So the celebrations are ringing out and the predictions are being divined. Starcraft II has been announced and the world is rejoicing at the return to the Koprulu Sector. However, the news brings with it some less overt revelations.
Is dead. Announced years earlier, Starcraft: Ghost was meant to whet our appetite for a true sequel to our beloved Starcraft with some tactical espionage action. It was being developed by another studio and was to be released on Xbox, PS2, and Gamecube. Throughout development, Blizzard switched developers and dropped the Gamecube version while pushing the release date back. Ultimately, just last year, Ghost was put on hold and now, the site featuring the game redirects to Blizzard’s homepage, where no mention of it is found.
Of course, this is not the first time Blizzard has done this. If you look on your Starcraft CD, you’ll notice a preview for a game called Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans. Much like SC:G, this game took the world found in its parent game and went off to another genre. Evidently, it failed, but the story that Lord of the Clans was supposed to tell is still a part of the Warcraft universe. Thrall, the main character of Lord of the Clans, is one of the main characters in War3 and WoW.
The theory goes, you’ll find a little bit of SC:G in your SC2.
Are not Blizzard’s obsession. WoW is insanely successful. The only RPG experience Blizzard has had was with the Diablo series. Many were skeptical about how well Blizzard would do with an MMORPG considering the explosions and melting of D2 realms on patch days. In the end, WoW became the most popular MMORPG in the world, beating EQ’s paltry record.
With this success, comes the moneys that Blizzard gets from monthly subscriptions. And with this came the fear that Blizzard would love our moneys too much and forget about the RTSes that brought Blizzard close to our hearts. Certainly, the biggest worry that everyone had was that the rumoured May 19 announcement would be for a Starcraft MMORPG.
Now that we’ve discovered it isn’t, Blizzard has quashed one of the rumours that has been flying around ever since WoW became cool, that all Blizzard cares about is WoW. And for many, Starcraft II has restored Blizzard’s credibility and faith in the company.
When Diablo II was announced, there were those few crazy zealots who demanded that Starcraft II be announced. The rest of us were either waiting for Warcraft III or were excited for D2. When Warcraft III was announced, many were excited, since it would mark the return to Azeroth for over six years. When WoW was announced, a lot of us went, ‘wait a second, didn’t they just release Warcraft III?’
Since Lord of Destruction was released in 2001, all Blizzard has given us has been Warcraft. We’ve had Warcraft III, its expansion, WoW, and its expansion. Up until now, it’s been almost nine years since Starcraft was released and during the past five years of Warcraft mania, many had given up hope, believing that Blizzard hated Starcraft. To put it into perspective, From the moment Warcraft III was announced and Blizzard worked the Warcraft machine to the moment Starcraft II was announced, I’d graduated from elementary school and high school.
Now, with Starcraft II, Blizzard has quashed yet another popular belief: that they are in love with Warcraft and will produce WoW expansions until the end of time and will never produce another Starcraft game again.
Warcraft III, as some guy that we all hate has mentioned, is basically Blizzard admitting that all of its games are about micro. Warcraft III brought the unit cap down from 200 to 80, which was later bumped up to 100 in the expansion. It also brought upkeep and heroes, to focus the game on a smaller number of units. While it was unique, many were worried that Blizzard would continue to focus downward in its RTSes.
With Starcraft II, that is no longer the case. No, in fact, looking at the screenshots, it seems Zerg swarms will actually be that: swarms. Tons and tons of units fill the screens of Zergling rushes on Terran bases. In fact, one of the features of Starcraft II is fighting with large amounts of units.
The new race
Is none. There is no new race. Blizzard has said this explicitly. There will be no fourth race. There will be no fifth race. The only playable races will be Terran, Zerg, and Protoss. This is good.
Warcraft III was originally planned for five races: the Alliance, the Horde, the Night Elves, the Scource, and the Burning Legion. Eventually, Blizzard found the task of balancing five races to be too difficult, so they turned the Burning Legion into a special non-playable race. Of course, that is an overstatement: in the actual game, the Burning Legion feels more like a few creeps that look alike than an actual race. The Naga in the Frozen Throne feel more like the half race that Blizzard intended the Legion to be.
Even with four races, the races were not completely unique as in Starcraft. They all had tiers, they all had three heroes, they all had the same basic unit roles covered. In Starcraft, we had three completely different races with completely different playstyles. With Starcraft II, Blizzard has stated that it intends to continue in this direction and make each race even more unique while being one of the most balanced games released.
The announcement of Starcraft II was a surprise in many ways and we all look forward to playing it. Of course, given Blizzard’s releases, this means that might not happen until after we die.