czwartek, 10 listopada 2011

Blizzard's direction

Based on what Blizzard is doing on the Starcraft scene I am more then certain, that there has been a major change in management.circles.
After the presentation on Blizzcon it's more then obvious, that SC2:HotS (Heart of the Swarm) is not an addon to the existing game od Starcraft2, but a standalone game. The changes in the game will affect the style of playing to the degree in which all of the styles will be reinvented. Some of the basic mechanics will be modified so that a player will not be able to apply any strategy useful in the previous part of the game.
This is bad on many levels - first of all, mastering Starcraft2 is a long and painful process that require a lot of learning and a lot of trial and error games. Making two or three different games that are so similar and yet cannot be played the same way will cause utter chaos. Most of the players will test the game, see how different it is and decide, which game they want to play, because it would require a whole new level of focus to be able to play well all three games.
This will affect all the tournaments. This year was the first year in which there were tens of major gaming events in US. Starcraft was one of the most freuently mentioned common denominator. People from around the world gathered to play Starcraft, but most of all gathered to WATCH people play starcraft. The thing about watching though is tricky - it requires some basic knowledge of what is what to be interesting.
Having three different games will split the players into three categories, so that there will be three times more events, but all of them will be so much smaller. Pro players of today master playing one chosen race out of three. They do not ever swap races between tournaments. Only the Protoss in WoL and the Protoss in HotS are in fact two completely different races, so my guess is Pro Players will divide into those who compete in WoL and those who compete in HotS (and later LotV).
A division of pro players (who have fans) will also mean the division of the fan base. And while that does not lead to The End of Blizzard, it certainly doesn't seem like a well thought through decision. Of course - selling three games instead of one is good, but while BW was an improvement on SC back in the days and it was obvious that SC is going to the drawer, the changes presented for HotS will (for some) mean, that they do not buy the expansion, because they do not have the time or need to learn it from the very beginning again.

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