By Conan “Suppy” Liu of Evil Geniuses
BlizzCon was particularly exciting for me because Blizzard really seems much more intent on improving the game by listening to the community, having active discussions, and incorporating changes based on that feedback than they have in the past. Times of change are always very exciting and this could be a very pivotal moment for StarCraft II and its future. I’m thinking that if Blizzard is willing to listen and work with the community, a resurgence of SC2 is definitely possible.
While writing this, all I can think of is Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and how absolutely abysmal it was when it first came out. Although I’m not an expert on its history, I do know that for the first year or so pros absolutely hated it, and even casual players disliked it quite a bit (I don’t think it even had basic things like a ranking system) – there was pretty much no eSports scene for the game. However, Valve started listening to the community and incorporating changes, and within a year or two transformed CS:GO into the eSports juggernaut it is today. The reason for all of this success is Valve’s willingness as a developer to listen to the community and let the community actually hold the reins somewhat. We all know how much power is in the hands of the community, simply let them work together and they can create masterpieces like DotA. By that same logic, you can let a community work together and make vast improvements to an already existing game, to the point of raising it from the depths of oblivion to one of the biggest eSports today. Occasionally I have browsed the subreddit for CS:GO and seen all the awesome suggestions that are made by people who are attempting to improve the game, and it is so immensely refreshing to see that almost without fail, Valve staff are actively participating in the discussion in those very Reddit threads. Not only that, but often times a few weeks later, the idea is incorporated into the game, or the bugs are fixed. This quick turnaround time really makes the communities feel super involved and vested in the health of the game.
Blizzard’s recent attitude towards Legacy of the Void (LotV) has given me a little bit of that feeling I get when I see Valve working with the community to improve their games. It seems Blizzard, after all this time, has been listening to us, and working hard to incorporate our feedback into the game. In particular, Psione, who is quite active in the StarCraft Reddit, is really making me draw analogies to Valve and their participation with the CS:GO community. This is really the best opportunity Blizzard has to make some huge changes and really turn this game from something great to something absolutely amazing.
If that is the case, and Blizzard really is willing to work with the community to improve StarCraft, I would like to present three important topics that everyone should know about. These are topics that are possible improvements that could be made to LotV, and I am calling for the community to have active, constructive discussion on these topics (and all the other topics as well). I truly believe that if we are loud enough, this new Blizzard that seems to have learned a page or two from companies like Valve and Riot may very well work towards incorporating some of these changes.
Of course everyone wants to talk about things like the new units and how they will be balanced, adding skins, the automated tournaments, additional game modes, improving the sound effects, improving the arcade, etc. All of these are EXTREMELY important topics (I could spend a whole other blog talking about the arcade and urging Blizzard to make some changes that the community has been calling for for a while now). However, for me, I think the three biggest changes are the ones that will fundamentally affect gameplay, as this is the most opportune time to incorporate them and they have the potential to completely change how the game is played and observed.
Stay tuned for the second part of my blog coming very soon.
Follow Conan on twitter @EGSuppy