StarCraft II Finally Gets (Some) Cross-Region Play

StarCraft II Finally Gets (Some) Cross-Region Play

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Blizzard is addressing another common criticism of its Battle.net service by linking different global regions together for some hot Zerg-on-Protoss action.

Last year's StarCraft II was a fantastic game in all senses: Its campaign was filled with brilliant mission design surrounding an engagingly cheesy space opera, and - after a slow start - its superb multiplayer has arguably become the most popular current e-sport around. Blizzard's Battle.net 2.0, on the other hand, faced considerable (and not unwarranted) criticism for offering inadequate features compared to its predecessor.

While some of these criticisms - a lack of global and customized chat channels, for one - have been addressed, many still linger over what is otherwise a perfectly functional matchmaking network. Today, Blizzard that it would be addressing another one of the complaints by letting players from different regions get their StarCraft on.

It's not the full cross-region play that some players have hoped for. Instead, Blizzard will be linking different regions together: North America and Latin America, the EU and Russia, and Taiwan and Korea (those poor Taiwanese). The reason for this, explained a representative in the official FAQ, is that the Battle.net data from these regions will still go through the same data centers, so players shouldn't see a noticeable increase in lag while playing.

Players will also be able to use the RealID feature to add real-life friends in the linked regions, if they so choose. The linked regions will also share the same ranked ladder, so it ought to be easier to find someone of your skill level via the standard matchmaking tool. Presumably it also works with World of Warcraft, seeing as how the mega-MMO shares the Battle.net system with StarCraft.

While this isn't quite as flexible as I (and others) might have hoped for, it's a good step - and one can only hope that it leads to full global play before too long. It's nice to see that Blizzard is trying to correct the flaws in its Battle.net service, even if it's doing so at its customary slothlike pace. How about an overhaul of the custom game browser next, huh?

As someone who still plays SC2 multiplayer on a regular basis, my biggest concern might be the language barrier in team games.

Quick, how do you say "I'm rushing Mutalisks" in Spanish?

(StarCraft II Blog)

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Yo estoy corriendo mutaliscos en espaņol.

I seriously doubt Windows Live Translator will help though.

I believe the word rush is universal for any starcraft player. Even the koreans and the chinese know that word.

This isn't cross region play - They've simply redefined their regions. This is complete spin to them shutting down datacenters to save money. This is bullshit, and we should not stand for it. Call a spade a spade, Escapist.

Well i know for a fact that i will keep boycotting this game until they add real cross region play.

How did Battle.net 2.0 end up being a downgrade, anyway? That seems like a strange problem.

John Funk:
Quick, how do you say "I'm rushing Mutalisks" in Spanish?

ZERG RUSH JEJEJEJEJEJEJE

Well, I don't see them responding to a real major criticism I've seen thrown about still. LAN. Not like its hard to fix either, because it would be an even easier thing to fix than this.

And, see a massive growth in the number of "Top Korean" players in their "region" in 3... 2... 1...

Oh, Taiwanese players have stopped playing Starcraft 2 and are boycotting the game until they are separated from those mechanical-precision motion-perfect monster-powerhouses, so the Korean players need to be linked to the Russia-oh... they stopped too? Well, that's alright since the EU regions are playing sti-... oh... Well! NA is still very much acti-... dammit... well at least there is the Latin players still playi-FUCK BLIZZARD YOU DONE SCREWED UP AGAIN!

mireko:
How did Battle.net 2.0 end up being a downgrade, anyway? That seems like a strange problem.

Simple. The new meaning of "upgrade" to Acti-Bliz is "remove the fuck out of them good ideas".

GauntletWizard:
This isn't cross region play - They've simply redefined their regions. This is complete spin to them shutting down datacenters to save money. This is bullshit, and we should not stand for it. Call a spade a spade, Escapist.

Read it again. Same datacenters as before, which means they're not shutting any down. They ARE linking them.

I agree that we need to keep pressuring them until they add full cross-region play, but like it or not this is a step, small though it might be. Any progress on that issue is progress.

mireko:
How did Battle.net 2.0 end up being a downgrade, anyway? That seems like a strange problem.

John Funk:
Quick, how do you say "I'm rushing Mutalisks" in Spanish?

ZERG RUSH JEJEJEJEJEJEJE

In some respects, it's absolutely superior to B.net 1.0. The matchmaking is great, and if I just want to hop on and find a game, it works perfectly. The trouble is that where it falters is in the services for more of the "core" gamers; the people who make custom maps, who want to play people in other regions, who want to set up clans and leagues.

I'd say for 70% of the people who just want to hop on and play the game, it's great. For the other 30%, it lacks a ton of features they're used to. Given that the 30% in question is vocal and also some of the most devoted PC gamers, it does make sense to try to accomodate their needs.

This is the best news I've heard all year.
Though I've known for a long time cross region play would come around the same time as Heart of The Swarm.
I may just pick up on playing StarCraft 2 again, I haven't played it in months.

