Campaign Mode so far

Been playing the SCII campaign mode, and I must say it’s frankly awesome. Having mission options with different incentives and a high degree of customization makes the whole story mode feel robust.

I heard some complaints that it wasn’t impressive enough, though. People say the characters aren’t appealing, and basically expecting more from it. The way I see it, the characters have always been pretty straightforward and simple, but strong. I saw an interview with the voice actor for Jim Raynor, who said that it has that old story feeling to it, like a mythology — that’s a good point, because the game really does emphasize “big and simple” over small and subtle. Writing nowadays tends to be focused on witty, nuanced, or unorthodox characters, but this is more feel-good and epic. The way they handle the “universe” and lore allows the missions themselves to take the spotlight.

I wish the voice acting was better, since a lot of lines aren’t delivered with the right “umph”, but that’s been true of many videogames. I think people were expecting too much of SCII, to be honest, from both multiplayer and singleplayer.

Compared to the original StarCraft and Brood War, this really opens your eyes to the commander life. In some ways that may not be appealing to people, because they want to imagine it their own way. But I can really soak it up. I can tell I’m going to play through a bunch of it again, once I get my sweet new HP Elite computer ($1,250)

Best of all is the totally new functionality for units and buildings, either purchased with credits or unlocked by collecting secret research stuff on missions.

(Spoiler: Actually the best part of all may be the way the game is pointing to the races adopting technology from each other, raising questions of what kind of hybrids and twists there will be down the line in new expansions.)


The Plan

My Computer

Now that the game is installed and operational, I’ve played the Single Player campaign a bit and found that my computer actually resets if I don’t turn down the graphics settings. This has happened with several games in the past, including Team Fortress 2. I bought more RAM a few months ago to solve a “low paged pool memory” error, but it seems like it’s time to look at a whole new PC. My hard drive is only a few Gigabytes away from being full, too, which could be slowing things down.

The Game

I’ll be playing Single Player before jumping into multiplayer, naturally. Then I’ll probably play against CPU and ease my way into the real thing. By then there should have been a few patches and tweaks, and the whole ladder should be more “settled”. Getting in early means facing all the really hardcore guys, and total noobs.

I spoke with a friend (who we shall call “The G”) who told me that, when it comes to the proper mentality for RTS, “You just gotta be greedy”. It really struck my mind, even though I found it funny. I realized that I actually haven’t been greedy when I played; haven’t been possessive and domineering like I should be. I think like a guerrilla warrior, doing a lot with very little, rather than swelling and spreading proudly. Thanks for that, man, it may help!

The Name

I went with Mediocrites after all, since it grew on me. Plus somebody remarked on it, which must mean that it’s officially remarkable.

The Game is Out!

I am now sitting at 92% and waiting for the installation to be complete.

What shall my “Character” name be? Do I stick with Mediocrites? Blizzard says there will be no name changes for a while, so I need to think carefully. Normally I would pick something shorter with more “impact”. The name means a lot to me, actually, because I want it to be something memorable. When I’m playing as a character in an RPG such as Champions Online or World of Warcraft, naming a character has a lot to do with my appearance, class, abilities and a fictional identity I create — but when it’s supposed to be my own name, I want it to reflect my own attitude.

In any case, I’m very excited! This is really where the fun all begins, and the game starts to evolve in many new ways. Not only strategies and gameplay, but patches that add and improve features to and the whole competitive scene. The community itself will grow and become more exciting as well!

95%. I have to start meditating on what name to pick…

Beta Restarted

The restart of the beta hasn’t brought many changes, but one major change is the ability to play against computer AI’s with difficulty levels above “very easy”. This means better practice, which I certainly need a lot of. I played a few games versus “Medium” difficulty and won, and met a fellow beta player during a Team Fortress 2 session who offered to help me practice. The games all reinforced what I knew: I need to work on being faster, less distracted and generally get a more settled understanding of the flow. Right now I’m quite terrible.

Because the actual release of the game is so close, and because I’m so far behind in the competitive scene, I’m tempted to wait for the full game and get practice through the Campaign mode. We’ll see!