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DreamHack is the world’s largest and most spectacular LAN party. Blizzard has been represented well on the main floor, with WarCraft 3 (+DoTA) ,World of WarCraft: Wrath the Lich King and StarCraft 2 all available and playable, with WarCraft 3 and DoTA being part of the eSports events.

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Out of the thousands of gaming rigs, only 16 had StarCraft 2 installed, but these were enough for GosuGamers to compile quite an extensive hands-on gameplay report, spanning multiple pages and covering

  • Graphics
  • Mechanics
  • Macro Management

Graphics:

StarCraft 2′s initial graphics and unit design were criticized by many fans for lacking the rough, dirty, mechanical feel that StarCraft 1 graphics have so masterfully projected. Initially, graphics were shiny, lively and colorful, and Blizzard did what Blizzard does best – it asked the community for feedback. And then the community answered, and they have listened.

cute fluffy older graphics

Over the next few weeks we will be trying out a few things on the upcoming screenshots, including a reduced saturation which will increase the realism of the units and environment.

The reports from DreamHack address that exact concern, and news from the front seem to be good:

has been concerns that the graphic is too bright, or that the units look too much like toys. Playing the game, however, it all felt just right. It felt down worn and dirty, especially on the darker tilesets of maps

Mechanics:

Path algorithms are hard to program. Path algorithms that respond perfectly and consistently to a constantly changing environment with multiple human inputs at any given time are even harder.
Now that you know that, you should also know that apparently Zerglings have some AI and path selection issues which will hopefully be solved before the game hits beta.
The Zerg are also experiencing some unit acceleration and response issues, with Mutalisks receiving noticeable acceleration/deceleration and momentum adjustment mechanisms.

The Mutalisks were clumsy. ….

….First, it takes for ever for them to accelerate. Meaning of you do a turn or an attack or anything than flying in a straight line they are slow as hell.
Second, sometimes I would order them to make a turn to go somewhere else, and they would instead end up on a slightly different spot from where I ordered them to go to!

Calculating the paths of clumped mutalisks ?

One of StarCraft’s deadliest weapons have been well controlled clumped Mutalisks. The ability to move fast, hit hard and change targets repeatedly according to their vulnerability has provided the Zerg with one of the best hit n’run tools in any RTS. Apparently, StarCraft 2 Zerg players will have to adjust their tactics, especially considering the fact that everything owns Mutalisks.

Macro – MBS, Gas and Automining:

StarCraft 2′s automation mechanisms have been debated from the very start – the game contains significantly less “chores” and streamlines production and worker management. Trivial tasks are made truly trivial, leaving more time for battles… and babysitting gas.

the gas mechanic. It’s annoying. It doesn’t ruin anything really, but it’s just annoying hearing a BEEP BEEP everytime it goes offline and online. Sure, it creates an interesting aspect but it’s too annoying. Blizzard said they try to put in cool stuff and units. Well this is not cool in any way. if it’s done to make macro harder, just remove automining instead.

Blizzard should probably notice and address the concerns raised by many gamers regarding the Vespene Gas mechanic. It feels forced, and as one of our readers put it,

putting speed bumps like this in the way of pro players is just gonna frustrate casual players

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