StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is a military science fiction real-time strategy video game developed by Blizzard Entertainment for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. A sequel to the award-winning 1998 video game StarCraft, the game was released worldwide on July 27, 2010. It is split into three installments: the base game with the subtitle Wings of Liberty, and two expansion packs, StarCraft II; Heart of the Swarm and StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void.
Set in the 26th century in a distant part of the Milky Way galaxy, the game revolves around three species: the Terrans, human exiles from Earth; the Zerg, a race of insectoid genetic assimilators; and the Protoss, a species with vast psionic power. Wings of Liberty focuses on the Terrans, while the expansions Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void will focus on the Zerg and Protoss, respectively. The game is set four years after the events of StarCraft: Brood War, and follows the exploits of Jim Raynor as he leads an insurgent group against the autocratic Terran Dominion. The game includes both new and returning characters and locations from the original game.
The game was met with very positive reviews from critics, receiving an aggregated score of 93% from Metacritic. Similar to its predecessor, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty was praised for its engaging gameplay, as well as its introduction of new features and improved storytelling, while criticism targeted features that existed in the original StarCraft game but were removed in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, such as the lack of LAN play and the decision to split up multiplayer regions.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Synopsis
- 3 Development
- 4 Release
- 5 Reception
- 6 Professional competition
- 7 References
- 8 External Links
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty features the return of the three species from the original game: Protoss, Terran, and Zerg. The single-player aspect of StarCraft II has also been altered substantially from the original game. The Terran campaign shown at BlizzCon 2007 replaced the original StarCraft briefing room with an interactive version of the battlecruiser Hyperion, with Jim Raynor, now a bitter and hard-drinking mercenary captain, as the central character. In a departure from previous Blizzard games, the campaign is non-linear, with Raynor taking jobs for money and using that money to buy additional units and upgrades. Although each playthrough will vary, the end result will remain consistent keeping the storyline linear. Vice president Rob Pardo has stressed that each campaign will function very differently. The Terran campaign, Wings of Liberty, will place players in a mercenary style campaign, as Terran rebel Jim Raynor performs missions for cash. The second release, the Zerg campaign Heart of the Swarm, will have RPG elements. The player will level up the Queen of Blades, Kerrigan, throughout the missions. In the last expansion, the Protoss campaign Legacy of the Void, the dark templar Zeratul will have to employ diplomacy between Protoss tribes to acquire units and technologies for each mission. Each campaign is expected to span 26-30 missions. Wings of Liberty has 29 playable campaign missions. Of this 29, only 26 are playable through a campaign playthrough since three missions are choice-related alternates. There is one secret mission named "Piercing the Shroud," which can be unlocked on the "Media Blitz" mission.
Lead Designer Dustin Browder has discussed with Shacknews some of the unique missions that are included in the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty campaign. In one level, lava floods the battlefield every five minutes, forcing the player to move their units to high ground or watch them get destroyed. In another mission, enemy units will only attack the player at night. The last mission Browder discussed was one where the player tries to influence the tide of an AI controlled battle with only a single unit, a Ghost. The single player missions will be highly customizable and are featured in the StarCraft II Community Zone. Between missions, players can choose units, buildings and upgrades that are not available in the multiplayer missions.
A major new addition to the map-making community will be the StarCraft II Marketplace, where high quality maps will be sold for a small fee as "premium maps" over Battle.net. The mode of payment has not yet been announced. Dustin Browder has mentioned that even maps like player-created DotA (Defense of the Ancients) in Warcraft III would not meet the quality requirements to be branded as a premium map.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty features approximately the same number of units as the original game. Some units from the original game have returned, some featuring new upgrades and abilities. For example, the Protoss Zealot, a melee unit from the original game, now has the researchable ability to dash forward and quickly reach nearby enemies as a refinement of its speed upgrade from the original. Other units have been replaced or removed entirely. Other changes to unit design have been inspired by story events in StarCraft and its expansion, Brood War, replacing old units with new or renamed versions which sport different attributes and abilities.
Units in StarCraft II have new abilities, compared to the original, that encourage more complex interaction with the game environment. Among these are the inclusion of units that can traverse varying levels of terrain, or have the ability to teleport short distances. Some Protoss units can be warped into pylon-powered areas using the Warp Gate, a slight modification of an existing building called the Gateway.StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty's campaign also has exclusive units which are only playable in the campaign and not in the regular multiplayer mode, though they are available for custom maps. These mostly consist of units which have been scrapped from development such as the Terran Diamondback as well as various returning units from the original StarCraft such as the Terran Wraith and Vulture.
