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Real Time Strategy (Games) Games

StarCraft II Closed Beta Begins 268

Posted by Soulskill
from the rush-starts-now dept.
Blizzard announced today that the multiplayer beta test for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is now underway. The client downloader is available through Battle.net for people who have received invites, and the system requirements have been posted as well. A list of known issues is up on the official forums. StarCraft II and the revamped Battle.net are planned for release "in the first half of 2010."
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StarCraft II Closed Beta Begins

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  • Re:Mac (Score:1, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @05:59PM (#31176830) Journal

    I don't think that's really their priority just yet, but to test everything else in the game. Just get to PC if you want to play games like everyone else.

  • by megamerican (1073936) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:01PM (#31176846)

    It seems a little odd to be upset that they are more upfront about their plans for expansion packs and the content that will be in them. Each race will still be playable in multiplayer. There is no indication that the SCII won't have as much single player content as the original SC, albeit you'll only be able to play one races campaign.

    I'd much rather wait and see more details on what it entails before passing judgement.

  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:02PM (#31176866) Journal

    Do we really have to go thru this in every StarCraft II story?

    Why would you lose interest in the game because of that? Please tell me. They're separate stories and most likely priced as expansions too. And it's not like they made the 100% ready and are just keeping the two later expansion packs with them self now.

  • by Kitkoan (1719118) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:11PM (#31176984)

    Why would you lose interest in the game because of that? Please tell me.

    Because it's a bad for the industry as a whole. When a big player can suddenly decide to stop selling a full product and instead just sell it in parts with each part at full price, or near enough, is shows others that they can get away with this too. Its been shown with the downloadable content thats running rampant and wild to the point that it's being planned upon and worked on before the basic product is available, and being available on the games release date. Now instead of having a full game being sold we can buy something like RE5 and spend more money to open up the multi-player modes, or games like Sonic where you can pay to open up the harder difficulty mode. Refusing to buy and not just refusing but mentioning way is what helps. Or we can all look forward to buy every game a small sub-sets at full prices.

  • by verbalcontract (909922) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:15PM (#31177042)

    I don't understand knocking Blizzard for splitting this into three releases. There's going to be 26 to 30 missions in the first Terran-only single-player campaign (source [starcraft2.com]), which would put it on par with the first Starcraft. Presumably, there will be 26-30 missions in each of the following stories, plus additional units (as Blizzard has done whenever they've released an expansion to the game). Blizzard has never developed and released a half-baked expansion in its entire history; the closest thing might be Diablo: Hellfire, which was developed by an outside company, and I don't know if it was priced appropriately on release.

    So what's the hate for, beyond the usual fishing for things to hate? If you really don't think it's going to be good value to you, wait until it goes on sale, or just don't buy the game. Chess is freely available to all.

  • by Nos. (179609) <andrewNO@SPAMthekerrs.ca> on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:16PM (#31177062) Homepage

    I remember seeing numbers posted here. The initial game will be a campaign for one race, approximately 40 missions. This was comparable (maybe even slightly more) than the original Starcraft. The expansions to SCII will each have another campaign for one of the races, with around 40 missions. This is more than BroodWar had. So, if instead, they released SCII with ~13 missions for each race, which is basically how the original was released, you'd be okay with that?

    Seems like nitpicking to me.

  • by chrysrobyn (106763) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:24PM (#31177170)

    The message I'm going to send to Blizzard is also quite simple.

    Support my Mac (yet again) with another great game (yet again) and I'll buy it on release day (yet again). If my internet is down, I don't even want to touch my computer, so that's no big deal for me. I logged hundreds if not thousands of hours playing the original Starcraft with the woman who ended up being my wife.

    With the number of people who will want to play in a LAN, you know the majority of the traffic isn't going to be routed through B.N servers where they'll have to pay for the bandwidth. Most networked apps in this NAT age use a variety of methods to try to learn a real IP address to connect to each other. The first is always "self-reported IP". So, SC2 would hypothetically connect to B.N, authenticate, and then keep 100% of traffic on the LAN, reporting the results of the play to the servers. That way, if some college kid spends the whole year playing on his lan, and then goes home to play against me on B.N, he's got some ladder rank that's going to put him about where he belongs (which is honestly a completely different realm than 33 year old me).

