Saturday, July 18, 2009

StarCraft 2 vs. Diablo 3

I know this is not relevant to WoW and we are on a WoW blog - aren't we? - but most WoW fans are also Blizzard fans and many of these are big fans of Blizzard's other games, such as StarCraft and the Diablo series. This article is a continuation of sorts to Blizzard's Games and Business Model.

Over the past few weeks, even since Blizzard announced that SC2 most likely won't support LAN play, I've been thinking and thinking about this. Of course, the only conclusion anyone can draw from this is that Blizzard is simply concerned with stifling piracy and keeping things "under control". On the other hand, they are hurting customers who still need the LAN capability (and don't fool yourselves, there are still lots of them).

In a similar vein, EA (hated by many) have announced that Command and Conquer 4, which is primarily a single player game, will have to be played (in single- and any other- mode) with a permanent connection to the internet. Long story short, this is one of the most retarded moves I've ever heard of and ultimately will only serve to hurt paying customers, while pirates will easily circumvent this limitation. Remember, not everyone is fortunate enough to have broadband internet at all times but people also like to play single player games when they are traveling, their internet connection is down or for many other valid reasons. There's no reason in hell why a single player game should have to be always connected. End of rant.

If you want to read more about C&C4's controversial online requirement, Ars Technica has a couple of nice articles here (make sure to read the comments):
Forced to connect: C&C 4 requires always-on internet
Poll Technica: Online requirement for single-player games

Back to Blizzard's games, I've already decided that I wouldn't be buying StarCraft 2. And that's because of the 3-game split. Many people have assumed that each installment will cost around $50. And how right they were. EB Games already has a pre-order page for the game and guess what the price is? Yep, 50 bucks. Of course, this doesn't mean that it's the final price but I do believe it is an indication of where things are heading.

So how many of you are prepared to pay $150 for SC2? I'm sure lots of you. Blizzard will soften the blow by releasing each part at a year's distance. Smart move. As far as I'm aware, it's the first game that has pulled this off and it will most likely succeed beyond all expectations. I'm sure Blizzard will make more $$$ by splitting the game and selling to fewer customers than they would have made by selling a single game for $50 to more fans. In the end, there's always piracy for those who can't afford to spend $150 for a game. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating piracy. I love to reward a gaming company that produces an outstanding game by purchasing it but there are those who won't afford it.

Now Diablo 3 is a different ballgame to me. It's the game that I've been dreaming about for years and had lost all hope that it would ever be produced. The Diablo series is the awesomest single-player RPG that I've ever played.

You can bet your sweet buns that D3 will follow the exact same model as SC2, meaning multiplayer. Though it's a hard pill to swallow because I fondly remember the countless days spent playing D2 over a LAN with my friends, I will definitely, positively buy this game. At this point in my life LAN parties are a thing of the past and not because LAN play is a dead technology but due to the fact that I've moved away from where my friends live and there's simply no way to engage in that activity anymore.

The other question that I've been asking myself is this: will I play Diablo 3 in single-player only, or will I play it on with groups of random people? From what I've heard, D2's games were fraught with cheaters and such. Bnet 2.0 won't suffer from the same issues and furthermore, each person in a group will have their own loot drops that only they can pick up. The biggest advantage of playing in a group will obviously be the faster experience and more loot drops. On the other hand, single-player is more relaxing, you can go at your own pace and you can also continue playing a character on a laptop when traveling, for example. So I'm still on the fence about this. We shall see though.

At this point, it seems that Blizzard is unmoving regarding the LAN issue. It's worth seeing if they will stick to this decision to the very end or if they will relent and give the fans what they are asking for. At least, they are not requiring always-on internet for the single-player game like some other retarded company I know. That would be the last straw!


Anonymous said...

I'm planning to wait three years and buy all three games in the (inevitable) bundle for ~$50. Makes having a rig up to spec much cheaper too! Downside is that I'll be MILES behind in the PvP scene...but oh well.

Darth Solo said...

Well, there you have it. That's a very valid option. Not many people will have the patience though, especially not those addicted to multiplayer.

Shannara said...

Im buying D3 for my spouse and myself. I also plan on buying SC2 for my spouse and myself :)

The difference is Blizz' DRM (aka rootkit/spyware, etc, AKA I will only play on it if i have to. But if I only need a lan game, I will use bnet or some other emulator.

What Blizz is pulling is 100% pure greed.

Darth Solo said...

They're still not as bad as EA but I'm afraid they will get there at some point.

Something else that I'm afraid of: that won't be free to pay, if not immediately then in the future. They've certainly built in support for that.

