*Small spoiler is about a side character, not about the ending.
I just finished Starcraft 2 on Hard mode (getting all the achievements), and I was feeling pretty good. Then I saw the ending cinematic. Then I watched through the credits, hoping, that like in the movies, for an additional moment after to fill the increasingly cold and empty feeling building up in the pit of my stomach.
As some extremely "clever" song (called Terran Up The Night, I believe) played, I felt for all the world like a kid who saw a huge present wrapped under the Christmas tree with his name on it and opened it only to find a horribly feminine Carebear pajama set hidden in a sea of tissue paper. I worked to find this piece of crap, and all I could do was wish I could rewind time and get my hope back.
While I had fears from the beginning that Starcraft 2 was going to have a terrible story and with uninteresting characters, the mission variety and some clever "choice" moments raised my faith that all my hours of work would pay off in to some epic 8 minute cinematic which would leave me reeling and praying for Heart of the Swarm (next "expansion").
Instead of ending with a bang, Starcraft 2 hobbled away with its limp narrative clutched in its spiney little zergling claws.
As if to reward all of my optimism and effort, a terrible reality had set in - Blizzard doesn't care about narrative.
Now when I say this, it should not be confused with "Blizzard doesn't care about story". They are excellent worldbuilders, and manage to fill their worlds with much (albeit trite) lore and history...
However, their actual execution leaves a lot to be desired. Blizzard has been working on this game for YEARS. While it may be argued that this is just 1/3 of the total piece of the story, had no one at Blizzard watched their WoL single player cinematics and realized that it just plain sucked?
Without saying much for what happens, it could have played out MUCH more interestingly. Everyone essentially telegraphed what they were going to do instead of doing it, making the whole thing seem stale and anti-climatic. The "twists" were obvious, and some of the biggest occurences and realizations had zero impact because you, as a player, had no emotional attachment or were not shown enough to form one.
That's one of my biggest beefs with how the narrative played out. You don't really care, because the characters in the game don't care.
In one instance, a huge revelation is made about one of the side characters. Instead of it causing any kind of trauma or long term impression on the crew, it's swiftly handled in one short scene and then never referenced to again.Spoiler!!! This totally disgusted me, as the narrative tries to build up how much guilt Raynor felt about Kerrigan being infested. Then it happens to another woman under his protection, and he suddenly doesn't care and goes John Wayne on her? Sorry, doesn't jive well at all Blizzard, but it did help you give the player the illusion of choice in your incredibly linear mission campaign. Spoiler Over
Blizzard - if your other two expansion packs contain stories like WoL, then there's no excuse not to have them all contained in one box. You did it with Starcraft 1. Though, that was before you turned greedy.
I really like Starcraft 2. I really dislike it's 30 second countdown everytime you start a game. I also really like non-realistic but interestingly framed arguements.
Combining all three of these, I will attempt to prove how Starcraft 2's 30 second counterdown is destroying... (dramatic pause) the world!!
Let's start with these assumptions:
- Starcraft has an average of 750,000 people online (according to the homepage)
- Each game continues to have a 30 second countdown once all players are found
- Each game lasts on average about 30 minutes. I'm sure the average is lower, but this will make the math easier to follow and is more than enough to prove my point.
This is what we'll ignore:
- The number of people playing single player versus multiplayer, as Blizzard won't allow me access in to it's super secret fun shop to snoop around. They're (justifiably) afraid I'll steal some Diablo 3 betas and reveal to the world that there's a cash shop built in.
- Haters and Ho's.
So if each game has a countdown timer of 30 seconds for an average of two 30 minute games per hour, then each person logged in wastes 1 minute per hour.
(750,000 people)(1 minute per hour) = 750,000 minutes
(750,000 minutes)/(60 minutes per hour) = 12,500 hours per hour wasted
(12,500 hours per hour)(24 hours in a day) = 300,000 hours wasted per day
There are 8,765.81277 hours in a year (thanks Google!). This means we have an astounding 34.2 years wasted per day!!!!
Additional unrealistic but useful facts to put it in perspective....
- That's more than enough time to build 1 Pyramid per day
- One man could walk the length of the Earth about 30 times
- Blizzard could develop about 11 Starcraft 2's... or just give us Diablo 3
- If someone (not gonna drop the race card, but he's probably Korean) played Starcraft 2 all day and all night since it was released on July 27th then they would have.... well actually, they would have wasted all of their time since July 27th.
I can understand if the additional time allows some kind of network synch optimization for low lag... but if not, Blizzard make the timer shorter already!! A better design choice would be having a 5 or 10 second timer and just make the game stop counting down if someone leaves.
How does all of this equate to Blizzard's timer destroying (dramatic pause) the world?? Well... I just said that to make you read this, and waste your valuable time you could have spent waiting for games to start.