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Real Time Strategy (Games)

Can Blizzard Top StarCraft? 144

MSNBC is running an interview with Blizzard designer Rob Pardo discussing a number of facets of the upcoming StarCraft II. Informational tidbits include the fact that, unsurprisingly, the game won't be released this year, and some background on the game's long development cycle. "Penny Arcade figured it out! We keep games under code names and we teach developers to refer to games by their code name. And we're just really careful about talking about the game internally. We don't bring external folks through unannounced product areas. But I think even I'm surprised that we were able to keep it under wraps all the way to the end."
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Can Blizzard Top StarCraft?

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  • Top starcraft? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by svendsen ( 1029716 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @02:53PM (#19341753)
    No, the hype machine is to great for star craft 2 to ever live up to. Not saying it won't be good just well...hype ruins things.
  • Of course they can (Score:2, Insightful)

    by El Lobo ( 994537 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:04PM (#19341975)
    I mean, there will be as always fanboys living in the past wishing that SCII was SC, but I thing, if they keep the main gameplay (which is not too hard, because all strategy games are ****nearly**** the same) and then they add some better graphics, cool armies, weapons, music, etc... They have a winner there... Of course there will always be fanboys living in the past ...(repeat at nauseum)
  • by Drooling Iguana ( 61479 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:06PM (#19342017)
    Cavedog managed to top Starcraft before Starcraft was even released, so it should be too hard for Blizzard to do the same.

    Then again, this is Blizzard we're talking about...
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:07PM (#19342045)
    At least it's not EA. Or we'd get SC1 in 1600x1200 with true 3D, zooming and surround sound. But since it's not, it's actually quite possible we get a totally new game.

    What made SC1 was the perfect balance. Sure, it took a few patches, but essentially, it was balanced to the extreme. I attribute my inability to win as a Protoss more to my inability to play the game well rather than a balance issue (I get my ass whipped regularely by other people playing Protoss... there's a reason why you rarely see me at those tournament finals, ya know...), if they manage to get SC2 well balanced again, it's a seller.

    Let's face it, people. After the "ohhh shiny" effect wears off, which is usually after a month tops, what's left is whether the game is fun to play or not. And fun in a multiplayer RTS game hangs mostly on game balance while at the same time offering actually different sides with different units (hello Supreme Commander...), and strategies that you have to adapt to the side you play, and the side you play against. And SC1 had that down to the point.

    My guess is that the success, especially the long time success, of SC2 hang on balance. Not graphics, not sound, not handling, not interface (as long as they don't overload it and make it unplayable). Balance or not balance will be the decider that tips the balance in favor or against SC2.
  • Re:Top starcraft? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tehwebguy ( 860335 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:14PM (#19342133) Homepage
    Yeah, look at Half-Life 2 -- oh wait, it did better.

    We're not talking about not id or Valve or anyone else, just Blizzard.
    They can pull it off.
  • by twitchingbug ( 701187 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:15PM (#19342147)
    No new Starcraft copies are being sold? Dude. They still sell the Battle Chest at Fry's for an outrageous $20. Outrageous in the fact that the game has been out 10+ years. And you gotta think it sells some to be on the store shelves for that long.

    Of course, $15 a month is probably a lot more money...
  • by VorpalEdge ( 967279 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:23PM (#19342265)
    I would agree with your statement if you meant only the most famous RTS games (Starcraft/Command and Conquer, at least the early games, and probably Warcraft). However, there's a decent amount of games beneath the radar that are actually quite awesome and play quite differently. Refer to the Homeworld series by Relic Studios. Also, lately, Relic has been putting out some decent RTSs based around the principle of capturing strategic points on the map for resources instead of mining them (see: Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War and Company of Heroes). I'm sure there's more; those are just the ones I'm familiar with.

    Yes, I suppose I am a Relic fanboy to some extent, although I don't worship the company. It has made a couple things I'd rather forget completely.
  • by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:26PM (#19342321) Homepage
    For all the people who played and loved Starcraft, they'll be comparing Starcraft 2 against the feelings they got playing Starcraft ten years ago, colored by the fact that after ten years its really easy to remember things more fondly then how you felt about them originally.

    They could make the best RTS on the market, and it still wouldn't "top" Starcraft in the eyes of many of the fans. Its an impossible goal, because there is no real way to judge it.

    Hopefully they'll just focus on trying to make a good game in the spirit of Starcraft. If they can do that, I'll be happy.
  • by shoptroll ( 544006 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:33PM (#19342473)
    Top it in sales or critical acclaim? Yeah some places like Gamespot rated TA higher than Starcraft, but if TA wasn't moddable the game would've been died years ago. TA was sunk by Starcraft due to the tightly integrated system. Cavedog put out Boneyards to compete but that was only in the year or so prior to the company's death. Overall though, SC was better recieved by the press. Even then you're looking at a couple fractions of points. Do a comparison on Gamerankings if you need proof. Both are excellent games in their own regards.

