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Zerg 'em if you got 'em
April 16, 2010 6:21 PM   Subscribe

StarCraft II (previously) has yet to be released, but that hasn't stopped the open beta in Korea from being played so extensively that standout players and strategies are becoming clear well in advance of the limited US beta. Moreover, tournaments are taking place and, while probably inaccessible to those unfamiliar with StarCraft, many matches are available to watch in very high definition on YouTube, complete with surprisingly professional and insightful commentary by SC veterans.

Despite not being a major SC fan, I found myself embarrassingly absorbed by a monster 47-minute Terran vs. Protoss battle, TheLittleOne vs. LiquidNazgul: parts one, two, three, four. It's an excellent crash course in SC2 culture and terminology as well as a fun watch and great match. There are many more.
posted by BlackLeotardFront (94 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

 
I have been addicted to HDStarcraft and Husky's game-casts lately, and I don't even play SC or SC2. Great post.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 6:25 PM on April 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is good...
posted by Spacelegoman at 6:51 PM on April 16, 2010


The game is still very much a work-in-progress, as changes are pushed live regularly. I just wasted an hour being totally engrossed by this PvZ game which lasts until basically the entire map is depleted of resources.
posted by mek at 6:54 PM on April 16, 2010


1 min and 3 seconds into video 2, kind of an interesting moment: "Warp Prism, to the right of the map, I'm not sure if that was a drop or not, but there are some marines thatLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRROOOOOYYY JEEEEEENNNNKIIIINNNSSSS"
posted by gwint at 6:57 PM on April 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah mek I watched that PvZ, but it seemed like the Zerg player was just messing with the Protoss. Like the commentators said, he had a huge macro advantage and could have walked over him. Probably just wanted to draw it out and make it really decisive.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 7:05 PM on April 16, 2010


I hate to say this, but strategies are becoming quite evident in the US version of the game as well. There are already very many hard core SC2 players in the US and EU versions, and this sort of competitive play is already going on, an being broadcast on internet feeds, here in the US and in the EU.

Self Link: While I do not participate in the broadcast of this weekly show, I am a member of OMFG.fm. Every week on Friday OMFG.fm does a 4-8 hour long live SC2 tournament show called ESports Live. Please feel free to tune in. if you are interested. We just finished up tonight's matches, but they are posted on our front page every Thursday or so to tell you what the schedule is for our Friday broadcasts.
posted by strixus at 7:07 PM on April 16, 2010


Did Little One win in the finals? How can you leave me hanging like this?!
posted by christonabike at 7:17 PM on April 16, 2010


Cool!
posted by darkstar at 7:17 PM on April 16, 2010


Yeah mek I watched that PvZ, but it seemed like the Zerg player was just messing with the Protoss.

Well, yeah, he let him expand when he could have easily crushed it, and he focused on mass ground units for no apparent reason, as a broodlord army would have ended the game very quickly.

Anyway, the strategies are often only a patch long. For example the Zerg mass roach, and Terran's M&M&M ball, both got the nerfbat pretty hard. And there are still quite a few chronically-underused units, such as Dark Templars.
posted by mek at 7:19 PM on April 16, 2010


Oh good, i'm not so embarassed about watching these for about 4 hours the other day.

Is it just me or are zerg players dominating?

Also, watch this guy's protoss play.

The use of hallucinations and force fields was pretty amazing. I think its the first time I almost considered my self a fan of a video game player.

In other video game play by play news, Competitive TF2 also makes for good viewing.
posted by empath at 7:25 PM on April 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Protip: select the highest resolution that youtube allows.
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 7:25 PM on April 16, 2010


kekekekekeke ^_^
posted by amuseDetachment at 7:26 PM on April 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


man, I though this might just be another Eve-style thing but I'm getting sucked in with all the sneak attacks and nukes... eeeeeeeeee!
posted by Wuggie Norple at 7:27 PM on April 16, 2010


Is it just me or are zerg players dominating?

