After Hours

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is worth the 12 year wait

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Blizzard's long-awaited sequel to StarCraft, is finally here. Take the poll to let us know if you plan to get this RTS game.

After much talk, hype, and anticipation, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is finally here. Wings of Liberty is the first release in the StarCraft II trilogy. Shipping with an all-new, never before seen Campaign mode (the Beta only included the multiplayer and custom map modes), StarCraft II is worthy of its 12-year-old predecessor and any real-time strategy (RTS) game on the market.

As the StarCraft II Beta progressed, at least hundreds of Custom Maps created by fellow players have been added to Battle.Net's massive database of maps, which can be browsed, searched, and downloaded within the game client. These maps should be available in the retail version as well. (I can't imagine they would wipe them all out, but even if Blizzard does, the players will put them back quickly.) Although some of the maps are impossible or contain a lot of bugs, most of the maps are very playable, highly involved scenarios that are challenging yet fun.

Early praise for StarCraft II

Fan sites have already cropped up, including Starcraft 2 Armory, Starcraft 2, StarcraftZine, and Starcraft.org. Dugi at Ultimate WoW Guide has written a post about it in his blog, which is usually dedicated to World of Warcraft.

Where to purchase StarCraft II

StarCraft II will launch with a first-ever (for Blizzard, at least) simultaneous retail and digital license option. This means you can go to the store and buy a copy of the game on disc, or you can go to Blizzard's Battle.Net site and purchase the game using your Battle.Net ID (the same one you use to play World of Warcraft). (The StarCraft II installation files have been available for pre-download for about a week now, and those of us who are serious about purchasing it have already downloaded the installer files and have been waiting launch day to run the installation.)

Gameplay and Battle.Net connection requirements

From my Geekend post about the Beta version, here's a quick overview of the gameplay:

"Like all RTS games that I've ever played, the objective is to kill the other players. In order to accomplish this, you have to gather Minerals and Vespene Gas. Gathering Minerals is done directly by units in the Mineral Fields, but gathering Vespene Gas requires a building over top of the Vespene Geyser (I use the term 'buildings' loosely depending on race) as well as units."

The game requires a Battle.Net account and connection during installation and first run; however, players will have the option of playing the campaign (and probably offline multiplayer) games without first connecting to Battle.Net.

When you are connected to Battle.Net, your Real ID (which was launched in World of Warcraft a few weeks ago) friends will appear in your in-game friends list, where you can chat with them whether they are playing StarCraft II or World of Warcraft. I suspect Diablo III will have this feature too.

To see more screenshots of the game, take a look at the StarCraft II gallery and the StarCraft II Collector's Edition gallery.

Take the poll

If you've already purchased StarCraft II, what are your first impressions? If you're undecided about whether you'll get StarCraft II, check out the following video. If you're passing on StarCraft II, share your reasons why.

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13 comments
DPeek
DPeek

I think real anonymity is largely taken for granted online. Many people say things they would NEVER say if they thought someone could trace the comments directly to them. A lot of times these things are hurtful or worse. I'm not recommending a police state, but I think if people knew activity could be traced back to them, they'd be a lot more civil than they currently are. Is that a bad thing?

Who Am I Really
Who Am I Really

12 year wait! does that mean it will run on a 12 year old PC?

davetracer
davetracer

You wrote, " 'RE: StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is worth the 12 year wait' 12 year wait! does that mean it will run on a 12 year old PC?" Good question! What computers WERE we running, let's see, in 1998, which was 12 years ago? Windows ... 98? ( Had NT shipped? ) ... oh, maaan ... which means all that ghastly Upper Memory stuff ... So a 1,024 Meg of memory (note word "Meg") maxed out a PC... Wasn't there some memory page swapping thing (Lotus-Intel-Microsoft)? There were Device Drivers (remember the joy of HIMEM.SYS?) and CD Drivers ... And coming soon for us to look forward to, there was Windows ME ! Now, I'm going to slam the door on those memories! -grin- Thanks, Dave

Who Am I Really
Who Am I Really

in 1998, I'm assuming you mean NT5.0 aka Win2K which came later in early 2000 but NT 3.1, had come and gone NT 3.51, had come and was nearly gone NT 4.0, was the current NT version but was still mainly deployed in business and the rare home use was in IT geeks homes but the consumers and some business still got win9x win2K was the start of the swing away from the 9x, ME powered desktop which finally changed at XP making both the home & business desktops NT based

rucb_alum
rucb_alum

...but don't remember the password. The verification system now used by battle.net requires I remember the email address AND name used to register originally. The email address is easy - since my address hasn't changed in the last twelve years but the name I used changes all the time with my mood. Helps to track the origin of spam.

