The 12th of next month will become a memorable date for fans of the Starcraft series because the newest sequel of the series, Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm will be release on that day by Blizzard. Starcraft is a very famous RTS game developed by Blizzard. Even nowadays, after 15 years after its first release in 1998, there are still people playing the game. Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty (SC2WOL), the sequel of Starcraft, also became fairly successful after its release on 27th July, 2010. Despite the sales record of SC2WOL is not bad, I will insist my view that it is not as successful as its precedence.
Lens 26: Rules
The rules is one of the factors that make StarCraft successful, but it is also a factor that cause SC2WOL not so successful. When StarCraft was released, there were not many games that use similar rules of playing, which we call that type of games RTS. RTS can be consider as a new type of game at that time; a lot of people had not played such games before that allows players build buildings, training units and then attack the emeries. Many people enjoyed playing this kind of games and became fans of RTS games. Although there were still some RTS games at that time, such as Red Alert, none of them could shake the dominant place of StarCraft in the area of RTS as there are some unique rules of StarCraft. For example, StarCraft has three races and each race’s units are different from others and players can choose their favorite race. Another rule is that StarCraft allows two players play the game with each other through Local Area Network, which causes the birth of e-sports. StarCraft also became the king of RTS games after many year of its release.
On the other hand, SC2WOL, as the sequel of StarCraft, inherits the rules of its precedence. However, the direct inheritance StarCraft makes SC2WOL not as successful as StarCraft because it is 2013 now and RTS games is no longer a new type of games. There are so many RTS games in the market and SC2WOL has nothing advantage to them. There are not any innovations of the rules of SC2WOL from StarCraft. The only change of SC2WOL maybe just some improvement of the graphics, so some people jokingly call it the HD version of StarCraft. Even though StarCraft is a very classical RTS game, but after playing it for 15 years, players are expecting some new rules introduced to the old ones so that it can keep attracting players.
Lens 47: Balance
Balance, especially unit balance, is the most important thing for RTS games. It ensures the fairness of the game so that no player has the privilege over others. However, unit balance is also a very difficult part for the game developers to control. Although they can make it completely balance by making all the players using some set of units, like the Red Alert, the interestingness of the game reduce because the combination of units and changes of the strategies reduce. Therefore, a good RTS game should achieve some degree of balance and StarCraft is considered to achieve this goal. Players of each of the three races take turns to win StarCraft tournaments. There is not any strategy of any race can have a certainty to win. That is also a reason why StarCraft can be the representative of RTS game.
Although Blizzard declares that SC2WOL is also quite balanced by show the winning rate of any pair of races which they collect from the Ladder, the fact is SC2WOL is not as balanced as StarCraft. Fans invented a word “imba” from imbalance to describe a race is too strong against other races. Last year was T imba as the race terrain dominant in most of the tournaments last and its turn for Zerg to be imba this year. Although developers in Blizzard are trying to balance the game, it is still not as balanced as StarCraft.
In conclusion, although SC2WOL cannot be considered as failure, it is far from the best RTS game as the fans are expecting. A lot of fans are still missing the classical StarCraft, so I hope that the release of the series, Heart of the Swarm, will have more improvement and create another era of StarCraft.
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