Well I’ve almost completed the campaign. It fairs better than I initially thought, some later missions do add a little extra to the usual RTS structure. It is all window dressing of course, fundamentally you are still running the same tired RTS missions. The extra attention to detail makes each map a little more unique though, something that greatly adds to the fun.
I decided to try out the multiplayer aspect of the game. I am no veteran of Starcraft multiplayer, but I’ve been playing RTS’s since Dune 2. Build priorities, Rushes, Speed and resources are all aspects im familiar with.
The game gives you an initial 5 matches to determine how good you are. I lost four of those five. The match I did win came down to me destroying my opponents base while he, at that very moment, was trying to destroyed mine.
So I got seeded in Division Rank 4 Bronze League, whatever the hell that means. Bronze is not my favourite colour but I felt lucky to be getting that much.
I look forward to someone emailing me the ranking scale. Showing my particular shade of bronze to be dead bottom. With some fifty levels of “better than me” and varying hues of colour between me and Serene Carbonized Platinum League.
So why is the multiplayer a pile o shit? Well I’ll explain why.
So here I am Terran vs Protoss. Now at this point I know I need resources and I need them fast. I begin gathering minerals and I save for a barracks. Being rushed in the last two matches I wanted a few marines to hold of an attack.
Now I believe its at this point where things go wrong. Its also my main reason why I think playing this in multiplayer is so shit. In the last two matches I was rushed by just two units and lost the majority of my ability to collect resources. The game was finished for me a mere two minutes into the game. Unable to recover my opponent killed me piecemeal.
I dont have a problem with being rushed. My problem is in not being able to adapt to your opponent. I’ll come back to this.
At 2:49 mins my opponent now knows where I am; but importantly he doesn’t know anything else about my base. I could be building to spam out aircraft, tanks or deciding to turtle myself. He doesn’t know anyting about me at the moment.
8:00mins in and he sent in an attack force which I kill. At this point he was probably hoping for a rush kill, I’m not sure. What I’am sure of is that force was sent on a ‘guess’ nothing more. He didnt know what I had he just looked at his force and decided that it was probably enough to kill me. All guessing and judgement, the force got sent and the force died. With no time to adapt to the situation he lost resource points for nothing since he still did not get to see my base.
I decide to capitalize on this victory. I am ‘guessing’ that what he sent to my base was the brunt of his forces so I ‘hope’ to catch his base undefended. At this point I have no idea what he has. How large an army or how well entrenched he is. Im guessing.
Those streaks of blood are what remains of my guess. The huge war of the world rip-offs annihilated my ‘hope’
Galvanised by his victory he sends up his spiders and completely obliterates my army and base. This is Bronze shitty league people!
It is only afterwards looking at the replay that I can see just how far ahead my opponent is, but if I had sent down my army of three marines at the beginning I would have won.
Every strategic decision that was made in this game was made after the fact everything else was a guess, hope and prayer.
I’ve been told that the multiplayer games I play are to an outsider uninviting, intimidating even. Their rules and systems are so steeped in the genres history that the developers just expect you to know their intricacies. I agree with that to a certain extent. But in every online game I’ve enjoyed there is always an individual players ability to adapt. From Streetfighter 4 to counter strike. You may not know half of what is going on but you can still anticipate, learn and adapt to what is happening on screen.
In Starcraft 2 you are thrown into a game that bares no resemblence to the single player game. Their are no tips or advice given to you. You are expected to know everything about playing a human opponent. Not only that you are expected to know, to adapt to something you cannot see nor predict.
Its a problem systemic in RTS’s the fault doesnt lie with Starcraft 2 alone, but if I were to give one game the award for least welcoming online play it would be Starcraft 2. A few hours play will have you tearing your hair out. Regardless of winning or losing I felt the experience to be rather hollow. Which for a multiplayer game is criminal.
When I have won I know that it wasn’t by some master stroke of strategic manoeuvring. It was due simply to me guessing correctly and having the exact response needed to win.