Nothing Compared To…

By Jim Rossignol on February 18th, 2010 at 12:25 pm.


The StarCraft II beta is up and running, and keys were apparently distributed last night. I’ve got one, so I’ll pen some thoughts on it as soon as I get my arse handed to me by some RTS ninja on Battlenet we’re able. Right now the downloader looks very much the World Of Warcraft one, and I have to write something about Stalker.

, .

90 Comments »

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  1. Rob says:

    I want a key :(.

    • fishyjoes says:

      The problem is: who doesnt?

    • Rinox says:

      I don’t…I want the full experience of playing the game in SP when it comes out. :-) Not gonna waste my already precious gaming time doing beta work for Blizzard, even if it’s the SC2 beta and gameplay will no doubt be great (unlike in most betas).

    • DMcCool says:

      I don’t..this game couldn’t be less alluring if it tried (and it almost seems it is trying). And I’m an RTS fanatic. Not that I mean that in a nasty way – have fun with your oft-hyped, talked about worshipped-in-South Korea game. I sort of feel bad for missing out on it all, this sort of global PC gaming holding-of-hands hasn’t really happened since Half-Life 2, and that was damn fun to be a part of. Sadly, I remain the only person in the world who can’t see any reason to be at all excited about Starcraft II.

    • mrmud says:

      If you cant see any reason to be excited about starcraft 2 then you clearly must hate creativity and fun.
      Sure the campaign and general multiplayer is probably going to be great but the real reason to long for starcraft 2 is to see what the community is going to do with the map editor.

    • Wulf says:

      @mrmud

      Or… you know, maybe he has valid reasons, and making dickish comments at people who share a different opinion to you just makes you feel so very important. That could be true, too. Of course, a person isn’t human if they disagree, right? They must be deficient in something. Of course!

      That said, I’m not excited about this either. Why? I’m not an RTS fan, simple as. And I always found Starcraft a tad bit too derivative for my tastes. But yes, it’s hard to be excited about a genre one isn’t into. It’s sort of like a nerd trying to get into football, it’s just not interesting enough to them and the drive isn’t there. There’s a very good chance I just haven’t played the right RTS, though, because I absolutely love sims, city-builders, and games of that sort.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Sadly, I remain the only person in the world who can’t see any reason to be at all excited about Starcraft II.

      I’m not really looking forward to it either, for some reason.

      I guess I just don’t like RTS all that much. Build queues and whatnot. Irritating.

    • mrmud says:

      @Wulf apologies, it was intended to be a bit tounge in cheek but i suspect that didnt come out well.

    • DMcCool says:

      @mrmud

      An awful lot of people love Starcraft, is someone that doesn’t really that offensive to you? Wulf has it pretty much right: I have a different taste in games to you. “Fun” is something pretty cheap in games -if I just want to have fun I can boot up TF2 at any time and have a blast, or perhaps some Dwarf Fortress, or FIFA with a friend. I spent most of my childhood/early teens playing games identical to Starcraft (though never as polished) and getting up enthuasism for yet another variation on that theme is beyond me now. Sort of like the FPS fatigue people have nowadays.

      When it comes to Creativity ..its a bloody sequel to a global franchise with a fanatic worldwide following by a company with more buisness sense than anyone else out there. Starcraft II is in no way about creativity – at best it’ll be the perfection of an ideal we are all very familiar with. Not that thats not something to enjoy, I just can’t get worked up about that anymore. Maybe its having no patience anymore – some ridiculous demand that every game I play has to be in every way distinguishable from every other.
      Again, its my loss.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I don’t see where the creativity is in what looks like a re-release of Starcraft with swishy graphics. Never liked the original that much, was a red alert man myself.

    • mrmud says:

      The creativity and fun comment was primarily aimed at the fact that there will be some amazing things that are done with the map editor, as with every Blizzard RTS.

    • Sonic Goo says:

      There will be no innovation in the SC2 multiplayer, simply because the Koreans won’t allow it. Anything interesting in that respect will have to happen in either singleplayer or any mods that will appear.

