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Gaming StarCraft 2 Beta First Impressions

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Sifter3000, 9 Mar 2010.

  1. pimonserry

    pimonserry sounds like a party.

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    Great preview I thought, confirmed for me that this isn't my sort of game; I'll stick to WIC and CoH.

    And some of these comments are hilarious, it's just a game (or two), not a life-changing experience.
     
  2. iggy

    iggy Active Member

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    simple solution: fire everyone in the office who hasnt played starcraft.
     
  3. Psytek

    Psytek New Member

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    ITT - people who think opinions can be wrong VS people who like arguing with 13 year olds.
     
  4. iggy

    iggy Active Member

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    what a clever evaluation. well done.

    personally i stopped reading when Joe claimed to have never played the first game and immediately started drawing comparisons against it.

    edit: might be of note that i too never enjoyed starcraft. i was always far more partial to total annihilation.
     
  5. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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    If we had other people who had played the game and who had the time, maybe we would have had them preview the game - but maybe we wouldn't of. It's really a moot point. Many times a fresh perspective is as valid and less biased than experienced point of view.

    For example, I remember the Monkey Island: Special Edition situation. It's a series I know an incredible amount about. I've played every game in the series multiple times, interviewed most of the developers, I can speedrun the game easily. I'm an expert at Monkey Island and I'm also, when all else is said and done, the only person on the team who writes about games.

    Yet, when it came to review time I asked Rich to do it. I didn't want to bring in any bias, even accidentally. I talked to Rich about the game and explained the good parts of it he might miss, just as James and Jamie explained to me about StarCraft when I did this review. Rich then considered this information and wrote a review separate from me, which even though I disagreed with it, I accept as fair because his opinion was informed and valid.

    I understand you might not agree with the review and you might not have got the opinion you would expect out of it, but I'm not going to apologise for looking at things differently. I disagree with many of the game reviews that appear in Maxim or Bizarre, but I don't go shouting at people about it because I know that those reviews approach things from a different perspective and different audience. That's exactly what we've done here - not approached it from a hardcore SC2 fan POV, but from a newcomers POV. I explicitly discuss that and deal with the article from that perspective - a transparency which is totally correct, I believe.

    I take your point that there could be more detail, more discussion of specific units. Bear in mind though that this article is

    1) based on a beta where new ideas are in and out faster than you can say Ron Jeremy
    2) a 'first impressions', not a full-on preview (the difference being the time spent with the game and the tone of the article)
    3) Already about twice the length of any first impressions you're likely to see on a site like bit-tech
    4) Aimed at approaching the game from a newcomers perspective and isn't supposed to cater to the hardcore SC2 player who wants to know about DPS changes.
    5) Supposed to be an entertaining and approachable article - not a manual or changelog

    So, we delve into a few specific things but we mostly stay back and talk about the overall experience and describe how the game as a whole works - information that's likely to be static throughout the beta, useful to newcomers and easily digested.

    Sure, I could include 'war stories', but the decision to switch to New Games Journalism is a personal thing. I'm not going to seriously sit back and debate whether an article like this would be improved by switching to the first person and detailing how I got my ass kicked by a Korean kid who called himself GOKUfan55. It's pointless, speculative and just plain dull.

    Likewise, I'm not going to dignify your baiting allegations that I'm getting bribed by Activision or something. I'm not. I've never been offered cash for review scores or impressions (and Activision barely talk to me most of the time, the basts). I find the insinuation insulting because personal honour is something quite important to me and because I am always 100 percent honest and open with any readers on these issues.

    If the article didn't cater to your expectations then that's fine, but as you can see from some of the comments here, plenty of people did find it useful. At the end of the day, if you're looking for an in-depth analysis of the beta then there are sites and articles to cater to that and this doesn't have to be one of them purely because you demand it - especially when, it seems to me, you don't actually want to hear what I honestly have to say or hear what the BT staff think, you just want to hear your own opinions echoed back at you.

    A problem I was aware of, but was unable to avoid. There is a difference between having played and enjoyed a game and simply knowing about it. Still, as I've maintained, if you want the opinion of a hardcore SC2 fan then there are plenty out there - and some in this thread. All I can do is be open and try not to waste your time by pretending to be something I'm not.
     
  6. zelachang

    zelachang New Member

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    As a disclaimer I'm an avid SC fan. I stay up at 5 AM so I can watch koreans play Starcraft. I spent a few years of my youth on brood war.
    With that said, I started playing beta a few days after it was open and this review really doesn't do the game justice. I have a lot of issues with some of the comments made which don't seem to make much sense.

