Last week, I received my Closed Beta invitation to StarCraft II and immediately I downloaded the client - which took me 16 hours - and installed the game. I was very excited of course, more than a decade of waiting for the greatest Real-Time Strategy game history.
Join me as I show you what’s inside and what to expect with StarCraft II!
Before we proceed, for the record, the Non-Disclosure was lifted on February 18, 2010 herein quoted:
Regarding StarCraft II Beta ConfidentialityWe’re pleased to announce that we have decided to lift the confidential nature of the StarCraft II Beta Test. This means that beta testers are free to show and discuss the game with your friends, as well as take screenshots, record gameplay videos, etc. So feel free to share that amazing game you just played. Enjoy!
Launching StarCraft II
The first time that you launch StarCraft II you will be asked to login to your Battle.net v2.0 account. (If you have not created one, just visit: Battle.net.) The next thing you will need to do is to create your new SC2 character.
Creating Your New StarCraft II Character
There are two parts in our Bnet2 character names: NAME.identifier. When you are first asked to create a new character, the first window will ask you for your character’s name. In my case I chose: Yarso.
After clicking the “confirm” button, the system will ask you to create provide an identifier, this is the second part of our Bnet2 character names. I chose: starcraft. Now I have my SC2 character named: Yarso.starcraft.
At this point in time there are no other information as to how the NAME.identifier format is being used other than “to keep characters unique". No one knows if the “NAME” is unique or not. No one is sure if the “identifier” is unique or not.
But if we are going to go back and read the plans they have for Bnet2, we can guess that the NAME.identifier format is on a per Bnet2-account basis. Meaning, if I have a World of Warcraft character by the name of “Yarso", the system will know which “Yarso” it is supposed to update.
If that is correct, then we will have something like this in the near future (using my own format):
- and so on
Does this mean then someone can have the same “NAME” as you do? I think so, yes. Again, that is where the “identifier” comes in, it keeps the system and us, the players, informed as to who’s who. If you see Yarso.starcraft in SC2 then that’s me. If you see Yarso.starcraft1 then that isn’t me because currently, we can only have one (1) character per account on SC2.
However, that raises some confusion and invites impersonation. But then, if we will only have one (1) character per Bnet2 account then how many are willing to buy a new SC2 just to impersonate someone they don’t like?
Going back, once you are in the Bnet2 interface “home", you will see the current headlines from Blizzard and a little statistic that tells you the number of online players and the number of running games. There is also the “Support” button that leads to the support website, and “Leave Feedback” which is currently set to the SC2beta forums.
If you look on the upper-left corner of the interface you will see the “Single-Player” and “Multi-Player” buttons. Below it are the: “Home", “Replay", “Ladders", “Social", “Achievements", “Profile", and the “Help” buttons.
On the upper-right corner, your currently selected portrait, your “NAME", your active “Achievement Title", and the “Leave” and “Invite” buttons. The leave button is for when you are in a “party” or in SC2 terminology, pre-made team and you want to leave (obviously). The invite button is for inviting or forming a pre-made team.
At the bottom of the screen, there is the “Menu” button, the “chat bar” (probably for the planned chat feature), the “Friends” button which also shows how many of your friends are online, the “Mic” button, and your system time.
you should probably know
If you haven’t noticed it, the Single-Player button shows up only after you login to Battle.net v2.0. In other words, you can not play any single-player missions/campaigns unless you are online in Bnet2, which in itself requires an Internet connection.
This is the first thing that I noticed, and I understood then that they did it this way for the Achievements feature. After all, how are they going to keep track of your achievements if you are not connected to Bnet2, right? This also explains why they removed the “LAN” option - if you are already connected to Bnet2 which in itself is a form of “LAN” (fyi: the Internet is also called WAN, or the Wide Area Network), then the “LAN” feature is useless and redundant.
I can think of more reasons why they chose this path and we can definitely put aside piracy here. Example, the growing number of third-party LAN/WAN networks. This third-party network was first made possible by the folks of FSGS or the Free Starcraft Game Server (later renamed to: Free Standard Game Server). It looks exactly like the classic Battle.net. (Trivia: The largest implementation of FSGS in the Philippines was Tri-Isys’s FSGS.)
After FSGS there came bnetd, and the rest is history. Many of the earlier implementations were successfuly stopped by Blizzard but as time moved-on (and developers got wiser and found another way around laws governing proprietary/trade secrets), the community of third-party game servers simply exploded.
Now, with this new system, everyone will be forced to buy a CD-Key (at least), add that CD-Key to their Bnet2 accounts, then they can login and play SC2 in any terminal with StarCraft II installed. Neat eh?
Is logging-in to Battle.net version 2.0 mandatory even for Single-Player Games?Yes. StarCraft II does require an online connection and you must login the first time you play. We are in the middle of adding an “Offline” feature which allows you to play the Campaign offline if you, for example, are traveling and want to play on a laptop. Playing while connected allows your progress in the campaign to be saved online to your account. This means if you switch to a different computer to play you can pick up from where you were.
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