Huh: StarCraft II’s Getting A Leveling System

By Nathan Grayson on October 26th, 2012 at 8:00 am.

If you're Zerg, 'XP' actually stands for Xarblac points.

Sometimes, I view my mundane day-to-day tasks as a series of experience-endowing quests. Go the grocery store. 300 XP! Obtain vegetables (x10). 400 XP! Defeat the checkout line – which is, in fact, a hideously undulating centipede monster – and escape the store as it collapses into an all-consuming void of infinite nothingness. 7 XP! Is it any wonder that I see things that way, though? I mean, everything has a leveling system these days. Even when they don’t really make a whole lot of sense. Case in point: StarCraft II.

Yes, beginning with Heart of the Swarm, StarCraft II will let you gain levels for playing multiplayer matches. Why? Because, of course!

“In the Heart of the Swarm leveling system, players earn experience while playing Blizzard matchmaking  modes and custom games on Blizzard maps. You’ll earn XP for the race you’re playing with each unit you build or destroy. Experience is awarded at the end of the match, and accumulates as you level up from 1 to a maximum level of 20 for each race.”

“The Leveling system is how you will earn most portraits and decals in Heart of the Swarm.  We’re creating a multitude of new images for players to collect and display…These rewards get more and more epic as you progress in a race. The rewards will be different for each race, so truly dedicated players can push themselves to great heights for each of the three races.”

OK, you can now breathe a sigh of relief that levels won’t actually have any impact on unit stats, etc, but I guess my question in regard to the whole thing is… why? Somehow, I get the impression that StarCraft multiplayer – small, niche, and constantly on the brink of extinction though it may be – is actually doing pretty alright on its own. As in, by virtue of its own strengths as an interesting, remarkably well-designed game.

Now, though, it feels like Blizzard’s just adding a level system for its own sake. Really, it’s a cynical approach that I feel like a lot of games are taking these days. In essence, they’re applying Gamification to themselves, which – in addition to being about as circular as it gets – just creates a cheap, artificial reward system instead of improving anything fundamental. At this point, we’re basically building achievement systems on top of achievement systems. But frankly, I don’t need a condescending pat on the head every time I accomplish something. And I think a truly great game should be able to reward players as a direct result of their interactions with the game. “Leveling” along these lines, then, seems like more of a crutch than anything.

Phew. That was quite a rant. What do I win for it?

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90 Comments »

  1. JackShandy says:

    It seems like some on-high push came down – every multiplayer game has a leveling system, where’s ours? I’m glad they made it for portraits.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      Though it is the exact same system they used back in WC3, before all this persistant online progression business was even a thing in other games.

      So silly and inconsequential it may be, but I wouldn’t say it’s just some kind of jumping on the bandwagon.

      • marat271 says:

        This is just a continuation of the regular Starcraft 2 reward system, where you get portraits by having a certain amount of wins with a race.

      • royale says:

        No, in wc3 the levels were tied to your ladder rankings. You gain or lose levels as you play, and you might never get near max level unless you were really good at the game.

        • Droopy The Dog says:

          Odd, I distinctly remember the portrait icons just being tied to a flat number of wins with each race/random, not ladder ranking.

          Plus I don’t think they ever got reset with the ladder which would be odd if they were linked to ranking.

    • Crius says:

      Blizzard “Making awesome progress bar since 2004″

  2. nasenbluten says:

    All of this is to justify Heart of the Swarm being online only.

    • Screamer says:

      It technically already is online only :/

      • Fazer says:

        Actually, no, you can play SC2 offline just fine (but only single player or multi with bots) and so far I don’t have any reason to believe Hots will be any different. It’s not like Diablo 3, fortunately.

  3. MeestaNob says:

    Someone will hit the level cap by tomorrow evening.

  4. Nimic says:

    Why? I think the answer is fairly simple, and somewhat obvious. Notice how it is for the decals and portraits, things that were originally tied to simply the number of games you played and won. That lead to countless people using lossbots, which left the game randomly between 1-10 seconds (or something to that effect). Eventually their MMR (Match Making Rating) would be so low that they only played against other lossbots. At that point they would be able to rack up a huge amount of wins quickly, earning the high-end portraits.

