) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342181)

Well, I got the Starcraft Battle Chest for last christmas from by brother. I had Starcraft since 1998 pirated, and finally have it legally...and it worked out of the box with my Macbook!

I bought Diablo II and the expansion a month later in Denmark and it does not work in any Intel Mac, there is no patch from Blizzard (or anyone I know). If Blizzard bothered to develop a patch for Intel Macs to make Starcarft work it cannot be a money sink...

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (1)

hunterkll (949515) | more than 6 years ago | (#19344367)

Starcraft never had a macbook patch for it, check, it's running in rosetta, heh.

Blizzard on Macs (1)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 6 years ago | (#19345031)

Yes, Starcraft is a PPC executable running under Rosetta. But what Blizzard did do was release an OS X version of Starcraft some years ago which is what allows it to continue running under Rosetta today. Diablo II might be based on OS 9 which is not supported on Intel Macs.

Still, I wish they would release an updated Starcraft executable for Intel Macs. It runs ok, but it's a little laggy and makes the laptop run hot and drain the battery.

Re:Blizzard on Macs (1)

geniusj (140174) | more than 6 years ago | (#19345343)

Diablo II runs natively under OS X (they released a patch). Whether or not they put it on the CDs they ship is a different story.

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (4, Informative)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342209)

The number 2 seller for PC games in North America? [gamasutra.com] That starcraft isn't selling many new copies?

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19342763)

That is almost entirely attributable to the SC2 announcement. Find the details from before then and see if it was still "selling well." If not, those numbers don't mean a lot since: 1) How far behind WoW is it in weekly sale? 2) How far behind are PC sales vs console sales? 3) Related to #1, how many actual sales were there?

The GP is still correct that it was a moneysink, since until SC2 was announced no one was buying SC.

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342999)

Actually, your analysis still doesn't hold up because my post was refuting the comment about a lack of sales, not the moneysink comment. However, to refute the moneysink would require an analysis of the cost of upkeep for starcraft (right now they have minimal development on patches, so the primary cost is server maintenance and bandwidth) subtract the revenue from tournaments, the revenue from advertisements on battle.net and the revenue from sales.

Even then the analysis is simplistic since keeping the servers running on battle.net and the patches flowing is an extremely good way of advertising for starcraft 2 and keeping anticipation high. The value of something like that is hard to quantify, but it almost certainly lies above the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Since it's a form of advertising, you can say that it can go straight to the bottom line.

With all that taken into account and without hard numbers on the cost of Starcraft upkeep (which will be hard/impossible to come by), it's just a matter of opinion on how those numbers come out, which I personally think has Blizzard making a lot of money off of starcraft even before the sequel was announced.

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 6 years ago | (#19344473)

Actually, your analysis still doesn't hold up because my post was refuting the comment about a lack of sales, not the moneysink comment. However, to refute the moneysink would require an analysis of the cost of upkeep for starcraft (right now they have minimal development on patches, so the primary cost is server maintenance and bandwidth) subtract the revenue from tournaments, the revenue from advertisements on battle.net and the revenue from sales.


Yeah, and the fact that bandwidth costs for battle.net aren't that high. Maybe when it comes time for a new patch, but during all other times, it's quite low. All battle.net really does is serve as a central player aggregator and chat medium. When players wish to play the game, they disconnect from battle.net and connect to the guy that's hosting the game. No game traffic really passes back to battle.net. It's like the napster model for p2p. Thus, a few servers can serve tons on a not-very-fast link, so all sales of blizzard's games go to pay for battle.net.

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (5, Interesting)

djones101 (1021277) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342333)

I'd question if StarCraft really is losing them money. People are still purchasing the game, either replacing old disks or buying it for the first time, and the related paraphernalia associated with StarCraft still sells quite well. There's still a huge following for StarCraft in Korea, which is why they announced SC2 there. StarCraft was released in 1998, and as of a few years ago, it still had branded Doritos being distributed (cannot verify if they still are, sorry). So far as I can tell, no other game (MMO or not) has managed to have that kind of staying power a marketplace outside of its own industry.

I won't argue that WoW is Blizzard's bread and butter, they've got a ton of subscribers (myself included) pouring a lot of money into their coffers, but I heavily disagree that SC is a negative drain on their resources. A moneysink would be what is left of the game originally known as SWG, if Blizzard had that steamy pile of poodoo instead of SOE. Running battle.net servers for something with as rabid a following as SC, however, is far from a moneysink. It maintains a status quo, and probably breaks even when cost is weighed against revenue.