No, you're quite right... if a Zerg pulls off a fast expand, it tends to lead to total domination. Roach nerfs helped a little, but I'm pretty sure representation at high brackets is still 4:3:3 for Zerg.
posted by mek at 7:38 PM on April 16, 2010


I have never understood the appeal of spectator sports up 'till this moment. You're still never going to hear "it's a nuclear winter" from ESPN though.
posted by artificialard at 7:39 PM on April 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, question. Why Starcraft? Why South Korea? It seems like a game of madlibs " ARGENTINA is really into BOGGLE." Help me understand this more, cause pretty much all I know about South Korea can be boiled down to - Ceramics - Baptism - Kimchi - Starcraft.
posted by The Whelk at 7:40 PM on April 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


I have no idea what is going on but from experience I can recognize a potential addiction. See you after my Ascension.
posted by vapidave at 7:49 PM on April 16, 2010


So, question. Why Starcraft? Why South Korea? It seems like a game of madlibs " ARGENTINA is really into BOGGLE." Help me understand this more, cause pretty much all I know about South Korea can be boiled down to - Ceramics - Baptism - Kimchi - Starcraft.

You should ask a Korean!
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 7:55 PM on April 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


Incidentally, the world of competitive Starcraft is currently embroiled in a betting scandal.
posted by danb at 7:58 PM on April 16, 2010


I was interested in this game, but as is typical, Activision is trying to rape it for all the cash possible, splitting one game into three SKUs to charge you more for basically the same thing.

Zero interest here. I don't care how good the game is, I'm not paying $180 for it.
posted by Malor at 8:05 PM on April 16, 2010


Zero interest here. I don't care how good the game is, I'm not paying $180 for it.

Then don't. If you're buying it for multiplayer, you only need to buy it once.

If you're not buying it for multiplayer.. you probably shouldn't be buying it.
posted by empath at 8:08 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I watched a minute or so of the first video and didn't understand one goddamn word the guys said, even though I believe it was in English, which is a language that I speak.

And...that was kind of awesome.
posted by dubitable at 8:12 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you're not buying it for multiplayer.. you probably shouldn't be buying it.

err, not played the campaign in the first one I take it? It wasn't absolutely hideous, especially to my 15yr old self.

The 3-part sku split was decided before the merger, so blizzard made that decision.
posted by Submiqent at 8:14 PM on April 16, 2010


I don't understand what any of you are talking about. I clicked on the PvZ video link and saw neither plants nor zombies, just some bizarro world in which ESPN commentators spouted a bunch of gibberish while a couple of kids played some weird alien Risk clone in the background.
posted by jbickers at 8:19 PM on April 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is a "timing push" driving in with an with some particular upgrade still not completed?
posted by YoBananaBoy at 8:19 PM on April 16, 2010


Good lord that was a little too glib with my typing. What is a timing push?
posted by YoBananaBoy at 8:20 PM on April 16, 2010


I am drooling.
posted by HabeasCorpus at 8:20 PM on April 16, 2010


It's attacking while the other guy is building some kind of upgrade/building/expensive unit, while you have an advantage.
posted by empath at 8:22 PM on April 16, 2010


Ah. Thank you, empath.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 8:30 PM on April 16, 2010


In hypercompetitive games like these, the single-player campaigns are regarded as training courses for the multiplayer. Looked at this way, splitting up Starcraft II makes sense: you're getting a bigger course in the faction that you want to play as, and you probably wouldn't benefit as much competitively from playing the other races anyhow.

Then again, they are probably expecting the trufans to buy all three games, same as with Pokémon.
posted by LogicalDash at 8:32 PM on April 16, 2010


YBB a timing push is basically knowing that your enemy is constrained by either tech or resources which gives an opening to attack. A half decent explanation of this regarding starcraft 1 is here.