    This changes all that. Now you have to actually, physically play the game to earn portraits and decals. Secondly, it also helps give some sense of progression to people who might be “stuck”, relative to everyone else. If you stay five seasons in the same league, on the face of it neither improving or declining, you might end up getting jaded. I won’t say it’ll work on me, but gaining some other form of progression could feasibly make it more enjoyable for people to play. It’s that simple. So don’t read too much into it, that they just want to make the game like CoD, or some bs like that.

    • bluebomberman says:

      Wait? People used lossbots to earn decals?

      That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard since learning about Super Smash Bros. players spending hours doing nothing but taunting in random online matches.

      • Nimic says:

        Yes indeed. My very casual clan kicked someone for doing it. It’s just so pathetic.

        • HexagonalBolts says:

          I and a few other people would be very interested in a very casual clan for Starcraft 2 (especially the sort that would kick people for using loss bots), any chance of others joining Nimic?

          • skorpeyon says:

            Seconded, I never got into the online SC2 gameplay because I don’t know too many people who play it. Would love to get into a very casual group to keep me interested in it.

      • Anmity says:

        Things like this tend to happen whenever there’s a reward involved.

      • LionsPhil says:

        The worst part is that it’s completely believable.

      • Salt says:

        A fantastic example of the power of gamification.

        It works best for mindless, dull tasks, and seems to have the power to transform what should be complex and interesting tasks into such.

    • Fazer says:

      It doesn’t change “all that”, old portraits will be earned the same way as before (winning games), only new ones will be awarded for playing at all.

    • CoreTechs says:

      @Nathan, it seems to me that gamers are the first to turn on game design rules if they’re applied in a way similar to a ‘gamification’ application. I just don’t think that makes much sense. Game rules are especially useful in games, even if they extend to the menus. Embrace them.

      In SC2, the devs seem to be paying better attention to the experience of playing multiplayer, and making sure that people are engaged throughout the experience.

      @Nimic, I think you’re right on the money. XP here will add progress in an compelling way. It’s a universal way of creating progress, regardless of task, as opposed to having multiple one-goal paths, such as playing 1,000 games. That’s too long; there aren’t enough rewards along the way. The ladder system may partially accomplish that goal, but it doesn’t account for people that aren’t improving much, or just don’t like the ladder matches at all. Smaller reward loops will probably do wonders for their SC2 multiplayer scene.

      • Lamb Chop says:

        Certainly true for me. I lost motivation as soon as I realized I hit my skill ceiling for the amount of time and mental effort I was willing to put into it. A leveling system that’s practically no different than unlocking portraits with more games won is not going to get me back into it, but it certainly does bring the feeling of progression that prestiging gave for me in MW2, no matter how superficial. Not knowing exactly how it works, it seems like a better proxy for demonstrating your commitment than games played. I know if I saw someone with a 1000 wins portrait early on in the game, I assumed they all-in’d their way to it. This seems to weight macro games based on time invested for leveling which takes away the incentive to play short games for faster wins, and aligning incentives is generally a good thing.

  5. bluebomberman says:

    Well supposedly there’s been a lot of griping lately about how the less-than-flourishing multiplayer scene is leading to smallish e-sports interest.

    *shrugs* Maybe Blizzard’s getting a tad more desperate in trying to get more people to play SC2.

  6. JanH says:

    So Starcraft 1 MP is both “on the brink of extinction” and “doing pretty alright”. Schrödinger’s game?

    • Vexing Vision says:

      Half of that particular statement is sarcasm. You can flip a Schrödinger’s Coin between it. :)

      Or, alternatively, you could fly over to Asia and see entire TV channels dedicated to livestreaming Starcraft 2 matches 24/7 and make up your mind with that.

    • Njordsk says:

      Leave the cat alone.

      • Aedrill says:

        It’s amazing how popular this analogy is given how incredibly bad it is.

        • Xocrates says:

          The problem isn’t it being bad, the problem being that people use it for the opposite reasons it was created.

          The cat analogy is supposed to be ridiculous.