The StarCraft II Editor is StarCraft II' campaign, map and mod editor which is included with all versions of the client (previously called Campaign Editor). It is more sophisticated than StarCraft's StarEdit and WarCraft III's World Editor for creating custom maps or campaigns and is the first editor by Blizzard to feature inbuilt mods creation and usage support. Updated art and data from the original StarCraft that were not used in the actual skirmish play along with models and data that were scrapped during the development process (including those made as April Fools jokes) will be available in the editor. Unlike previous editors made by Blizzard, it is the first to have internet connectivity features such as map publishing, retrieval and online activation of the editor client.
Chris Sigaty, Lead Producer, has also stated that the editor will give players the ability to create RPG, Hero-type units and structures resembling those from WarCraft III. At Blizzcon 2009, Blizzard demonstrated a build of Starcraft II Editor showcasing its capabilities, such as the ability to customize the user interface to include features such as the Item system from Warcraft III. The final build has also included a third-person style perspective for missions.
Starcraft II Editor was available for the first time during the phase 1 beta testing of StarCraft II when it came with a patch. With the start of phase 2, the editor was updated.
Blizzard has also changed the way that custom maps are distributed. Rather than hosting games using local map files, users now create and join games using maps that have been published (uploaded) to Battle.net. Users publishing maps or mods to Battle.net are limited to a total of 20MB of storage divided between five files at most, with no file being larger than 10MB. Though the Starcraft II Editor offers much more than original StarCraft Editor in terms of gameplay customization, there are concerns that the publishing limitations of Battle.net will not allow for large-scale custom maps or extensive map availability unless there is an external map publishing tool.
Characters and setting
The campaign storyline of StarCraft II takes place four years after StarCraft: Brood War, and features the return of a number of characters from the original series, including Zeratul, Arcturus Mengsk, Artanis, Sarah Kerrigan, and Jim Raynor. Players will also revisit the original series' worlds, like Char, Mar Sara, and Braxis, as well as new worlds, such as the jungle planet Bel'Shir. It has been confirmed that the Xel'Naga, the ancient space-faring race responsible for creating the Protoss and the Zerg, will play a major role in the story.
At the conclusion of Brood War, Kerrigan and her Zerg forces became the dominant faction in the Koprulu Sector, having annihilated the United Earth Directorate's Expeditionary Force, defeated the Terran Dominion, and invaded the Protoss homeworld of Aiur. However, after the conclusion of Brood War, Kerrigan retreats to Char, despite having more than enough power to crush all remaining resistance in the Koprulu Sector. In the four years leading up to the events of StarCraft II, she has not been seen or heard from by any of the other characters, although her ultimate attack may come at any moment.
Arcturus Mengsk has been left to rebuild the Dominion, and is consolidating his power while fending off harassment from rival Terran groups. Valerian Mengsk, a character introduced in the novel Firstborn, will play an important role in Dominion politics, due to his position as heir apparent to the throne. Meanwhile, Jim Raynor, whose role in the events of StarCraft and Brood War has been marginalized by the media under the Dominion's control, has been reduced to mercenary status, and has been shown to be doing business with the "Moebius Foundation", a new faction which is interested in ancient Xel'Naga artifacts. Chris Metzen, Vice President of Creative Development at Blizzard, has emphasized that by the events of StarCraft II, Raynor has become jaded and embittered by the way he was used and betrayed by Arcturus Mengsk. Other new characters to the series include Tychus Findlay, first introduced in the StarCraft II teaser cinematic, a marine who will be a member of Raynor's crew, and Matt Horner, Raynor's second in command, a character originally featured in the novel Queen of Blades.
Following the fall of Aiur and the death of their matriarch Raszagal, the Protoss have retreated to the dark templar homeworld of Shakuras. There, Artanis, a former student of Tassadar, is trying to unify the Khalai Protoss and the dark templar, who have nearly separated into a tribal mindset as a result of centuries of distrust. Zeratul, tormented over the murder of his matriarch, has disappeared to search for clues to the meaning of Samir Duran's cryptic statements regarding the Protoss/Zerg hybrids in Brood War's secret mission "Dark Origin".
