Will Starcraft II Become Boring?

BY Andrew Miesner / July 24, 2011

Will Starcraft II become boring?

by Jordan “analyze” Schultz

Any opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of compLexity Gaming or its parent company.

Brood War

Before I get started, this is not an editorial bashing Starcraft II because it is the game I have grown to love over the past few months. Starcraft: Brood War was, and still is, a game with one of the steepest learning curves. The micro and even macro in that game has almost no comparison to Starcraft II. For those of you who are not aware, in Brood War you could only hot key and or highlight twelve units at any given time. On top of that, you could not set rally points for any of your buildings and each individual building had to have its own hotkey. This means every time you made an SCV you had to manually send it to mine. The actions per minute required in Brood War are double, maybe even triple, what you have to do in Starcraft II. This means that in Brood War, no single player was perfect. There were and still are amazing players, but to perfect your game was nearly impossible.

In Starcraft II, being “perfect” is attainable, which could potentially make the game boring in the future. Why do I say this? Think about it… In every other game or sport you have one player who just dominates the rest such as Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, Lionel Messi and Flash to name a few. Whereas in Starcraft II the cap for perfection is so much lower than in Brood War that at any given tournament any player can win. There isn’t going to be a single player who steps up and completely takes over the Starcraft II scene with the expectation of winning every tournament he or she attends.

One major problem with Starcraft II is that you know within the first ten or fifteen minutes who is ahead and who will win the game 99% of the time.

One major problem with Starcraft II is that you know within the first ten or fifteen minutes who is ahead and who will win the game 99% of the time. Sure, there is that one percent where the player who is ahead makes a huge blunder and throws the game back in favor of his opponent, but it is so rare. In Brood War, if a player was behind they still had the chance to come back even if their army size was half their opponents and they could do it by strategy and excellent micro. In Starcraft II, all it takes is the player with the larger army to “A-click” and watch his or her army dominate.

Now some people might see this as no problem at all because everyone has a chance at winning. But in all reality, what happens a few years down the line when all the top pros have perfected their game? What happens when there is no diversity in play style and the game pretty much comes down to what build was a better counter? It all just seems like it is the recipe for a boring game.

Now I am not saying let’s make a game where the artificial intelligence is far below what the new technology permits. I say bring on the new technology, but make units that require some sort of babysitting. The best example of a “game changing unit” is the Infestor. Infestors have three abilities that are so powerful if they are used correctly. They can help zerg claw their way back into a lost game. But that’s just it, the next closest unit to the Infestor is the High Templar. High Templars are quite a unique and powerful unit that can change a game, but not nearly as well as an Infestor can. With the coming expansions, Blizzard should really look into adding several units like this per race so the game becomes more micro intensive and momentum can be shifted at any given time with the correct move.

Epic gear in WoW

One thing that has happened is that newer generation gamers have expected games to come easy to them. An excellent example of this is when Runescape II first came out. If you fought in the wilderness you had to be extremely cautious on what you brought with you because if you died, you only kept your three strongest items. As the years went on, Runescape took out the wilderness due to the newer generation complaining about how horrible it was if they lost their items. Runescape catered to the up and coming gamers rather than the older generations. Another game that has catered to a newer generation is another one by Blizzard, World of Warcraft. In Vanilla WoW, getting an epic item was actually due to skill, dedication and hard work. Now, all it takes is a few hours of PvP and you can grab yourself a purple.

I am not trying to bash on the new generation of gamers nor the companies that have begun making games easier for them. The companies are in it to make games, sure, but they also are in it for the money. Nothing turns away gamers like a bad looking or a near impossible game.

People made the switch to Starcraft II and started playing it because of how pretty it looks and how much less Actions Per Minute intensive it really is. But that could end up harming the game somewhere in the distant future.