    • Salt says:

      I think it exists in a strange state when there is still a fairly strong professional-level play, but the volume of amateur players is far lower than the Call of Duty, Counterstrike or MOBA scene.

      That leads to particularly intense concern when professional players retire or leave for other games, as there may not be the critical mass of amateurs to provide replacements.

    • kio says:

      What we got with SC2 doesn’t justify its success. A lot of people jumped into the game with hopes and expectations of the things that Blizzard would do to improve it. Those people are slowly starting to realize that Blizzard won’t follow through, and they’re using hyperboles to express their discontent. SC2 isn’t going to die, but it’s not doing that great either. It’s suffocating at its current size. It is no longer growing, and HotS is looking to be a temporary stimulus.

  7. mLocke says:

    Sounds a lot like the leveling system in Warcraft III multiplayer, only more shallow. I remember having a dragon icon after getting 300 battle wins playing as random using the matchmaker. Blizzard Innovation™

  8. kikito says:

    It already had something like that for the portraits before. Not a big deal then.

    Also:

    > Obtain vegetables (x10).

    The only vegetable you Englishmen know is cabbage.

    • mispelledyouth says:

      Cabbage is more of an Irish staple. The constant tears this time of year may allude to the English love of onions but really that’s just us crying about the weather.

      Also I believe Nathan’s actually one of you Amerimen.

      • sinister agent says:

        English people expressing emotions? Pshaw, pish, and corwumph.

      • Screamer says:

        Cabbage? As an ignorant (probably) African I thought Irish liked potatoes?

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        Yes, Nathan is an American. And, really, we all know cabbage is for the Irish and Koreans. The English put everything in pies or make it into a pudding.

        • Simes says:

          Cabbage pudding is an unforgettable experience.

        • The Random One says:

          This must be a mistake… If Nathan was American he wouldn’t even know what vegetables are.

          • arccos says:

            Are vegetables the orange things that look like big misshaped french fries? They always have dirt on them!

          • PopeJamal says:

            Americans eat plenty of vegetables! We have ketchup, french fries, lettuce, and bread. Plus, the cows eat vegetables, and they’re in our hamburgers, so vegetables by association. We live in the future!

            We love vegetables so much we actually put corn in EVERYTHING. Even fizzy drinks and candy.

  9. killuminati says:

    In Dawn of War 2 we already had this. Nothing to phone home about and more.
    In that game gaining levels means upgrading your unit graphically so that, who confronted you in the game could easily see that your were a lvl X commander of said race because the models would wear shinier armour. That was about some degree of customization and not some hideus and stupid portrait..

    So again, someone did it previously and way better than Blizzard.
    I used to love that company but since the last 2 years I started disliking them more and more, for how approximate has become their products and how they boost on features in those games, like they invented them or are better than those they copied in the first place when it’s not nearly true.
    All of this is surely tied to the 60Euros I felt I’ve wasted on that “game” D3 was supposed to be. Shame on me :/

  10. Carighan Maconar says:

    This sounds massively… unnecessary.
    Yes, XP-systems are the default and if you don’t have one you – apparently – better get one, but we already get decals after playing X matches as a race. All they exchange is that instead of a +1 on an achievement giving you the decal, you get +15 XP on the XP-bar giving you the decal. If they apply it to Wings of Liberty they could probably transfer it 1-to-1 with exactly 0 difference in gain-speed or gain-mechanics.

  11. Rockman says:

    Its not a real xp system though, like one that affects gameplay directly. It’s just a way to monitor how much you play in such a way that people have to play the game to earn the rewards. Instead of straight time played (which could easily be cheated), it’s effectively apm.
    It might actually drag a more aggressive play style out of people in an effort to get the kill xp, and it will definitely help noobs remember to keep pumping out units, it’s not such bad thing.

    It could just as well be called a cookie meter or war points, calling it xp is just logical (if not slightly unimaginative).

  12. Vesperan says:

    “Somehow, I get the impression that StarCraft multiplayer – small, niche, and constantly on the brink of extinction though it may be – is actually doing pretty alright on its own.”