    Its way easier to fend off a zergling rush in SC2 than in broodwar. Obviously if you're new to the game you will die quickly. If I scout your base and see that you're taking a greedy economy oriented build, or really that you're just new to the game, I will end it. No point wasting time. Maybe you could have the argument that build orders and timing is something the newcomer won't know but I can't think of an RTS where there is some sort of learning curve. Which brings me to my second quote.
    This is patently false. The first part of the statement is true, build orders are a core of Starcraft and to succeed you need a toolbox of different build orders for reacting to different builds. The second part is where I have issue. High ground isn't what it used to be but it is still of strategic importance. Why else would it exist in the game if it didn't do anything? If I have 8 siege tanks on a cliff and you just have ground units you will get destroyed. You can nullify the high ground advantage by scanning or using a flying unit to get vision but a well placed unit can totally change the tide of the battle. Flanking is also of utmost importance in a high end game. The games you played probably involved people just A-moving into each other, balls of units clashing until one ball rolls over the other ball. If one person were to arrange his units into a concave however while the other stayed in a ball, the concave army would do much better (for obvious reasons). Its not uncommon to see pincers or flanks and with a well planned move you can effectively neutralize the opponents army. Scouting is also incredibly important, not just for knowing the enemy's unit composition but for timing. One of my favorite things to do is keep an SCV outside my opponents base and wait for his army to move out. As soon as they're a good distance away, rush my hellions of reapers in and annihalate his economy. If the enemy doesn't know what I'm doing that is incredible power.

    I can see why you would be frustrated with this beta. There's a mix of people playing right now, hardcore veterans, lucky newcomers, idiotic WoW players who went to blizzcon, and probably a few journalists. There is a large skill gap between those who know and those who don't which is why it may seem like no matter what you do it doesn't matter (there should be a way to succeed! if you sent me a few replays I could tell you what you need to do ;). Thats more because a few of the people you're playing against have had about 10 years more practice time than those who just got in this beta with no prior starcraft experience. I'm confident that with the official release you can spend some time playing the single player and get a more in-depth knowledge of the game before going online you would have a much better experience.
     
  7. h0ncho

    h0ncho New Member

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    Hello Joe. I can imagine not liking SC2 when you obviously have very little knowledge of the RTS genre in general. This comes, by the way, from someone who didn't like SC1.

    Your main complaints seem to be that:
    1. it involves no real battle strategy (!) 2. the races are too equal to each other (!!!) 3. you cannot order a unit before you have the money to do so, and 4. it all comes down to a rush anyways.(sigh)

    1. This claim reveals that you are unfamiliar with the concept of Micro. Micro-based gameplay was championed by Starcraft. Micro is essentially the practice of giving your troops precise orders with correct timing (such as the use of special abilities, focus fire etc), and has to be called battle strategy.
    2. Starcraft has much more diverse races than any other RTS I've played, much more so than C&C as you previously mention. Indeed this is one of the most celebrated and most widely respected features of SC.
    3. You claim that having to pay up front "is a tiny tweak, but it radically changes to flow of the game". This is ridiculous. Not only is timing production really easy, but even in your previously mentioned C&C production stops if you don't have the money, which means that moderately competent players have to time their production in that game as well.
    Also, calling it a "tweak" is sort of strange seeing as it is a much more common model than the pay-as-you-go model of C&C.
    4. To answer this one I have to quote an article from another site on the net, "3 easy ways to tell you're an RTS noob" (linky: http://www.gamereplays.org/portals.php?show=page&name=3-easy-ways-to-tell-youre-an-rts-noob):
    "1. You whine about getting rushed

    When playing an RTS game online, do you often find that your opponent manages to curb stomp your base before you’re able to set up any defenses or build an army of your own? Do you feel it’s unfair that you didn’t have a chance to make your base neat and organized or eat your bacon butter cake frosting Hot Pocket? If yes, chances are you were dropped on your face as a baby and it has caused permanent trauma to your cerebral cortex.


    Why this makes you a noob
    In case it wasn’t clear when you bought the game, you’re playing a real time strategy title. That means doing things before your opponent has a chance to do other things is part of the game. In fact, it’s not just part of the game, it’s the entire point of it. You’re supposed to do things faster than your opponent, and if that means building an army and attacking right away, so be it. Complaining about getting rushed in a real time strategy game is like complaining that the tuna sandwich you ordered has tuna in it.
    What good players do
    Rather than complaining about rushing and getting so mad that they rupture their family jewels, normal players simply assume that if they lost early on in the game that something was wrong with their build order and/or strategy. The next time they play, they’ll try something different to see if it works better."



