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StarCraft 2 Beta Thoughts and the Type of Gamer I am

I recently got invited to the SC2 beta and I’m not sure exactly what to make of it. On one hand, it looks very well made, it runs well and looks exceptionally good even on our average graphics card at medium settings.

The online integration is also great and the game overall feels just like StarCraft should feel. For the real SC and RTS fans out there it may be the perfect game, especially with the chance to prove yourself online.

My problem with it personally is more to do with just myself and my own ability. Online gaming for the most part is an incredibly intimidating, intense world where you have to want to win so badly that you’ll give everything you have to do so. If you lack that competitive fire like I do, and just want to relax and have a bit of fun building a cool army and so on, then you’ll lose, and a lot. I’ve played 3 matches online so far and at first I had fun at the beginning having nostalgic feelings about the original starcraft and how fun it was playing on a LAN when around a friend’s house years ago. Once that wears off, the harsh reality that my beautiful base is getting destroyed and I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was sets in.

I lost all 3 games extremely easy, and this is on the “novice” mode when you first start playing. In other words, even the so called novices see this game as life or death. I could probably learn to be faster and learn the tactics more, but it’s kind of like Street Fighter. The stress and work of having to learn so much and perfect it, it’s clearly not my idea of fun. Therefore, whenever I play a competitive game of SC2 online I’ll probably lose. I may never win a single game because every single person wants it more than I do.

If I do play the game online when it comes out (if I get it at all), I’ll hopefully be able to have some good fun playing co-op against the AI rather than competitively, or at least play competitive with 8 players so that I have a possibility of being left alone for a bit longer. That said, in co-op I’ll probably just let my team down and cause disagreements akin to when people in WoW always gang up on the healer when something goes wrong.

To be honest, when I played StarCraft and the Brood War expansion, I actually never played online properly, or even played the single player campaign. I loved to either play local multiplayer in a friendly atmosphere, or play single player skirmishes against an easy CPU and just enjoy the fun of building all the units I wanted and having the satisfaction of wiping out the AI, even though they never really had a chance.

It’s the way I am as a gamer. While more traditional gamers prefer to punish themselves on the hardest difficulty levels and test their metal against the best in the world online, I just like to take the easiest route possible for the majority of the time.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy a challenge ever though. In games that I really enjoy and am good at, such as driving games like Gran Turismo, F1 or sports games like Grand Slam Tennis, I have fun testing myself. For essentially all other types of games though, the first thing I do is go into the options to turn the difficulty down to the lowest possible settings. I prefer to enjoy a story of a game and have casual fun with the gameplay rather than stressing myself out by getting killed or in tough situations like boss battles.

Going back to the intended topic of this post however, the question should be: Is StarCraft 2 a good game and worth playing? The answer is clear. Like I previously mentioned, if you’re a fan of the series, an RTS player or someone casual looking for a well made PC exclusive game, you will find it here. You just have to decide whether or not you’re mentally up for the challenge of playing online. Of course, it should also be noted that you can’t access any of the single player campaign, nor the co-op or 8 player modes online, but judging by what I’ve seen, I would be shocked if they were anything less than spectacular.

As a Blizzard fan, yes I’ll probably pick it up and I’ll have fun with it as I own all recent Blizzard games and don’t really want to miss this one. It won’t be my favourite game ever or anything but it’s a great RTS and a fantastic game to spent a little time with on a rainy day.

I can certainly say though that Diablo 3 is looking much more up my alley as I’m always more into the co-op side of things. Plus, if Battle.net continues to improve and look as stylish as it does in SC2, then it will be an absolute joy to play. I just have to be realistic and understand that not every game is for me and I just don’t fit the mould of a fiercely competitive online gamer and focus on what I have fun playing, as in the end we all play to have fun, not stress ourselves out.