Zerg Rush

Zerg Rush
A Master Craftsman

John Funk | 6 Apr 2010 12:27
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"It's true that Korea's embracing of StarCraft and Brood War showed the world just what an e-sport could be," says Browder, and that's something the team wholeheartedly supports. "It doesn't matter if it's for our games or our competitor's games - I don't care. I just want e-sports to be more successful here in the States, in Europe, in South America, wherever! It's just a really fun way to experience and promote this hobby that we all love, and I'm hopeful that it continues to grow."

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Unfortunately, this may also be the toughest nut for the StarCraft II team to crack. Many players have 12 years' worth of experience with StarCraft: Brood War. Will they be willing to jump ship when the sequel arrives? "We hope that if we make a good game, they'll come over," Browder says; but that doesn't mean he isn't a realist. "I don't expect every Brood War player to embrace StarCraft II. Many of these guys have 10-plus years with Brood War, and they're going to love that game no matter what we do with StarCraft II, and that's how it should be."

One potential setback is the game's famous lack of LAN support, crucial to ensuring lag-free gameplay particularly in the tournament scene, where milliseconds count and where forcing all connections through a limited bandwidth pipe would be infeasible. While Browder is enthusiastic about the idea of making the StarCraft II experience inseparable from Battle.net, arguing that the game is at its best when played between opponents of equal skill (via their matchmaking system) and when players are all part of the same huge community, he admits that the team is still mulling over how to handle tournament play.

While the "pseudo-LAN" option that would transmit data peer-to-peer over an ethernet connection while requiring players to stay logged into Battle.net is still the plan according to Browder, Blizzard hasn't finalized anything yet in terms of making sure tournaments are the best experience they can be. "We've gotten a ton of feedback; we've heard that even [the pseudo-LAN] isn't enough. I don't know what the final form will look like, how that will finally shake out - but we're really aware of the problem, and we've heard the feedback, and we're trying to deal with it."

Hang-ups and speed bumps aside, there's very little suggesting that StarCraft II won't be a massive hit - but can it have an impact anywhere close to that of the original? "Who knows?" says Browder.

"All we can do is build the best game we can make and hope the fans embrace it; get millions of them together and then we'll maybe know the answer to that question."

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