    One cannot expect someone who is a fan of Hip Hop, and only Hip Hop, to meaningfully review a ballet performance. Similarly one cannot expect someone who is obviously unfamiliar with the most basic RTS-genre conventions to make any meaningful comment about SC2, which this article proves.
     
  8. oygp

    oygp New Member

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    LOL.. the level of noobishness in this article and in some of these comments is extreme. I can understand because you guys have been missing out on the starcraft phenomenon over the past decade. Thus, it's inevitable that you completely miss the point when it comes to starcraft II.

    The complaint about the effectiveness of rushing in Starcraft II is very silly. Getting rushed by zerglings and losing in the first minutes of the game is like losing in CHESS in just FOUR MOVES. If you played chess at all, you know it's possible to lose in four moves, but seriously, does any chess game between skilled players ever end that quickly? Don't blame Starcraft or Chess. Rather, blame yourself for not knowing the game well enough to play it on even the most BASIC level. It's as if you didn't know how or what the pawns, rooks, bishops, or castles do in Chess and you expect to have fun playing Chess.

    The most distinguishing factor about Starcraft and Starcraft II that you are missing here is the DEPTH of strategy. Simple strategies work very well in Starcraft (make units as fast as possible and attack). Complex strategies work better. Very complex strategies work even better. And then super crazy insane strategies that are seriously unattainable by any but a select few players work the best.

    Economy is less than half the game. It's essential, but more important is strategy. If you just make a horde of zealots or zerglings, and your economy is the best, you're still going to lose if the other player goes with air units or some other land unit that just annihilates melee units. Simple example. it is a lot more complicated than that.

    Okay, if you want a game that allows you to be lazy and sit on your fatass (just figuratively) and win and get that "FEEL GOOD" vibe, then play ANY other game than Starcraft. Starcraft is all about pure strategy and skill. It's intense. It's about winning over the other player with pure intelligence and speed. The nature of the game evolves over time as the BEST players literally change the game by inventing new strategies or even using new combinations or configurations of old units to achieve astoundingly different results.

    Maybe it's this RACE to the top. The striving to be the BEST. The STRUGGLE to win. The mind blowing COMPLEXITY beneath the simple surface of the game. Starcraft aims to be something like Chess or a sport from the Winter or Summer Olympics, where the level of skill involved makes it extremely clear who is the single best player in the world. That's not something you can say about "The Sims" or even "Command and Conquer"

    The skill and depth and complexity of Starcraft is there. It exists. I'm not being elitist or fanboi-like when I say that you're all just TOO NOOB to see it. Try following one of Gary Kasporov's chess games, and would you understand it or enjoy it at all? Personally, I'm not even that good at Starcraft, even though I can beat 90-95% of all players out there. I'm not good because I'm not in that 5%, or 1%, or top 100.
     
  9. Byron C

    Byron C And now a word from our sponsor

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    Wow. Just... wow.

    But then that wouldn't be a proper review. A review is supposed to offer an un-biased opinion.



    Opinions are like arseholes: we've all got 'em, and they all stink.
     
  10. Gonzalo-Gonads

    Gonzalo-Gonads New Member

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    Total annihilation was always the better game!
     
  11. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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    Please stop referring to this as a review. It's not a review. It's a first impressions - or a preview, if you prefer. We're not passing lasting judgement on the game or anything of the sort.
     
  12. timmehtimmeh

    timmehtimmeh Member

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    When the game launches, please get someone who actually played the original a bit to review it Bit-Tech. Much as I appreciate where the author of this article is coming from re: never having played it. I can see where you are coming from re: its a game of build the economy as fast as possible but thats what the original was. Perhaps even get 2 authors to review it? :)

    The LEAST you could have done was to install the older version, try out a few maps and then give an opinion.

    The only thing I can flaw it on so far is that the game doesn't look anywhere near as good as the likes of say Dawn of War. (even the first DoW seemed to have better animations of guns firing / stuff blowing up)
     
  13. Project_Nightmare

    Project_Nightmare New Member

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    I'm worried about the DRM Blizzard is great with its DRM from previous games, however Activision is a greedy god that forces you to crack your own games to play.
     