    • Jeremy says:

      At this point it would be like trying to innovate an established sport, like soccer or football. Although, I will give some credit to minor changes in the game, at least as far as I can tell from diaries and stuff. It’ll freshen it up a bit, but again, the multiplayer never drew me in as much as SP or custom games anyway.

    • Manley Pointer says:

      I watched a livestream of some guy playing the beta and I’m cautiously interested. I never got into the original SC multiplayer much, as I was an AOE II guy, and I sort of transitioned in WCIII rather than learning SC late in the game.

      Strategies do seem to have changed, but I wouldn’t have recognized most of the changes if old SC players hadn’t been commenting. My main hang-up with SC is that it doesn’t seem to have the diversity of builds that games like AOEII or DoWII have.

      I saw the stream at http://www.starcraftmethod.com/livestream/ . The site is some shitty RTS strat paysite deal, but their streams are public, and it was the only raw footage (NDA-breaking?) of SCII I’d seen.

    • Manley Pointer says:

      Meh, there are apparently a bunch of different streams up, no reason to go to the one I linked.

  2. Evoc says:

    :(

  3. mrmud says:

    want key :'(

  4. delusionsofnoir says:

    Oooh, I can’t get enough of hearing about Stalker …especially seeing as I’m relying on words about it until I build a machine good enough to run it to a playable degree :(

  5. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    I hope Jim obtained his key fair and square, without using his position of great power to get one.

    As you can guess, I didn’t get one either. Maybe Jim’s can be counted as RPSs and we can all share it… PLEASE!!!

  6. Heliosicle says:

    I liked the 1st SC, then I played better rts’ and got over it, don’t care much for this.

    • theSAiNT says:

      Not to sound like a fanboi but objectively, name a ‘better’ rts than SC?

      I’m looking forward to SC2 more than almost anybody on the board here I think but I have an over riding fear that SC was a fluke. A one off. An impossibility. I’m not sure Blizzard really meant to make SC as it turned out to be because nothing has really come even close to emulating it since.

      Here’s to Blizzard proving me wrong.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Homeworld 1 and 2

      Dawn of War 2

      Hell, I’d even put DA:O’s combat on this list.

    • Anthony Damiani says:

      Company of Heroes, Dawn of War 1 (2 is much more arguable).

    • Half says:

      Alright.

      Name a RTS with multiplayer viable gameplay better then SC2.

      Half the games you mentioned don’t even have multiplayer. DA:O??? What? That isn’t even a RTS. It isn’t even close, if you want to ignore the fact that it is an RPG, it still would be a TPS.

    • Half says:

      I mean a “tbs”, turn based strategy, not “tps”, third person shooter =_=

      I’d visit RPS so much more if comments were done better /cry

  7. Lobotomist says:

    Bah…never cared for rts. Gimme Diablo 3 !

  8. Sad-o-lon says:

    will play like the old one….same old rts as 10 years ago….guess the koreans will love it…

  9. alseT says:

    I’m also waiting and hoping to get in the beta in the coming waves of invites. I couldn’t be more excited.

    Also I see all blizzard related threads are full of people announcing that they don’t care about their games and it’ll be more of the same “ripoffs” and “rehashes”, but they care enough to post about it? Please move on and move along. Why are you so bitter?

  10. Ben Abraham says:

    Get out of here Stalker, we’ve only time for Starcraft 2! /meme

  11. Rich says:

    Personally, from what I read on Eurogamer’s hands-on article, I’m pretty enthused. They seem to be pouring huge effort into making an epic single-player campaign, which is right up my alley. I’ll happily leave the smash within the first 2.5 seconds of game time by a million zerglings or get smashed within the first 2.5 seconds of game time by a million zerglings to the Koreans. Although, from the sounds of it, they’re also doing their best to reduce that kind of behaviour, or at least help people survive it.

  12. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Bleh, I think I’ll stick with Soulstorm…

  13. Heliocentric says:

    Either starcraft 2 is revolutionary and korea hates it. Or its not and i’m disapointed with it, korea is a bigger market than me. So i’m not expecting much.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Seniath says:

    Beta downloaded this morning. Checked in during lunch to make sure it all installed OK. The desire to just give it one quick go was hard to resist.

