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Over 10 million expected to sell this year

The original StarCraft real-time strategy game was released twelve years ago, and went on to revolutionize computer gaming. The use of three distinct races with their own unique units and gaming strategies led to an explosion in LAN gaming, especially in South Korea. Over eleven million copies of the games have been sold, with millions more illegally copied. A dozen novels centered on the game universe have been written, and it is still one of the most popular in the world.

StarCraft is particularly popular in South Korea, where professional players and teams earn sponsorships and prize money through competition in televised tournaments. Over 10% of the country's population of nearly 49 million still actively plays the game.

Blizzard Entertainment hopes to recapture that success with today's launch of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, the long anticipated sequel to the original masterpiece. Development on the sequel started in 2003, but had been stalled due to the resources needed for the World of Warcraft MMO. The company eventually decided to split the game up into three parts: Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm, and Legacy of the Void.

Wings of Liberty follows protagonist Jim Raynor as he leads an insurgent group against the Terran Dominion following the events of StarCraft and the StarCraft: Brood War expansion pack. The non-linear single-player campaign has the player taking on mercenary jobs for money in order to buy additional units and upgrades. There are key missions that will appear to explore the storyline and keep it linear.

The expansion packs will feature Zerg and Protoss single-player campaigns to complete the storyline, as well as additional unit and multiplayer maps. Full multiplayer gameplay with all three races is available out of the box.

Graphics are of course much improved over the DirectX 2.0 standard of the original. Unfortunately, the drawn out development process meant that the game was targeted for DirectX 9.0c, and lack the features of DX 10, 10.1, and DirectX 11. While the game looks good, it doesn't look as good as it could be.

The game is still capable of challenging graphics cards, especially at higher resolutions like 1920x1200 and 2560x1600. ATI Eyefinity multi-monitor technology is supported, and players fortunate enough to have a Radeon 5870 HD Eyefinity Edition can game with up to six monitors.

Heavy use of the Havok Physics engine and ability to use more units also means that the game is more likely to be CPU limited. Although StarCraft 2 is not multi-core optimized, players will still see a boost from using dual- and quad-core systems.

The original StarCraft game made heavy use of LAN gaming as internet usage was not prevalent or fast at the time of its release. Broadband internet access is now readily available, so Blizzard has made the decision to remove LAN gaming support. Gamers will be required to connect through Blizzard's servers in an attempt to crack down on piracy.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is available for sale in retail standard and collector's editions, as well as for digital download directly from Blizzard. MSRP for the standard edition is $60, while the collector's edition sells for $100. It includes a 176-page hardcover art book, a 2GB dog tag USB flash drive containing copies of the original StarCraft and Brood War expansion, a soundtrack CD, and a DVD with interviews and additional cutscenes.

In an unusual marketing move, Blizzard announced that South Korean players would be able to play StarCraft II for free as long as their World of Warcraft subscriptions are active. Retailer K-Mart is currently offering a $20 gaming coupon on in-store purchases of the game through the end of the month.


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RE: I was all smiles till..
By HostileEffect on 7/27/2010 10:45:57 AM , Rating: 5
The moaning about piracy has driven me from gaming as well as from buying just about everything I don't need. Starcraft 2 looks great but the lack of love from Activision/Blizzard for Starcraft 1 and World of Warcraft tells me to seek life elsewhere.

Milking Starcraft into a trilogy, lack of LAN,, I'll pass easy. Developers are not entitled to my sale and there is no law (yet) that says they are.

RE: I was all smiles till..
By Iaiken on 7/27/2010 12:38:02 PM , Rating: 4
Nor are you entitled to anything for free.

You don't want to pay for it, that's fine, live without.

That's how I operate even with non-DRM software because I am a developer by profession and not a friggin thief. :P

RE: I was all smiles till..
By Taft12 on 7/27/10, Rating: -1
RE: I was all smiles till..
By KCjoker on 7/27/2010 7:24:58 PM , Rating: 3
If you take/use a product without paying for it you ARE a thief. If you don't think the game is worth it's price or don't like it doesn't have LAN fine...that doesn't justify downloading the game and playing/using it for free. Software is nothing like free speech.

RE: I was all smiles till..
By Taft12 on 7/29/2010 10:35:31 AM , Rating: 3
You can calling illegal copying theft all you like, it will never make it true. The infinite number of copies producible at ~$0 is the difference.

You seem to be unfamiliar with open-source software and the GPL which is where the "free as in speech" expression comes from (and the BSD license which is "free as in beer"). Might I suggest you broaden your horizons given the profession you are in?

RE: I was all smiles till..
By raelalt on 7/29/2010 12:13:55 PM , Rating: 2
No it is you that is obviously unfamiliar with the GPL. It only applies to those software developers that sign their projects onto it.