Finally, the decision to not pursue an MMO is actually a good one, imho. It avoids cutting into Blizzard's current revenue stream...WoW. When you have something that works, especially something that works as well as WoW does for making money, why jeopardize that? What would happen if they made a World of StarCraft, and users found they hated that game? Some would gravitate back to WoW, others would swear off Blizzard games entirely. Personally, that's what I did with SOE's handling of SWG. SOE may very well come out with the best WoW killer ever, but myself and a ton of other old-style SWG players would snub the game just because SOE is involved with it. The same could happen to Blizzard with a competing MMO that doesn't live up to the hype it's given before release. They know SC2 will generate a great return on investment, simply because of the hype associated and the loyal fans they have already. They have no need to top WoW, they only need to satiate as much of the playerbase for SC2 as possible.

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (2, Interesting)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342367)

Starcraft sold a ton of copies, but it is now a moneysink. It is free to play on Battle.Net and not many new copies are being sold. They are continuously losing money from a game created many many years ago....The $15/month from a MMO cannot be understated.

From the article (one of more interesting parts, I think)...

Given the popularity of "WoW," do you have any plans to go to subscription model with "StarCraft II" or any subsequent releases?

We're going to do what's right for the game. We made "WoW" to be a subscription game from the very beginning. With "StarCraft II" it's probably going to follow more of a box model. But we'll decide more of that stuff down the line.

Battle.net is pretty expensive to maintain, isn't it?

It's not as expensive as "WoW" to maintain! (Laughs)

Interesting... will Blizzard make the first attempt to charge a subscription, ala XBox live, for playing online via Battle.net? What would that price be in the market place, if that choice is made? $5/month? $50/year? More likely, they won't charge anything, but it's interesting to hear they're considering it, though probably not taking it seriously.

Cheers,
Fozzy

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342559)

They're probably waiting to see how well their old colleagues at Flagship studios do with their online plans for Hellgate: London.

I'd be surprised if they required a fee to play anything on Battle.net. That's what drew a lot of people to the service in the first place. Funny how back in the day we had pay-for-play services like TEN and Mplayer and then we got the free services, and now we're coming back around full cycle. I'd expect a subscription plan if they have some premium services, but I'll bet they'll allow a no-cost option if they head down that route.

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343205)

"but it's interesting to hear they're considering it, though probably not taking it seriously."

If they were to MMO starcraft I think they'd have a hard time finding quality developers, to make it. Not only that blizzard's reputation would get dragged through the mud in korea. There is no way they could fuck up starcraft as an MMO because they would simply abandon their fanbase completely.

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (1)

eht (8912) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343513)

Blizzard has said in the past, and with the past being anytime in the last ten years I'm a little too lazy to look it up, that while they expected Battle.net to be a money sink, with the ads they sell it ended not just break even but earning them money.

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 6 years ago | (#19344119)

The fact that the ads are still just simple non-intrusive banner adds at the top of the lobby/chat screen is amazing. Kudos to them in a time where contextual custom-tailored in-game advertising is about to hit.

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (3, Insightful)

brkello (642429) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342885)

No, it wouldn't be. Considering that (at this point) there is no WoW2 and WoW is already making tons of money, there is no need to top WoW. Starcraft is one of the most loved and still played RTSs of all time. It is a valid question to see if they can actually improve the most balanced 3 faction RTS ever seen. But Starcraft is 10 years old now and it deserves and update and a continuation of its excellent single player story. I know it may be hard to understand, but "topping" something doesn't have to mean more profit or more units sold. It can also mean just making a better game.

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (1)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343373)

"The decision to make a non-MMO game after the success of WoW is very puzzling."

No, its not. See, WoW didn't become a success by simply being a good game, just as blizzard didn't become huge by simply making good games. Before WoW was made, blizzard made an insanely popular RTS with memorable characters, good graphics and very balanced game play. This is essentially the same stuff as you'd want in a MMO-game, so War3 became a huge hype machine for WoW. So why fix it if it isn't broken?

First they release Starcraft, and then they release World of Starcraft. By using the combined hype generated by both starcraft and WoW, they CAN top WoW. If they tried to make a new MMO-game right now with no additional hype other than "we also made WoW", it would certainly not top WoW.

Re:Wouldn't the better question be... (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343963)

Considering they used to fill _football_ stadiums with SC tourneys in Korea, don't underestimate how much it has sold, or continues to sell.

The free to play online ability is also a big hit with parents. Witness Runescape's popularity.

But what do I know, I only work in the games industry...

Of course they can (2, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#19341975)

I mean, there will be as always fanboys living in the past wishing that SCII was SC, but I thing, if they keep the main gameplay (which is not too hard, because all strategy games are ****nearly**** the same) and then they add some better graphics, cool armies, weapons, music, etc... They have a winner there... Of course there will always be fanboys living in the past ...(repeat at nauseum)

Re:Of course they can (2, Insightful)

VorpalEdge (967279) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342265)

(offtopic)
I would agree with your statement if you meant only the most famous RTS games (Starcraft/Command and Conquer, at least the early games, and probably Warcraft). However, there's a decent amount of games beneath the radar that are actually quite awesome and play quite differently. Refer to the Homeworld series by Relic Studios. Also, lately, Relic has been putting out some decent RTSs based around the principle of capturing strategic points on the map for resources instead of mining them (see: Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War and Company of Heroes). I'm sure there's more; those are just the ones I'm familiar with.