The teamliquid forums are generally pretty good, as is the liquipedia. They've recently introduced a tonne of new content regarding SC2. Watch the streams. I still find starcraft 1/broodwar way better to watch, at the proleague level, but that's pretty subjective. Be sure to watch the VODS. Anything with Flash is worth your time. English commenting certainly helps if you're getting into the scene. If that's the case, and you have time to kill, the 'Day [9] Daily' here, is amazing. Skip around depending on whether you want SC1/BW or SC2. Watch him get all emotional on #100's cast where he describes his career in starcraft, it's pretty uplifting.
posted by rider at 8:32 PM on April 16, 2010


Activision is trying to rape it for all the cash possible

The terms of the merger explicitly stated that Activision has no authority over Blizzard- they just collect the money. Blizzard's a subsidiary, but it's almost completely autonomous.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:34 PM on April 16, 2010


So, question. Why Starcraft? Why South Korea? It seems like a game of madlibs " ARGENTINA is really into BOGGLE." Help me understand this more, cause pretty much all I know about South Korea can be boiled down to - Ceramics - Baptism - Kimchi - Starcraft.

In North Korea they work long, tireless hours doing mind-numbing, repetitive tasks for the Juche Idea... and in South Korea they work long, tireless hours doing mind-numbing, repetitive tasks for Aiur!

Seriously, though, if a game ever deserved this sort of long-term devotion, it's Starcraft. It's the quintessential RTS: easy to learn, difficult to master, a joy to play as all three races over and over again.
posted by vorfeed at 8:41 PM on April 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are the games actually played at that really high speed, or do the commentators just speed up the replays so they're more interesting?
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 8:43 PM on April 16, 2010


/pines for Diablo III.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 8:45 PM on April 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


ATBH: Those are real speeds. SC1 is played on Fastest, as (I think) is SC2. To be considered an 'A' level player or higher, you pretty much need to exceed 300 'Actions Per Minute' (APM - defined as [generally] a keypress or click of the mouse.)
posted by rider at 8:50 PM on April 16, 2010


Are the games actually played at that really high speed, or do the commentators just speed up the replays so they're more interesting?

they're played at that speed
posted by chalbe at 8:51 PM on April 16, 2010


Very cool. I really enjoyed RTS back in the day. I always imagined this sort of thing would be cool, but this is the first time I've seen it. Of course, there was no youtube in the 90s. Also really liked QuarterlyProphet's link. "1998 was the time when Korea began to enjoy the fruits of massive investment in the Internet infrastructure" Yay! I had a 28.8k modem. :-|
posted by fartknocker at 8:59 PM on April 16, 2010


Did Little One win in the finals? How can you leave me hanging like this?!
posted by christonabike at 10:17 PM on April 16 [+] [!]

Try this? (posted as a video response)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ibHsNOIkEQ&feature=watch_response
posted by xorry at 9:10 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Those are real speeds.

Okay, now I am impressed.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 9:14 PM on April 16, 2010


For the uninitiated, what your seeing a giant realtime rock, paper, scissors with resource management, and multitasking thrown in. The rock, paper and scissors sometimes have special abilities or upgrades to make them more powerful.

Main bases/expansions are usually where resources are gathered. Resources make more units or make them more powerful (tech).

Micro refers to micromanagement. It means that a player has to give units orders in a tactical way very quickly to gain an advantage while simultaneously building units, managing the base, and managing the resources.

They key to understanding this is learning which units are the rock, to the opponents scissors. In the group usually they will have rocks, papers, and scissors to counteract what the other player has and that is where the micro comes into play.
posted by andryeevna at 9:33 PM on April 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


They're letting the Koreans get a head start? They were difficult enough to beat in the first game without one.
posted by delmoi at 9:34 PM on April 16, 2010


kekekekekeke
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:39 PM on April 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


exceed 300 'Actions Per Minute' ...

Like what? 300+ clickty-clicks per minute? That is crazy-talk. It is still fun to watch when one player goes all wheels-off, and the commentators are practically breathless.

