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Author Topic: Starcraft 2: The Milking?  (Read 5510 times)
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CeeKay
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« on: October 11, 2008, 03:55:48 AM »

Starcraft 2 is now going to be 3 separate releases.  My chances of buying one copy of SC2 were pretty low, but 3 copies?  I'll have to pass, especially since I have the feeling they'll charge full price for each one.
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« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2008, 04:17:30 AM »

I have this sudden, strange urge to go watch Kill Bill.
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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2008, 04:31:21 AM »

Cool. Three times the goodness! I'm in. Thanks, CeeKay, wherever you are!!
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2008, 05:17:18 AM »

I was really looking forward to Starcraft 2, but not to the tune of $130 (assuming $50 + $40 + $40).  What really worries me is what they're going to do to Diablo 3 in order to insure a continuous stream of money coming from that game.  I have a feeling it's going to make Hellgate : London look generous in comparison.  It's also sad to see that they chose to announce this at their own fan convention - Did they think people would be happy about this?
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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2008, 06:43:13 AM »

I'm really surprised about this announcement. Didn't hear anything about it at Blizzcon.  icon_eek
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« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2008, 07:07:34 AM »

I thought for sure it was an April Fool's Joke.  icon_razz Ha, ha, very funny, Blizzard.  disgust

TenTon seemed to indicate it was announced at Blizzcon, but all the Diablo 3 attention might well have drowned it out.
http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/46213

Long delays never stopped Blizzard before on any game or expansion, so it sounds a bit curious to me that they cite that as an excuse. Part of SC's charm was having 3 terrific campaigns in one game.

I think they're hoping everyone in South Korea (I'm part Korean and I know I have at least one cousin who's a gamer because I helped my Korean uncle buy Diablo and Starcraft here to take home, when he was visiting here about 10 years ago icon_smile) buys all 3 games. Then at that point it won't matter if they make a sale in the U.S. at all. icon_surprised

Given the U.S./world economic situation, it just doesn't make any sense - if they really are going to charge full price for each release.

Maybe they'll also ship Diablo II with half of the characters, and half a campaign, and have a built-in expansion there too. I sound sarcastic, but you know it's probably true.  icon_razz

Anyway, while I'm sure Blizz knows what they're doing, I can imagine even now there are 1,000 "don't release the campaigns as separate games, we're not made out of money!" online petitions being created, as we post here.  icon_razz

I am a little surprised - given all their WoW MMO experience - that they don't either create their own type of Steam network (they could just sell the campaigns 2 and 3 as downloads at lower prices/less overhead); or give SC2 a pseudo-MMO updater that allows them to add campaigns the way they add updates to WoW.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2008, 07:24:18 AM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2008, 07:18:06 AM »

Heh.  The probability of me buying SC2 was 0%.  Now it's a negative value. smile

Seriously, details are sketchy at the moment and none of us knows exactly what each instalment will be, but this does sound rather cynical.
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« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2008, 07:22:45 AM »

Well, if it was announced at Blizzcon, it definitely was not at the opening ceremonies. The big announcement was the wizard class for Diablo 3.
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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2008, 08:18:34 AM »

I do love the people that say it's going to cost this or that when no price has been announced.

On the other hand delays have never been an issue in the past but it doesn't mean it's not an issue now.

The one thing that gets me is the amount of stuff people make up or say as if it's fact, until it's out or we get a cost it's hard to actually judge what it means. It could be 3 full  games charged at full price or they could be cheaper, it could be 3 small games at rip off price or even a cheap price. i mean who the hell knows yet.

All i can do atm is judge blizzard on what they have given / done in the past, and so far that has been fine.
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« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2008, 09:54:36 AM »

Wait, this is real?

On one hand, it stinks to high heaven.  On the other hand, we already know that the Terran campaign in the box is this pretty extensive thing much like Dawn of War 2 where you have a ship and fly around doing missions and such.

On the other hand, SC1 was known for its great 3 act campaign.

We also don't know what these extra "expansions" will be released.  They might actually be actual expansions and this is just a case of someone mouthing off way too early about them.  If these are simultaneously released though, then something is rotten in Denmark.