  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:31PM (#31177256)

    small percentage of the population that wants to play multiplayer with no internet connection?

    how about tournament play????

    the last thing that you need is some kind of a internet hiccup to mess up a tournament.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:54PM (#31177652)
    And I am sure they will cry about losing you as a customer when millions of others are more than eager to depart with their hard earned cash.
  • by ubergeek65536 (862868) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @07:00PM (#31177752)

    Why do I need to join battle.net for a game I only want to play against the computer. Playing against people online gets very tiring. It's hard to find anyone online that doesn't act like a spoiled six year old. Just shut up and play.

  • by Galestar (1473827) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @07:33PM (#31178150)
    And a Feb 2010 survey made up by yours truly says that those 37% are exactly the same people who would never {head of/buy/give two shits about} Starcraft 2 even if they did have internet.
  • by HeronBlademaster (1079477) <heron@xnapid.com> on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @07:46PM (#31178288) Homepage

    SC2 "Episode 1" has as much content as the original.

    What does "as much content" mean?

    The original let me install spawn copies of the game on multiple computers, so I could play multiplayer with my friends even if they didn't own the game. That's a lot of "content" that SC2 won't have, in my view.

    If they had announced it as three full games, I'd still be irritated: it's the same effect.

    SC2 doesn't have "as much content" (in the sense of missions) because it's only showing 1/3 of the storyline. We only get the Terran viewpoint.

    That was the great thing about the original game. You got three races' stories as they related to a central storyline. We won't be getting that with SC2 until all three games are out.

    So to get the same experience, in that sense at least, we have to buy three full games.

    I'm sure SC2 will have some large number of missions that by mission count makes it "equal" to SC1. But we're still only getting 1/3 of the story, and that's very disappointing to me.

  • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @09:28PM (#31179080) Homepage Journal

    >>So you buy a full game like Dragon Age and are getting propositioned for add-ons that were developed at the same time as the original game and should have been included in the first place.

    Warden's Keep came with my copy of the game, but I agree the whole DLC thing has become kind of despicable. Sure, they're free to do whatever they want to make more money and kill the resale market or whatever, but when something becomes blatantly mercentary, there's blowback from annoyed customers.

    Build up enough of a rage meter on your customers, and they'll start refusing to buy your products. I refused to buy L4D2 for similar reasons, though I'm sure it's a perfectly good game.

  • by Vaphell (1489021) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @09:48PM (#31179228)

    Multiplayer in particular is also where most of the serious replay value lies. Of course you didn't really "forget", you just lied.

    multiplayer is where replay value lies but i like to play single player content from time to time, i like SC lore. For noobs single player is where they learn units, strats and stuff. Besides if you think that hardcore players spending night and day at battlenet are a majority you are mistaken, casuals who like single player because they won't be owned there are a significant chunk of customer base.

    You said "total shill" when you meant "someone with different tastes than me". This further proves you a liar.

    no i mean people that think blizzard can do no wrong and their every design decision is the best thing since sliced bread and sacred. Don't forget that most of their actions are now dictated by Darth Bobby Kotick.

  • by RoFLKOPTr (1294290) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @09:49PM (#31179238)

    The only problem I have with the inclusion of only one race's campaign in each game is that I don't have an opportunity to practice anything but that race offline. The three races (at least in SC1, and I'm assuming this is still the case) are so completely different. You can't learn to play Terran and win every match and then switch to Protoss and expect to be any good. They don't just have the same set of buildings with different names. The three races have completely different technologies, build orders, units, and strategies. Perhaps if you play the game a lot, it might not be that hard to switch races, but the majority of people who will buy SC2 haven't played Starcraft in several years...... if ever...... so Blizzard had best put an offline or bot mode to run single missions of every race knowing that you won't be rushed by some kid in Korea.

  • by mrxak (727974) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @09:58PM (#31179302)

    A few of other points to back you up here...

    The "equal number of missions" thing will probably just mean lots and lots of filler, or a far slower progression in terms of techs/units involved.

    Starcraft 2 also has a lot of RPG elements that RTS players don't care about or want. The reason Blizzard gives for splitting the game into three parts essentially boils down to the extra time involved to create the "content" that makes you do between-mission "quests" instead of a nice straight-forward mission briefing so you can get to the game you want to play.