Sort of like when the news camera guy was eaten in the film version of Starship Troopers.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 10:00 PM on April 16, 2010


Also, watch this guy's protoss play.

ew.
posted by Casimir at 10:25 PM on April 16, 2010


GREAT USE OF FORCEFIELDS!
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:50 PM on April 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


"It wasn't absolutely hideous"

Not absolutely hideous? Starcraft is widely acclaimed as having one of the best single-player campaigns in RTS history! I mean, the instruction manual has 30+ pages of backstory, for crying out loud!
posted by archagon at 10:50 PM on April 16, 2010


Yeah, I never played multiplayer Starcraft much. I've never been very good at RTSes. Splitting attention multiple ways is a weak spot of mine, and I do not play RTSes well because of it. I liked Total Annihilation because I could set up automated systems that I didn't have to micro-manage, but Starcraft was far too clicky for me.

Regardless, I enjoyed the hell out of the single-player campaign. I was planning to pick this up and play through it single-player just like the original, until I got the price tag of $180.

Screw that.
posted by Malor at 11:59 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I found myself embarrassingly absorbed by a monster 47-minute Terran vs. Protoss battle

God I watched that whole fucking thing. I've been waiting for this game for a goddamn decade!
posted by delmoi at 12:01 AM on April 17, 2010


until I got the price tag of $180.

Huh? It's $55 on amazon pre-order, $99 for the "collectors edition".

The only other thing I'm seeing is some mention of two expansion packs for $60 each, so if you buy the game plus the two expansions, that's $180. And I'm only seeing this on message board posts, not any real news sites. But even if that's true you only need $60 play, plus the price will drop over time. The origional + brood wars is just $13
posted by delmoi at 12:13 AM on April 17, 2010


Is there any reason a high price tag can't be solved by bittorrent in this case.
posted by Pseudology at 12:30 AM on April 17, 2010


I've been playing the hell out of the awesome Land Air Sea Warfare lately, if you're into this sort of thing. No multiplayer but the AI can be devastating.
posted by chronkite at 12:48 AM on April 17, 2010


Yea I love the high-bandwidth sc2 beta videos on youtube.

Also strangely attracted to HDStarcraft's voice, he has a funny lilt. Crush :)
posted by polymodus at 12:51 AM on April 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh good, the appeal is universal, I'm not slipping into incommunicable personal nerddom. For last month the daily excitement has been in checking if there are new videos in HDStarcraft or HuskyStarcraft. A tip: Search for '4' in their uploads, to find those matches that last so long that they need to be split into four parts. They are always epic.
posted by Free word order! at 1:16 AM on April 17, 2010


Neat!

I stumbled upon one of these matches while looking at SC2 news on YT from last year's BlizzCon. Man, it's like they mill digital cocoa leaves at that company.

I can't say I enjoyed SC with the internet unless it was my friends -- zerg rush keke ^_^ -- so I really wondered if I would bother buying SC2. Then I saw the damn thing. Damn. Same game, oh so much more shiny.

(Real annoyed about the 3 SKU's too, Malor. I'll probably buy the first then wait a couple of years for a battle chest....)
posted by cavalier at 3:06 AM on April 17, 2010


delmoi: It's $55 on amazon pre-order,

That's for only 1/3 of the game. It's my understanding that you get only one of the three playable races as a single-player campaign. If you want all three, you have to buy all three versions.

Further, they've removed LAN play. You can't play this game on a LAN, you are required to play it through BattleNet. That's a whole 'nother level of 'screw that'.
posted by Malor at 4:11 AM on April 17, 2010


I liked the use of forcefields and the last defensive nuke at the end.

It'll be interesting to see the new pop culture references, as there's been some great scifi in the last 10 years. I could just hear an Archon going, "No power in the 'verse can stop me."
posted by marco_nj at 5:07 AM on April 17, 2010


I am so excited I am reinstalling Starcraft and Brood War...