Yes, I suppose I am a Relic fanboy to some extent, although I don't worship the company. It has made a couple things I'd rather forget completely.
(/offtopic)

Shouldn't be too hard (2, Insightful)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342017)

Cavedog managed to top Starcraft before Starcraft was even released, so it should be too hard for Blizzard to do the same.

Then again, this is Blizzard we're talking about...

Re:Shouldn't be too hard (2, Insightful)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342473)

Top it in sales or critical acclaim? Yeah some places like Gamespot rated TA higher than Starcraft, but if TA wasn't moddable the game would've been died years ago. TA was sunk by Starcraft due to the tightly integrated Battle.net system. Cavedog put out Boneyards to compete but that was only in the year or so prior to the company's death. Overall though, SC was better recieved by the press. Even then you're looking at a couple fractions of points. Do a comparison on Gamerankings if you need proof. Both are excellent games in their own regards.

That said, TA and SC are two different flavors of RTS. TA and SupCom focus more on realistic tactics, battles and skirmishes than resource gathering. *craft games focus more on base building and other micromanagement tasks I think. I dunno how to explain it really.

Re:Shouldn't be too hard (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19344341)

*craft games focus more on base building and other micromanagement tasks I think. I dunno how to explain it really.

Perhaps that's because you're dead wrong? The sheer amount of micromanagement in SupCom is staggering, but just like with Morrowind and its bugs, the game is solid enough that it is a greatly enjoyable experience.

Re:Shouldn't be too hard (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 6 years ago | (#19344423)

Different micromanagement. *craft games are more about managing specific unit abilities. I thought the philosophy behind Taylor's RTS games was to focus more on troop movements, than the exact moment to have your Ghost lockdown a couple Arbiters and nuke the playing field before running away and decloaking to regain energy?

The words you're looking for... (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 6 years ago | (#19345621)

are 'strategy' and 'tactics'. That's the reason the RTS genre always seems split in two... there's games that are mostly focused on having the right unit do the right move at the right time. Then there's games that are focused on having the right groups of units in the right place at the right time.

Re:Shouldn't be too hard (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342475)

Cavedog managed to top Starcraft before Starcraft was even released, so it should be too hard for Blizzard to do the same.

Then again, this is Blizzard we're talking about...


You mean by failing to stay solvent and selling drastically fewer copies?

TA is more in line with competing with Command and conquer since the gameplay resembled that one more. It was all defence and big rushes. It's popularity is mainly with those who enjoy that play style. SC sold to a different and more numerous crowd of twitch RTS players who enjoyed shorter games and a more open game style.

Re:Shouldn't be too hard (2, Insightful)

Boogaroo (604901) | more than 6 years ago | (#19346527)

The reason Cavedog failed was because of TA: Kingdoms which was a horridly crappy game. I only wish I could have returned the thing. Their online play was very demanding on connections as well with massive numbers of bullets and other things to send. Dialup connections of the day had some troubles with that. Bonyards wasn't available right away either, and while it was a great idea, it was poorly done. Not that Starcraft was immune with de-synced games and the like, but it was way better than Boneyards. (Losing their top designers due to pointy haired bosses hurt them badly too)

Total Annihilation was our game of choice for lan parties and with good players it could take 3-4 hours in an eight player game to win. I think the relative simplicity of Starcraft was simply appealing to more players and games typically lasted less time. For many, more games played = more enjoyment.

You can argue sales numbers all day long, but does that make "The Sims" better than every other game in existance? Everything is subjective with terms like "better." I feel it's better than Starcraft, but eh, I've got them both. I enjoyed them both. I still play TA with friends. Havn't played Starcraft in years.

Re:Shouldn't be too hard (1)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 6 years ago | (#19345241)

Cavedog managed to top Starcraft before Starcraft was even released, so it should be too hard for Blizzard to do the same.
TA topped Starcraft because a few review sites gave it a slightly higher score? Give me a break. If you compare all the awards and reviews Starcraft has gotten to TA's, Starcraft easilty comes out on top. Not to mention that Starcraft currently the top game in professional gaming in terms of the salary the gamers recieve. Has TA even ever been considered for a professional gaming tourney? Maybe you liked TA better than Starcraft, but the number of copies sold speak for themsevles. Starcraft destroyed TA.