John Funk:

I'd say for 70% of the people who just want to hop on and play the game, it's great. For the other 30%, it lacks a ton of features they're used to. Given that the 30% in question is vocal and also some of the most devoted PC gamers, it does make sense to try to accomodate their needs.

Don't forget the communal aspect of the first Battle.net. If I'm remembering right, there is no real "Chat" feature in the system, no channel. Just the shifty "Real ID" system that, personally, I still wouldn't trust with even a false name and address that leads to the house of Crom of Omicrai Persei 8.

In switching to a "Facebookish"-lite system, they discarded one of the original's strongest points. Hell, because of this they even walled off Starcraft 2 players from all of Battle.net. I don't even like to call their thing "Battle.net 2" because the original one is still up and running perfectly fine. And frankly, 2 denotes an upgrade of the infrastructure, a new version, not some brand new client which only shares a passing resemblance to its predecessor in name and company only.

cursedseishi:

John Funk:

I'd say for 70% of the people who just want to hop on and play the game, it's great. For the other 30%, it lacks a ton of features they're used to. Given that the 30% in question is vocal and also some of the most devoted PC gamers, it does make sense to try to accomodate their needs.

Don't forget the communal aspect of the first Battle.net. If I'm remembering right, there is no real "Chat" feature in the system, no channel. Just the shifty "Real ID" system that, personally, I still wouldn't trust with even a false name and address that leads to the house of Crom of Omicrai Persei 8.

In switching to a "Facebookish"-lite system, they discarded one of the original's strongest points. Hell, because of this they even walled off Starcraft 2 players from all of Battle.net. I don't even like to call their thing "Battle.net 2" because the original one is still up and running perfectly fine. And frankly, 2 denotes an upgrade of the infrastructure, a new version, not some brand new client which only shares a passing resemblance to its predecessor in name and company only.

They added chat channels a few months ago. I don't use them myself since I mainly play with random matchmaking - and RealID, which actually is way more convenient and useful than a lot of detractors make it out to be - so I don't know how akin they are to the chat channels in the original.

I'm not sure if they plan to fully integrate their old Bnet 1 games like WC3 and SC1 into Bnet 2 at some point. I can only imagine they will, because it doesn't make much sense to, like you said, run two completely different services when their stated aims have been to provide a communal space for all their communities.

Well this will solve SA biggest problem. That is, half the guys who bought it got the US digital version and got locked out of playing with their friends. I'm glad they fixed this, I was concerned about this happening when D3 comes out.

Also, a lot of us just "Spanishize" the word Rush. So it ends up being "Estoy Rusheando Mutaliskos"

John Funk:

They added chat channels a few months ago. I don't use them myself since I mainly play with random matchmaking - and RealID, which actually is way more convenient and useful than a lot of detractors make it out to be - so I don't know how akin they are to the chat channels in the original.

I'm not sure if they plan to fully integrate their old Bnet 1 games like WC3 and SC1 into Bnet 2 at some point. I can only imagine they will, because it doesn't make much sense to, like you said, run two completely different services when their stated aims have been to provide a communal space for all their communities.

Ahh, I still follow news for the game, but I don't really remember hearing anything about them adding in channels though. If it provides a way for people to create their own channels, and have others join it, with a decent cap on the number allowed (40 in the original Battle.Net), it should be fine.

Yet what I'm concerned about then, is that those who are playing on SC2, the damage is already done. They are so used to being forced to use the Real ID for any true communication with others, that they no longer see a use for Chat Channels, while those used to the original are just fine with their "/f m" and "/(w)hispe(r)" and the like and don't see the use in Real ID, which places restrictions on just who you can message like that.
And I'm used to the latter, because lets face it, anyone you know that you trust enough to know your real name, will more than likely already have multiple ways to contact you, whether its via text, phone, or IMs, if not in person or even Facebook if they so desire.

cursedseishi:

John Funk:

They added chat channels a few months ago. I don't use them myself since I mainly play with random matchmaking - and RealID, which actually is way more convenient and useful than a lot of detractors make it out to be - so I don't know how akin they are to the chat channels in the original.

I'm not sure if they plan to fully integrate their old Bnet 1 games like WC3 and SC1 into Bnet 2 at some point. I can only imagine they will, because it doesn't make much sense to, like you said, run two completely different services when their stated aims have been to provide a communal space for all their communities.

Ahh, I still follow news for the game, but I don't really remember hearing anything about them adding in channels though. If it provides a way for people to create their own channels, and have others join it, with a decent cap on the number allowed (40 in the original Battle.Net), it should be fine.

Yet what I'm concerned about then, is that those who are playing on SC2, the damage is already done. They are so used to being forced to use the Real ID for any true communication with others, that they no longer see a use for Chat Channels, while those used to the original are just fine with their "/f m" and "/(w)hispe(r)" and the like and don't see the use in Real ID, which places restrictions on just who you can message like that.
And I'm used to the latter, because lets face it, anyone you know that you trust enough to know your real name, will more than likely already have multiple ways to contact you, whether its via text, phone, or IMs, if not in person or even Facebook if they so desire.