    Hyperbole much? The game might be struggling compared to League of Legends (or an MMO), but it has several hundred thousand active players. I play a game of Starcraft 2 about once every blue moon, but it auto finds partners in about 10 seconds – and I’m in New Zealand.

    Edit: I should clarify because this is the internet. The hyperbole I refer to is the term extinction, and yes author does say it has it is going pretty alright.

    In trying to find an accurate measure of multiplayer numbers I found this post which, while subject to hyperbole as well, I agree with: http://www.reddit.com/r/starcraft/comments/11m21k/starcraft_2_will_be_dead_before_legacy_of_the/

    Online Starcraft 2 default mode is pretty much 1v1 ladder games – and its just too friggin stressful. It’s not a good sign when I can enjoy watching people play more than jumping in and giving it a go..

    • Cross says:

      I find it a little sad that you didn’t spot the gargantuan mass of sarcasm in the article’s statement about the status of SC2′s community. It’s neither small, niche or barely staying alive.

  13. Fadobo says:

    I follow the Starcraft II scene fairly closely and there are many justified reasons for concern. The viewer numbers of events are constantly dwindling and pro players leave the scene for other games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends. That is not due to the fact that SC2 has weak 1 on 1 gameplay, but many more casual players are not interested in the game any more. There simply is nothing for them to do. They like to play with their friends, meet people and have a casual good time. The pressure of the 1 on 1 is simply too much for many many players.

    There was an interesting article by the player Destiny that went well into detail about that and how Starcraft has to change to feel like it is full of people and how it should look more at games like LoL to attract more players and keep them coming back. There also was a lot of drama around that on the show Inside the game which was noteworthy by itself.

    • jrodman says:

      Not saying you’re wrong, but i find the idea of starcraft 1v1 having too much pressure surprising while DOTA 2 is gaining steam — a game that seems like it has even higher stress.

      Maybe it’s novelty vs stress, where starcraft 2 at this point has no novelty but has high stress.

      • Azradesh says:

        1. In dota you only have one unit to worry about and no base building
        2. In dota you can pass the blame, valid or not.
        3. In dota you can feel like you’ve had good game even if your team looses.
        4. In starcaft 1v1 there is no one to blame for sucking but yourself.
        5. To play starcraft well is about a 1000 times more mentally taxing then dota.

        This is why I play dota and *watch* starcaft. This is why more people played custom games in starcaft 1 and warcraft or messed about, ladder is too stressful. I feel mentally exhausted after a game of starcraft ladder, win or lose. I just feel pissed off after losing dota.

        • Skabooga says:

          Your latter paragraph accurately describes my attitude back when I played Warcraft 3. I at first always tried to play a few regular games every week, but I always felt a vast, unaccountable pressure during every match, and had to build up courage to click the ‘find match’ button every time. I naturally gravitated to the big 4 vs 4 matches, perhaps unconsciously thinking that the large number of people would minimize whatever negative impact I would have on the match.

          Perhaps it was the knowledge that every win, and every loss, would be forever recorded and tied to my profile, that made me so self-conscious. In any case, I eventually started playing fewer regular matches and more custom gametypes until the latter was all I played.

    • Crazy Horse says:

      Yes, this exactly. I used to play hours of SC2 daily but it’s been nearly eight months now since I’ve booted it up. Just can’t find the energy after a day’s work for the stress of a 1v1. And now that I’m starting to forget the exact build orders for every possible situation it’s slowly becoming less likely I’ll be getting back into it.

      So much easier just to boot up TF2 and go roast some spies with the pyro. I do love me some roasted spies.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I think another factor might be that Starcraft is far less interesting to watch. In other highly competitive scenes the action is much denser, less depends on numbers that aren’t visually reflected. In Starcraft the economy is the number 1 concern, and building a bunch of SCVs just isn’t as visually interesting.

      Dotalikes capture a small part of the economy play, but it is visually reflected in items and their abilities.