Then again, this is Blizzard we're talking about...
Are you actaully that implying that Blizzard has a history of screwing things up? This is the most daft statement I've heard all week. That's saying alot because I watch CNN. Every game they've released, including the first Warcraft, was recieved with huge success. Just go to blizzard.com and check out the reviews/awards each game has recieved, if you don't believe me. Your post should be modded troll. I only wish the other companies would follow Blizzard's footsteps in focusing on the quality of their games, instead of release dates.

Can? Most likely. Will? We'll see. (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342045)

At least it's not EA. Or we'd get SC1 in 1600x1200 with true 3D, zooming and surround sound. But since it's not, it's actually quite possible we get a totally new game.

What made SC1 was the perfect balance. Sure, it took a few patches, but essentially, it was balanced to the extreme. I attribute my inability to win as a Protoss more to my inability to play the game well rather than a balance issue (I get my ass whipped regularely by other people playing Protoss... there's a reason why you rarely see me at those tournament finals, ya know...), if they manage to get SC2 well balanced again, it's a seller.

Let's face it, people. After the "ohhh shiny" effect wears off, which is usually after a month tops, what's left is whether the game is fun to play or not. And fun in a multiplayer RTS game hangs mostly on game balance while at the same time offering actually different sides with different units (hello Supreme Commander...), and strategies that you have to adapt to the side you play, and the side you play against. And SC1 had that down to the point.

My guess is that the success, especially the long time success, of SC2 hang on balance. Not graphics, not sound, not handling, not interface (as long as they don't overload it and make it unplayable). Balance or not balance will be the decider that tips the balance in favor or against SC2.

Re:Can? Most likely. Will? We'll see. (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342239)

From the videos they released it looks JUST LIKE SC1 at 1600x1200. And despite all the whining to the contrary, I'm pretty sure if it isn't just that people will hate it. Personally I don't see the point since it looks just like the original so I don't care... unless there's a native Linux client. Then it'll at least get +10 for effort.

Re:Can? Most likely. Will? We'll see. (1)

jbellis (142590) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342533)

"From the videos they released it looks JUST LIKE SC1 at 1600x1200."

Either you didn't watch the videos very carefully or you never really played SC1. Or both.

Re:Can? Most likely. Will? We'll see. (1)

xero314 (722674) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342969)

I Played SC for years and watched the videos and screen shots of SC2 very closely and can say that SC2 looks to be SC1 with higher resolution 3D graphics with a few new units added and game balance adjusted for those units, as well as a new single player story line. So I have to agree with the parent commenter.

Of course this is what SC2 should be so I don't really have any problem with it. If SC2 was anything other than that then it wouldn't be SC2, it would be something else with the Star Craft name attached, kind of like what happened to Dark Reign (Arguably the best RTS of it's time).

Re:Can? Most likely. Will? We'll see. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19343879)

"From the videos they released it looks JUST LIKE SC1 at 1600x1200"

You're blind or functionally retarded.

Re:Can? Most likely. Will? We'll see. (1)

Gropo (445879) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342249)

Given the WoW development team's current methodology of "for the next 3-6 months, Warlocks, Warriors and Hunters will be grossly overpowered, Shamans, Mages and Holy Priests can suck an egg" I wouldn't put much faith in Blizzard's ability to generally 'balance' a game any longer. I hope I'm proven wrong when it comes to SC2.

Re:Can? Most likely. Will? We'll see. (1, Offtopic)

Tridus (79566) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342629)

The problem with WoW balance is that its really two games in one: PvE and PvP. Balancing one often means breaking balance in the other.

Though in some cases both are out of whack: Holy/Disc Priests have the worst 31 and 41 talents in the game, in any situation. (They're also the least popular, fully 84% of Holy Priests skip their 41, and 77% skip the 31 too.)

Re:Can? Most likely. Will? We'll see. (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343369)

I think that hits the nail on the head. I wondered the same thing in regards to Diablo II balancing.

It really comes down to what player group you cater to. PvP tends to be a small subset of the overall population, so ideally Blizzard should focus more on PvE balancing.

It's debates like this that makes me appreciate PvP in Kingdom of Loathing, where you have a series of randomly selected challenges that check players stats, equipment and a ton of other random stats they track inside the game to determine a winner in a PvP challenge. Granted the system has its flaws, but it eliminates the need to balance skills and equipment against both other players and monsters.

Re:Can? Most likely. Will? We'll see. (1)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343233)

Balancing WoW in SC/RTS terms:

9 races/factions with 3 separate and viable tech trees fighting in two or more drastically different types of battle.

Heck, that's oversimplifying it by a long shot.

Blizzard doesn't just have to account for every class, but every class spec. Not just every class spec, but every class spec/gear combination. Not just every class spec/gear combination, but every group dynamic possible. Not just every group dynamic possible, but every situation that group dynamic is going to face.