Wife is at work...I have some beer...oh yeah
posted by evilelvis at 6:30 AM on April 17, 2010


I don't really like the three separate campaign thing either, but in their defense, the campaigns will all be 30 levels. Which makes them each equal in length to Starcraft 1. Plus in SC1 and Broodwar the first five or so missions of each 10-mission campaign were tutorial levels.
posted by graventy at 6:32 AM on April 17, 2010


marco_nj:
It'll be interesting to see the new pop culture references, as there's been some great scifi in the last 10 years. I could just hear an Archon going, "No power in the 'verse can stop me."
Heh. It's been years since I played StarCraft, but I watched Aliens last night and it hit me instantly when the drop ship pilot started delivering her lines, "Oh hey, that sounds awfully familiar..." I'd never realized before that some of the SC units' lines were straight outta scifi pop culture.
posted by indubitable at 6:57 AM on April 17, 2010


I'm in the SC2 beta and have been playing it on and off for the last month or so. With Starcraft I was the kind of person who would play team games against AI opponents and then whenever I tried to play against real people on Battle.net I'd get rushed or dropped on and lose quickly and cry. In SC2 you play five placement matches in order to get placed in a league based on your skill--platinum, gold, silver, bronze, copper--can you guess which league I'm in? Actually I've been trying to get better at competitive play and I'm having a lot of fun with it, trying out different tactics and attempting to identify what went wrong whenever I lose. I'm undecided about picking up the game when it gets released, I'm sure I'll hit a point where there's diminishing returns in terms of refining my skillz and I don't have it in me to spend all my time playing Starcraft. I don't think I'm naturally strong at this type of game. Like someone mentioned, it requires your constant hyperfocused attention on a million different things happening at once, and I generally feel like an old man trying to keep up with the younguns, even if I'm only in my mid-twenties. RTS is wasted on the young!!!!!
posted by palidor at 7:10 AM on April 17, 2010


The business development behind Starcraft 2 is fascinating. Not only have we been waiting 10 years to play it, but Blizzard's been making the game for 7 years now. The version I played at Blizzcon in 2007 already felt like a complete game, 3 years ago, and they're still working on tuning it up. Blizzard's famous for taking their time and only releasing games when they're ready, uniquely famous, and it's worked for them so far.

The three SKUs thing sucks, but if there's full content for each game then it's not a ripoff. What doesn't make sense is why they're releasing it all at once rather than dribbling them out as expansion packs over a couple of years.

I'm terrible at RTS games. I want to like them, but they're so stressful, particularly playing against other people. The only one I was ever competent at was Rise of Nations, and that's because the game was specifically designed to prevent sneak attacks and to allow macro strategies to be viable.
posted by Nelson at 7:26 AM on April 17, 2010


If you're curious to see what this looks like from the player's perspective (answer: extremely disorienting), the key word seems to be "fpvod." This is one of the most watched results, but I would probably get more out of it if the commentary wasn't in Korean ...
posted by jhc at 8:53 AM on April 17, 2010


watching HD stream of of an SCII open beta tournament and understanding that he is not solid on his opening build order... the future it's not that bad.
posted by doobiedoo at 8:59 AM on April 17, 2010


All these years they've been saying they'd release the Mac version at the same time as the PC version. They're still claiming it will be released at the same time on both platforms. So where's the Mac beta?
posted by Thoughtcrime at 10:29 AM on April 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm terrible at RTS games. I want to like them, but they're so stressful, particularly playing against other people.

I'm terrible at RTSes too, but that didn't stop me from enjoying Starcraft! I am also terrible at 4X games but I still love the Civilization series. I guess I did always play them more in solo than multiplayer, though.
posted by danb at 12:00 PM on April 17, 2010


There are a fairly shocking number of MeFite SC players in here, apparently, or at least people that have more than a passing interest in strategy games. This thread seems to be almost as long as the 'Ebert hates video games' thread, which says something to me.

Evidently, though, very few of us have beta keys.
if you have one, I'd <3>

But more on topic, it's seems like a shame for the competitive community - because of the relentless nature of the beta-testing balancing and such, all of the pro players will hit the ground running with a solid year or so of knowing all of the good strategies and responses behind them, while all those that don't have access to the beta will simply be ripped apart for the first few months, which tends to be discouraging when aiming to be competitive.

