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Real Time Strategy (Games) Networking Entertainment Games

Blizzard Confirms No LAN Support For Starcraft 2 737

Posted by Soulskill
from the also-no-telegraph-compatibility-mode dept.
Kemeno writes "Blizzard has announced that they will be dropping LAN support for Starcraft II, citing piracy and quality concerns. Instead, all multiplayer games will be hosted through their new Battle.net service. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by this move, but wasn't LAN play how the original Starcraft became popular? Blizzard said, 'More people on Battle.net means ... even more resources devoted to evolving this online platform to cater to further community building and new ways to enjoy the game online. World of Warcraft is a great example of a game that has evolved beyond anyone's imagination since their Day 1 and will continue to do so to better the player experience for as long as players support the title. ... We would not take out LAN if we did not feel we could offer players something better.'"
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Blizzard Confirms No LAN Support For Starcraft 2

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  • by Hadlock (143607) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:10PM (#28544971) Homepage Journal

    Are they at least going to release a battle.net server clone source/ dedicated servers for private hosting? Similar to how Valve has a source dedicated server they release for all their major games? A lot of large LAN events only allow limited net access, if any.
     
    For the record I think this is really,really dumb idea.

  • I'll buy it...but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by greymond (539980) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:13PM (#28545069) Homepage Journal

    but it definitely won't keep it's longevity without LAN support, I mean the best thing about games like Starcraft or even FPS like BF1942 was the LAN aspect of getting your friends together ordering a pizza, talking shit and zerging each other. Sure, I can throw on a headset and play with friends, but what if battle.net is down? What if I'm getting a lot of lag...fast paced game players don't have the tolerance of players who are into mmo's exclusively. I think Blizz is making a poor decision.

  • by Proudrooster (580120) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:18PM (#28545173) Homepage
    LAN support is what makes StarCraft (classic) the best game ever. You can get a bunch of people together in a computer lab and play 4vs4 or in my case 7vs1. BNET access will be blocked from most schools so the multiuser experience will be eliminated since schools and libraries are some of the only places you can find rooms full of 25 PCs. Also, the LAN doesn't LAG like battle net.

    So how is this going to play out? If SCII is any good, the community will just produce a local battle net server e.g. (bnetd) for playing games on the LAN. Blizzard is making very a bad, short-sighted move. As for piracy, everyone I know owns at least one copy of the Blizzard Battle Chest, which costs $20 or less for SC and BW. It is the best entertainment one can buy for under $20. The mega mineral maps require internet access though :)

    If anyone from Blizzard reads Slashdot, please go up and smack your management in the head and tell them to make SCII LAN playable. If they don't build it, someone else will and writing a small server to emulate BNET isn't going to be that hard. Even with encrypted session, it will be reverse engineered, just ask Sony about ShowEQ and their futile attempt the encrypt Everquest Traffic. Everyone on planet earth is going to buy the game the day it hits the shelf. Please go smack them in the back of the head now.
  • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:21PM (#28545227)

    I'm surprised it took this long for the news to hit Slashdot's main page, it's already a few days old yet it's the kind of thing that we nerds definitely consider "news." Sites BluesNews reported on the initial Lan issue on the 29th and has been feeding details since then.

    Personally I don't mind that much, I haven't attended a LAN party is years. However I can definitely see how this will anger SCORES of people.

  • by DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:25PM (#28545303) Homepage

    Until I read about this. HOLY crap am I pissed. I used to work somewhere with a 5$/hr gaming machine rental on a lan of about 10-15 machines. Starcraft, Q2, CS, TF were HUGELY popular lan games we allways had people doing group play 2v2 etc. We did tons of tournaments too that were often won w/ a zerg rush or an a carrier warp.

    Those were the good ol days!

    We're all going to have to wait for Total Annihilation 3?

    Effin A.

  • by EvanED (569694) <evaned@ g m ail.com> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:36PM (#28545551)

    Don't be so sure... Blizzard seems to be one of the companies that actually takes an interest in the quality of their games, and they're really interested in giving SC2 the same longevity SC1 has had.