Don't use them myself so I don't know the specifics, but yes I believe that custom channels were part of it that anyone could join.

And I really disagree with you on the RealID bit. For example, I found out that a trainer at my gym plays SC2, so we exchanged RealID so we could play sometimes - I don't know him really well, but we certainly know each others' names, and it's fun to play together like that. My cousin plays too, and it's easy to just swap RealID and play together when we can.

Would I love a second "FakeID" layer over it - with the functionality, but a screen name as opposed to a real name? Absolutely, you bet. But the RealID system actually works pretty damn well for the most part, and I like being able to chat with my SC2 friends when I'm WoWing or vice versa.

And for all of the flak that it took for the Facebook integration, I actually found it really convenient. I linked it with my Facebook on a whim, and found four or five people I hadn't spoken with since high school who were all playing SC2 regularly - and now we do team matches. I totally get that people don't find it useful personally, but that's not to say that it isn't useful for anybody, because it is.

Bnet 2.0 has a long way to go before it'll reach the level of its predecessor. I'm just happy to see steps made in the right direction, you know?

John Funk:

Don't use them myself so I don't know the specifics, but yes I believe that custom channels were part of it that anyone could join.

Ahh, well that is definitely good to hear. The ability to make custom channels can go a long way to helping with forming Clans/Guilds and having a place to converse, though it would require the use of a bot or something, or their own channel, to have any permanent base so to speak.

And I really disagree with you on the RealID bit. For example, I found out that a trainer at my gym plays SC2, so we exchanged RealID so we could play sometimes - I don't know him really well, but we certainly know each others' names, and it's fun to play together like that. My cousin plays too, and it's easy to just swap RealID and play together when we can.

Would I love a second "FakeID" layer over it - with the functionality, but a screen name as opposed to a real name? Absolutely, you bet. But the RealID system actually works pretty damn well for the most part, and I like being able to chat with my SC2 friends when I'm WoWing or vice versa.

Ahh fair enough, though in a way that's more of an exception than the rule to me. You know each other well enough for names, but not much more, in real life, which kind of fits with Real-ID. I wouldn't exactly be one to do that though based off an in-game meeting so I'd be far more hesitant to give my real-ID/name out to them. A "Secret-ID" would definitely be awesome though.

And for all of the flak that it took for the Facebook integration, I actually found it really convenient. I linked it with my Facebook on a whim, and found four or five people I hadn't spoken with since high school who were all playing SC2 regularly - and now we do team matches. I totally get that people don't find it useful personally, but that's not to say that it isn't useful for anybody, because it is.

Bnet 2.0 has a long way to go before it'll reach the level of its predecessor. I'm just happy to see steps made in the right direction, you know?

Part of my issue with that last bit, might just be I'm no fan of Facebook I'll admit. I have one, but only because a few friends made me make one, despite the fact we keep in touch mainly through phone and IM, partly because those are quicker, and partly because we don't stay logged on enough to them to really use it as an alternative to communication.

And I definitely agree, taking steps like adding channels, among a few other things definitely shows an improvement that seems like it could easily eclipse the original. It just needs to drop a few walls here or there, and build a door in another place, and they could easily push this iteration as the "True" Battle.net Experience.

They have a long way to go: LAN, spawned multiplayer copies, the amazingly slow speed of 'Battle.net 0.2'...

Anyone worked out why it can take 10+ seconds just to load a list of maps even in offline mode?

Hey, maybe I'll finally be able to play with my friends that decided to go with the local version instead of the NA version! I chose the NA version because at launch no-one I knew locally would buy the game and some friends from the NA would buy it. And since the datacenter were in NA even for the LA version, why bother?

"Estoy haciendo rush de Mutalisks."

Also, I'm really glad, I had a "limited" account way back then, which let me play for 6 months, but when I got to the diamond league and then proceeded to be on the top 10 players when I was quite positive that I was a pretty shitty player, and with custom games being reduced as hell (Oh surprise, not many people play on LA servers) I stopped playing, so I'm really glad this is going to happen, definitely will buy the full account now and check it out.

NOTE: When I played Diamond was the highest league, there was no Grand Master and such.

In Spanish you say "no pienso compraros el juego hasta que no se pueda jugar en LAN. Que os follen, Blizzard".

Except they didn't merge SEA, which arguably needed to be merged into the NA servers the most.

SEA players already have access to the NA realms so people are constantly rerolling onto the NA realms from here. The entire region is almost redundant at this point.

I would have moved to NA if it wasn't for the 2.6k achievement points on my SEA account.

here in LA, we say: Voy a rushear con mutas.
or voy por mutaliscos.
or somthing along those lines

How about lan support blizz?

funksobeefy:
How about lan support blizz?

Obviously LAN is economic suicide.

If a game has LAN support, it gets pirated, because people obey to the laws of economics. Why would they pay for something they can have for free?

And in the same way, why would Blizzard make a feature that effectively reduces their income?

And I believe the server merge is good, as long as we don't get lag or other issues in return.

Funny how League of Legends splits their servers, and Blizz merges them. And in both cases, people hate.

 

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