Unless Blizzard fixes their ladder system.
posted by Han Tzu at 12:46 PM on April 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's for only 1/3 of the game. It's my understanding that you get only one of the three playable races as a single-player campaign. If you want all three, you have to buy all three versions.

Malor, they claim that each campaign is so huge that they're actually making 3 complete full-size games. We'll have to wait and see if gamers agree, but since they've been working long enough for other studios to have churned out 5 or 10 full sized games, it's seems like a plausible claim.

Further, they've removed LAN play. You can't play this game on a LAN, you are required to play it through BattleNet. That's a whole 'nother level of 'screw that'.

This on the other hand is a legitimate beef. You can just see the suits looking at Korea and pulling their hair out that they weren't making any money beyond the initial purchase price of the game.

"How dare they buy a game and keep playing it! They're supposed to throw it away after six months and then buy another game! How dare they keep having fun without giving us more money!"
posted by straight at 12:59 PM on April 17, 2010


Battle.net is not a subscription service, and Blizzard has said nothing that would indicate that it will be a subscription service.

I dunno, Blizzard's been one of the better video game companies so far as not being fucking assholes goes and it's bizarre to see the number of people who have either made things up in their heads to justify calling them fucking assholes or who have talked to that first population and immediately gone "You're right! Despite all past experience, Blizzard are fucking assholes!"

Seriously, chill out. They're practically the perfect video game company- they put out meticulously crafted games, offer a ton of support and updates, and other than WoW (and show me a subscriptionless MMO that isn't terrible, come on, I'm waiting) you can play any game they've put out online as long as you want. The immediate jump to "Those guys are fucking assholes!" is completely baffling to me.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:40 PM on April 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


(and show me a subscriptionless MMO that isn't terrible, come on, I'm waiting)

Well, some of the web-based MMOs like Urban Dead, Nexus War, and Dead Frontier were pretty good in their prime, but of course they're not in the same league as WoW.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 2:15 PM on April 17, 2010


Fascinating article QuarterlyProphet ! Thanks.
posted by The Whelk at 2:25 PM on April 17, 2010


Interesting how a particular speech pattern has evolved among gamey-talkers.
Like instead of saying "He has a doodad. He will use it soon.", they say "He does have a doodad. He will use it soon.

I keep hearing Cartman from the WoW episode.

On another note, I just can't get over how entertaining this stuff is to watch. I flirted a bit with speedruns a while back, but it never really sang to me like this. I think I understand now what sports enthusiasts must feel like when THEY watch a game. Except that I end up rooting for both sides.

Dare I say- Dune III? With Ixians and Tleilaxu and Bene Gesserit instead of that Ordos bullshit? Blizzard? That would get you my money. For Mac. Lots of it.
posted by Casimir at 3:29 PM on April 17, 2010


I kind of disagree with that post about the ladder system. First of all, it's in beta and there are significantly less people playing than what they're designing it for, I assume, so I don't expect it to work perfectly. Even then, I usually feel like I'm pretty evenly matched, but then I haven't played hundreds of games and I'm in the lowest league. Mostly I just disagree with his assertion that splitting everything up into parallel divisions in each league is somehow sneaky and hiding information from the player. If everything's working right, trying to make it to the top of the league and then hopefully advancing to the next one is a lot more fun and provides more motivation than watching yourself move from position #127,829 to position #127,828 in some huge list. Maybe the way it places you and decides promotions/demotions might be kind of wonky at the moment but all that really matter is if you're being matched with other players well, either with those of equal skill level or more advanced players for "challenge" matches, and I think splitting everything up into smaller groups you work your way to the top of is a nice way to encourage someone to keep improving. I know that guy had some specific understandable frustrations, but it seems overall a weird thing to complain about.
posted by palidor at 6:28 PM on April 17, 2010


Eh, splitting it into three titles isn't that big of a deal, IMO. They did spend three times as long making it as most games.

