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.
In 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 Battle.net,” 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: http://www.petitiononline.com/LANSC2/petition.html
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 Battle.net 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 Battle.net 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 Battle.net service was the best option to ensure a quality multiplayer experience with StarCraft II and safeguard against piracy.
Several Battle.net 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 Battle.net as much as possible to get the most out of StarCraft II. We’re looking forward to sharing more details about Battle.net 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?