RE: I was all smiles till..
By Taft12 on 7/30/2010 11:27:54 PM , Rating: 2
Having written GPL software myself, I am intimately familiar with it.

Watch your terminology, please - the license doesn't apply to software developers, only code (developers must follow the terms, of course)

RE: I was all smiles till..
By Sunner on 7/30/2010 9:48:13 AM , Rating: 2
Obviously you are the one who are unfamiliar with open source, given your faulty description of the two most common OSS licenses.
Also, people who actually contribute to open source tend to be far more respectful of others rights to their property than people who merely want to use open source because it's free as in beer. You certainly seem to belong to the latter, you neither understand the ideals behind open source, nor do you respect others right to keep their software closed if they so choose, all you want is a free lunch.
Go away, neither camp wants you.

RE: I was all smiles till..
By Taft12 on 7/30/2010 11:25:18 PM , Rating: 2
Oh I am very respectful of property rights, which is why I am very particular about not applying the word "theft" or "steal" to illegal copying. I already pointed out the difference which you surely understand as well. You might have me pegged as a purveyor of illegally copied software which couldn't be further from the truth.

Indeed I do contribute to GPL projects and am quick to point out there "nothing is free" is completely false and that there IS such a thing as a free lunch! Unfortunately, you may also know as I do that these opinions don't go over well on this site.

I'm not sure where you think my description is faulty - "free as in speech" and "free as in beer" are the most common layman's way I know of that describe those two open-source licenses and I've heard them in conversation hundreds of times in person and online... Where is my mistake?

RE: I was all smiles till..
By derricker on 7/27/10, Rating: -1
RE: I was all smiles till..
By skyyspam on 7/28/2010 4:01:13 AM , Rating: 5
I'm probably going to pirate until it's out in a "Gold" or "Battle Chest" edition that has all three for $4.95 on Steam. Hopefully by then, someone will have patched the lack of netplay, whether it's Blizzard or someone else.

That's if I even want to play it. I've never enjoyed RTS much, and certainly not random online play with cheaters from Korea or who knows where. Actually, I only EVER liked Starcraft when playing it over the LAN way back in the dorm days.

Have fun paying $100+ total for all three parts of the game.

RE: I was all smiles till..
By tedrodai on 7/29/2010 3:55:03 PM , Rating: 2
by skyyspam on July 28, 2010 at 4:01 AM

I won't even like the stupid game, so I'm just going to waste my time playing a pirated version to teach Blizzard a lesson. That'll show em. As long as you don't really even WANT to play the game, it's OK to not pay for it.

I sure as heck don't want to play against those dweebs that eat, sleep, and breathe Starcraft every day, because what fun is that? But in all honesty, I'm just too lazy to bother making private games and inviting my friends to join.

Have fun paying $100+ total for all three parts of the game.

Uh, sure...that may not be what you were meaning to say, but that's how it read to me.

But yeah, I probably will have lots of fun paying over $100 for all 3 games if the last 2 are as good as the first. The Terran campaign is awesome, and I feel like I've gotten more than my $60 worth compared to the other crap games that reach blockbuster status these days. I'm not even an RTS fan myself...haven't played them (or wanted to) since the days of Warcraft 2, C&C: Red Alert, and Starcraft.

Of course, I won't jump at the next 2 unless/until they're decently priced, because the replay value is in the multiplayer, afterall.

RE: I was all smiles till..
By Reclaimer77 on 7/29/2010 8:21:23 PM , Rating: 2
Have fun paying $100+ total for all three parts of the game.

Thanks, I am having fun.

But sorry, it's not "a" game. There is way too much content in this release to call it anything other than a full game. I mean, maybe if you had it and knew what the f you were talking about, we wouldn't be having this convo.

RE: I was all smiles till..
By Ammohunt on 7/27/2010 2:14:34 PM , Rating: 2
I am in the same boat Starcraft I was Warcraft II with space tiles compared to games like Total Annihilation(the all time best game of the genre) at the time it wasn't that great of a game IMHO. Now Diablo III thats a different story all together.

RE: I was all smiles till..
By ninus3d on 7/28/2010 8:31:21 AM , Rating: 2
trust me hostile, this isnt "milked" :)
Just completed the wings of liberty campaign after playing it intensively for over 30 hours since i got the game and it sure as hell wasnt lacking ;)

If the other 2 are as good as this then christ o'mighty, ill be happy!

So much story and intensitivity crammed into an rts campaign, if you like rts then you should treat yourself to this!

But hey, by all means, "try before you buy" :P But youll end up buying this if you try it i think ;)

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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