      • Azradesh says:

        I completely disagree. I find starcaft much eazierto follow and watch. For a start there’s to distinct armies facing off. It’s very clear, even for some new to starcaft, what has to happen for a side to win (destroy the other armies base). Even armies of the same race are clearly different due to unit colours. Battles also tend to be in one spot on the map and seldom more than 2. In dota, heroes could be on either side and any colour making it harder to follow. The fact that teams often pick very different sets of heroes from match to match can lead to much confusion for new watchers. Adding to the complexities of watching are the important events that can happen in often 3 places at once.

        It also isn’t nearly as clear for new people why a certain team or player is dominating without a lot of knowledge about the game.

  14. f1x says:

    Every game focusing on stablishing goals to keep people playing daily,
    I feel like this sort of goals are becoming too important nowadays, when the goal should be only having fun or a good time,
    After playing too much/too many mmos I’m starting to get instantly burnt-out when a game is requiring me constancy

    I dont know if thats the case here, I just remember I played a shit lot of Starcraft1, but in Starcraft barely made 10-15 matches online (finished the campaign tho)

    • jrodman says:

      Closure > repetition, for me.

      • f1x says:

        Definitely, I’ve rediscovered how satisfying is finishing a game
        (also sad if the game was good, but thats also a nice feeling)

      • tomeoftom says:

        Amen to that. I’m so, so, so sick of artificial progression. Many big games are losing a lot of their elegance by diluting everything with the dishwater that is XP, achievements, unlocks, trivial customisation, pre-order bonuses, and free-to-play-bitterly.

  15. pkt-zer0 says:

    If it helps retain the more casual players, I don’t see much harm in it. Not sure if portraits and whatnot are enough motivation for them, but hey, it’s better than naught.

  16. Dave Mongoose says:

    You joke about XP for mundane tasks, but a game for that already exists! It’s called ‘Chore Wars’ ( http://www.chorewars.com/ ).

    Never played it myself, but it’s meant to be a good way to make housework, etc. less tedious.

  17. Mr. Mister says:

    Maybe it’s just so new or not-so-experienced players know who not to play against just by looking at their portrait?

  18. MonkeyShines says:

    I think it’s genius. Blizzard needs casuals to play this game, and casuals love leveling systems. Hopefully it will keep people in the game longer and thus make more people watch sc2.

  19. El_MUERkO says:

    Blizzard suck.

    There. I said it.

    Not as a troll, rant or rage post but as a calm and rational evidence based decision.

    There last good game was World of Warcraft. Every release since the launch of Wow has sucked cheesy balls.

    • f1x says:

      I too feel like that, (hey I’m always up for a rant!, nah just kidding)

      and I’m not sure whats the problem actually with SC2,D3,Cataclysm, yeah of course always online issues, activision merge, etc, ok
      But my problem is with the gameplay and the overall lets say “aura” of the games,
      there is something not so amusing, specially with D3, at some point I tend to thing the game is too perfect (too mainstreamed?) the magic from previous titles is just.. not… there
      Its just a feeling so it could be just me who has changed and the games are good as always

    • Aedrill says:

      You mean both releases?

  20. zain3000 says:

    But frankly, I don’t need a condescending pat on the head every time I accomplish something.

    **COUGH**steamachievements**COUGH**

    Phew, it’s dusty in here.

  21. Randy_Pinkwood says:

    I created an account solely to comment on this particular issue, I’ve had the urge to contribute before but quite frankly others have always expressed my personal feelings on issues in a far more informed and educated fashion than I would have personally stated, so up until this point I’ve refrained from speaking up. However on this particular topic I feel as though while I may repeat previously stated points of view, this is by far a more subjective issue. I quite frankly appreciate the gesture that blizzard is making with this update. For players such as myself(who play starcraft on an at best monthly basis), this provides a small but appreciable reward system for my efforts. I really don’t play enough ranked games to keep myself at even a semblance of a competitive level, so anytime I play the game it feels like a throwaway experience. This addition, while quite frankly meaningless to the larger starcraft community, gives me a small but appreciable reason to keep coming back. Does a players portrait mean anything at all? No. But It gives me a meter stick to measure my progress, no matter how inconsequential

  22. AbsoluteDestiny says:

    Nathan, I have to disagree with you on this one. Normally I’d totally agree that arbitrary achievements are pointless. This isn’t about arbitrary achievements, it’s a change in perspective and it’s one the community has been crying out for.