  14. Fozzy

    Fozzy New Member

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    I kind of think this review is ridiculous. Every paragraph you bashed the game for being too much like the original, not enough like C&C, and only being capable of a zerg rush. You obviously never played starcraft 1 which I realize you admitted to....several times. My main point is that you should not be the person reviewing this game. You wouldn't ask Mike Tyson for his opinion on baseball, why would we ever want yours on Starcraft?

    I wouldn't consider myself a die hard fan but I have to admit your reviews consistently emit strong bias in one direction or another. If you can't take a neutral stance then you shouldn't write reviews. Stating your biased opinion then barely counterclaiming it does NOT make you neutral.
     
  15. smc8788

    smc8788 ...at least I have chicken

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    :duh:
     
  16. Tunor

    Tunor New Member

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    Another point of view by newbie to genre:
    "Players who are interested in getting into an RTS game, but keep getting scared away. Blizzard has completely revamped its ubiquitous online gaming infrastructure, Battle.net, and come up with a system that welcomes RTS newbies with open arms."

    Found this from http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2010/02/starcraft-ii-beta/
     
  17. Skiddywinks

    Skiddywinks Member

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    While I can definitely appreciate the fact this type of traditional RTS is not your cup of tea Joe, the issue I have is the (for lack of a better phrase) short sightedness and inaccuracy. Many of these have been brought up, such as the much more than cosmetic differences between races (in fact, every unit is unique, and usually has it's own killer tactic. Far cry from WC2 in which there were just some stat changes and a different sprite).

    However, the fact you are getting rushed is perhaps a sign that maybe you just don't understand the game so well. For example, the Protoss seem to me to be very anti-Zerg (which would make sense given the lore); the Sentry can cast a force field that blocks off a fair chunk. Get two of these together, and you can throw up a barrier to prevent any Zerg rush in a second. They are cheap units, and only need a Forge or Cybernetics Core to produce (can't actually remember which). Likewise their Collosus fires in lines across the battlefield, which is great for frying Zergs in large numbers (what the Zerg are best at, as evidenced by the fact that unit production is handled differently (spawn a Queen and use the Larva ability on the Hive, and you can get 14 Zerglings! Madness!).

    Terran's supply depots can basically burrow, as I am sure you noticed. So make walls of them. You need to build them anyway to start making an army, so why not? Throw a bunker or two nearby and you are laughing. Siege tanks only make it even more effective.

    The thing with SC2 is it is very micro-management intensive when you play competitively. You need to prioritise targets, and use your unit's differences to their advantage. Terran Marauders for example slow with each hit. If you are being attacked by Zerglings (fast *******s they are), you want to be shooting, running, shooting, running, etc. If you just stand there shooting you are really going to get your ass handed to you. You are just wasting a very useful ability.

    There is a counter for everything in SC/SC2 (even Mothership + Carriers), it is just a case of finding it and practicing. Vast armies can often be taken out by insignificant forces, just by playing all of their advantages.

    Of course, a lot of it has to do with the economy, I'm not about to deny that. But having said that, I never played SC1 competitively so got accustomed to turtling like a mofo. Obviously I got the **** kicked out of me for a few games, but you quickly learn the best strategies and starting orders. If 5 years of solid turtling can be turned around by a few games, then I see no reason why anyone else can't get the hang of it. Granted, if it's not your type of game, then I don't exactly demand you like it, but some of your points in the preview are just ridiculous.

    Mainly the suggestion that it "doesn’t actually involve any real battle strategy". With the massive differences in units (despite your assurances that they are mainly cosmetic, being another point I take issue with), I rarely see a game with this much battle strategy. Just because you have not mastered the defence of an early game rush (sometimes still even get me, so it's no dig on your skillz) does not mean the whole game revolves around everything that precedes it (namely economy). A good economy is no doubt required, but so is skill and intelligence, and you will often find more of one can help a lack of another, but isn't that a good thing? And true of every resource based strategy?

    As for your issue with having to have the resources to queue units, I don't really see much of a problem with that, as it keeps things much simpler and stops everything from just grinding to a halt. I ****ing love SupCom, and that is one thing that can seriously ruin your game. Obviously you plan for it not happening, but no ones perfect. In SupCom that mechanic works, since the resource system is a lot more fleshed out, and it needs to be to support such vast armies. However, when it comes to them having the same credit building as SC2 in SupCom2, well, that's a problem. That is a step back in a game that prided itself on such a system. SC1 and 2 never have been and never will be that kind of game. Besides, I can't really think of any game other than the first SupCom that allows you to queue units you can't yet afford, so I don't really see the point of bringing such a mechanic up other than for the sake of it.