Four years after the Brood War, the Dominion is once again the dominant Terran power in the Koprulu sector. For reasons unknown, Kerrigan gathered the swarm at Char and has vanished from sight. With the Zerg gone, the Protoss have once again taken a passive role in the galaxy. After the Brood War, Jim Raynor has formed a revolutionary group named Raynor's Raiders in order to overthrow Dominion Emperor Arcturus Mengsk. However, Mengsk launched a massive smear campaign against Raynor, painting him as a terrorist.
On Mar Sara, Raynor leads his forces in a series of missions to free the local population from the Dominion and to seize an Artifact, as per his agreement with his old friend, Tychus Findlay, so that they could sell artifacts to the scientific organization, the Moebius Foundation, to fund their war against the Dominion. As they prepare to leave, the Raiders are forced to hold out against the Zerg before the Hyperion rescues them. They soon discover other planets have been attacked by the Zerg, which have been led by Kerrigan. During this point, the player can choose to take side missions that focus on the plots of individual characters.
The Raiders receive a distress call from Dr. Ariel Hanson from the planet Agria. Raynor leads his team into missions that help Dr. Hanson relocate the refugees from Agria, which has fallen under attack by the Zerg. Upon arrival at the planet of Haven, they discover that the people have been infested as well. Dr. Hanson proposes that she can attempt to find the cure and, soon, Raynor comes at a crossroads between Dr. Hanson and the Protoss, who have arrived to attempt to purge the planet of the infestation. The Raiders do a series of missions under Gabriel Tosh that have Raynor collect Jorium and Terrazine on two different planets. Upon collection, the Raiders receive a transmission from Nova, who attempts to inform Raynor about the true origins of Tosh and his Spectres. The side-missions end either with Raynor siding with Nova or Tosh, and the choice will grant Raynor access to either Ghost or Spectre technology, respectively.
Matt Horner organizes a number of missions designed to strike at the Dominion. After recovering a recorded transmission proving Mengsk was responsible for the Zerg attack on Tarsonis, Raynor strikes the UNN headquarters on Korhal and transmits the message across the entire Dominion, causing a major scandal and inciting riots. After the escape from Mar Sara, Raynor and Tychus raid a number of worlds to recover Xel'Naga artifacts for the Moebius Foundation. Eventually, the Zerg begin attacking the Moebius Foundation's main headquarters, prompting Raynor to assist them. Horner meanwhile doesn't trust Tychus and begins investigating, confiding to Raynor that Tychus' suit is rigged to shut down his internal organs when a certain signal is sent, confirming that Tychus is hiding something from them.
During some point when the Raiders liberate more artifacts, Zeratul sneaks on board The Hyperion and gives Raynor a crystal infused with his memories. As Raynor looks into the crystal, he sees Zeratul searching for a prophecy about the half-Protoss, half-Zerg species he discovered in a genetic engineering facility four in-game years ago. He travels to two worlds to seek answers for the meaning of the prophecy, fighting a Protoss-Zerg Hybrid along the way, until he returns to Aiur to read the deceased Zerg Overmind's memories. However, he encounters the spirit of Tassadar, and he shares with Zeratul the Overmind's apocalyptic vision of the future. After Raynor has seen the vision as well, he is informed by Zeratul through the crystal that Kerrigan must be protected.
After collecting the final artifact piece Raynor's forces encounter Dominion battleships at the pre-agreed Moebius Foundation rendezvous point. The Moebius Foundation is revealed to be under the control of Valerian Mengsk, Arcturus' son. Valerian asks Raynor to help him invade Char and use the artifact to restore Kerrigan to a human, and to weaken the Zerg. To the initial dismay of the crew, Raynor agrees. As the invasion of Char begins, the Dominion and Raider fleet is caught off-guard by a preemptive strike by the Zerg. Raynor secures a foothold on Char and rendezvous with Dominion forces which survive the crash landings. The combined forces push towards the main Hive Cluster of the planet. The artifact eventually reaches full power and activates, destroying all Zerg within its blast radius. Raynor's team finds Kerrigan restored to human form; however Tychus reveals that he made a deal with Arcturus Mengsk: trading Kerrigan's life for his own freedom. Raynor defends Kerrigan from Tychus' attempt to kill her, shooting Tychus in the process. The closing scene shows Raynor carrying a naked Sarah Kerrigan across the battlefield in his arms.