    This change is really important to the way more casual players like myself play the game and we all hope this is a sign of things to come. The short version is – this finally gives rewards for participation in the kind of sc2 play that folks like me actually find fun and this is exciting not because the feature itself is exciting but because blizzard are acknowledging that casual team and custom game players have been poorly served by Battlenet 2.0 (in contrast with the excellent experience in Brood War and Warcraft 3). I see this as a first step in righting that.

    Supporting team games and custom games is important for sc2 because all of that feeds into sc2 as an esport. I like sc2 as an esport, a lot. A bigger player base and, crucially, a more *diverse* player base will improve the community (and it needs improvement).

    Battlenet 2.0, as it currently stands, will never make a new game as significant as DoTA (in the way Warcraft 3 did) without also encouraging a player base who could make it, play it and form a big community from it. This move is step one of what I hope is many more steps in nurturing that base and focussing on the broader community who aren’t hardcore rts players, who do like the game but who don’t want their only sc2 to be humiliating ladder experiences.

    • f1x says:

      Good argument, similar to the one above from Randy_Pinkwood, which is spot on aswell,
      That there are different types of gamer and ways to enjoy gaming is something basic and very respetable

      But (as a personal opinion) I still dont see how an experience bar + unlocking portraits is helping the community take part, I mean,
      If there are more changes to come allright, but I fail to understand why you need a leveling bar in order to have more interest in doing non-ladder matches with your friends, when I played with my friends it was just for the fun of it,
      The only posible argument I see is if this makes more people come back to SC2 to have easier, faster and more variated matchmaking

    • Vorphalack says:

      ”Battlenet 2.0, as it currently stands, will never make a new game as significant as DoTA (in the way Warcraft 3 did) without also encouraging a player base who could make it, play it and form a big community from it. ”

      I don’t think anything like DotA will ever be crafted on Battle.net 2.0 as long as Blizzard insist on retaining legal ownership over everything made through the SC2 map editor. That alone has driven away countless talented modders, and remains the single biggest problem with the SC2 modding scene. Lack of LAN mode comes a close second, and Blizzards failure to address either of those concerns makes this announcement about a level system seem all the more galling. The fact that it will only allow you to gain experience on Blizzard maps is another nail in the coffin of modding.

      What kept WC3 alive for so many years, and what sold more copies of WC3 than anything else, were the mods (mainly DotA). Blizzard desperately need to create a more mod friendly environment to give SC2 that kind of longevity, and this leveling system does not help that cause. As far as I can tell it actually hinders it slightly.

      • InternetBatman says:

        I’m fairly sure (but could be very wrong) that Starcraft had its own longevity not linked to mods. If they’re so concerned it could be emblematic of a deeper problem.

  23. InternetBatman says:

    It seems kinda like the experience bar in Dota 2. In LoL it makes sense because it fits the metagame, and changing experience changes the way the game plays. In Dota 2 it’s a way to give out character items, but it doesn’t really change things that much.

  24. Tei says:

    Points has ben part of videogaming since the start, it height what is win when you win and make bigger your loses. This normally make videogames better making victories mean more. Achievements or levels add to that, on top the gamification thing.

  25. Victuz says:

    Well if I recall correctly W3 had a similar system and it worked out ok.
    I don’t really play SC2 competitively because I’m utterly terrible so I don’t have much interest in the system, doesn’t seem like adding a meta element to the menu screens would really harm anyone so…

    meh.

  26. pupsikaso says:

    Didn’t WC3 and expansion have kind of the same system for portraits? It wasn’t “leveling” per se, but you could choose a perty portrait depending on how many wins you had with a particular race, or “random”.

  27. Moraven says:

    War3 had this, rewarding portraits for every season as you obtain wins for a certain race.

    I prefer this reward system for playing over the 100 other ways you can get decals and portraits. 1v1 for reach race or random, team games, FFA, etc.

    With the new system, no matter how you play, you are rewarded for playing. People might want a particular portrait and will not have to go out of their way now to obtain it and play some mode they do not like.