    Multiplayer, despite allowing you to play all three races, is not going to be the same between the three releases. Essentially, if you want to play multiplayer, you'll still have to wait until the third game comes out before Blizzard stops tinkering with new units, etc., and the game becomes stable enough for the final balance tweaks that will make Starcraft 2 so good in multiplayer.

  • Re:Been so long (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vaphell (1489021) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @10:02PM (#31179336)

    hellgate was rushed by the publisher because they wanted to see the monies, unfortunately unpolished mmo-like product usually doesn't get a second chance and the game failed. Blizzard is unique because they are immune to the hard gamedev reality thanks to endless stream of money from WoW. If there was no WoW they would be in trouble, after all SC2 is in development for 7 or 8 years already.

  • by HeronBlademaster (1079477) <heron@xnapid.com> on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @10:06PM (#31179370) Homepage

    Of course they would spend at least a bit of time looking into this matter, especially since it keeps cropping up on popular tech sites such as this one.

    I still disagree; Blizzard has repeatedly made statements which effectively convey their feeling that the only people who want LAN play are pirates.

    Neither I nor any of my friends (the aforementioned group of LAN players) have pirated Starcraft; many of us, including myself, have purchased multiple copies of Starcraft.

    For Blizzard to claim that the only people who want LAN play are pirates betrays a complete lack of market research on the subject, and their disdain for the very group of gamers which made their first game so popular.

    Perhaps I'm wrong - perhaps LAN play really wasn't very important to Starcraft 1's success (though I think you'll find that the majority of Starcraft fans will agree that LAN was integral to SC1's success). But for them to call me a pirate for wanting LAN play - a feature that, for me, has logged by far the most hours of use in the first Starcraft - is insulting at best! Why should I buy their product when they insult potential customers like that?

    Of the few that really consider LAN play an issue many will get the game anyway, because their friends will have it

    "Few"? If only one tenth of these [petitiononline.com] people decide not to buy the game based on the lack of LAN play, that's at least half a million in revenue (assuming Blizzard earns $25 for every $50 sale, the number goes much higher if they get more, like with digital sales) - and that's certainly not the only list of angry Starcraft fans out there. Let's say it takes two programmers one year to implement - an estimate I think is extremely conservative, given that very little of the work would be outside of the game creation/game joining mechanics that happen before the game ever starts. If we assume salaries of $100k/yr per programmer, Blizzard's net gain is at least $300k.

    The cost to implement is fixed. The only variable is the number of people who pass on the game because it doesn't support their favorite (perhaps only desired) game mode. Given the number of people who really want LAN play, it really makes sense to implement LAN play even on the chance that it'll earn them $300k.

    But let's say you're right - let's say all the people complaining are just going to go buy it anyway. Doesn't Blizzard claim to love its gamers? Doesn't Blizzard love fostering good will among its fans?

    I would wager that Blizzard could hammer out solid LAN support for Starcraft II by throwing a five-man programming team at it for a month, maybe two. Are they really so desperate to pinch pennies that they can't spare the effort? If they actually cared about their fans, and about providing the best gaming experience, they would do it, even if it earned them no more money, because so many of their fans want it.

    No, TikiTDO, the real reason they don't want to do it has nothing to do with the actual cost to implement it. It's because their corporate overlords have convinced them that only pirates want LAN play, and that pirates have to be attacked at any and all costs. This is a trend we're seeing in the gaming industry as a whole, not just in any particular company. See also, Invasive DRM.

    You would have to try a lot harder than above to convince me the remainder would net Blizzard more income than opening up LAN play, and inviting people to play without paying for the game.

    I've given a rough guess above. Obviously I don't have market research with which to "prove" anything. All I can really do is vote with my wallet, and that's what I'm going to do.

    In any case, my boycott is only partially based on their refusal to include LAN play. My objections extend to include their attitude toward those of us who really want the feature. If they want to treat me like a pirate, well, they're going to get the same income they'd get if I were a pirate - which is sad, because I'm not.

  • by HeronBlademaster (1079477) <heron@xnapid.com> on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @11:15PM (#31179846) Homepage

    There's nothing inherently wrong with it, but it's not what I want from the game, and if they're going to call me a pirate for wanting LAN play, well, they get to lose my sale.

