No LAN Play in Starcraft II Results in Petition

If you haven’t heard yet, Rob Pardo, Senior VP of Game Design at Blizzard, has confirmed that Starcraft II will not support LAN play. Yeah, you heard that right. Even though LAN play has been the pillar upon which Starcraft stood for years, it won’t be included in the sequel.

starcraftii1In an interview with Inc Gamers, Pardo said, “we don’t have any plans to support LAN.” When asked directly for clarification, he said, “We will not support it.” Furthermore, in a follow up with Blizzard, they were told that the exclusion of LAN play, “is because of the planned technology to be incorporated into,” a topic they will reveal more about at a later date.

As you can well imagine, the Starcraft community isn’t happy. Starcraft II has already received its share of attention, once it was revealed that it would be released in three parts. Blizzard has assured gamers that each parts of the release will be a full-fledged game, and the furor has died down. Unfortunately, Blizzard is now in the center of a storm again, and this time it’s LAN gamers stirring things up.

UPDATE: A new statement from Blizzard appears after the break.

Now, you can add your voice to the call for LAN play in Starcraft II. It should be no surprise that a petition has sprung up, asking for Blizzard to reconsider. If you want to chime in on the call for Blizzard to change, you can find the petition here:

Unfortunately, I don’t think this sort of thing will end with Starcraft II. The way people play games has fundamentally changed as broadband net connections have become more prevalent. Online multiplayer used to be the rare thing in games; now it’s a standard feature. Local multiplayer is just the opposite. As someone who enjoys local co-op, I miss the days when I could sit side-by-side on the couch with my buddies to play through whatever game was on hand.

LAN play was a staple in my younger gaming days. Many weekends were spent gathering together in someone’s basement, stringing hundreds of feet of LAN cable, and cobbling together a server on whatever extra PC was lying around. Many games survived far longer than they would have otherwise precisely because of LAN play.

Now, I’m sure that Blizzard’s reasoning in this is that they want to prevent those who pirate SCII from being able to access multiplayer. But is forcing players to use the answer? How many times have we seen this sort of thing tried by game publishers, only to result in inconveniences to paying customers? The pirates simply look at it as a speed bump, meaning that it is completely ineffective at its intended purpose.

What do you think? Is LAN play worthwhile in this day and age, or am I just old, decrepit, and nostalgic?

Update: In a statement to Joystiq, Bob Colayco at Blizzard PR had the following to say:

“We don’t currently plan to support LAN play with StarCraft II, as we are building to be the ideal destination for multiplayer gaming with StarCraft II and future Blizzard Entertainment games. While this was a difficult decision for us, we felt that moving away from LAN play and directing players to our upgraded service was the best option to ensure a quality multiplayer experience with StarCraft II and safeguard against piracy.

Several features like advanced communication options, achievements, stat-tracking, and more, require players to be connected to the service, so we’re encouraging everyone to use as much as possible to get the most out of StarCraft II. We’re looking forward to sharing more details about and online functionality for StarCraft II in the near future.”

So piracy is the stated reason, which is asinine. Pirates always find a workaround, and legitimate customers always suffer. Haven’t we been down this road before?

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13 Comments on No LAN Play in Starcraft II Results in Petition

Shawn Sines

On June 30, 2009 at 10:01 am

So I ask this.. is this any different than online being required to handle Valve gameplay? I imagine this is more about the fact that will be used for matchmaking in all situations… and players can make LAN games but will have to authenticate against the core servers.


On June 30, 2009 at 10:01 am

I think it sucks. We actually just want to play it against each other in the same area – the good times to be had! Nothing like a good few hours of multiplayer with a few good friends.

WoW has it’s place, and with Diablo 3 I don’t care about anything other than the single player experience anyway so they can keep out the LAN from it if they want…brighter colours and all. Denying the feature from Starcraft II is just not quite as easy to go down. I don’t want to know anyone on…I don’t want to compete online except maybe for fun – but I do want to play against people I know personally…and not online. Is it that hard to include both features? No – because they’ve done it before.