The only finite number in that horrific beast is the number of classes. I'm personally amazed that given the number of default tools and speccable options each class is granted there is any semblence of balance at all.

WoW is not perfect by any stretch, but it's also not some horrific monster of imbalance.

Re:Can? Most likely. Will? We'll see. (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343443)

People also forget that the SC team went to War3 not WoW. SC took years to get the balance straightened out. Read the changelogs, it's funny to see some values/parameters get "balanced" and then "balanced" again back to their original values. Which reminds me, I don't think I've played the game since before the last balance patch... Hmmm... Have to rectify that and not touching Diablo II since 1.09.

Re:Can? Most likely. Will? We'll see. (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343941)

What Starcraft got right was keeping the number of races to a minimum. Three classes/races is about the maximum you can balance before the number of combinations becomes too large for humans to handle the complexity. WoW, of course, has a lot more than three classes.

This effect can also be witnessed in C&C: Generals. The original game had three factions, and was fairly well balanced (not perfect, but I've seen a lot worse). The expansion pack added three sub-factions to each major faction, and had massive balance problems.

The other way to go is to put in massive numbers of classes, each overpowered in one specific way, and let the players work out which ones are worth using. Fighting games usually go this route. Some have 50 or more different fighters to use, but only 10-25% are worth using.

It's noteworthy that Blizzard has said there won't be a fourth faction in SC2. This is good news from a balance perspective.

Re:Can? Most likely. Will? We'll see. (1)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342615)

"Or we'd get SC1 in 1600x1200 with true 3D, zooming and surround sound."

Frankly, I'd love to see that. And a bit of U/I updating, larger groups, etc.

SC1 is a blast, but it's ugly, especially on a laptop. Fix that, add a new race or two, and I'd happily fork over my $50.

Re:Can? Most likely. Will? We'll see. (1)

SpryGuy (206254) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343989)

Ask and you shall receive. That seems to be exactly what SC2 is: higher res, real 3D, and unlimited group sizes. Some new units and new abilities to top it all off.

I, for one, am really looking forward to this.

Re:Can? Most likely. Will? We'll see. (5, Interesting)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342653)

Balance is the secret. Blizzard spent two years polishing the balance of WCIII. *Two* whole years just balancing the races. That's why they sell #1 titles for years.

There are plenty of other games that have better controls, better features, less repetition and clicking, more races, equal or better storytelling, better graphics. But the one thing that they do not have that blizzard does is racial balance. That's what truly makes the multiplayer experience a game, where any round could almost always go any way, instead of it always being a blow-out because one player knew the surefire technique. Blizzard's games are about strategy, not tricks.

Re:Can? Most likely. Will? We'll see. (2, Informative)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343623)

Agreed. Blizzard and polish are two words that go together. Hell, after Starcraft they went back to Warcraft II and dealt with some long-standing dumb bugs (ie. they broke attack-move going from War1 to War2) added some nifty small things from SC and Bnet support and put the thing out as a budget title. They even started a weekly/monthly map download program but dropped it soon after they realized people weren't playing it as much as Starcraft.

They also kept Starcraft's "Map of the _____" program going strong for 3 years. Only slowing down the releases in the last year I think.

Or how about the fact that they've kept patching Diablo II and Starcraft since they were released? This includes overhauling the Diablo II skill system with 1.10 and adding nifty features to Starcraft such as replay support, TCP/IP (the game originally only had IPX) support, minimap pinging, etc. after they started working on Warcraft III and Starcraft II.

The only games they don't currently keep patching are Warcraft, War2/War2BNE, and Diablo. Most likely due to lack of interest and the fact they've probably done all they can with them.

Re:Can? Most likely. Will? We'll see. (1)

tknd (979052) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342713)

The only balance issue I had with SC was playing as zerg. I used to always play as random so I played all the races, but zerg always hit a limit later in the game once everyone essentially "caught up". Sure, as zerg you could always pull off a rush faster than the others and if you were good you could overwhelm them early in the game. But it was still hard to fight with the other terran and protoss upper tech trees. Defilers simply didn't cut it, scourges can't be saved, etc. The other annoying thing was how you had no good way of protecting your overlords other than by simply hiding them or making new ones. Corsairs or wraiths would just hunt your overlords down late in the game and slow down your production of units (your only real reliable strategy).

More than one kind of balance. (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342951)

Balance of power between the three races isn't the only important balance that Blizzard needs to get right. There's also the balance to get the right level of unit capability complexity.

Brood War unit types got a little more complex compared to the original SC. For instance, blinding was introduced, but medics could heal it. The more different kinds of capabilities you need to worry about balancing, the harder you have to thing about the game. And if your mental juggling drops just one or two of those balls, you might find yourself wiped out by a powerful enemy unit that you failed to build a specific defense against.

