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Starcraft II: The Singleplayer/Multiplayer split

Starcraft 2 is a great game, everyone seems to be saying that. There are many things that can be praised, but I believe that one of the main reasons is the split between the Single Player campaign and Multiplayer. In the original Starcraft most of the mission were basically against one or more computer opponents who simulated human players, who started with an advantage (up and running base) but were limited by AI rules (like only attacking every five minutes, only building certain units etc.). There were some special challenges, like RPGstyle ‘dungeon crawls’ with a limited number of units, but most missions where about building your base and destroying your opponent’s base. While really entertaining, this cannot compete to the ingenuity of human opponents. This is the reason that after playing online for a bit that the single player campaign seems easier than it was before. It was not really possible to change the Singe player formula because units in both game modes had to abide by the same rules.

Starcraft 2 throws that out of the water. There are two sets of rules. Single player is allowed to go as crazy as it wants without bringing the precarious Multi player balance in jeopardy, while Multiplayer is not getting unbalanced by that craziness. Suddenly there can be a day/night cycle, rising and ebbing lava, even train robberies. It allows many more and different units in Single Player that do not need to be balanced. Base building and upgrading is interesting in Multi player, because you are (re)acting based on what your opponent is doing. Even in special Singe player scenario’s it is quite easy to figure out what the AI’s attack pattern is. So Single Player has several persistent upgrades. The same goes for mercenaries: these add an enormous amount of versatility to Single Player that would be impossible to balance against in Multi player.

Anything can happen now and we still have two expansions to look forward to!

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Categories: Starcraft II Tags: ,
  1. March 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    I agree, I think that their decision to also make the campaign non-linear is to be applauded. It adds more replayability to the campaign and also allows a lot of cool upgrades for your units and buildings that are permanent in the game once you get enough points to unlock them. Starcraft 2 is definitely an epic game!

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