I dunno, Blizzard's been one of the better video game companies so far as not being fucking assholes goes and it's bizarre to see the number of people who have either made things up in their heads to justify calling them fucking assholes or who have talked to that first population and immediately gone "You're right! Despite all past experience, Blizzard are fucking assholes!"

What's their excuse for taking out LAN play, anyway? I guess SC isn't a game where you have to worry about lag too much, but it's kind of annoying that you can't just play with friends over a LAN. Lan parties are so much easier now, you just bring a laptop and hop on WIFI, back when I was in highschool people literally lugged Desktops and CRTs around.
posted by delmoi at 10:03 PM on April 17, 2010


My husband and his friend are playing SC2 in the next room right now. I don't think at this point he has any friends who don't have a beta key. This is what happens when your buddies work at Blizzard.

RTSes have no real appeal for me, but it seems like this game is going to be a hit given the level of enthusiasm I'm seeing about the beta among his friends. Even people who don't typically want to play games when they come over tend to play a few rounds and seem to have a pretty good time doing it. I've seen probably upwards of 10 people play their first game and I don't think any of them have said "Enh, lame". I mean, I have, but I really get no joy out of realtime strategy games at all, and never have. I'm just not the target audience.

I was under the impression that the LAN play situation is due to wanting to verify that each copy has an associated Battle.net account - ie to prevent piracy. I think that's their right. And frankly, I strongly doubt it will hurt their sales. Lag hasn't been an issue in the beta at all and it seems like in general most people are willing to shell out for a game that's awesome even if they spend a whole lot of time whining about what crap it is that they can't pirate it.

One thing I've been *really* impressed with is how well it runs on older hardware. My husband threw a copy onto a six-year-old laptop and it ran like a dream except when it was rendering really large swarms. It's nice to know that most people who want to play this game won't necessarily have to go out and buy a new graphics card...even if the last graphics card they bought was around the time SC1 came out...
posted by little light-giver at 11:20 PM on April 17, 2010


Let me say, offering myself up as a datapoint, I've never played any real-time strategy games before, and having watched just the first of the four videos, and I could FEEL my future free time ebbing away. It took a physical effort to get up and step away from the machine, and I'm sure if I looked a second time, nothing of value would get done around here for the next while ('while' being measured in years.)
posted by newdaddy at 7:36 AM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I used to play RTSes all the time, my favorites being Command and Conquer and Age of Empires I/II. I was pretty good against the computer AI, but I confess that I was only fair against other humans. I tend to play too defensively (turtling) until I'm ready to launch my offensive and humans are much less predictable with the harassment. I do much better in turn-based PvP.

I haven't played an RTS in about 8 years, but I also find myself mesmerized by these webcasts. I may have to get SCII when it hits and lament, in advance, the hundreds of hours that will undoubtedly be poured down the SCII drain.

And yeah, something about HD's voice is kinda VILFy!
posted by darkstar at 1:14 PM on April 18, 2010


What's their excuse for taking out LAN play, anyway?

Piracy concerns... especially re: internet cafes, where LAN play lets an entire establishment run on one burned copy. I don't blame them, but since there are already sandbox launchers for the beta client, it won't be long until we have cracks for tcp/ip play and private servers.
posted by mek at 1:22 PM on April 18, 2010


"VILF" in this case referring to "Voice...", not Vampire, Vicar or Vice-President...
posted by darkstar at 1:25 PM on April 18, 2010


I can't believe how much of my weekend has been spent watching these videos. This is a gateway post.
posted by ifandonlyif at 5:02 PM on April 18, 2010


This video of HD narrating his play is nauseating. I was getting excited for SC2's release after watching the commentary streams all weekend, but I don't know if I could stomach actually playing the game.
posted by tylermoody at 6:19 PM on April 18, 2010


Don't worry about it. He's a top player, when you play multi-player the first thing you do is play a bunch of 'placement' games. It'll put you in one of four groups based on how well you do. If you win a bunch, it'll move you up.

