Without a doubt, Blizzard’s upcoming sequel Starcraft II is one of the most anticipated games in recent memory. The first Starcraft created such hardcore fan appreciation that up to this day — 11 years after it was released — thousands of people still play the game. That is unprecendented and anyone would be hardpressed to think of any game that gains this level of longevity.
One of the reasons for the fans’ continued support for Starcraft, aside from the deep, strategic gameplay is the fact that you can play it with your friends and mount frenetic multiplayer battles during LAN parties. Nothing beats having a heated game in a room with all the trash talking going on between two competitors.
But if Blizzard’s plan for Starcraft II does push through we won’t see those cool Starcraft LAN parties anymore. Blizzard confirmed what many are speculating about Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. The game will be launched for the PC at about the same time the newly revamped Battle.net online network service, which is at the last part of 2009. Unfortunately, the game will be releaed without any LAN multiplayer option.
Blizzard said that the decision to remove this popular option is a type piracy prevention mechanism and also a way to maintain quality assurance. Blizzard wants to direct players to Battle.net as the best, and now the only, option for multiplayer gaming for Starcraft II.
I’m not too sold on the whole anti-piracy thing idea. Why would long-time fans of the game suffer for what pirates are doing? By removing the LAN multiplayer option, Blizzard is effectively alienating a large majority of Starcraft fans who plan on playing the game through their local networks. LAN multiplayer will obviously not need an internet connection — why would Blizzard expect players to connect to the internet to play with people who are all in the same room? And what about the lag, which is obviously not going to be a problem with LAN multiplayer? I think Blizzard is making a big mistake with this move.