I'm sure Blizzard has realized that the most lucrative way to make money off of a game is by having people pay a subscription. Since SC2 and D3 won't be MMOs it will be hard to pull this off without pissing a lot of people but they could, for example, charge for online multiplayer. Is that where they are heading? We'll have to wait and see.

In any case, even if they were to charge for multiplayer, as long as D3 offers the same experience offline, I would still buy it. It bears remembering that Flagship Studios failed miserably with Hellgate: London and its business model.

Joe said...

Do you think that the "none-lan" move will come with a feature pack like c&c3 where you can play with friends via battlenet, even if its hosted on a local PC and requires the conenciton to them via battlenet.

I think this non-lan move is daft, the spilt into 3 episodes is pants, and still I'll buy it all, because its SC2. If I ever live to regret having a favourite game obsession, this purchase might well be it.

I'll deal with it, and ban the other half from a few weeks of wine drinking to compensate money wise. She will clearly take it up with me, and I shall forward her to Blizzard customer relations.

Thus the circle continues, i'm happy, blizzard will get shouted at, and she will get her wine, probably free from blizzard :D

Anonymous said...

omg, they are not 3 seperate games!! When blizzard said that they were releasing 3 games, they meant that the first game released (Wings of liberty) would be the primary game while the other 2 expansion packs.

Darth Solo said...

@Joe I'm not that big of an RTS fan to justify buying SC2. As it is, my time for games is dwindling. I'm estimating that I will probably still be able to dedicate enough time to WoW until it dies and D3. There's no way I can accomplish more than that. So I will pass on SC2.

@Anonymous from what I've heard (and please correct me if I'm mistaken), each of the 3 parts will correspond to 1 of the races. First part will be the human campaign.

Savin (Nay) Wangtal said...

I tend to read it very differently.
I think the price for SC2 will be like Dawn of War + expansion. That is the first game will be full priced, but the other 2 will be cheaper.

Or even if they all come with full price, I would still get it. Each game will be released with a campaign big enough to be its own full game. So yes, it should be priced as such.

The LAN game is of no concern to me. If you're going to LAN with someone, chances are you're in a room with ability to connect to the net anyway. Ultimately, you can use the same LAN hub, connect that to the net, and you'll get the same experience as before. Unless you're dead set on pirating the game, it makes just about no difference for most people.

Joe said...

@Anonymous - I used the term episodes, because I had previously reffered to the HL episode model of HL2 where Valve released "expansions" of the HL2 game.

@Darth - Ah man that sucks in a way, not having that time will be something I will fight against, I aim to school my grandchildren in the art of tea-bagging noobs. *dreams away*. At least you can get enough in for some D3 and WoW, its a good enough outcome I guess :D

Darth Solo said...

@Savin let's hope you're right. I still think that LAN is important. Not everyone has access to full-time or high quality internet. In competitive multiplayer, a solid, lag-free connection is essential so even if Blizzard's servers are bulletproof, the client's connection could be crap. It's true that for me personally LAN isn't a big deal at this point but for others it still is. As for pirating... I would definitely buy SC2 if it weren't for the split.

@Joe unfortunately I'm trying to accommodate other hobbies as well, it's not just "life" that's catching up with me. I'm still a gamer though and I will probably game a lot after I retire (if my eyesight holds) but in the meantime I gotta worry about a job and various other shit that comes along. Sadly Mrs. Darth Solo is not a gamer and doesn't really understand these things but maybe a future Darth Solo Jr. will be. Meh, I'll worry about that when the time comes.

Joe said...

@Darth indeed I can appreciate that, Mrs JGamer isn't much of a gamer, she rage quit over spyro the dragon, never looked at games since. Heres to hoping Darth Solo Jr. will pick up the reigns as and when :D Well at least this proves tehre are other things to life outside of WoW right ;)

Darth Solo said...

*sigh* there are definitely other things outside WoW but somehow I can never get my fill. Even when I'm bored or irritated with it, there's still a ton of stuff to accomplish. And these Blizzard bastards keep adding new and exciting stuff! I hate them :P

Anonymous said...

God i hate Blizzard... First they keep adding good stuff to wow... i just can't get off...
SC2 still is gonna come out like in late 2010. WoW:Cataclysm is delaying it... Big time.

Darth Solo said...

@Anonymous I'm in the same boat. I hate them because they keep making WoW better and I don't have a good reason to quit forever lol. I won't care about SC2 but I have a feeling I'll be taking a very long break from WoW when D3 comes out.