Fregeus
Fregeus

I have some certs to pass in the coming months and If I buy the game now, I'll never get any studying done. LOL TCB

blood bladder
blood bladder

its all good but how the hell do you play a custom game if there is no maps in the versus a.i section

dukethepcdr
dukethepcdr

It seems to me that requiring logging into Battle.net to even install the game is a bit much. I enjoy playing Starcraft and Warcraft games both in single player and multiplayer mode. Sometimes, I just want to play against the AI and not against another person. I shouldn't have to be on an internet connection to start playing a game. There are a lot of people still in this world who do not have access to a high-speed internet connection. Even here in the U.S. there are areas without high speed internet. I can play Starcraft one without going online and don't think that we should have to go online to play Starcraft 2.

winntec
winntec

I do not have a battle.net account, don't want one, don't play online. Played Starcraft 1 & Warcraft offline for years. I have to think about whether I really want this if I'm forced to be online to crank it up, could well be somewhere with no internet - can I play the game I paid $60 for? Seems way too big brother - if I want to play online I'll join battle.net - if not forget it

mbaumli
mbaumli

I don't like having to have friends with RealID. Anyone I "Friend" has my personal information and this is more than a nuisance. Also, I don't like playing in the middle of any game, single or multiplayer and be notified or even have a chat open up in the middle of what could be action. This is a complete and total disrespect to any player. The game itself is like an updated old friend. I like it and the story. Battlenet on the other hand must die a very violent death. I don't like my games being that integrated with some online system and feel like my personal space is being trampled on. If I wanted all of my personal gaming habits to be publicized, I would have posted the information on Facebook. Sorry, but I do want a sense of professionalism to my name and RealID I feel takes that away from me.

dkoch
dkoch

Having to authenticate via the Internet is old news by now. Steam has been doing it for years. I have a Battle.net account and it took all of 5 minutes to process the registration. Let's face it; DRM is here to stay. At least Blizzard is trying to be fair about it. The boys at 2K (Bioshock) could learn a few things; their DRM is downright criminal. It is possible to play w/o an Internet connection but you actually have to yank the Ethernet cable (hopefully Blizzard will make this easier; I just disable STEAM when I want to play HL2 in offline mode). When you do pull the cord the game notifies you that you are offline and launches a local game. The reason Blizzard moved to this model is so game stats (and only game stats according to the EULA - it's really long but I read it) can be compiled on their servers to match players when you go online. I'm an old guy near retirement, and it has always been frustrating getting knocked out of an online game 5 minutes into the fray by these young Korean kids who play StarCraft for a living. It is this inherent unfairness that Blizzard is trying to mitigate. While I think it could be managed better the idea has merit. As for the game itself - it is nothing short of stunning. It is a visual, auditory , and cinematic feast. I still play the original StarCraft on a regular basis. I can easily see myself playing StarCraft2 for years and years to come. The campaign model, where you choose which path to take, and the subsequent paths that are opened as a result means that no 2 campaigns will ever be the same. To my mind this is nothing short of brilliant. I have been waiting for this game for 12 years, and the wait and the hype were worth it. The story is even more compelling and the characters truly feel like old friends (or enemies). Thank you, Blizzard, for a job well done.

RipVan
RipVan

That is ridiculous and is probably just a way to ensure that everyone who plays has purchased the game. While I can appreciate their position, I CANNOT appreciate the honest people being told to jump through hoops as if these people are the great grand daddy of "PROVE to me that you paid!" (Microsoft) So as interesting as it looks, I will pass. Btw, those screenshots don't look as if any enhancements (outside of better graphics) have been made. I won't purchase to find out, but it just looks like the same game as before.

blood bladder
blood bladder

i agree 100% it took me over 5 hours yesterday just getting this battle net thing working just to find out there is no maps in the versus A.I section ,and when you log into multi player you need to download the bloody maps just to play a custom game ,im starting to regret buying this game