    I managed, however. Only 3 hours to go…

  15. Premium User Badge

    Fitzmogwai says:

    Strangely unmoved by this news. Starcraft never did it for me (I think I only played it twice). Diablo is my Blizzard crack, and I can’t wait for D3 (rainbows and unicorns included).

  16. 12kill4 says:

    Frankly, unless they add Voxels to Starcraft 2 I’m not going to bother playing it.

    And just so we’re clear, I’m not just talking about making major last minute graphical changes to include an all-but-dead rendering technique- I’m talking about the addition of an in-depth, gritty, compelling, and gritty (THAT’S RIGHT! DOUBLE THE GRIT!) solely related to voxels. Don’t stop there though, I want a new classic 2000 ultra-edition motion control interface utilizing Project Natal, three nintendo wii vitality sensors, the tony hawk skateboard periperal and the gear stick from a Daytona arcade racing unit- and wait for it—> counter-revolutionary voxel technology!! WOW!

    So yeah… who’s with me for boycotting Starcraft 2 until they add voxel support?

    [good luck finding a better way to make yourself believe you dont want to play starcraft 2- until you actually can- than me…]

    VOXEL.

    • Tei says:

      You can always play “LOVE” and pretend is Starcraft 3.

    • Taillefer says:

      I’m boycotting until it’s on a crystal disc, presented as a hologram, supports mind-control and is hand-delivered by blue-skinned space nymphs (gritty ones).

    • Tei says:

      Re: “and is hand-delivered by blue-skinned space nymphs (gritty ones).”

      Is a good thing Michal Jackson died, imagine if he lived longer to watch Avatar. He would have made his skin blue.

    • Devenger says:

      I won’t buy it unless they package in some abstract unfair advantage accessible via pre-ordering an edition that costs twice as much. But will only work if I install whilst connected to three internets at once. But, uh, the nymphs thing too.

  17. DXN says:

    Your Stalker information could be of some use to us.

    • DXN says:

      Though just to counter some of the SC2-meh in this thread, I’m definitely interested in it, and I’m by no means an RTS-knowing-much-about-person. Starcraft’s storyline — including the lovely Brood War expansion — is (IMHO) a classic one, and I’m really looking forward to the new SP campaigns. I *might* even venture into the multiplayer, although I fear having my ass taken off, folded into an amusing and topologically-implausible shape and handed back to me along with a $50,00 bill for ass consultancy services.

    • Bennie says:

      $50,00 isnt that much for that kind of work.

    • Lilliput King says:

      It’s a very reasonable ass consultancy rate.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      I haven’t been able to be competitive with the Koreans since Starcraft came out. Only reason I’m still in business is I speak English, and some people are willing to pay more for that.

  18. Tei says:

    I will be nice if Blizzard open source Starcraft1, now that SC2 will be released. So some people rebuilt the engine to support gigantic resolutions and large size of maps and players. Maybe 50 concurrent players (Imagine the networks problems of THAT).

  19. mrmud says:

    The point being that you can be excited for SC2 not because it is an hyper traditional RTS but because of the amazing things that will be made for free with the SC2 map editor.

  20. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    Stalker, you say?

  21. jackflash says:

    I’d reather hear about Stalker.

  22. Taillefer says:

    I got bored before I finished the Terran campaign the first time round. Part of me still wants to play through it, but I’m busy with Stalker. Stalker is nice.

  23. NewName says:

    @mrmud
    Indeed the only thing I’m looking forward to in SC2 is the map editor (and I’m looking forward to it A LOT). The fact that the current beta doesn’t have the map editor yet means I’m not too fussed about not getting in. But I’m going to be mighty jealous once it does come out…

  24. MadMatty says:

    I did enjoy Starcraft quite a bit, it plays different for TA and Supcom, and relies more on swift mouse movement- and also its a bit tactical and all.
    After a billion patches, it was quite balanced aswell, and having multiple valid strategies for winning it.

    Forgot to press the “opt in for beta” on my Battlenet, so i wont be having a go at the 2 for now :/

  25. Azradesh says:

    I’m in! :)

    Check your Battle.net account games list, I didn’t get an email, but the beta appeared there.