    I'm just voting with my wallet. You don't have to agree with me.

  • by HeronBlademaster (1079477) <heron@xnapid.com> on Thursday February 18, 2010 @12:42AM (#31180386) Homepage

    I didn't say it's too little content for the money. I said it's not the content that I want for the money.

    All I'm saying is that I'm voting with my wallet. Why is it so hard for you people to accept that?

  • by HeronBlademaster (1079477) <heron@xnapid.com> on Thursday February 18, 2010 @01:25AM (#31180586) Homepage

    Sorry, but while clever, SCI was not fantabulious because you could play all three race's stories on release day.

    Starcraft 1 was fantastic largely due to its LAN play support (and, related to it, its ability to spawn multiplayer copies of the game for your friends), which not only let us play with our friends in large, internet-less groups, but introduced people to the game who later bought the game because they had a chance to play it for free. I'm one of those people who bought it thanks to a spawn copy (in fact I bought two copies of the game).

    Starcraft 2 lacks both of these things.

    Starcraft 1 also told a fairly compelling story between its three campaigns, and the campaigns were paced well enough to keep you interested without letting you get bored with the factions.

    It's possible Starcraft 2 will be able to keep us entertained through 30 or more missions playing the same faction. It's possible the storyline will remain compelling and feel somewhat complete, even though we'll be missing two-thirds of the storyline.

    Starcraft's multiplayer was great. But when Brood War came out, non-expansion Battle.net became a ghost town (and for good reason; BW was better). But BW only cost $20, and it contained three more campaigns to boot.

    With Starcraft 2, this won't happen once, it'll happen twice - and if you believe they'll only charge $20 per installment, you're being deliberately naive. Sure, they claim the installments "will be expansions and priced as such", but that could mean anything. All it really means is that they're tentatively planning on charging something less than the full price of the first installment. I will not be surprised one bit if they forget their statements and charge full price anyway.

    Then there's Blizzard's whole attitude toward gamers. Rather than doing their best to get the game out there, to expose it to as many people as possible (which was the purpose of multiplayer spawn copies), they're doing their best to force everyone who wants to play to pay up front.

    That is, they're treating everyone as pirates until proven otherwise. It's an attitude that I find repugnant. The fact that it is the prevalent attitude in the game industry as a whole doesn't soften the blow at all.

    They've claimed on multiple occasions that only pirates want LAN play. I'm not a pirate, yet I want LAN play. What does that reveal about their attitude toward me? It reveals that they're not interested in my money.

    Well, if they want to sneer at my money, I see no reason to give it to them.

    If you fault me for that, you're a moron.

    Would you care if they took 3x as long in development, then released a truly MASSIVE amount of content in one installment, charging 3x as much?

    They've taken long enough to develop the game as it is. Did you ever stop to wonder if maybe that's the whole reason they're splitting it into three releases in the first place?

  • by Loomismeister (1589505) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @01:43AM (#31180668)

    There are actually protoss and zerg mini campaigns to teach you how to play them. You really shouldn't be critical of this game because of some morons ranting about things they don't know anything about.

  • Re:Been so long (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fractoid (1076465) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @01:51AM (#31180720) Homepage

    Was it that hard to release a Starcraft version based on the Warcraft III engine a couple of years afterwards? Why did they have to make a new engine? The mind boggles.

    No, it wasn't that *hard*, but it wasn't *good enough*. WC3 sorta worked because they made it about small parties of units with a hero. Starcraft is a game about massive epic battles with zillions of zerglings, and would have choked the WC3 engine to death.

  • by brkello (642429) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @01:53AM (#31180728)
    Everyone has principles and values. For example, I like to buy games from game companies that make kick ass games. To each their own.

    Starcraft was popular because it had an amazing single player campaign, had great multi-player balance, was polished like hell, and had an active modding community. To claim LAN made the game is a wild wild exaggeration.

    Also, to claim that Blizzard doesn't care about its roots is just your opinion. I mean, if they didn't care about their roots, why would they still be supporting Starcraft? So, your opinion is just wrong.

    And on top of that, you have no idea how it will be implemented. It probably will just need to authenticate and then will play over the LAN since the server is on a computer and not at their site. So it probably won't even be a big deal...particularly now that we are in the future and most people have a connection.