Thankfully, there's actually competition this time around, with DoW2 coming out.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2008, 09:57:46 AM by Turtle » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2008, 10:15:30 AM »

Quote from: Turtle on October 11, 2008, 09:54:36 AM

then something is rotten in Denmark.

will you people lay of my country already!! Why the denmark hate in all these threads... sigh...

;-)

On topic, never really got into SC, I mean, it was fun enough, but not play till 3-am in the morning fun for me...anyways, looking semi.forward to this, but much much more to DoW2!
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« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2008, 11:43:46 AM »

The first game will include the Terran campaign, but will also include the full multiplayer game with all 3 sides.  The second game will be released sometime later and will include RPG elements in the Zerg campaign (perhaps like the bonus Orc campaign in Frozen Throne?), while the third game will feature the Protoss campaign and offer diplomatic options.  What's odd is that buying the second and third games will apparently only get you the single-player campaigns, as the first game will include the full multiplayer experience.
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« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2008, 02:05:47 PM »

Quote from: EddieA on October 11, 2008, 11:43:46 AM

What's odd is that buying the second and third games will apparently only get you the single-player campaigns, as the first game will include the full multiplayer experience.

Personally, I'm guessing that #2 and 3 will contain the multiplayer component as well - just incase somebody doesn't buy #1.

And this reeks of a money-grab, as they know the insane fanbase will buy all 3. On the flip side, this will keep the game from being delayed until 2010, methinks.

EDIT: And here's one question - did the Activision half of Blizzard have anything to do with this? I mean, I know that the old Blizzard, along with its fans, would've more than waited until the release date of "When it's done", but Blizzard isn't just themselves anymore.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2008, 02:10:06 PM by Destructor » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2008, 03:41:42 PM »

Each campaign is supposed to have 30 or so missions so each will be the equivalent length of SC1, plus each is supposed to have a mini-campaign from another race.  My guess from reading and listening to various interviews is that they got a little too ambitious and this is the only alternative they could come up with to pushing SC2 back to 2010, 2011, or later.  Also, from their mentioning that some units will be single-player only, I bet they are having difficulty achieving the 3 race balance they got in SC1.

They wanted epic campaigns with branching missions and nontraditional RTS elements in addition to cool, OMGzor! units while still maintaining a precise multiplayer balance.  It wasn't working, so something had to give and they decided to not let time be the sacrifice.  I'll hold off on price bashing until they release specifics, but even at $50 + $40 + $40 or a similar model, you're still getting full multiplayer with any one of the three, and three SC1 equivalent campaigns if you pay for all three.
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« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2008, 04:29:49 PM »

I've still a little confusion because they alternately seem to refer to them as "stand alone campaigns" (meaning you don't need the initial release to play the 2nd one, I take it, for example) and then as "expansions" (which generally require the initial release). icon_confused I'm sure they'll clarify but if they're going to drop a bombshell like this, they oughta have a FAQ ready to go.

I'm hopeless at multiplayer in RTSs (Company of Heroes I could sometimes get by in, otherwise I'm a joke  icon_razz), so I'd probably only be interested in the Terran campaign.

My conspiracy theory is somewhere in the Blizz bean counters, they're spoiled by WoW's continous revenue stream and this is a way to spread SC2's revenue stream across a period of time (years?) without resorting to turning SC2 into a monthly fee game.
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« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2008, 05:59:58 PM »

This doesn't bother me a whole lot.  I'm primarily interested in the Terrans anyway (they were my favorite group in SC1) so if I enjoy the first SC2 release enough then I'll buy the expansions (which I expect will be annual releases at best) and if I don't, no biggie and I won't buy the others. But I expect that Blizzard will provide tons of content in each individual campaign so I suspect I'll get my money's worth from each release. 
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« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2008, 06:07:26 PM »

I've read rumors that the three campaigns will be different perspectives on the same story rather than linear additions to the same plot, but I don't think that's anything official.

