STARCRAFT II

StarCraft 2

This was really big news in the video game world and I began following it when there were rumors floating around that Blizzard would announce a new game at the Worldwide Invitational in Korea. For those that don’t know, Starcraft is insanely popular in South Korea and it’s actually a sport there (with spectators and televised matches). It was only logical to assume that this new product would be the long awaited Starcraft II. Blizzard’s tagline when they introduced this game was very appropriate – “Hell, it’s about time.” In my opinion, Starcraft is one of the greatest games ever and the best RTS game (so far). You just have to be into the game to understand.

The original Starcraft came out in 1998 and I’ve pretty much been playing it since then. Well I haven’t played in the last 2 years but the point is typically people don’t still play games that are that old. Tons of people still play Starcraft so you can understand how over the course of nearly 10 years, Starcraft fans have been clamoring for a sequel when Blizzard’s other game franchises have seen sequels and expansions but nothing was ever announced for StarCraft.

I never liked Warcraft 3 or the insanely popular World of Warcraft (WoW). I’m not paying $15/month or however much it is to play such an insanely time-consuming game. As long as you own a unique copy of Starcraft you can play online through Blizzard’s Battle.net service for free and it’s a purely strategic game in which you have 3 diverse races each with various strengths and weaknesses that can be exploited. Every session/game is different (varying maps, custom game types, different player levels, etc.) and that’s why this game has such immense replay value and longevity.

Here’s the cinematic trailer they debuted at the Worldwide Invitational:

Click here for an HD version:
http://www.gametrailers.com/player.php?type=mov&id=19777

At first, the trailer is kind of ambiguous, but you can be sure when that familiar “Adjutant” voice comes on and says “All marines prepare to drop” people knew exactly what game this was.

From what I’ve seen so far, Starcraft II looks to build on top of what made Starcraft great, which is a relief to me. I’m happy that’s it’s still a real-time strategy game and that the interface is largely the same. Obviously it’s going to look much better graphics-wise and probably have some new gameplay features. But I think by far the biggest challenge is making sure all the races are still balanced, especially with so many new units they’re introducing. Starcraft’s balance is something that has been extremely fine-tuned over the years through patches and an expansion; that’s partly why it’s used in competitive gaming.

The race I usually play is Protoss and so far they’ve only introduced some new Protoss units, like the badass Mothership (holy cow – that thing is powerful). Apparently they’ve been working on this game since the Warcraft 3 Frozen Throne expansion so that’s a good 3-4 years. Probably another year or two before release. How they managed to keep it a complete secret this long, I don’t know.

Anyway, some of you may be going “huh?” – sorry for the geekery, but this is one game I’m pretty excited about. I will definitely be buying this game 😉 .

P.S. I can’t believe they got rid of Dragoons (arguably the best multipurpose, land-and-air attack unit)! They’ve been replaced by “Immortals” which apparently have anti-Seige Tank shields (wow, sucks for Terran players – Zealot/Immortal rush?).

UPDATE: StarCraft II Playable at BlizzCon

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