    But yes, ultimately Blizzard won't notice your little boycott. You can just sit behind your keyboard knowing your principles and values are so much better than all of us poor sheep enjoying the hell out of Starcraft 2. Feel free to pat yourself on the back now.
  • Re:Been so long (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fractoid (1076465) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @01:54AM (#31180730) Homepage
    Exactly. Every Blizzard game they've released has been the source of an "endless stream of money" that makes them "immune to the hard gamedev reality" because the real "hard reality" is that they take the time to polish their games until they shine, and so their games are still selling in shops TEN YEARS LATER. WoW's been out for 5 years, the original Starcraft came out in '98 and is still one of the better RTS games.
  • by vcgodinich (1172985) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @02:36AM (#31180928)
    Give me a break. People still play SC1, and NOT because it has LAN support, or that you could run free copies.

    BTW on a lan SC2 will still use local data transfer, it connects to the server to start for 1) hacking and 2) piracy issues. There is just not a real case in saying that lack of internet for authentication will prevent you from playing in a given situation.

    As to your other silly points. . . would you not play wow or D1/2 if you know that the story was going to continue in a later expansion? Please.

    As to your critique of blizzard's marketing. . . you are aware that they are doing something correct yes? You are aware that you are just a commentator on the internet crying that you know better than the industry leader yes? You do know that this game will sell sell sell and we will all be having fun while you stew at home, not enjoying a great game because the company actually wants to be paid for their work.

    Screw it' i am done with you. The reality is that you will buy this game like everyone else and enjoy it. Quit pretending you have such high and mighty values that you will wake the moronic decision to not play a game because the company that makes it wants a return on their investment.

  • by HeronBlademaster (1079477) <heron@xnapid.com> on Thursday February 18, 2010 @02:51AM (#31180978) Homepage

    I'm not saying they can't continue the story in a sequel. I'm saying it's freakishly annoying to only give you one-third of the same story per game.

    It would be like taking the Wheel of Time series and stripping out every chapter that's written from Perrin's point of view and selling it as a separate add-on series, without lowering the cost of the original books.

    The reality is that you will buy this game like everyone else and enjoy it.

    And that's why Blizzard won't bother adding in LAN play. They feel the same as you - they think nobody will follow through on their intentions.

    Well, you'd be right about most people. For example, the day Modern Warfare 2 was released, the "in-game players" list on the "Boycott MW2" Steam Group page was full of people playing MW2.

    And it sickened me.

    You're welcome to assume I won't follow through on my intention to not buy the game; you're obviously not going to believe I'm sincere regardless of what I say.

    you will wake the moronic decision to not play a game because the company that makes it wants a return on their investment.

    You're seriously going to claim that adding LAN play would screw up their ROI?

    That's my whole point - adding LAN play wouldn't screw up their ROI! That's why I'm not going to buy it unless they add it in - because it's not that much more effort to do it, certainly not compared to the effort of getting battle.net to work, and especially not since what you say is true:

    BTW on a lan SC2 will still use local data transfer

    Obviously the capability for LAN play is there, they just need to add in a local lobby rather than making you set up games through Battle.net. It's a relatively minor addition to the UI, it's not a fundamental architecture change.

    In any case, if you think "it doesn't do what I want" is not a valid reason to vote with my wallet, then what would be a valid reason?

  • by XnavxeMiyyep (782119) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @04:09AM (#31181372)

    I don't understand why logging in online to play singleplayer would upset someone

    You've obviously never been on a long airplane flight.

  • Re:Been so long (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vegiVamp (518171) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @07:44AM (#31182564) Homepage

    I have no problem whatsoever with (b), as long as (a) works as advertised.

  • by microTodd (240390) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @09:18AM (#31183184) Homepage Journal

    Dude, fail. This is why our political system in the US sucks. No one votes for a third-party candidate because, as you put it, "ultimately [whomever] won't notice your little boycott".

    I for one applaud HeronBlademaster for doing what he thinks is right, no matter what anyone else thinks. Remember, character is how you act when no one is watching.

  • by WiiVault (1039946) on Friday February 19, 2010 @01:22AM (#31195912)
    Uggghh. When did being an apologist for the man get to be so trendy?

It is the quality rather than the quantity that matters. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C. - A.D. 65)

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