Most of what he's doing there is just compulsively clicking to establish a rhythm, so when the game picks up later, his brain and fingers will already be in gear. You really don't need to do that if you're playing newbs.
posted by empath at 9:35 PM on April 18, 2010


The medivac/thor micro in this replay is truly awesome.
posted by mek at 11:38 PM on April 18, 2010


Argh. I shouldn't have spent all day watching this stuff. I was interested in the game before[1]... Now I'm really, really, really interested. I hope I get into the Mac beta, since I'm too lazy to go around trying to get a key to the Windows one and my submitted system specs are for the Mac side of my machine.


[1] - If the campaigns are full length, I don't care about the 3-way split, and while I completely understand the reaction to the LAN play thing, given how much time I spent losing to my friends in high school (I'd kick all their asses at Quake and Counter-strike, so it balanced out)... I don't know anyone who I'd LAN play with these days outside of traveling to PAX or something.
posted by sparkletone at 11:58 PM on April 18, 2010


I'm actually excited about the enormous campaigns because the way I play RTSes is generally a slow spread across the map, consuming as many resources as I can and building up an enormous army while doing whimsical things like completely surrounding the enemy base with clusters of pylons and photon cannons and then just slowly closing the net, building photon cannons closer and closer and closer... You just plain can't do that in multiplayer, and you'll get smeared across Aiur if you try. So having lots and lots of single-player missions is peachy by me, because it's that many more environments to slowly explore and colonize.

(I guess I'm almost a Spade in a genre that is built to heavily favor Clubs and Diamonds.)
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:31 AM on April 19, 2010


My sister gave us SC1 for Christmas, and my daughters and I love it (though I'm sure any of you would cream us.) Question (feel free to memail) -- my daughter has made some cool maps but we can't figure out how to play them. Is it because we play via LAN?
posted by msalt at 6:47 PM on April 19, 2010


If you put the maps in your map folder, it should be available through the map select interface.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:18 AM on April 20, 2010


"I'd never realized before that some of the SC units' lines were straight outta scifi pop culture."

It's also cool that there are references to older games like Hexen. If you ever wondered where the spikes that rise out of the ground came from in Hexen, SC shows you how that works. And are the Zerg drones the larval parasite that Khan puts in Chekov's ear in Wrath of Khan?
posted by sneebler at 8:18 PM on April 20, 2010


Actually, all of the Zerg are those tiny parasites. They genetically engineer hosts for themselves, which are all directly controlled by those little guys. This is all awesomely explained in Starcraft 1's campaign... which is solid gold if you can get past the graphics.
posted by mek at 8:54 PM on April 20, 2010


I spent about four hours watching these yesterday and didn't go to bed til midnight consequently, you bastards!

Great spectator sport! The funny thing is, I've never played this game, never will play it, would be shit at it if I attempted to play it, and yet watching it was... well... enthralling!
posted by smoke at 9:37 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I believe the fleshy things you see in the briefings are only Cerebrates, the telepathic generals of the Overmind. The rest of the Zerg are simply what they appear to be; as a hive mind, the loss of some (or many!) individuals is unimportant if it leads to victory for the species. The genetics bit is stolen from Warhammer 40K's Genestealers, Tyrannids (who look just like... well, you know) that kill other species and integrate their genetic material into their own. The Zerg kill other species specifically to take their genes and use them for their own purposes; I believe the Controllers are cited as being a separate species with enough Zerg in them to make them amenable to the Overmind's (and by delegation, the Cerebrates') telepathic control.

/nerd
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:53 AM on April 21, 2010


The genetics idea is great. Also I'm a big fan of the new weapons the Protoss have. They always get the best stuff =)
posted by stevedowell at 8:18 AM on April 21, 2010


I don't want to be too Pepsi Blue, but Gamestop just started a pre-order promotion whereby you will receive a beta key for pre-ordering now. Quite the bargain considering this game doesn't even have a release date yet.
posted by mek at 5:16 PM on April 21, 2010


Starcraft II beta breakup
posted by delmoi at 12:37 PM on April 27, 2010


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