The original StarCraft is still one of the most played LAN games today. Blizzard’s decision to strip the option for play over local area networks, and have the game rely on its online Battle.net was a controversial one that, until people actually played StarCraft II and realised just how damned good it was, split the fanbase.
It was a decision that was largely made to combat piracy (under the guise of persistent matchmaking), and one that’s now bitten them in the ass.
At the StarCraft II IPL 4 tournament in Las Vegas earlier this month, the final match came to halt when a connection error crippled the game. It resulted in a controversial rematch, that saw Lee “MarineKing” Jung Hoon take the game from Won “PartinG” Lee Sak. the trouble is that in the game that dropped, Lee Sak was destroying Jung Hoon – who had a paltry few units left and was mere minutes away from succumbing to PartinG’s army of units, until that fateful connection error levelled the playing field.
The whole thing incited the audience to begin chanting “”We want LAN!” which resulted in the capture of this brilliant picture, by Carlton Beener of StarCraft II lead designer Dustin Browder’s forever captured with a look of “ohgodhellonogodballs” upon his face.
According to Kotaku, event organisers said it was a local connection problem that caused the error – but that hardly changes the fact that LAN’s still a hugely requested feature, and would undoubtedly make Star Craft II an even bigger e-sports title. Still, it makes it a good time to lament the loss of LAN play. There was a time when even most Xbox 360 and Ps3 titles supported the feature, but increasingly LAN has been dropped in favour of online, and paid-for multiplayer passes. While it’s still very cool playing online, there’s a huge social aspect – with real life contact – that’s disappearing from games. It’s funny, in the before times, console had 2 controllers and split-screen, now they have four or more – and only online play.
The mind boggles.