I was just sitting here putting off writing a very long paper when it occured to me that there is no category for video game reviews on the site. There probably should be, if people would write them.
I’ve been playing a bit of Starcraft lately for no particular reason. Every time I do I think about what is missing. Why can’t those SCVs be in 3D ? For that matter, why can’t the landscape be in true 3D with line of sight? Where is my Level 6 Jim Raynor with his special ability? If he got enough experience he would be unstoppable! Psionic Storm could be one Tassadar’s specialties. Ah.. such possibilities. The lack of multiplayer heroes gets to me.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War has a hero concept, which is why I have played it quite a bit also. But it lacks the playability of War3. The hero gets attached to a squad and you don’t really ever see him again. If your forces are big enough, you won’t realize he’s dead until you see his picture in the barracks to regenerate him. The DOW heroes are pretty strong when they first come but they don’t level up. They gradually become more insignificant as the game goes on. After a while, its not even worth your time to produce them (there are two per race). This fact, coupled with the near zero out-of-the-box support from THQ—no maps, no patches, no upgrades, no nothin’— make DOW a quick starter that is quickly extinguished.
Warcraft 3 has ruined me in the realm of Real Time Strategy. Every other game I play can’t compare with the sheer awesomeness of its hero concept. It takes all my favorite parts of Diablo and mashes them into the fantasy world I have done battle in since 94 on a DOS platform. Leveling the heroes up becomes part of what is necessary to win. A level ten Keeper of the Grove can trounce an entire city with its loyal army of Ents. It creates them without monetary cost. The game is no longer about who can pump out grunts and footmen the fastest.
Well… not entirely anyway.
You care about your heroes more than your cannon fodder and you wouldn’t just throw them away on a fruitless attack. If you do you pay for it. The preciousness of your forces makes for a more strategic game. You have to preserve your forces or you will be overwelmed.
Another point that makes for more strategy is that it is extremely foolish to divide your forces. You need all your guys together when the enemy comes so that you can face down his heroes. You don’t just build an army for base defense, build another to attack, and build another because your bored. You can’t risk making the fight two sided.
Warcraft 3 also updates often. They are constantly fixing hacks and glitches in this game. Warcraft 3 has the playability, strategy, and support to make it the best RTS ever made.
Now being the best RTS ever creates new problems. You can’t go back to your old games. Well you can, but with intense regret. It’s like dating Halle Berry only to be kicked back to your mom. Sure she’s a nice woman, but she don’t inspire the same feelings, does she. I can play starcraft for nostalgia’s sake and for little other.
Additionally, everybody knows Warcraft 3 is the best RTS ever. They even know in Korea and play it at all hours. Unfortunately, being married with a child, having goals, and going to school does not allow me to put in the kind of time that… say… a forty year old basement-dweller would be able to. There was brief period where I was able to waste many an hour leading my Night Elves to victory; my brother and I were ranked 23rd in the world. Now, I can hardly get on battle.net without getting my ass handed to me. I’ve been called a newbie by people who were probably born after I started playing the warcaft series. And having the Koreans creating digital carnage when our sun sets means that you can’t even get a Warcraft 3 game in the middle of the night without getting your cap peeled.
Warcraft 3 will always be my game of choice, though it’s painful to suck at what you love. It’s lack of time, though. Not lack of potential. I feel like I’m trapped on Elba. I guess the only answer is to get back on the horse and conquer the world again. But who has time to conquer a whole world? Korea alone will take some time. After all, kimchi and a keyboard is a deadly combo. I’ll have to save them for last.
Benski – A true Warcraft 3 lover and loyalist