If you consider the cash WoW must be hauling in, I don't think Blizzard's primary motivation here is money.  I think they're trying to keep a reasonable release time and limit the number of things they have to spend developer resources on.
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« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2008, 06:25:45 PM »

Boo hoo! Couldn't they have disguised the fleecing of the poor wittle gamers by calling the second and third games "full expansions" or "standalone expansions"? Seems the bitching and whining about a game some never intended to buy anyway has started early.
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« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2008, 06:41:18 PM »

At least we know there will eventually be a Battlechest version with all 3 games.
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« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2008, 08:49:40 PM »

If they are full campaigns for each one, then I am ok with this.  More goodness to enjoy!!!
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« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2008, 09:15:39 PM »

This seems odd, and I'm not sure what to think. If you can play skirmish with all three sides in the first one, then who cares? Personally, I am skeptical of this news a tad. Anyway, I'll see how this develops, then decide to get the first one, or what until Zergs come out. I have a feeling you will play all three sides in each campaign anyway (sorta like WC3).

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« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2008, 09:19:16 PM »

Ok, this is independently confirmed.

http://www.gamespot.com/news/6199172.html?tag=latestheadlines;title;4

Still, I think it will be multiple sides in each campaign, like WC3 but the storyline will focus on different things. Personally, I think the first release will be full featured.

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« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2008, 09:24:03 PM »

Quote from: EddieA on October 11, 2008, 06:41:18 PM

At least we know there will eventually be a Battlechest version with all 3 games.

Yes, in the year 2020. slywink

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« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2008, 09:24:33 PM »

First impression: Milking their customers for all they're worth. RPGs like NWN2 are huge and split into individual chapters, but you don't see them split those into several games. Many RTSes have huge campaigns for each side in the game, yet they don't try to sell them individually.

No matter what you think about this piece of news, just consider this: With Half Life Episodes 1-3 and now Starcraft 2, how long will it take before every major game developer out there wants a piece of the pie and does the same thing to their games? Will we end up in a situation where most games are released without their entire storylines included, "forcing" us to buy the next game just so we can see how it all ends?

I don't care about Starcraft 2, as I wouldn't have bought it anyway (grew tired of this type of RTS games years ago when they stopped evolving). I'm more concerned about the long-term effect on the industry.
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« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2008, 09:34:10 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on October 11, 2008, 09:24:33 PM

First impression: Milking their customers for all they're worth. RPGs like NWN2 are huge and split into individual chapters, but you don't see them split those into several games. Many RTSes have huge campaigns for each side in the game, yet they don't try to sell them individually.

No matter what you think about this piece of news, just consider this: With Half Life Episodes 1-3 and now Starcraft 2, how long will it take before every major game developer out there wants a piece of the pie and does the same thing to their games? Will we end up in a situation where most games are released without their entire storylines included, "forcing" us to buy the next game just so we can see how it all ends?

I don't care about Starcraft 2, as I wouldn't have bought it anyway (grew tired of this type of RTS games years ago when they stopped evolving). I'm more concerned about the long-term effect on the industry.

Supply & demand will control this just fine. Same with the consumer uproar about paying $15/mo to "keep playing a game I already bought". If the demand is there, good for the publishers. If not, they'll adapt.

Unless you're just worried the demand is there smile
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« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2008, 09:39:09 PM »

Quote from: Jeff Jones on October 11, 2008, 09:34:10 PM

Unless you're just worried the demand is there smile

I am. There are cases where traditional supply and demand don't work as they should. Starcraft would be one such case. I'm sure the rabid fans (and most of Blizzard's fans are exactly that) would purchase it even if it was just a 3D multiplayer version of Starcraft 1 with no singleplayer campaign. I'm afraid that the big franchises will start to take advantage of this, beginning a trend that would eventually infest non-franchise games as well.

In short, I'm worried about the impact this could have on the industry exactly because Starcraft is an exceptional franchise, and some executives somewhere in the system might not realize it.

Also, consumers are idiots. I can back that up with science.  slywink
« Last Edit: October 11, 2008, 09:40:54 PM by TiLT » Logged
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« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2008, 10:01:24 PM »

Wow - didn't take long for my fears about Diablo 3 to be confirmed  icon_evil
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« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2008, 10:04:15 PM »

this doesn't seem so bad when diablo 3 will be 5 games.  Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

first impressions:suck a cock blizzard
final impressions:suck a cock blizzard

this is nothing but a money grab. thanks activision for pushing your horribleness onto the best dev house. since when does blizzard care about delaying a game for another year? since when does blizzard care about how money a game is taking to develop? read between the lines and you'll find some disturbing answers. this is a horrible trend and I can't believe people think it's ok. no more than 20 bucks else they can go screw off, but it won't be. they want them to "feel like a full fledge game" what better way than making you pay full price! expansion my ass.
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« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2008, 11:05:43 PM »