    That said, TA and SC are two different flavors of RTS. TA and SupCom focus more on realistic tactics, battles and skirmishes than resource gathering. *craft games focus more on base building and other micromanagement tasks I think. I dunno how to explain it really.
  • Re:Top starcraft? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekster ( 87252 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @03:36PM (#19342523) Homepage
    Also Starcraft came out in 1998. It's not like Blizzard rushed out a sequel just to cash in.
  • I hope they make a decent single player campaign. It almost feels like a formula - 7 missions per race, with just unlocking the highest tech at the very last mission, and the first missions more or less a trainer. I do enjoy multi player, but so many of the games feel like they are purposely cut short to sell an expansion pack. RTS games seem to get shorter and shorter. Just finished Supreme Commander, and compared to its earlier incarnation of Total Annihilation, it felt really short. (even with the 2+ hour expanding map missions) Still - glad to have an update to what I rank as one of my favorite games!
  • by brkello ( 642429 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @04:01PM (#19342885)
    No, it wouldn't be. Considering that (at this point) there is no WoW2 and WoW is already making tons of money, there is no need to top WoW. Starcraft is one of the most loved and still played RTSs of all time. It is a valid question to see if they can actually improve the most balanced 3 faction RTS ever seen. But Starcraft is 10 years old now and it deserves and update and a continuation of its excellent single player story. I know it may be hard to understand, but "topping" something doesn't have to mean more profit or more units sold. It can also mean just making a better game.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 31, 2007 @05:00PM (#19343751)
    Ever hear of Guildwars? Make a PvP character with perfect gear and all you can blame success and failure on is personal and team skill.

    OK, so some might dispute its status as a MMORPG since ANET calls it a co-op rather then multiplayer game, but it really doesn't matter if you're going for PvP anyway.

    Oh, and no monthly fee either.
  • by Boogaroo ( 604901 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @09:28PM (#19346527) Homepage
    The reason Cavedog failed was because of TA: Kingdoms which was a horridly crappy game. I only wish I could have returned the thing. Their online play was very demanding on connections as well with massive numbers of bullets and other things to send. Dialup connections of the day had some troubles with that. Bonyards wasn't available right away either, and while it was a great idea, it was poorly done. Not that Starcraft was immune with de-synced games and the like, but it was way better than Boneyards. (Losing their top designers due to pointy haired bosses hurt them badly too)

    Total Annihilation was our game of choice for lan parties and with good players it could take 3-4 hours in an eight player game to win. I think the relative simplicity of Starcraft was simply appealing to more players and games typically lasted less time. For many, more games played = more enjoyment.

    You can argue sales numbers all day long, but does that make "The Sims" better than every other game in existance? Everything is subjective with terms like "better." I feel it's better than Starcraft, but eh, I've got them both. I enjoyed them both. I still play TA with friends. Havn't played Starcraft in years.
  • sacrilege! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by caitsith01 ( 606117 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @11:07PM (#19347287) Journal
    You'll no doubt get howled down by Blizzard fanboys, but I totally agree with you. Total Annihilation has a level of depth and subtlety that wasn't matched in an RTS until... well, Supreme Commander.

    It beggars belief that many 'modern' RTS games (like C&C3) STILL don't do some of the more obviously good things that TA implemented.

    Starcraft was a great game, but it was simplistic and relied very heavily on the "Unit X beats unit Y but is itself beaten by unit Z" philosophy. TA and Supreme Commander are far more interesting in that virtually anything can damage virtually anything else, but in different ways and to different degrees - so the player is far freer to develop a unique strategy and attempt to actually out-think their opponent.

    In my opinion Blizzard games since Warcraft II have focused too heavily on small numbers of powerful and/or unique units, often with "special" abilities which must be micromanaged by the player. As a result they border on an RPG rather than an RTS. I have much the same criticism of the "Tanya" levels from Red Alert 2 and other C&C games - playing with one powerful unit running around slaughtering things is more akin to 'Cannon Fodder' than a real RTS game.
  • by sentientbrendan ( 316150 ) on Friday June 01, 2007 @08:28AM (#19350133)
    they focus on multiplay mainly these days... but yeah, I'd like to see a campaign as good as starcraft's if possible, as that's a big part of what drew people in... Warcraft by comparison has an incredibly corny plot. I couldn't stand to play through the frozen throne campaign. I felt like I was torturing myself.

    Starcraft by comparison was much more about the single player campaign. They ended up making the multiplay pretty good, but you will notice that there are tons of units that are totally useless in multiplayer mode (infected command center? light and dark archons? zerg queen?). Multi play in pretty much every serious game became mostly about being really good at producing lots of low level units really quickly really early. Later in the game someone *might* mass battlecruisers or carriers if it's BGH.

    Personally, I'm hoping they're trim the units (it looks like they've already done that actually) and make nukes more useful. Nukes were one of the most fun things in SC, but also one of the most impractical (you could make it work... but there was almost always a better strat.). Nukes should be a little less powerful, but much easier to obtain. At the very least I don't want to have to built extra command centers...

Variables don't; constants aren't.