A Commentary About Blizzard Entertainment’s Recent Game Design Philosophy

Blizzard has been often criticized for making their games to be “unoriginal” and “watered down” versions of the other games in the genre. With the recent release of Overwatch, many people have been criticizing it for its similarity to Team Fortress 2. Hearthstone was widely criticized as a Magic the Gathering ripoff, Heroes of the Storm was labelled as a heavily dumbed down version of a MOBA, Diablo III was considered to be too simple by many Diablo II players. Despite all of these critcisms, all of these titles are still performing well and it is clear that the obscene levels of Blizzard polish is making their games shine. It makes you wonder how these so-called “unoriginal” and “watered down” games could possibly be successful. I won’t comment on Diablo III because I haven’t been a long time fan of the series however for the rest of the games, are these criticisms really justified?

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Monthly Log Blog 3 (October 2015) – Traffic Jam, StarCraft II Career Reflection and Negativity

My friend on facebook shared a link to ahotaku39‘s articles, and I decided to have a browse because I can potentially learn something or get inspired to write better articles. I noticed that he writes a lot of opinion posts just like I do and also he’s been doing it for roughly 3 years! A lot longer than I have been writing and he’s gained a following of over 1500 likes on Facebook. I took some time to browse his content and he lays out his points very well, and his logic is very sound. So I gave him a thumbs up on Facebook and followed his blog so I could read more of his great content in the future. On a whim, I decided to leave a comment on his ‘About page’, and I really didn’t think he would share any of my content. However, he went one step beyond that and endorsed my page. Flabbergasted, I couldn’t thank him enough for the shout out because this was exactly what I needed, more people who were interested in Anime to visit my blog and potentially engage with it.

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No, StarCraft II as an eSport isn’t a dead game

Let’s be honest, the numbers of StarCraft II fans have dwindled and with many old pros having abandoned ship and it’s easy to just assume the game is pretty much dead. However, I don’t buy that logic, it’s utterly flawed in so many ways and it just shows that many people just listen to and follow the trends rather than play the game they know and love, and sometimes just hate in a loving sort of way. Where did all that passion go my dear StarCrafters? Why are you extinguishing the flame which you want to keep alive? This post here is dispel the popular opinion and to remind you competitive gamers that StarCraft II is still alive and shooting through the age of MOBAs.

I’ve experienced this first hand, I’ve seen more people going to MOBARs and Pubstomps than going to BarCrafts. The first BarCraft I went to, filled up the entire bar and there were even themed cocktails to drink however there’s none of that anymore. The turnout of the BarCrafts went from an entire bar to just a handful people in a much smaller bar however the last BarCraft hosted by my society, Sydney Collegiate StarCraft, was a success. There are still many people who are still StarCraft II fans, and it’s just that they’re not turning up to the events.

There are a few excuses that people have when first trying out the game and saying that it is too difficult or that the game costs money to purchase whereas League of Legends or DoTA2 are free to play. Allow me to address these issues, as this shouldn’t be the reason your StarCraft II career ends before it even started.

An issue that people may have are the hotkeys, and it is understandable that they are hard to remember as a beginner. Firstly, there are ways to practice the game without having to resort to memorizing all the commands. For example, instead of learning to use all the units when you start off, you would just keep making one unit and gradually add more units to your army composition. People who say that StarCraft II is hard to get into may be just biting more than they can chew when first starting out. There are some great tutorials out there such as FilterSC Bronze to Masters series and Improve with Apollo that builds a solid foundation for you to build upon so you can actually become good at the game. Go check them out on youtube if you haven’t done so already.

The game also isn’t free, you have to buy it however you can also just play Starter edition which has a few restrictions and grab a friend who already has the game to do spawning. You get to play 2v2, 3v3 or 4v4 ladder for free just to get a taste of it with a friend covering for you as you learn the ropes. When it’s finally time for you to get rid of those training wheels, decide whether or not you like the game enough to warrant having your own account. If you don’t have a friend, there are many forums and clans you can join online and they’ll be happy to spawn you. A little explanation on spawning here.

Oh and by the way, the Terran only race restriction has been lifted so you can play all three races once spawned and also some information in the video above may be outdated at the time of posting of this article.

A bunch of people have left the game to play League of Legends, or DoTA 2, and StarCraft II just doesn’t seem to be all that popular anymore. So what do you do? Follow suit? If you want to stop playing because other games are more fun, I don’t blame you and it’s quite understandable. As for the veteran competitive players whether skilled or not who’ve left StarCraft II because other people are doing the same, what the hell are you doing? Sure, it’s not popular but don’t you find it fun to play the game? Seriously, if you like playing the game just stay, play it and ignore the popular opinion. Popularity shouldn’t dictate what you like or dislike, or if the game is fun or not so if you’re just jumping on the bandwagon I must ask you would you kindly stop?

If you truly still have a passion for StarCraft II, then why not just keep it alive despite what other people think? By leaving,you’re only going to contribute to the game “dying” even more and that’s exactly what us fans are trying not to do. We want to keep our passionate fire burning and raging on, we want to keep playing, we want to keep competing to be the best player we can ever be. It’s utterly foolish and ignorant to think that StarCraft II is a dead game just because other games are more popular and even more so to leave the game just because of this stupid reason despite still loving the game.

It’s better to stay, and keep doing your best to contribute to the community, and to part of it. At the end of the day, the StarCraft II community gives us our identity in this eSports world madness. We are the gamers who have mad skillz to macro, multitask and perform impressive strategies and beautiful micromanagement. Remember your passion and our place, my dear StarCraft II fan.

If you want the game alive, then please be more responsible as a StarCraft II fan to make sure the game stays that way. Introduce the game to your friends, play with them and have a good time with it. Participate in the events, watch streams, support the people involved, play in tournaments and get drunk at a BarCraft. No BarCraft? Try getting a group of people to help you organize one. Sure it’s not up to you to be responsible, it’s Blizzard’s job to maintain the game however that is not enough. Blizzard can only promote and keep improving the game and that will only take it so far. To genuinely have the game be more alive and well, I must ask of you StarCraft II fans to not just take from the game however but give back as well.

StarCraft II is only as dead as we fans want it to be so stop trampling over the embers that the people who are still passionate about are trying to reignite. Instead help out, and never lose sight of why StarCraft II is a game that you damn well want to play. Don’t lose heart, don’t let the fire of our passion die out. Be strong my dear fans, keep living the dream, and showing off your fighting spirit, and don’t stop believing.

Let’s end this on some really awesome music. Just because I can. Hell yeah.

Facing the enemy, We prideful gladiators.
Show them that they came to die.
Let me hear your battlecry!

Good Luck, Have Fun!

– Hayashi Sora