Quote from: EddieA on October 11, 2008, 10:01:24 PM

Wow - didn't take long for my fears about Diablo 3 to be confirmed  icon_evil

I'm not sure what part of that article you are referring to. The inability to mod? As for the other thing ... I'm not sure what "monetize unknown features" even means. It doesn't sound good though.
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« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2008, 11:34:08 PM »

Quote from: ScubaV on October 11, 2008, 06:07:26 PM

If you consider the cash WoW must be hauling in, I don't think Blizzard's primary motivation here is money.  I think they're trying to keep a reasonable release time and limit the number of things they have to spend developer resources on.

Are you suggesting that they produce Starcraft 2 not to make money but just to have fun or being generous?smile If so then maybe they can release all 3 Starcraft 2 for free. Primary motivation for Blizzard is money!!! Maybe they'll release some free small games on the side if they feel like it, but when they produce games in Diablo, Warcraft, Starcraft franchise, the motivation is always about money.

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« Reply #30 on: October 12, 2008, 12:16:15 AM »

Damn... Can't really blame Blizzard for making money, since that's ultimately what the goal here is.

I'm already hating myself, because were Blizzard to release 3 $79.99 Collector's Editions of all the subsequent Starcraft "stand-alone episodes" (which I know for sure they will), I'd still end up buying each and every one of them. And I don't even care about the multiplaying aspect of the game.

What really sucks is that I always preferred Protoss, and now I have to wait until sometime 2012+ before I get to go through their campaign.
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« Reply #31 on: October 12, 2008, 02:55:11 AM »

Quote from: Victoria Raverna on October 11, 2008, 11:34:08 PM

Quote from: ScubaV on October 11, 2008, 06:07:26 PM

If you consider the cash WoW must be hauling in, I don't think Blizzard's primary motivation here is money.  I think they're trying to keep a reasonable release time and limit the number of things they have to spend developer resources on.

Are you suggesting that they produce Starcraft 2 not to make money but just to have fun or being generous?smile If so then maybe they can release all 3 Starcraft 2 for free. Primary motivation for Blizzard is money!!! Maybe they'll release some free small games on the side if they feel like it, but when they produce games in Diablo, Warcraft, Starcraft franchise, the motivation is always about money.



Certainly a motivation is money, but I don't think it's the primary motivation at this point.  Once a developer gets to the point where they can dictate their own development philosophy I think their main focus is to create great games that they themselves enjoy making and playing.  Valve is another example.
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« Reply #32 on: October 12, 2008, 06:33:32 AM »

Quote from: Jeff Jones on October 11, 2008, 11:05:43 PM

Quote from: EddieA on October 11, 2008, 10:01:24 PM

Wow - didn't take long for my fears about Diablo 3 to be confirmed  icon_evil

I'm not sure what part of that article you are referring to. The inability to mod? As for the other thing ... I'm not sure what "monetize unknown features" even means. It doesn't sound good though.

Yes, the "monetizing" of features, which is most likely another way of saying they'll be charging for things that used to be free.  Hopefully, with Diablo 3, it'll be the online players who get screwed over to balance out the single players getting screwed over with Starcraft 2 slywink
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« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2008, 08:12:54 AM »

I don't think Valve is a good example of this.  They'll delay as long as it takes to fill the game with an acceptable level of gameplay to them.

No, I think a better example in this case is certain movie or television series that execs know they already have an audience.  Then what happens is even though there's a story that they know they can tell in 1-2 seasons it gets extended to be even longer and more convoluted just to keep it going.

The main difference, however, is that with Blizzard's production values they really could pull off 3 entire campaigns at full price and still be worth it monetarily.  But, really, only a company like Blizzard or Valve could do this, only such companies have the money, freedom, time, and production teams capable of this.

However, I really don't think that even a big game like StarCraft 2 has a story arc worthy of 3 separate boxed releases.