  26. The Great Wayne says:

    Would be glad to read more about this when possible. I have a bad feeling about this and Diablo 3, but I’d happily be proven wrong.

  27. Kestrel says:

    Oh man, the hipster angst is palpable. How does one resolve the tension between the WANT and the lack of obscure indie game cred? ;)

    • ScubaV says:

      It is amusing. The same people who come here to complain that “no SCII is pretty crap and I’m not interested” would probably jump on someone else for nay-saying a properly non-mainstream game they favor.

  28. Jeremy says:

    It is unresolvable. I have never been a big fan of the multiplayer, at least in terms of competitive play. Always have had some good times playing with friends against computers, or 2 v 2 against friends only, considering I haven’t the battle prowess to take on cybernetic Korean players. They have to be cybernetically improved in some way, it’s the only way that makes sense. Also, I enjoy the slew of TD games and random DotA type games, but mainly the draw for me is the SP aspect of the game.

  29. JKjoker says:

    im a big Starcraft fan, but im not that excited about SC2, i really dont like where the new bnet is going and they seem to have the focus on multiplayer when i care mostly about the single player part

    • Jeremy says:

      30 SP missions per race doesn’t seem like a lack of focus.

    • JKjoker says:

      you are talking about 3 games not 1 and it doesnt mean anything, are they 30 unique missions with lots of C&C or are they 30 unique missions so heavily scripted that completely linear or are they 30 skirmish missions that would be just like saying “100 sp hours of filler doesnt look like lack of focus” ?

      we dont know, they still might prove me wrong but so far the marketing focus seems to be in the mp and the only preview about the sp campaign ive read the guy said he got bored in a few hours

  30. mcnubbins says:

    WAT TEH FOK

    Was this not supposed to be in 2011?

    How do I get a key? HOW???

  31. Fire It Up says:

    It’s like the joy of Streetfighter 4 all over again.

    I miss the rednecks-in-space personality the first one had though.

  32. Half says:

    Alright.

    Name a RTS with multiplayer viable gameplay better then SC2.

    Half the games you mentioned don’t even have multiplayer. DA:O??? What? That isn’t even a RTS. It isn’t even close, if you want to ignore the fact that it is an RPG, it still would be a TPS

    • Half says:

      crap this was suppose to be a reply.

      and I mean turn based strategy, tbs not third person shooter tps

      =_=

  33. Tim James says:

    I keep refreshing RPS looking for a STALKER post.

  34. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    I agree with the SAiNT and Half. I can’t think of any RTS game that has been as good at doing what Starcraft does. Those games you’ve listed are completely different to the base building type of strategy Starcraft focuses on and would be like someone trying to compare Stalker with Half Life. They are completely different genres. For a better comparison, think more along the lines the Command and Conquer games or, at a push, Age of Empires.

    Edit: Meant to be in response to Heliosicle’s comment and the following replies.

  35. Jayt says:

    Never been into RTS competitive thingy, but I’m hearing great things about the SP! And I almost laughed out loud at someone saying DoW2 is better then SC

  36. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    I don’t..this game couldn’t be less alluring if it tried (and it almost seems it is trying). And I’m an RTS fanatic. Not that I mean that in a nasty way – have fun with your oft-hyped, talked about worshipped-in-South Korea game. I sort of feel bad for missing out on it all, this sort of global PC gaming holding-of-hands hasn’t really happened since Half-Life 2, and that was damn fun to be a part of. Sadly, I remain the only person in the world who can’t see any reason to be at all excited about Starcraft II.

    No, you’re not.

    From the game-y perspective, the game looks pretty damn worthless. They basically threw all the RTS achievements of last decade(Like units firing on the move, units not the size of buildings which make them, multiple weapons per unit firing simultaneously, garrisonable buildings, destructible environments, etc. etc.) out of the window. Instead we get… TF2?