    Also, if you can't scroll out further than those stupidly close screenshots, then your mousewheel is broken.

    Look, I'm, sorry, but some people have brought up some very good points about the preview (including some I have covered again), and you have not addressed any of them, and instead focused on the personal attacks (which are uncalled for, I agree) or the argument of opinion.

    While I think the arrogance and aggressiveness of some people here is seriously shameful, your preview does have some issues, and I think the reason some people are kicking off so much is that a lot of the things you state in the preview are straight up wrong.

    Meh, essay over.
     
  18. Skiddywinks

    Skiddywinks Member

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    Also, one last point about the rush, is that it is rarely ever expected to win the game. It is just good practice to distract and pester opponents. Time spent defending is time not spent building armies. Likewise, if you can sneak a single Drone/SVC into the enemies base early on, you can start attacking their resource collectors, with the default reaction usually being select all collectors and attack. All this time, even if your drone dies, they won't be gathering resources and you will be. If you can run away and come back to attack them again, even better.

    Well, a proper Zergling rush might be expected to win the game, but other than that it is mainly out of spite :p
     
  19. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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    I'd defend the fact that I don't understand the game with simply the fact that there's little room too. There's no tutorial etc and, as the title of this article hints, it's a first impression - not a review based on the complete game. I also reaffirm that pictures like this represent the maximum I could zoom out. No, my mouse isn't broken.

    Still, I do take all the comments people offer on board and accept that misunderstandings over what I've written are at least partly my fault as a writer, even if I do stand by everything I've said previously.

    Either way, I'll try and spend more time with the game before launch and the review will be written by the usual RTS-man, Harry. He's the king of micro, as many of you will know (even though he too has never played SC. In fact, only Jamie and James have). Me, I'll try and blog my experience with it for those that want a newcomers perspective.
     
    Last edited: 9 Mar 2010
  20. Muunsyr

    Muunsyr New Member

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    I feel I have been let down by BT yet again. I would normally read a "first impressions" or a preview of a game to find out what it is about. Here the only thing I took away was that you weren't happy with the game, and that you didn't understand it very well. I won't go on here, but I do feel that both zelachang and idontwannaknow have made some very valid points (even if some were tied up with inflamatory comments).

    As highly anticipated starcraft2 is a sequel, and one of a highly popular first, I expected a "first impressions" to cover what had changed between the first, and what had remained. I certainly wasn't expecting the "impressions of a first time starcraft player". And I definitely didn't want that. Does it not make sense to leave the impressions of a first time starcraft player till the full review? And in the meantime keep it less biased, and more informative?


    1) It's at beta, and a pretty refined one at that; that means "new ideas" are not coming and going willy nilly, it means that unless some major flaws are discovered, new ideas probably won't be considered. A reason to include more of these starcraft specific details in your preview/impressions
    2) As above, not what I would expect from an established publication for a "first impressions". I certainly didn't want to hear hate in the article, I wanted to hear perhaps a little excitement or apprehension depending on the previewer's opinion. I wanted to hear what sort tactics were used.
    3)I don't care how long or short the article is, I would prefer higher quality
    4) This is the beta, you said so yourself. Surely it is not a good idea to approach from a newcomers perspective when the beta is going to be full of the hard core players? When the single player isn't out to introduce the concepts of the game? If you insist on the perspective, surely it is your duty to point out some of the concepts and strategies one can use to win? I don't think people are after DPS numbers - after all, that IS the sort of thing that DOES change in a beta.
    5) I am not entertained. And I never wanted a manual or changelog. If I did, I would go elsewhere.

    It should be noted that I am not a hardcore player. I was introduced to it about 4 years ago by my flatmate. I much prefer the strategic supcom as an rts than the micro starcraft - but thats not to say I don't appreciate starcraft for what it is, nor is it to say I haven't enjoyed it. My flatmate showed me many strategies and tactics to starcraft, and while he is far more skilled than I, I doubt he is hardcore either. I can't micro to save myself, and I doubt either of us can click half as fast as a 16y/o on high levels of caffeine and guerana. But there are definately tactics and strategies that can be used, to suggest otherwise suggests the game hasn't been reviewed properly.

    Not happy.
     
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