With the release of Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm less than a week away, Scott and Ustad had a little discussion about their time with the franchise and what the games mean to them. Also, if they are actually any good at it.
Ustad: Oh StarCraft. There aren’t very many games I’ve put more time into. I don’t think I could be described as a “PC Gamer” at any point in my life. I’ve always pretty much been console only, mostly because the computers I own generally suck. But I always found a way to play StarCraft. Sometimes at my neighbour's house, usually at my cousin’s though. There was one summer I spent around a dozen hours every day playing either StarCraft or Doom. So I have some pretty great memories of the original. I have it installed on my everyday laptop and still actually play it from time to time.
Scott: We call it the lost summer of 98. You know what, that's funny too. Not only did the original StarCraft not have any copy protection - the game itself seemed to want you to pirate it. I’m not going to pull out my eyepatch or anything but yeah, I played a whole bunch of StarCraft in my earlier years. Those days are long over though, eh? I was all over StarCraft II when it dropped a few summers ago - until I was quickly reminded that I’m actually not very good at real-time-strategy games. Despite that, they're still one of my most favourite games. Mammoth Tank for life!
Ustad: I haven’t actually played much of Wings of Liberty. Cause of the whole garbage computer thing. And I’m not at an age where I can just go to my neighbor’s house and play anymore. With the original I never really knew how bad I was until I watched other’s play. I would just go around building pylons, playing as the Protoss, because hell yeah Protoss. But eventually I figured out I was terrible at it. I couldn’t move my mouse across the map with blinding speed, couldn’t set several things to build in quick succession. I needed to take my time, and therefore I was not that great. I used to use the “Power Overwhelming” cheat in my early days with it, because I just wanted to squash everyone. But yeah, StarCraft II is a pretty uncharted territory in general to me, which I often take a lot of crap for. But someday I’ll have a computer that can play it, soon.
Scott: C’mon to my place man, you can play it on my laptop with a trackpad while I Zerg rush you. You might have missed out on Wings of Liberty, that’s fine, but have you paid any attention to what is coming down the pipeline with Heart of the Swarm? Sarah Kerrigan is one badass bug. I’m always into hero charactersand I love playing commander, so I’m going to be all over this.
Ustad: Yeah I love what I’ve seen with Kerrigan in the trailers and previews for Heart of the Swarm. I definitely feel like I should buy a good PC and get back on the StarCraft train, starting with Wings of Liberty and then moving on to this expansion. I know most people play StarCraft for the multiplayer side of things but oddly I was never really into that, maybe because I just wasn’t any good at it. How much online did you play before realizing it just wasn’t happening for you?
Scott: I was really into the Protoss, and I finished my seeding matches and quickly got decimated in 2v2 with a friend of mine playing as Terran. We played around 45 matches, having only won three matches in very unfulfilling ways (via super early game Marine and Zealot rushes). After quickly learning that the mulitplayer isn't my area of expertise - I moved on the the story. Where, in typical Blizzard fashion, they crafted such an engulfing universe, I couldn't let go. Nothing fulfils power fantasies as well as flying perfectly timed sorties of Carriers and Void Rays over unsuspecting SVC crews. The feedback loop from StarCraft is always awesome, unless you're on the losing end. I’m stoked on Heart of the Swarm dropping. If you can get a computer good enough to play it, I’m ready to make another B-line attempt to diamond league. You in?
Ustad: I don’t even know if I want to go through the stress attempting that. The very few matches I’ve played get way too intense for my liking. As you mentioned the single player universe is so engaging. I actually think it’s extremely underrated in the larger StarCraft package. Writing back then wasn’t where it is now, but I still loved that story and those characters. Raynor and Kerrigan has a great story and Zeratul is probably still one of favourite characters in any game. He was just so cool when I was a kid. Blizzard has such high production values, even back in 1998 those cinematics blew my mind. I know the actual gameplay doesn’t necessarily reflect the beautiful visuals used in those trailers and scenes, but still they’re still amazing to watch. Even the trailers released in the lead-up to Heart of the Swarm are so fantastically done. Kind of reminds me of the trailers leading up to The Old Republic. Just talking about this game makes me want to forget my real life obligations and spend all my money on a gaming PC. I should totally do that.
Scott: Everything about the games that came before, and StarCraft 2 always the aesthetic and vibe perfectly. I’ll be on Heart of the Swarm day one. Oh hey, speaking of which, I have a six year old Macbook you can borrow. It runs StarCraft II at a thrilling 15 fps.
Ustad: I’m in.
Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm is available on Mar. 12, 2013. Stay tuned for our review later this week.