    Even if they sell a bunch of copies, if it looks like popularity is dwindling because of lack of native LAN support, I would be surprised if they don't patch it in. (There's already precedent for this; SC1 shipped with IPX support but no TCP or UDP; UDP support was added later.)

  • Re:Disappointing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NotRangerJoe (856719) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:43PM (#28545673)

    Maybe if BNet is just used for a quick auth and lobby, then a LAN game is started, that might not be so bad, but it's not looking that way.

    Blizzard will obviously be doing it this way, they're just being unnecessarily cryptic. Not doing so is a surefire way for Blizzard to piss off everyone involved in E-Sports/competitive gaming.

    Also, the piracy issue isn't small scale piracy at private LANs, but large scale piracy in China:
    http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=96603 [teamliquid.net]

    A few thing about Haofang: It is biggest gaming site in China, it has millions of users for many games including SC and WC3. It is free and using LAN(TCP/IP protocol) to allow players to play.
    How Haofang works: You download a small program for Haofang, run it, tell it where your SC folder is. You join a room(max 255 players because TCP/IP can handle max to 255)then hit RUN, the little program will load your SC up and instead of log on to Bnet you go to LAN, and can find many games their to play since 255 players in the same room is a lot.
    Why it is bad: Cos millions of players in China were/are/going to using pirated SC/WC3 to play without any limitation.
    Why Blizzard cares: Of course they care, if even SC2 is going to last only half the life of SC the next big market is definitely China(cos Korea is given). If things going on like SC/WC3 Blizzard is going to lose tons of money.
    Did Blizzard do anything about it: Yes they did but failed. A few year back Blizzard sued Haofang but lost and Haofang is continue to grow and now become the most recognize site in China(among gamers of course).
    Why is Haofang able to sneak pass Blizzard: Haofang told that they only allow players play via LAN(TCP/IP) they do not do anything to mess with Blizzard Battle.net and thus can not be judged. I know it is bullshit since it allows players with pirated copies play multi play which is the life SC, but it holds true in the EULA and Blizzard can do nothing about it.

  • by Marnhinn (310256) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:51PM (#28545811) Homepage Journal

    While at the beginning Blizzard may not allow play without having connectivity to Battle.net, I am fairly sure that at some point in the future, functionality will be released that will either allow for multiplayer private servers or possibly LAN.

    Remember, Blizzard did release a patch that allows you to play Starcraft 1 without having to insert the CD in. It's simply that eventually computer games reach end of life - and rather than have to continually support a base of players it is easier to simply let them play on their own. Blizzard knows this, it is simply a matter of time before they do it.

    However, until then, I am fairly sure that someone will reverse engineer the software and figure out how to emulate a server on their own. Depending on the success or failure of that effort, Blizzard's stance on no LAN support may change. If the emulation / hax reaches critical mass, Blizzard may release a tool that does / has similar functionality simply to maintain that portion of the market.

    I'd say at this time - it is far too early to tell though.

  • Stationed in Iraq (Score:5, Interesting)

    by daspring (1589413) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @12:53PM (#28545871)
    For those of you that aren't aware, LAN gaming is very much alive with our soldiers stationed in Iraq. Starcraft, Warcraft 3, and Dawn of War were all extremely popular for those with laptops. Even attempting to validate a cdkey through the tiny pipe that is the on-base internet connection would prevent most people from being able to play. This is a disgusting money grab. Nothing more.
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @01:10PM (#28546243)

    I was a big fan of RTS from the early days with Dune 2 up to Total Annihilation. But Starcraft was where I finally started to ask "Is there nothing else?" Sure, it was an incredibly polished game and I would have been astounded by it five years before. But the thing is, it really was little more than Orcs in Space. Snazzy voice acting, high production values, but the gameplay was little more advanced. Now I'm sure that there are a million South Koreans who are ready to flame me on this so fine, let's say it's the pinnacle of RTS gaming, we'll run with that for a second. Has anyone done better since then? No.