On June 30, 2009 at 10:19 am

The fewer requirements there are on a specific network configuration, the more these games will be played. Part of the success of the original starcraft is that it plays anywhere on anything, all you need is a bunch of networked computers. It doesn’t matter if the network has every port known to man firewalled off to the outside world.

Morning Toast

On June 30, 2009 at 11:05 am

LAN is the only way I played (and still play) Starcraft. I only played with my friends and they were always on-hand to play, which meant LAN at my house. I’m good enough to play faceless on so it was always LAN.

Although, I guess considering all the bandwidth these days maybe it won’t matter. Going through to fight someone in your own house will be just as easy as LANing it, but that still sounds dreadfully inefficient.

Of course, my PC gaming days have all but left me. I don’t think my box can support any current games and I’m done playing the upgrade-your-card-n-chip dance.


On June 30, 2009 at 11:19 am

Pretty lame of Blizzard to be doing this, one of the best things about SartCraft was LAN parties!


On June 30, 2009 at 12:40 pm

This is really stupid, all games need LAN support these days. Why blizzard would force ppl to use internet bandwidth to play with someone in the same room is beyond me. Then again these are the greedy bastards that made WoW a subscription. NO. BAD. EVIL.

What about pro tourney’s? The whole point of going to a big LAN tournament is that almost nobody has a huge LAN in their neighborhood lol. I want to play with 0 ping damn it!

This better not spread to FPS.

Andy Syrewicze

On June 30, 2009 at 4:52 pm

As countless others have mentioned, I spent several weeks of my life, I would guess, cooped up in a friends basement playing Starcraft. LAN battles were always the best as you still had that face to face interaction you get from local console gaming. It’s just plain wrong and I’ll gladly sign any petition demanding it’s inclusion. Thanks for the link Ron!

Spunky Muldonn

On July 1, 2009 at 3:26 am

Can’t say I’m surprised. Blizz have long since given up caring about their actual fans. “Hey, you’ll have to buy three copies of Starcraft II to get the whole story, but you’ll be able to play multiplayer with just one, don’t worry.” Yes, and I’m absolutely sure each release will have exclusive multiplayer content to leverage so anyone who wants to play online a lot will HAVE to buy all 3.

Then we get this. They remove LAN to force you to use Battle Net so they get more exposure for their advertisers.

Piracy is, once again, used as the scapegoat. There’ll be Securom on the disk, no LAN to help “protect” the game, and god knows what else, all in the name of “protection”.

What a crock. I was already not buying the game due to the three seperate release scam. This is just another nail in the coffin.

I’m finding it increasingly easy to NOT buy PC games. Crippling DRM, overpriced formulaic crap etc… I swear the industry is TRYING to kill the platform so they can all bugger off to the consoles.

Unnamed Assailant

On July 11, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Great. This comes right after a bunch of ISPs start testing pay-by-byte plans? So I’ll be charged just to play with my wife in the same room? No thanks.

Drunken Blaster

On July 27, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Being online is not required to play Valve games, you can into offline mode and play on a LAN. My friend lives out of town and can not get broadband, satellite or even dial-up and we played Team Fortress 2 at his LAN but SCII will not be an option. So my options are to buy the game and not be able to play on a LAN or download a hacked version that will play over a LAN. Tough choice there.


On August 10, 2009 at 8:50 am

Blizzard, please, stop making Sc2 so “innovative”.

There’s being daring, and then there’s being stupid.


On January 19, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Well, let’s all download a pirated copy to show our appreciation (when it comes out)


On August 12, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I have looked forward to buying 3 copies of this game for several years, but now that is has been released, I will be paying for it until I can find a safe working crack/fix for broken LAN play virus that hackers at Blizzard damaged it with. Without LAN play, NO multiplayer game is valid.