So I'm a little afraid that SC2 will take a long time for players to develop strategies regarding, and that those strategies will be necessarily complex for the afore-mentioned reasons. This could mean that the game is less fun for now-casual gamers like myself who need to not dedicate too much gray matter to storing a units-capabilities database.

Re:More than one kind of balance. (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343745)

Brood War unit types got a little more complex compared to the original SC. For instance, blinding was introduced, but medics could heal it.

That's what I think killed Warcraft III for me. If you didn't have every unit for any given situation you were screwed when you sent out your raiding parties no matter how strong they were. Some strategies in SC were fine by me, carry observers because you had a good chance something would be cloaking/burrowing, but Warcraft III was just insane with abilities and their counters.

No. (1)

VorpalEdge (967279) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342057)

You can't live up to expectations this high. How are you supposed to top what people already consider perfection? Of course, when you consider that the original wasn't even close to perfect, I suppose it becomes easier - just slightly.

(Disclaimer: I hated the original Starcraft.)

a common mistake (1)

spazard1 (943876) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342297)

it's called "brood war", not "brood wars" (as it was referred to in the interview). there wasn't multiple wars going on; just one. kerrigan verses basically everyone else.

No, they really can't (3, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342321)

For all the people who played and loved Starcraft, they'll be comparing Starcraft 2 against the feelings they got playing Starcraft ten years ago, colored by the fact that after ten years its really easy to remember things more fondly then how you felt about them originally.

They could make the best RTS on the market, and it still wouldn't "top" Starcraft in the eyes of many of the fans. Its an impossible goal, because there is no real way to judge it.

Hopefully they'll just focus on trying to make a good game in the spirit of Starcraft. If they can do that, I'll be happy.

Re:No, they really can't (4, Informative)

brkello (642429) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342917)

I'm playing through Starcraft again right now and I still enjoy it as much now as I did then. Unlike a lot of other games, Starcraft does have the staying power to actually still be considered a good game. Yeah, I agree, some games you can't go back to. But Starcraft you can and most the people I know have played through Starcraft many times over the years...not just 10 years ago.

If history is any indication... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19342401)

They'll release a great game that everybody will love. However shortly before release the developers will all quit and Blizzard will hire a group of addicted RTS fanboys to make further improvements to the game. These new developers will focus exclusively on the one area of the game that they were obsessed with in other games. They will eventually release an expansion that will begin driving away the people that formed the majority of those that originally were drawn to the game.

Re:If history is any indication... (1)

KenAndCorey (581410) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342563)

They will eventually release an expansion that will begin driving away the people that formed the majority of those that originally were drawn to the game.

A little bitter, are we?

Not a chance (2, Interesting)

anduz (1027854) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342463)

I watched the gameplay video and I liked most of what I saw in it, but they're talking an awful lot about recapturing the things that made starcraft great - only the things they focus on are counter strategies, battle.net play and diverse factions. Which is great, but that alone doesn't make a new starcraft - and I'm worried that Blizzard won't be able to own up to the great gameplay they used too.

Which seem to be a problem in recent Blizzard releases, because where the gameplay itself used to be their strongest advantage it now seems to be the weakest. World of Warcraft doesn't sell copies because it has great gameplay, but because it functions as a virtual stamp collection with friends. You, me, everyone gets addicted to the game because you can achive achive achive - but where diablo 2 which also focused on achivement actually was fun while you achive World of Warcraft isn't. At least that is how I experienced the reactions on recent Blizzard games. I know about 50 people who own Warcraft 3, but the only thing they use it for is Dota which is a player made map/mod. I also know quite a lot of people who keep playing World of Warcraft despite continuously complaining about it feeling more like a job than a video game.
Maybe I'm wrong, but it does seem to fit with the massive stream of talented developers who fled Blizzard a few years ago - leaving to companies like Flagship studeos, red5 and so on. Which is where I personally believe we'll be seing the next Starcraft/Diablo/Warcarft quality games comming from in terms of gameplay. Naturally both Blizzard and Starcraft are huge brands, and I very much doubt Starcraft 2 will fail in any way - but to fans who agree with me I do believe it'll be unable to provide the kind of magic the origianl Starcraft did.

I hope they make a decent single player campaign (4, Insightful)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342535)

I hope they make a decent single player campaign. It almost feels like a formula - 7 missions per race, with just unlocking the highest tech at the very last mission, and the first missions more or less a trainer. I do enjoy multi player, but so many of the games feel like they are purposely cut short to sell an expansion pack. RTS games seem to get shorter and shorter. Just finished Supreme Commander, and compared to its earlier incarnation of Total Annihilation, it felt really short. (even with the 2+ hour expanding map missions) Still - glad to have an update to what I rank as one of my favorite games!

