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Comic for: June 30th, 2009
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Gaming News: "Hoist Ye The' Colors"
Posted: Tuesday June 30th, 2009 by

Alrighty folks, stand back a ways. I'm probably fixing to get myself in trouble, flamed, or both.

If any of you forgot or didn't know Blizzard announced at last year's BlizzCon that StarCraft II would be sold as three separate games. [more info] It was stated that this was due to the game growing to be much larger and more epic than expected. Yesterday, it was reveled that LAN had been scrapped from the game, despite being a major component of the original. It was then later clarified that Battle.Net would be used to host player versus player combat.
Source: Joystiq [ more info ]

So here's where I get myself in hot water...

When Blizzard announced that StarCraft II would be split up and sold as three separate games, I didn't see Blizzard. I saw an Activision inspired money grab designed to capitalize on our fandom and desire for the game. And where Blizzard would like me to believe that pulling LAN support is a way to ensure "a quality multiplayer experience" and of fight piracy. The cynic in me sees something completely different.

By forcing us to use Battle.net we can be monitored, data mined, and subjected to other company advertising. Converted nicely from base-destroying, micro-managing, twitch gamers into little birds chirping hungrily for the worms being fed to us. Yeah it's a cynical view of the situation. But Notice how I've only applied the position to myself. I'm not saying this is how it is. I'm saying this is how I see it. And since I've already put myself out on the firing range, let me just go ahead and paint myself as a target.

This is no longer the Blizzard I knew. This is something different; something that reeks a little too strongly of Activision. It just feels like the focus is no longer on the fan. That focus has narrowed to shine more specifically on our wallets.

There are so many gamers out there that can weave stories of brutally long LAN sessions playing Starcraft; owning and getting owned, over and over again. No Battle.net. No internet connection required. Now, they will have to go online to play against someone sitting right next to them. And in my grumpily myopic view of things, it has little to nothing to do with pirates or quality gaming experience. It's all about limiting our freedom to game without the company's interference.

Some people will like this change. And that's fine. I'm just pointing out that this doesn't feel like something the old Blizzard would do to us. And that, obviously, makes me grumpy.

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