Daniel Schott, Clarion Business Director
August 30, 2011
Filed under Arts & Culture
The original StarCraft first hit computer screens on March 31, 1998. Over the next decade, the game sold over 11 million copies, becoming one of the best-selling games for the computer. An expansion, StarCraft: Brood War was developed, followed by a Nintendo 64 version.
Much like its predecessors, StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty has become an instant classic. With the huge success of its Multiplayer system, named “Battle.net 2.0,” StarCraft 2 has become one of the most well-known and recognized e-sports in the world.
Four years after the events of StarCraft: Brood War, outlaw (and chronic alcoholic) Jim Raynor continues his assault on the Empire run by Emperor Arcturus Mengsk, a man brought to power by men like Raynor. However, he soon finds himself combating the Zerg, a ruthless alien species bent on the destruction of all life and Sarah Kerrigan, his old comrade now a mutated being and the Queen of the Zerg.
StarCraft 2 has a variety of options when it comes to choosing a game mode. The player can fight through the campaign as Raynor, a mercenary attempting to topple an empire, or play a non-storyline game as any race, battling in non-competitive scrimmages. On the multiplayer level, players can choose to team up with friends or other random players, and play either team games, free-for-alls or custom made games by other StarCraft players.
The multiplayer gameplay itself has been extremely improved since the original game. Thanks to the abilities of each individual species (Zerg, Protoss and Terran) and the unique traits of each, the game has become far more balanced and gives no individual the advantage based on race. Unlike StarCraft, the skill level of the players determines who wins, instead of which species you choose.
Despite the game arriving amongst many eager die-hard StarCraft fans, a number of designer choices have kept the game from reaching the same tier as its predecessors. One major example would the lack of Local Area Network (LAN) compatibility. Because of this, tournaments and e-sport events have to rely on Battle.net 2.0 for their competitions, and these competitions have been plagued by a high level of internet “lag,” as well as occasional blackouts and other connection issues.
At the same time, StarCraft 2 also brings some new levels of competitive gameplay, as well as new recreational games, to the forefront of their newly designer Battle.net. With a highly developed Ladder system and a variety of options for team games, 1v1’s and map choices, the game has become a highly competitive game, with hundreds of strategies developed for each race.
Another facet to the new StarCraft game is the revamping of the custom player games that are not ranked in the traditional ladder system. Thanks to the unranked nature of these games, it has become a place where people can play games without the stress of a ranking system. This allows them to test and develop new strategies and to play different game styles from the normal ladder system. This has also allowed players to create and test new maps, allowing for the community to create their own StarCraft culture and play style.
With the advancements in graphics, as well as a more balanced game and an amazing storyline, StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty has surpassed the expectations of gamers around the world. With previews and missions for the next expansion, Heart of the Swarm, already being showcased at gaming conventions, it is likely that we will see an expansion to this amazing game not too far in the future.
Stars: 4 ½ out of 5