Re:I hope they make a decent single player campaig (1)

lab16 (416283) | more than 6 years ago | (#19344521)

It almost feels like a formula

Which game? the original starcraft, or the newer warcraft series?

One of the best things about the franchise, is that blizzard
usually makes available map editing tools so that you can make your
own campaigns and missions if you want, or download and play other
peoples campaigns.

Total Annihilation (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342683)

Starcraft was a pretty good game, but nothing beats the old Total Annihilation for sophistication and depth of gameplay. It just seems that people would rather micromanage zerglings than deal with TA, with its unlimited group sizes, multitude of units, creative resource model, and so on.

The thing I like most about TA is the resource model. Unlike in nearly every other RTS on earth, resources are never depleted. I found it absurd that one could deplete an entire forest or mineral deposit in the course of one battle. In TA, one constructs resource-producing buildings which produce a steady stream of resources; thus it's all about the rate of resource production, not the quantity. It gets more interesting than that, though, as one can store resources, salvage wrecks for resources, and so on. It's complex and interesting.

Also, unlike in Starcraft, there's no build order. It's not a game of memorizing openings so that rushes can be executed, but instead of figuring out tactics and strategy as you go along.

Re:Total Annihilation (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343071)

Starcraft was a pretty good game, but nothing beats the old Total Annihilation for sophistication and depth of gameplay. It just seems that people would rather micromanage zerglings than deal with TA, with its unlimited group sizes, multitude of units, creative resource model, and so on.

The thing I like most about TA is the resource model. Unlike in nearly every other RTS on earth, resources are never depleted. I found it absurd that one could deplete an entire forest or mineral deposit in the course of one battle. In TA, one constructs resource-producing buildings which produce a steady stream of resources; thus it's all about the rate of resource production, not the quantity. It gets more interesting than that, though, as one can store resources, salvage wrecks for resources, and so on. It's complex and interesting.

Also, unlike in Starcraft, there's no build order. It's not a game of memorizing openings so that rushes can be executed, but instead of figuring out tactics and strategy as you go along.


Number of units != depth.

There is a wide variety of valid stategies and the rush is not the only thing that exists in War3/SC. The rush is the crutch that nebie players use to dominate other nebie players. High level games in either are almost never decided by rush. Resource depletion is to enourage people to expand and force them into a less defensive posture. It shortens the game and allows you to win by attrition and gives more weight to resource denial tactics.

TA ussually degenerates to a game of mass rushes. A heavy focus on defence. War 3/SC does not focus much on defence and focuses more on scouting, harassing, resource denial and micro management. TA/SupCom focuses on defence, resource denial, and large rushes. If TA or Supcom became competative enough then build orders would become important. The reason in SC/war3 they are important is because optimization of building determines you ability to fight because your opponent will be optimal. In TA/Supcom your opponent is problably just as newbie as you and you can relax more, play defensive and do the 4h games ending in a big madd high tech rush. Most people who think SC/War3 is all about rushes playes at a newbie level and the rest of us can smell and finish you off as fast as possible. I Rushes can be defended. I have a old replay of my zerg faction repelling a 12 zealot 3 player rush with a sunken, my workers and a batch of lings. I killed each and every one of those lots taking minimial damage and then my allies decimated them mid game.

Re:Total Annihilation (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343295)

TA/SupCom also have no tech tree to begin with. They are not so much trees as they are rods. You build Tech Level 1 plant for vehicle type of your choice (and SupCom simplified this even further by merging vehicles and bots into a Land Factory) which gets you the engineering unit for the next step up the tech tree. There's no external dependencies like you find in other strategy games (even turn-based ones like Civ and Heroes of M&M have tech trees).

The philosophy of Taylor's RTS games is to cut out the BS with resource management and base building and move head first into the actual combat which is where he feels a game should be decided: he who can out strategize the opponent should win. You are right though about units != depth. In the end of TA you had hundreds of units, trying to find the right mix to send off against an opponent was a chore in itself. The learning curve is much higher since the differences in the units is not immediately obvious, something I found existed in SupCom when I played the demo.

TA/SupCom also focus less on active scouting since you can use radar to do the scouting for you. Also, the maps are significantly larger than in SC so if you know something is coming you have a little bit of time to crank out some units. Finally, TA also allowed long-distance shelling and nuking of the enemy :)

Comparing the two games makes for a nice ven diagram.

Re:Total Annihilation (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343401)

TA/SupCom also have no tech tree to begin with. They are not so much trees as they are rods. You build Tech Level 1 plant for vehicle type of your choice (and SupCom simplified this even further by merging vehicles and bots into a Land Factory) which gets you the engineering unit for the next step up the tech tree. There's no external dependencies like you find in other strategy games (even turn-based ones like Civ and Heroes of M&M have tech trees).