    It’s funny how much flak Diablo 3 got for it’s “WoW graphics” and how everyone ignored SC2 going from the rough, toned-down, almost gritty palette to what looks like Hello Kitty Online. And not only colors – unit design as well. Especially the Protoss lost all of their deadly beauty(Pause for hating myself for saying that… done) and now just… kind of have a lot of gold and crystals and look like they wouldn’t be able to support their own weight, much less survive in combat.

    That’s not the end of things though. I have serious doubts the game will conquer MP as well. First of all, it’s absolutely nothing new – it’s SC with reshuffled units. There’s 3D there, but it’s completely unused in any meaningful way. Why play the same game again, but with no LAN this time? Furthermore, the UI has been greatly improved. And yes, that’s something which will hamper MP. One of the reasons why SC was so successful on the pro scene was that it was so hard to master. As long as you keep within reasonable speed of gameplay, it works. But once you cross a certain threshold, the game seems to work against you – you can only select 12 units; you can only queue 6; you cannot select multiple buildings. And there’s only 10 keys you can bind. At pro level, these things really pile up and unless you master macro (i.e. going back to your base and queueing five factories with a single unit each and getting back to the battlefield in less than a second), all you can hope for is your opponent making a critical mistake. It’s funny because technically this is a broken game feature and failure on Blizzard’s part, but it’s one of big reasons why SC is as pro as it is.

    SC2 takes it all away – select multiple buildings, what I believe is 24 units at a time, zerglings flanking automatically, and so on – the game is less hardcore, easier to control, easier to master. Will it become another smash MP hit just because it’s Starcraft?

    There is one area SC2 seems to shine though, and it’s the SP campaign – three of them, in fact, each well over 20 missions long, and each with it’s own feature – i.e. in Terran campaign you will have the money thing which you can use for buying units and stuff(I don’t remember the details). And Blizzard, as long as they’re not making a MMO, really knows how to deliver strong characters and a sweeping story, while their cinematics remain umatched in the entire CGI industry.

    Whether the SP campaign justifies what seems like completely unimaginative rehash with graphics so bad they make my testes shrink… we’ll see.

    • noah_j says:

      They basically threw all the RTS achievements of last decade(Like units firing on the move, units not the size of buildings which make them, multiple weapons per unit firing simultaneously, garrisonable buildings, destructible environments, etc. etc.) out of the window.

      RTSes sure have come a long way.

    • noah_j says:

      They basically threw all the RTS achievements of last decade(Like units firing on the move, units not the size of buildings which make them, multiple weapons per unit firing simultaneously, garrisonable buildings, destructible environments, etc. etc.) out of the window.

      RTSes sure have come a long way.

  37. noah_j says:

    sarcasm is even better when it’s sarcasm TWICE

    • sigma83 says:

      Unless you FAIL AT IT. zomgpwned.

      edit: wow, totally wrong Noah J. Sorry, was meant to be an injoke.

  38. luckystriker says:

    Well I’m excited. Damned excited. Long live the greatest of all RTSes!

  39. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    RTSes sure have come a long way.

    All genres did. Can you believe that aiming with your iron sights is almost a core feature in FPSes nowodays?

  40. Jon Kristinsson says:

    So, your only gripes about SC2 is that it fixes SC’s interface problems, has 3D graphics and that they’ve thrown out decades-worth of game-specific design choices?

    Also, “garrisonable buildings”? You mean, like bunkers?

  41. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    So, your only gripes about SC2 is that it fixes SC’s interface problems, has 3D graphics and that they’ve thrown out decades-worth of game-specific design choices?

    If you completely lack the reading comprehension, yes.

  42. deuterium. says:

    I’m working on impregnating a girl so that I can sell the child for a SC2 beta key. If you’re interested, drop me an e-mail at Babies4Betakeys@gmail.com!

  43. ChaK_ says:

    Might be tempted by the single player experience.

    At least CPU doesn’t laugh of my uber ridiculous RTS skill.

    that and stalker is cool

  44. Choca says:

    Heh, finally got my key, now to download this thing…

    • Choca says:

      Oh great it’s the same downloader than World of Warcraft, it’s gonna take forever.

  45. theSAiNT says:

    Do any of these games still have a large and competitive community playing it?

