Starcraft 1 – Multiplayer

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I am not much of a gamer, more of a gaming-analyst, marketing analyst and game designer. I have played some games, Starcraft 1 (number 2 also of course) is absolutely one of the bigger ones in my past. I never finished the solo campaign, but enjoyed most of the time to play with friends on multiplayer.

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We played Starcraft together with friends in LAN. My friends are all IT-nerds so we just went about every weekend to one of the friends houses and hooked up our PC’s to the network. We are talking here 10mbit or worse networking with the old IPX/SPX protocol or in weekdays we played together after school via Blizzard’s battle.net.

I don’t consider myself as a good player, for one because I usually was the first one to lose the games, for another because I didn’t quite understand English as well (I am Dutch!) as I do now and third Koreans play awesome. We cannot compare ourselves to them, nor to the latest Pro Starcraft 1 eSport winners.

No this is from a time before eSports came into existence. It’s from the same time as Warcraft 1, 2 and 3 or Diablo 1 and 2. Or to take some other genre’s into account: Alpha Centaur, Civilization, Prince of Persia 2D and Lemmings.

All those titles I hear.. did you play those? Yes I did, but not to the extent that The Game Mistress would play them. She plays every game until they are finished. And if a game is really nice, she will try to complete any possible challenge in it as well, find every secret, complete all the stars.

We just enjoyed playing this game with each other and either group up against the PC or play against some other people on the internet, or free-for-all against each other.

One of my best friend even spend some good amount of time on playing around with the Worleditor for Starcraft 1 (SCEdit). He made interesting maps with scripting for both the AI (advanced AI) and to help us out (neutral bases, converter fields and the like). These maps were build upon time after time and had version numbers.

The cool thing about the game is that when one had this map installed on their copy of the game, the others would automatically download it when the game was being chosen to be played with.

Next to free-for-all and team-based games, there were also options for King of the Hill and capture-the-flag.
We played standard with the Broodwar expansion included, so we had the necessary extra’s.

In Starcraft you need to understand the priorities, especially on multiplayer. The first thing to do is to get resources. Resources in Starcraft are the blue or yellow crystals which is a sort of power or money. Also there is a sort of gas that can be contained and gathered which is another resource for specialised units. And next to that you will need a buildable resource that allows for more expansion, more units on the screen. How this last one looks like or is being built, really depends on which race you play.

The Zerg is a bio race. They grow or infect or mutate into creatures, weapons or resource machines. The Zerg have Overlords to expand their building capacities, the Terran have (supply) depots and the Protoss use Pylons. They all work slightly different however, the Overlords are flying life forms that can scout and later on be upgraded to transport units. The supply depots from the Terran aren’t much functional, but they can be submerged so that units can move over them. The pylons from the Protoss serve as a power network, making sure you can build anywhere in their power field.

Really everything in this game has its uses, his own advantages and disadvantages. I think the detail put into and all the time that has been put in to balancing all of the elements in this game is what is so amazing about it. It gives total re-playability time after time again.

For this review of some sort I am not going into the detail or the background of every race as that kind of information is plentiful on Wikipedia and would suit more for a single player review.

The fun fact of this game is that it has been played by so many people and is still so popular among many. This is because of the strategic effect. All the strategic decisions one has to make in this game, it can get rather difficult and complicated from a designer or analyst perspective.

But what do you do after that? That really depends what strategy you will follow, which strategy you have taught yourself to fulfill. This depends entirely on the situation you are in aswell. Where is the enemy? Do you know their location? How fast can you bring out fighting units? Did they attack you before you could get out defense or offense? Are you between two big enemies, then you perhaps have to use some time on defending your base while building your artillery in the same time. Does it have water between you and your enemy? Perhaps you have to consider battling by airships.

On the internet you can find hundreds of websites that tell you strategies from a lot of people that play the game and think that their strategy is best.

And nowadays with the eSports in mind, you will also find hundreds, if not thousands of videos of key-people playing this game and showing their strategies and techniques that you could apply for your next game against your friends.

After we finished school, playing games time reduced and interests shifted to other games aswell (Asheron’s Call 2 and World of Warcraft are big ones among them). It wasn’t until Starcraft 2 was about to come out that we played a game of Starcraft 1 again, even we two here at home. And when Starcraft 2 came out we played that with all of our friends from overseas again.

It has fallen silent for the moment though. Perhaps because there came new games out in between, or because we lost interest for a moment. But rest assured, there will be a time that we play this game again, because it is a game that has a top replay value.

Strategy games are fun, because they make you think with your head. You learn to make strategic decissions. Decissions that can make you win or lose. When you lose, you learn from your mistakes (in our case we had discussions about it and we endlessly checked the replays and the statistics), and then you try again and again and again, until you win.

I believe there has been a point where I won.. or at least where wasn’t the first one to fail.

So if you are up for a game with me on either Starcraft 1 or 2, I’ll gladly accept the challenge!

Game on!

Steven

p.s. if I said anything wrong, please correct me

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