I played a lot of StarCraft back when it was new… which was back in early 1998. My friends and I played it after work at the office and at home via Battle.net. As so many have said, it was a very well balanced RTS with three distinctly different factions to learn. Our interest in it kept going right through the Brood War expansion. (Though when I look at the dates, Brood War came out eight months after the main game, which might be some sort of Blizzard record for shipping an expansion.)
Anyway, I have written a bit about StarCraft before and it has come up now and again for our group as a possible game to go back to. The primary arguments against it tend to be the fact that it runs at 640×480 resolution and that none of us are really into RTS games much any more. It was a game from a specific point in my timeline, and that time may have passed.
But I still have strong memories of it. Even my wife remembers the game. Back when it was current my then wife-to-be and I shared an office in her condo so when I played video games I either had to put on headphones or share the audio experience with her, and the audio StarCraft left its mark. To this day she will, every so often, as if I ever play “Jacked up and good to go!” any more, that being one of the more memorable Terran Marine quotes.
Since then StarCraft II has (finally) shown up, but while I have written about it a bit… mostly in the context of Blizzard as a whole… I have never gotten around to buying the game. I have thought about it, but since I play MMOs now, and since those tend to consume all available gaming time, I am not sure when I would play. Plus, for me, it was always a group game, so buying it myself would seem… odd. The campaigns were never the high point, it was always about playing with friends. (Though with playing at work a thing of the past due to IT policy, I am not sure I would miss LAN play.)
So I was a bit surprise/amused/happy to get a note from Blizzard letting me know I had been given access to the closed beta for the upcoming Legacy of the Void expansion for StarCraft II.
Blizzard had some details out about this back at BlizzCon last year, but it seems like things are really in motion if they are already sending invites to random opt-ins like me. They want feedback early according to the details.
For this reason, we decided to start the beta sooner than we normally would have in the past, providing ample time for feedback and iteration.
Though I gather from the Beta FAQ that my purchase of a virtual ticket to BlizzCon 2014 put me on the list.
I mentioned that I got the invite to my wife and she said the line, “Jacked up and good to go!” and told me I had to play… and that I had to have the audio run through my speakers so she could hear what the units were saying. So it had to be done.
I downloaded the beta, though I first tried to do it through the “Download Now” button in the email, which only succeeded in downloading the StarCraft II starter edition. Not that that was a bad thing. I got that going and ran through the tutorial mission just to make sure I still knew the basics. I slaughtered the CPU guided foe with ease following the tutorial instructions along with some vague memories of how to play from back in the day.
After that I went back to the Battle.net launcher and downloaded the Legacy of the Void beta directly and got that up and running.
I got in there and looked at what options I had. They were limited to 1v1 multiplayer games over Battle.net, which was to be expected given the blurb in the invite.
This phase of the Legacy of the Void closed beta test focuses on the multiplayer aspects of the game, including the new cooperative Archon mode, so ramp up your APM and dive into the battle.
So multiplayer it was the option. How bad could it be, right?
Actually, the more accurate question was, “How bad could I be?”
I played three games in quick succession… and they were quick because I ended up surrendering after being wrecked much earlier than expected. I am not just bad at StarCraft II at this point, but I am apparently so much worse than the average player in the beta… who are much more likely to be self-selected individuals who are really into StarCraft II as opposed to happy memory dilettantes like myself… that after the third humiliation I closed down the game and went back to Azeroth to work on my second druid (mentioned last week) healing for random Dungeon Finder groups. At least there when things are going bad I can at least tell why.
It just isn’t worth my time simply because I do not care enough about StarCraft II to put in the effort to be more than a very small speed-bump on somebody’s road to victory. Those days are gone.
And the most disappointing bit in the whole thing… the Terran Marine units don’t even say, “Jacked up and good to go!” any more. I had to check the list of quotes to be sure, and it isn’t there.
But I will always have memories of 1998.