    To be clear here, I’m almost exclusively talking about the multiplayer component of SC. I have very little to say about the SP having not actually finished it…

    • Kester says:

      Heh, are you kidding? Try half of South Korea. Starcraft is probably more successful as a competitive sport than all other computer games put together.

    • theSAiNT says:

      @Kester

      I meant that to be a reply to

      theSAiNT says: February 18, 2010 at 4:56 pm Not to sound like a fanboi but objectively, name a ‘better’ rts than SC?

      Psychopomp says: February 18, 2010 at 5:24 pm Homeworld 1 and 2. Dawn of War 2

      Hell, I’d even put DA:O’s combat on this list.

      Anthony Damiani says: February 18, 2010 at 6:19 pmCompany of Heroes, Dawn of War 1 (2 is much more arguable).

    • Kester says:

      Oops. That’ll teach me not to read the whole thread. :)

    • Psychopomp says:

      As far as I know, the servers for both Homeworld games are long down, but DoW 2 is still kicking fairly well.

  46. theSAiNT says:

    Wow the reply feature is so ><

    @Magic H8 Ball
    I'm going to re-word Jon Kristinsson for you. His reading comprehension seemed spot on.

    "They basically threw all the RTS achievements of last decade(Like units firing on the move, units not the size of buildings which make them, multiple weapons per unit firing simultaneously, garrisonable buildings, destructible environments, etc. etc.)"

    These are design choices. Not achievements. Some games have chosen to include these features. Others haven't. Not having them doesn't make one less accomplished than another. Just because DoW2 threw out base building didn't have to make it a worse game. (It did but it didn't have to, that's the point.) Destructible terrain was in CnC Tiberium Sun. It made the game slow and bad. They subsequently removed it in later games.

    "It’s funny how much flak Diablo 3 got for it’s “WoW graphics” and how everyone ignored SC2 going from the rough, toned-down, almost gritty palette to what looks like Hello Kitty Online."

    I can't defend an art style. Every game has its own 'look'. However, to me Blizzard has its priorities straight. They've stated that they prioritise visibility and intuitiveness over flashiness. You could therefore legitimately argue that something is not clear enough and it should be improved. But whether it seems like Hello Kitty or Stalker is just a matter of taste.

    "One of the reasons why SC was so successful on the pro scene was that it was so hard to master."
    True

    "At pro level, these things really pile up and unless you master macro (i.e. going back to your base and queueing five factories with a single unit each and getting back to the battlefield in less than a second), all you can hope for is your opponent making a critical mistake. It’s funny because technically this is a broken game feature and failure on Blizzard’s part, but it’s one of big reasons why SC is as pro as it is."
    False

    It's true that mechanically, the game is very difficult because of its ancient UI. It's not true that this is one of the big reasons why it's 'as pro as it is'. Any high level amateur or semi pro SC player will have mastered macro. Yet the skill disparity between them and the very top players is huge.

    The real reason why SC is great is because of its depth of strategy. I believe it is unparalleled in the gaming world. It is more than 10 years old yet players are still developing new ideas. The 'standard' play today is very different to that of even a year ago.

    "SC2 takes it all away – select multiple buildings, what I believe is 24 units at a time, zerglings flanking automatically, and so on – the game is less hardcore, easier to control, easier to master."

    Easier to control is not the same as easier to master. This is pointless to debate. How easy is it to physically control chess pieces? How many people can say they have mastered chess?

    "Will it become another smash MP hit just because it’s Starcraft?"
    No. It will be a smash hit based on its merits of balance and depth. But neither of these will be apparent until a few years from now so in the mean time, we wait and we hope.

  47. Steve says:

    I have been banned from Battlenet the very same day it arrived. As soon as I upgraded my WoW account and clicked refresh it told me: account inactive, contact Blizzard (which I thought I was already doing). Since three mails were all answered by a computer, completely missing the point I just gave up and stopped playing WoW. So did my wife.

    Needless to say it will take a LOT for me to ever burn my hand on that Battlenet stuff again and I doubt either Diablo 3 or SC2 will make me budge. I wish Blizzard hadn’t merged with Activision.