I agree with most of what you just said except the tech tree. That is the definition of a tech tree. You must build A before B can be built. You must produce a lvl 2 contruction worker before you can make a nuke launcher. The TA/supcom tech tree was just more open.

Re:Total Annihilation (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343511)

Ok. It's a tech tree. It's just a freaking stick, not a tree. Unless you count the commander unit as the root and then it is a tree because you have the initial branch. The difference is that you don't have arbitrary steps that come out of nowhere in order to build a single unit or two at the central building location (ie. Terran Academy in SC for Firebats & Medics, Tauren Totem in War III for Tauren, Ogre Mound or Stables in War II, etc.).

Re:Total Annihilation (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343655)

TA was more branchy since you needed to make certain contruction workers ot make certain productionf acilities. SupCom is less so but it still branches a little. Blizard games tend to be much more branching. The idea is you have to choose which way to go. You rarely have enough resources to go both Gryphons and Seige or Frosties, abombs, and casters. Although it seems arbitrary it makes you unable to get all key units of all types. You have to make a choice.

Re:Total Annihilation (1)

SpryGuy (206254) | more than 6 years ago | (#19344103)

That's one reason I really enjoy "Rise of Nations" ... no depleting of resources. You set up your resources and go.

I still play "rise of nations" nearly every day. It's one of the best RTS games ever made.

TA's big advantage was the UI. (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 6 years ago | (#19344799)

The fact that you could queue movements, builds, attacks, and various other things by simply using the shift key was a huge plus in TA. I wish more RTS game makers would implement that sort of consistent UI in their games.

Maybe It's Just Me... (0, Flamebait)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#19342873)

But i never much liked StarCraft. It was all rushing, and in the bief chance that it wasn't, it was just a matter of who had the largest army. There never seemed to be much actually strategy. Then again, I don't think a lot of "strategy" games do posses such qualities. WarCraft III was certainly better than StarCraft, regardless. Then again, Blizzard's design teams may already be far too tainted by MMOs to churn out a decent sequel to StarCraft...

Re:Maybe It's Just Me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19343943)

Yes, it is just you.

For me, Starcraft is like crack. (1)

p4rri11iz3r (1084543) | more than 6 years ago | (#19343277)

Take a look at your average crack addict. What does he/she want? More crack. They don't care if it's exactly the same as the crack they had last time or completely different in every way, they just want crack. By comparison, I just want more Starcraft, I don't really care if its nearly identical the original Starcraft, or completely different. I will buy it. I will love it. It will own me (Not the other way around). But that's just how it goes for a crack... err, Starcraft junkie such as myself...

Re:For me, Starcraft is like crack. (1)

SpryGuy (206254) | more than 6 years ago | (#19344157)

Heh. Back when I was playing this game intensely, I always referred to it as "StarCrak". I couldn't put down the pipe, man. Many were the day I'd stumble into work late, bleary-eyed, and my office-mate would ask "... up playing StarCrack all night again?" :-)

Never tried crack, have you? (1)

Petersko (564140) | more than 6 years ago | (#19344555)

"Take a look at your average crack addict. What does he/she want? More crack. They don't care if it's exactly the same as the crack they had last time or completely different in every way, they just want crack."

Not to be pedantic, but people who know cocaine in any of its forms usually know EXACTLY what kind they want. They know how the good stuff feels. And they're bitterly disappointed when, as often happens, they don't get the good stuff.

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19343387)

It would be called "World of Starcraft".

WoW gets old though... (1)

jadin (65295) | more than 6 years ago | (#19344125)

I would love if blizzard released a new MMO, one that wasn't based on the warcraft universe. I play WoW not because it's warcraft but because it's a terrificly designed MMO. I have little doubt any MMO they made at this point would only improve on WoW. How many of their players play it because it's Warcraft theme vs how many play it because it's a great game to play? I know I fall into the latter, and am actively seeking a new MMO that's more my style. If SWG hadn't been so FUBARed I'd probably still be there. But I digress.

So cannibalizing their current customers? I'm not so sure... I can't be the only one seeking out their competition.

Blizzard raped my childhood! (2, Funny)

Stickerboy (61554) | more than 6 years ago | (#19344257)

Er, I guess it's too early for that post right now... come back in a few years.

short answer long answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19344995)

Short answer: No
Long answer: Please prove me wrong

From the screen shot I saw... (1)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 6 years ago | (#19345911)

Unfortunately from the screen shot I saw of SC2 it looks like it has the same problem War 3 has. I feel to close to the action. Everything is bigger, you have less screen space than War 1 & 2 and SC. It would be great if I could pull the camera view back a bit.
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