I’m going with a co-worker to watch him pick up the collector’s edition over lunch. It’s an exciting day for a lot of gamers. While I’m not concerned that Starcraft will be another high watermark in the RTS genre–I would be very concerned whether or not the gamers of today care about RTS much at all. The last really good RTS that pushed the envelope for me was Company of Heroes, with Dawn of War being a lesser but moderately OK version. Both of these games stood on the shoulders of the amazing Warcraft 3, for which I have no limit to the amount of adoration or praise: for it’s gamplay, single player as well as single-handedly moving the genre away from the domination of the defense (like Total Annihilation or Age of Empires) other than that? The genre has been rather meh.
The question is, will Starcraft 2 be big just because it’s Blizzard or will it be able to sustain the casual gamers? Warcraft 3 had Ancients and the Hero mods for players that didn’t just want to go online and get their ass slapped aside in multiplayer, but due to the lack of heroes, Starcraft may not have the branches for modification Warcraft 3 does.
For me, sadly, having very little time to commit to learning another RTS to the level I feel comfortable with, Starcraft 2 is all about the single player which, if Warcraft 3 was any indication, will be absolutely brilliant on all fronts.