Also, RTS single player missions tend to get really, really stale for me, I didn't even get through C&C3's campaign without using cheats to blow through the story, I can't imagine extending that experience to 3 games.  I might just end up youtubing it if they go this route.
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« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2008, 10:00:49 AM »

According to the transcript here are some additional details of initial release:

*Full 26-30 mission Terran campaign
*Full 3 race multiplayer in initial release
*Battle.net with no additional cost
*Supposedly a mini-protoss campaign

If they were only releasing a crappy 10 mission terran campaign and then release a 10 mission Zerg and a 10 mission Protoss, then I would say Rip-off. Instead, they seem to be planning a total of about 90 missions for all three races over the course of some time... that is not a small number! Frozen Throne didn't really add an Orc campaign, so this isn't the first time that each race didn't get full treatment all at once. I'll be getting SC2, because I loved the original, want to see the rest of the story, and feel confident that Blizz will not let me down.

As to monetizing Diablo 3 (money-tizing, if that helps the meaning there), I have no idea how I feel. It did not work with Hellgate London, but that may be because the game itself was flawed. I didn't play Diablo 2 over the internet much, but I understand why people do (as it was very fun the times that I did). I assume they will be making you buy more character slots, access to certain universal character "banks" (so you can trade items between your characters) and the like.

Bael
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« Reply #35 on: October 12, 2008, 11:47:22 AM »

Yow, 26-30 missions, so long as they're not just generic cut and paste destroy the enemy base type of missions, that's worth it.  Add to that the between mission Terran meta-game, and between mission story aspects.

Once again, only a company as big as Blizzard with a product as surefire a success could attempt to do this, or have the staff capable of it.

Hellgate's monetizing didn't work because the whole thing was flawed and, well, not that interesting because of it.  Once again we're in a situation where Blizzard could do it, especially with their expensive experience with WoW.
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« Reply #36 on: October 12, 2008, 12:23:08 PM »

Hopefully they won't do stupid shit like Flagship did, and 'monetize' things like inventory slots, faster transportation, how many toons you could have, or the best quality drops. That turned a lot of people off in a big hurry. Remember how fast Flagship had to change their tune on the character slot thing? "Oh did we say 3 characters, of course we meant 10 teehee. Our bad!"

Not that I expect Blizzard to do anything like that, but I do wonder what they "need to" monetize.
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« Reply #37 on: October 12, 2008, 01:34:26 PM »

From an article on Joystiq.  Rob Pardo is "he".

Quote
Pardo then turned the game off, and it was time to make the announcement: he said that with all of this adventure gameplay and all of these cinematics and missions Starcraft II was just getting too big -- they wanted every race to have its own filled-out story, complete with options and branching paths and full characters. And so, said Pardo, they had three options: cut back and do less, open up and make three games, or delay the game greatly while still compromising. He asked the audience what they would have done, and they cheered when given the option Blizzard chose: there will be three different Starcraft II games, one for each race.

Quote
Multiplayer, he said, won't be affected -- all three races will be playable in multiplayer in each game. Each game will have its own plot and story. And because they separated them, they'll do more in each one -- bonus missions, sidequests, easter eggs, and so on. And they'll try to mix them up as well -- there's a Protoss mini-mission in the Terran campaign, and so on.

I will DIE when I have to wait for the next piece of the story, but when it's all said and done, I am SO loving this idea!
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« Reply #38 on: October 12, 2008, 02:40:12 PM »

Yeah, we aren't really getting less gameplay here. We are getting MORE, just in spaced out doses. I do hope those spaces are not too long (like they are between WoW expansions) apart. That will be torture.

It worked with Dawn of War, and I own all of the DoW expansions, happily so. I expect this to be more exciting than the initial news looked.

Bael
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« Reply #39 on: October 12, 2008, 05:30:32 PM »

Quote from: Turtle on October 12, 2008, 08:12:54 AM

I don't think Valve is a good example of this.  They'll delay as long as it takes to fill the game with an acceptable level of gameplay to them.

I don't know, I think Valve is probably the closest analog here. They could have just made Eps 1-3 HL3 and held it back for a bunch of years but instead opted for a way of periodic releases that bring in revenue on a regular basis.  When all is said and done, Eps 1-3 will add up to a "full" single player campaign of approximate length to HL1 and HL2 and, depending on which package you bought, most gamers will have paid more than the $50-60 retail price that HL3 would have probably gone for.

But while gamers will occasionally moan and groan about some of Valve's pricing and/or distribution strategies, the end result of each product is generally so high that almost all of the grumbling disappears after release.  I suspect it will be the same with SC2. 
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