    No matter how advanced the graphics have become, no matter how much more bling has been shoved onto the disc, at the end of the day the AI's still suck and the controls are maddeningly primitive. Here, five units I want to move! Select, click move, watch them run into each other and eventually form a ragged column and then approach a target one at a time, allowing themselves to be crushed in detail.

    I've been away from PC gaming for a few years and am catching up on demos of games that have come out in the meantime. So far there's little evidence of any advancement in all these years. The videos for Starcraft 2 look like 3D representations of exactly what went on in Starcraft 1. I suppose if Starcraft was the pinnacle of RTS design for you then a graphics buff is all you need.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @01:21PM (#28546469)

    Yeah this is very disappointing, I still play Starcraft, but because I live a rural area I only have access to a high latency long distance wireless connection, that is behind two levels of NAT's that I don't control, so there is no way for me to host games. The latency is so high I can't play any game on it. So I have a dedicated ISDN line the lets me play starcraft online. If I were to host a LAN party there would be no way for me to support this over a ISDN. I'm also worried that the bandwidth requirements will go up with the new Starcraft. The original Starcraft does not need much bandwidth, just low latency.

    Thanks blizzard, I was really looking forward to Starcraft II but it sounds like your going to screw me.

  • by melikamp (631205) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @01:28PM (#28546611) Homepage Journal

    From battle.net forums; Karune is a Blizzard Poster.

    Q u o t e:

    I think the reasons starcraft has lasted so long as a game and community are because:

    1) Well designed and fun to play game.

    2) Free battle.net - Having a place where gamers can come together and play the game 24/7 helps to foster a bolster and lively community.

    3) Continued support for the game even after 11 years, they still patch it when it needs a patch.

    4) Pro-Starcraft gaming. This is a big deal to serious starcraft players or to anyone that enjoys competition. These games are fun to watch and makes casual players want to play the game.

    5) Lan support. - Lan parties are fun.

    If you take away LAN support you will still have the 4 other pillars for a strong starcraft community. Plus if LAN support helps rid battle.net of hackers, cheaters and piracy because the network traffic is harder to decipher then all the better. That only strengthens the spirit of fair competition on battle.net.

    The first 4 pillars are ALL being made better.

    1) Development time for StarCraft II have far exceeded the original StarCraft in both the standard of quality and duration, to ensure the highest in quality RTS experience we can possibly create.

    2) Not only is it free to play online for people who purchase the game, Battle.net 2.0 is designed with the new generation of online community and eSports in mind.

    3) As long as there are people playing our games, we will continue to support them, and we have continued with this tradition with our legacy titles like the original StarCraft.

    4) StarCraft II was created with eSports as a cornerstone in design philosophy. StarCraft evolved into an eSport. Preview Options Submit Continue Editing Preview Cancel Get More Comments Reply Prefs Search Everything will be just tickety-boo today.

    5) Map Editor will be better than any we have ever released.

    and:

    6) ??? - will have to wait and see :)

    For me personally- I loved LAN parties, but the direction in which Battle.net is headed, I would always choose to play on Battle.net > 99% of the time and even if for whatever reason I did decide to lug my computer to a friend's house in this day of age (<1%), I would still be playing with them on Battle.net against others at their place.

    [ Post edited by Karune ]

  • by andytrevino (943397) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @01:28PM (#28546623) Homepage

    I couldn't agree more. I'm a bot author (the chat and channel-management type, not the game hosting type), so I have a front row view of how Blizzard has created a market for these third-party programs by keeping Battle.net outdated and stagnant. Chat bots allow you to perform really basic tasks, like keeping someone you don't like permanently OUT of your channel, or disseminating more than one line of information to your guildmates; Battle.net does not support any of this.

