Blizzard is all too aware of the outrage sparked from its controversial decision to omit LAN support from StarCraft 2, but VP of Game Design Rob Pardo thinks that once the game is out, people will realize that the omission is really "no big deal."
Speaking with Kotaku's Mike Fahey this weekend at BlizzCon, Blizzard's executive vice president of game design, Rob Pardo, was asked to comment on the community outrage erupting from the lack of LAN support in the upcoming StarCraft 2 - an outrage that has spawned a 100,000-signature-strong petition.
Pardo indicated that the PC developer was very aware of the issue, joking that they were only continuing to get flack "[F]rom you guys. Only from the press. Everyone else has accepted it." Turning serious, Pardo acknowledged that the flack would likely continue until the game was released, but said that he believed that time and history would be on Blizzard's side - once people actually got their hands on the game and the new Battle.net, it wouldn't be a problem anymore.
Everyone is going to give us flack until it's out. None of us is going to know how big a deal it is until it's out. We believe that it's really not that big of a deal - that most people are not really going to notice that it's missing. There's a lot of people out there I think that are just afraid that they're suddenly not going to be able to connect to the internet tonight and they won't be able to play. I actually think that case is extremely rare, and I think we're going to be okay.
"Extremely rare"? Well yeah, that's something that I can agree with - but doesn't that mean that such a case will exist?
Wait, what's this? Hang on a minute, don't break out the tar and feathers just yet. What about those few "extremely rare" cases where direct connectivity will be problematic, if not impossible? Pardo says that the company won't leave them out in the cold:
"There's a few legitimate cases that we're going to try and address over time. Location-based tournaments, or let's say I'm in a dorm with a firewall or something like that, hopefully there's a way to determine that and maybe start a peer-to-peer game."
This leaves me wondering what the SC2 machines on the BlizzCon floor were running on. When I mopped the floor with Keane, I didn't notice so much as the tiniest bit of latency - so if the game was running via Battle.net, then that'd be a good thing. If it was running on a LAN, then... well, I have no idea what exactly that would indicate, but it'd sure as hell be confusing.
Either way, neither we nor Blizzard have any way of knowing how the dropping of LAN functionality will affect the game until it comes out. Pardo is probably right in that it won't be a deal-breaker for the vast majority of gamers (really, when was the last time any of us had a genuine LAN party? This is an office full of gamers, and we couldn't find anyone who's LANned recently) but even so, time will be the only judge of this.
In any case, it's almost becoming overkill for this poor dead horse. Can we go back to complaining about the colors in Diablo III already?