As part of my trip to Blizzard last month, I spoke with the lead producer of StarCraft II, Chris Sigaty. Right off the bat, I asked him the question that's really been on everyone's mind -- why is there no LAN play in StarCraft II? His response?
"There's lots of reasons," he told me. "Probably the biggest reason, the most important factor for us is, when you experience the new online experience -- it's an integrated experience."
Chris went on to say that for the upcoming Battle.net is for players to "stay connected." He said that it was a tough decision to drop LAN, but ultimately having everyone be on the same network was the only way their vision for Battle.net would work. Finding friends to play with or against, comparing achievements -- those don't work if some people are connecting through LAN.
Hit the jump for more.
When I asked him how he thought the lack of LAN would impact tournament play, he said that Blizzard is aware that all people really want out of StarCraft II is a solid, fun multiplayer experience. He stated that Blizzard is "working on technology right now to enable a best-case connection for the situations when you are all close to one another so that you have a good experience."
Finally, I questioned him a bit on how he thought the lack of LAN play would hurt sales, particularly in regards to piracy and people saying that pirates will patch LAN in on day one. He admitted that piracy is always a factor that they're concerned about, but they decided that achieving their goal for Battle.net took priority. He admitted that, of course, Blizzard doesn't want people hacking their games, and they don't know what people will eventually do, but the hope is that people will log into the new Battle.net, play the game, and realize that they don't really miss LAN all that much after all
I don't know if this will satisfy the more vocal critics of the decision to leave LAN out, but this why Blizzard chose not to include it. Once we actually get some hands on with the new Battle.net, we'll let you know if it actually accomplishes the goals that Blizzard has set.