    In the world of custom game hosting, bots allow for automated hosting from a high-speed Internet line that can better handle the traffic (since Warcraft III games are peer to peer once they start) and detailed stat-tracking that the Battle.net system could provide, but does not. Battle.net is constantly fighting these improvements contributed by members of the community, rather than embracing them, under the guise of preventing cheating, even though even the chat and channel-management bots need a valid (purchased!) CD key in order to perform their duties and have no impact on in-game play.

  • by HeronBlademaster (1079477) <heron@xnapid.com> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @01:37PM (#28546753) Homepage

    You know, they say they delete accounts after 90 days of inactivity, but I regularly go six months between logins and my account is still there. Yes, my Diablo II characters are gone, but the account itself hasn't been deleted.

    Anyone know what's going on there?

  • Re:luckily! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @02:19PM (#28547499)

    They're still boycotting Blizzard

    You do realize Blizzard hasn't actually released a video game since 2004, right?

    Not buying Starcraft 2 will be the first actual product these wankers boycott. Frankly it seems like kind of a waste since, apparently confirmed by TFA, we wouldn't be buying it anyway.

  • by Bobartig (61456) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @02:37PM (#28547875) Homepage

    Well, think of it this way. I'm a fanboy and I'll buy this game.

    I own eleven fucking copies of Starcraft and Broodwars. I can have my own 8 man LAN party and then some. That's how big of a SC nut I was. Will I buy multiple copies of SCII? Fuck no. No LAN party, no reason to.

    Blizzard is going to make "fuck-you money" with this game one way or another, but I'm telling you now, that's 7 copies unbought because you're greedy and removing LAN support.

  • by torkus (1133985) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @02:47PM (#28548087)

    Still, would you block 40% of your target demographic? how about 20%? 5%? You will have plenty of new gamers that were not playing when SC1 came out. Plenty of older gamers that are no longer interested.

    It's a veiled attempt to combat piracy that's likely to work against them in the end. Just because it worked for WoW I think someone got it in his or her head that this is the greatest idea evar. Piracy of Wow is, essentially, zero. Sure, there are rouge servers, but if you look at the total number of players on legitimate (that is, account/key/subscription enforced) realms vs. other the 'loss' is negligible.

    It's unfortunate that bliz is treating a much smaller, simpler, less involved game the same way they do WoW. Hopefully they'll add LAN support back in at some point...or someone will hack it in and P2P it.

  • by Tetsujin (103070) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @03:06PM (#28548433) Homepage Journal

    Right, so computers A and B on the same LAN, communicating to the internet through router X would each send messages to X's IP address... The request would go out over the LAN, the router would see it and say, "Hey, that's my IP address! I don't need to forward this out onto the Internet at all!"

    Actually, my router doesn't talk. I think it would be fun if routers did actually speak things like that out loud, as though they were going through some kind of thought process and sharing it with the room. "Hey, I got an incoming connection from somebody! Ooh, someone's trying to ssh in! I don't know who it is - I wonder if they'll be able to login? Oh, now they're trying port 80. Aw, that's cute. They're trying the factory-default password... That brings back memories..."

  • by Miszou72 (927439) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:58PM (#28550533) Homepage

    Shit like b.net is just built in DRM, so that when Blizzard inevitably closes their doors all their games cease functioning as well. So much for posterity.

    The lack of LAN support for Hellgate London killed it dead overnight. Whether you loved it or loathed it, your only choice now is single-player. Me and my son used to really enjoy playing Hellgate London together, and now all we have is a couple of useless DVD's to stare at.

    Since the closing of Hellgate, I haven't bought a single multi-player game that doesn't have LAN support - and that includes all MMO's and will now also include Starcraft II.

  • by AnalogyShark (1317197) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:06PM (#28550657)
    If someone gets your dorm/LAN IP banned, the whole building can get banned off a server. In my dorm at Arizona State, the whole first floor could not connect to Steam due to a ban that someone had gotten the year before.
  • by Endo13 (1000782) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:54PM (#28551291)

    While you purcahsed 8 copies for your 8 computers, someone else purchased one and placed it on all 8 of theirs.

    And now instead of buying one copy, they won't buy any at all.

