Monday, June 29, 2009
Starcraft 2 Multiplayer Beta Preview
On an elementary level, Starcraft II is simply the original StarCraft remade with 3D graphics and new audio. After all, a game with such a dedicated player base and competitive following shouldn't take any risks in alienating its fans through a complete reinvention of the game. Starcraft is currently one of the most competitive e-sports games in the world and has even been called the unofficial national sport of South Korea. What makes Starcraft 2 so appealing to old school players is that the game has retained many of its basic principles, while the changes that were made are enough to make a StarCraft veteran pause and think about everything that can be done differently.
As of now the StarCraft II multiplayer beta is currently underway with signups available on Battle.net. Like the original, StarCraft 2 will feature three playable races, the Terran, Protoss, and Zerg, all of which who have received new units and technologies. In addition to new units and abilities there are also some glaring gameplay changes from the first. One of the most controversial gameplay changes made in StarCraft 2 is the removal of the old 12 unit selection system in favor of an unlimited number of units. This means that you can now control your entire army at once instead of individually hotkeying groups and controlling multiple groups at once.
In addition higher ground is now of the utmost importance. Units will have an advantage when firing down at enemies below which could make elevation one of the cornerstones of playing StarCraft II successfully. There are also new Xel'naga watchtowers which are exceptional when scouting. These towers are activated when a ground unit is moved close to the building and provides a large line of sight. There are also destructible barriers placed at various locations on the map which can be used to create an alternate route or shortcut, but beware, any player can make use of a destroyed barrier. There are also high-risk, high-yield golden minerals placed at strategic locations on the map and are also ideal expansion locations.
Also on the list of new improvements added to SC2 is a wide array of replay options and statistics to show you exactly what happened in your previous game. Replays can now be fast forwarded and rewound which will let you re-watch game changing battles and see exactly what course of action your opponent took. There are also a number of useful statistics tracked during a match such as Actions Per Minute(APM), resources gathered, units in play, and so on. After any given match, you can even see a players specific build order, letting you see the exact second a building or unit was completed.
Some critics are currently concerened about StarCraft II shying away from its roots and becoming more noob-friendly due to new selection methods and units. However they will quickly learn that StarCraft 2 is just as fast-paced and difficult as ever.