    Its using the same reward system now but lets you play how you want to play it.

    Now think if BF3 allowed you to distribute exp to different classes while you played a different one? I want to level up my recon to access stuff that I want to try, but I rather play a engineer and use vehicles to do so.

  28. rockman29 says:

    I like the leveling system.

    They had one in WC3, but people always made new accounts to pubstomp people.

    Levels give a nice continuity and keep people playing. I like the leveling up, even though it’s pretty arbitrary (or really arbitrary).

  29. Joshua Northey says:

    “Now, though, it feels like Blizzard’s just adding a level system for its own sake. Really, it’s a cynical approach that I feel like a lot of games are taking these days. ”

    I don’t think it has anything to do with “these days” since Warcraft III had the same system 10 years ago. But I realize your story is more interesting and has more of a narrative arc if you frame it that way.

    • Vorphalack says:

      The WC3 experience system used levels to approximate your ladder ranking, and you unlocked portraits through wins alone. The SC2 system simply gives you experience for playing on Blizzard maps. They are quite different systems; one is based on personal success, and one is for simple participation. You can argue, quite convincingly, that the latter is pointless.

      • Joshua Northey says:

        That other system is still there in Starcraft. As far as rewarding people for participation, doesn’t that make sense? They are trying to encourage people to participate after all. I mean it is at least better than the hat based TF2 culture?

        If they want to reward players with silly trinkets I don’t see what the big deal is, arcade games have been doing that with high score lists and score sin general for decades. What is the point of your score in Mario?

        People play games to have fun. I don’t see adding some unlockable portraits effecting that too much one way or the other for the people who won’t care, and they will be enjoyed by the people who do like them.

        I mean look how frustrated/scandalized everyone was that the customizable armor colors in XCOM was a DLC/pre-order bonus, and yet what does that matter. Everything looks just fine without it?

        • jrodman says:

          Not that it’s entirely a terrible idea, but there’s the issue of externalizing rewards.

          • pkt-zer0 says:

            We’re talking slightly fancier portraits here, not hard cash. Maybe my imagination is lacking, but I find it hard to fathom that this would impact my enjoyment of the game much, if at all.

        • Vorphalack says:

          ”As far as rewarding people for participation, doesn’t that make sense? They are trying to encourage people to participate after all.”

          It doesn’t make a lot of sense when the best way to get the community growing is to have stronger support for mods / modders i.e. not claiming ownership over the work of the modders, not limiting the number of mods a single account can upload, not limiting the size of mods, not censoring mods, etc.

          SC2 stock content will only keep people playing for so long, no matter how many gimmiky leveling systems or portraits they release. They should be trying to re-build those bridges between modders and Battle.net 2.0, not waste time with trivial unlock systems.

  30. Jokzore says:

    I fail to see why people have a problem with this system . Since SC2 launch the portraits have been earned in a very similar fashion you gathered wins in order to unlock new portraits.

    If anything the new leveling system improves this unlock system that they already had in the game since launch . Now thanks to XP you can progress in unlocking the portrait you want even if you lose , which was impossible before because even if you’re a fantastic player you earned NOTHING just because your teammates sucked.

    Not to mention that it pretty much kills bots and people who left games after 10 seconds , which were a horrific annoyance especially during the first few weeks after launch .

  31. namad says:

    a system whereby if you play a lot you can unlock portraits and decals! wow! that’d be cool if it hadn’t been a release feature of wings of liberty! okay so it was all tied into an achievement style system of unlocks, gaining things up from having to win 1000matches to get the coolest decal, to having to get to level 100 in having won matches for which you gain a level every 10 matches? …hmm..

    how is this newsworthy? it’s not even a thing!

  32. Kakkoii says:

    I wouldn’t doubt that this is a reaction to how so many in the SC2 scene are moving to DotA 2 now and the game’s dwindling viewership numbers. Blizzard is definitely fearful of how fast DotA 2 is gaining ground over them, so they copy the leveling system, and are even making a DotA-esque mini-game for SC2, lol.

  33. Stackler says:

    I really regret my past support for Blizzard :-/