    You can still have 8 computers set up in your house to play through battle net if you so desire everyone playing in the same room.

    Sure, if you have a fat enough pipe. Of course, then you still have to deal with lag issues, and you won't be able to play at all when the internet connection goes down. Oh yeah, and then there's the fact that it's way more convenient to just set up a LAN.

    But hey, if blizzard doesn't want to sell to several million of their potential customers, that's their problem. If they don't want my money bad enough to make a good product, that's their loss not mine. There's plenty other good RTSes out there with good LAN support.

  • by FloodSpectre (745213) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @06:00PM (#28551359)
    Now I need to buy one copy for myself and one copy for my wife if we want to play with/against each other. I don't have to buy two copies of a DVD for us to watch, or two boxes of Settlers of Catan to play. Unless they keep the whole Multiplayer Spawn idea alive of course.
  • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @06:01PM (#28551367)

    Two problems with that though:

    1) You could play starcraft for free on a LAN legally. They had a LAN copy on the disk which had no single player and could only join.

    2) I can't count how many LANs I've been to or hosted that had no internet because of problematic DHCP servers.

    3) This thing better not lag like a mother with 8 people sharing a cable modem.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @07:21PM (#28552213) Journal

    But the whole point was if their code wasn't so shitty you wouldn't NEED an "awesome machine" because the graphics just ain't that great. And I wasn't playing on some ten year old box either, a 3.6GHz P4 with 2Gb of RAM and a 7600GT is WELL over the system specs for that game and the glitches and jerks and crashes were just unbelievable. It was obviously alpha quality code that got shoved out the door in search of cash.

    But just to give you the benefit of the doubt I loaded the demo earlier on my new PC, which is an AMD Kuma 7550 dual with 4Gb of RAM and an AMD 4650 with a gig of RAM, that should be plenty right? After all it is way over specs? The game would still suffer what I call 'senior moments' where it would just jerk and freeze for no damned reason, not to mention it still has the CTD problem. Now when I can blaze through Bioshock or FEAR and be cranking with the explosions and everything going off and a Diablo/Dungeon Siege ripoff with not that great a graphics has 'senior moments'? That is the mark of some shitty coding my friend.

    But of course they did what? Blamed it on piracy. It couldn't be that their demo was so buggy that it would CTD about 50% of the time, or the fact that their forums were filled with "game crashed and now get graphics failed to initialize error" posts, nahhhh, we'll just blame those dirty pirates. And they wonder why piracy is on the rise. Well game designers its like this-

    On one hand you have a shop were you walk in, pay $50 and get kicked in the balls as a "thank you" for your purchase, and have to jump through flaming hoops when you get home to deal with the suck ass DRM like SecuROM. Or you can walk across the street where they will hand you the SAME product for free, and instead of kicking you in the balls or making you jump through flaming hoops, they just smile and say "power to the people dude". Now which store would YOU want to shop at? How many kicks to the balls could YOU take? I still buy my games but I no longer buy at release, and it is getting to the point I only buy from the bargain bin. Why? Because I have to jump through fricking hoops and crack the damned thing anyway I might as well wait until the patches are out so I can get a crack for the last patch.

    So congratulations on losing lots of cash from me! I'm sure as you keep pulling asshattery like Blizzard and loading up your games with trojans and viruses, which if you have seen what a PC 'infected' with SecuROM+Safedisc+Starforce acts like you would agree they are malware, then expect piracy to rise as the guys like me that buy your product simply stop and the newcomers decide NOT to get kicked in the balls. It is simple game designers-STOP SCREWING OVER YOUR CUSTOMERS!!!!!

  • by shoemilk (1008173) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @10:32PM (#28553621) Journal
    Worse than that, how will they expect SC2 to take over for SC1 in South Korean gaming competitions? Those things are a world of their own. Televised, groupies, real live gaming clans for training. When a 20 year old is considered "over the hill" because reaction time gets too slowed, forcing the games to go through Battlenet would kill the competitions.

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