Monday, May 21, 2007

Starcraft 2 Must Be Perfect

Blizzard's big announcement was not the shocker everyone had anticipated. It was simply Starcraft 2, as predicted just about everywhere. Starcraft 2 will be an RTS; not an MMO.

I will start this out by saying I was wrong. I didn't make any big prediction posts. Everyone else took care of the predictions just fine, but I did open my mouth in a few places and bet against the odds on favorites. Knowing Blizzard and their un-innovative history, Starcraft 2 or Diablo 3 were very probable. Blizzard does not step outside of familiarity. Factor in that this event was held in Korea and you could of easily bet money on Starcraft 2.

So, I was wrong, and the streets of Korea did not erupt into a fiery cataclysmic pool of rioters. However, I don't really believe any of the hardcore Korean Starcraft fauthful are won over by this announcement. To please them, and the majority of Starcraft faithful, Starcraft 2 will need to be perfect. Perfect is not something that exists in the gaming market, and Starcraft 2 won't be the first.

Don't get me wrong. Starcraft 2 will sell well and knowing Blizzard's approach to game design, Starcraft 2 will be a solid, polished, and complete game. However, it will not be a giant leap in RTS gaming. There is already so much that Starcraft 2 has to deliver, that there is literally no wiggle room. Blizzard has to get it right, or face a very, very angry Starcraft community.

On the other hand, World of Warcraft wasn't a giant leap forward for MMORPGs, but it is now the king of the MMO jungle. Can this happen with Starcraft 2? With the same "easy to learn, hard to master" approach, it could be possible. Sadly, Starcraft 2 comes with strikes against it.

First, it is in a Sci-fi setting. Sci-fi has never been as popular as swords and sorcery fantasy.

Secondly, the original Starcraft is still extremely popular. How many of the current diehards will be willing to move to the new game? How many gaming leagues and professional Starcraft players will be willing to move? How will the fans of these leagues feel about the new game?

Finally, the original Starcraft developers are no longer with the company. Blizzard has a great group of developers, but how good are they compared to the fathers of Starcraft? Starcraft has existed for a long time, and benefited from tons of updates, in order to become the game it is today. Starcraft 2 has to come out of the box nearly perfect or we'll just be back playing the original.

In conclusion, Starcraft 2 must be perfect. Good luck Blizzard, you'll need it.
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