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.
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.
Entertainment hopes to recapture that success with today's launch of
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,
of the Void.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
expansion, a soundtrack CD, and a DVD with interviews and additional
an unusual marketing move, Blizzard announced that South Korean
players would be able to play StarCraft
for free as long as their World
subscriptions are active. Retailer K-Mart is currently offering a $20
gaming coupon on in-store purchases of the game through the end of