The English language version of StarCraft II has several new and returning voice actors. The voice director of the game is Andrea Romano. Over 58 voice actors were hired with some voicing multiple characters.
- Robert Clotworthy as Jim Raynor
- Neil Kaplan as Tychus Findlay
- Ali Hillis as Dr. Ariel Hanson
- Brian Bloom as Matt Horner
- Dave Fennoy as Gabriel Tosh
- James Harper as Arcturus Mengsk
- Tricia Helfer as Sarah Kerrigan
- Fred Tatasciore as Zeratul / Swann
- Josh Keaton as Prince Valerian 
- Michael Dorn as Tassadar 
The development of StarCraft II was announced on May 19, 2007, at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in Seoul, South Korea. Development on the game, initially delayed for a year by the temporary reassignment of Blizzard's resources to World of Warcraft, began in 2003, shortly after Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne was released. According to Rob Pardo and Chris Sigaty, development for StarCraft II was put on hold for a year in 2005 due to the assistance needed for World of Warcraft. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty supports the DirectX 9 (Pixel shader 2.0) software and will be fully compatible with DirectX 10 as well, although the development team has not yet decided whether to add exclusive DirectX 10 graphic effects. The Mac version uses OpenGL. The game also features the Havok physics engine, which allows for more realistic environmental elements such as "debris rolling down a ramp". Additionally, there are plans to implement VoIP into the game.
Since the announcement, fans have also been able to participate in the development of StarCraft II through feedback and questions on fansites and forums. Periodically, Blizzard Entertainment provides Q&A batches, web pages about the units, buildings, and lore, podcasts (titled "BlizzCast"), and posts from Blizzard employees on forums. The StarCraft II community was made aware of internal development processes by an official representative that went by the name of Karune (Kevin Yu) on the Battle.net Discussion Forums. Karune regularly posted Q&A on the Battle.net forums to answer various fansite questions about the game. Furthermore, occasionally Battle reports of the latest alpha build of StarCraft II were put up on the official website which were commentated by Lead Designer Dustin Browder and Blizzard eSports Team Member Robert Simpson.
At the June 2008 Blizzard Worldwide Invitational, Blizzard Executive Vice President Rob Pardo was quoted as saying that development of the campaign was one-third complete. He also said that StarCraft II is to be released as a trilogy of games, starting with Wings of Liberty, focused on the Terrans, followed by Heart of the Swarm, revolving around the Zerg, and finally Legacy of the Void, devoted to the Protoss. On February 25, 2009, Blizzard announced the Blizzard Theme Park Contest where prizes would include two beta keys for StarCraft II. In the updated news and updates page of battle.net for Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne it states the top 20 players from each realm will be given a SC2 Beta Key. In February 2010, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime announced that a closed beta would open that month.
In an interview held in June 2009, Rob Pardo indicated that LAN support would not be included in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. Removing LAN requires players to connect through Blizzard's servers before being able to play multi-player games. It has been reported that Blizzard is considering implementing a system whereby a LAN connection is possible after first authenticating with Battle.net. Further controversy was sparked when Blizzard confirmed that the game would not support cross-server play out of the box, restricting gamers to only play against local opponents - for instance, US gamers against those in the US and Europeans against Europeans. The company originally explained that Australia and New Zealand servers would be located in Southeast Asia, pitting them against combatants from Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, however closer to release it was revealed that the Southeast Asia / Australia / New Zealand version of the game would not be strictly region-locked, with gamers able to play on either the SEA/ANZ servers or the North American ones.
Mike Morhaime, president of Blizzard, announced during the opening ceremony of Blizzcon 2009 that StarCraft II and the new Battle.net platform would both be released in 2010, with a month or so of interval. As of March 2010, it has been stated that the new platform is currently being tested outside the beta and is planned for release in early July 2010, for both StarCraft II and World of WarCraft: Cataclysm, with a later upgrade for Diablo 3. On May 5, 2010, it was revealed that StarCraft II and Battle.net 2.0 would be integrated with social networking site Facebook, "linking the world's premier online gaming platform with the world's most popular social platform" - a move that will see gamers able to search their Facebook friends lists for StarCraft II opponents. StarCraft II was released on July 27, 2010. with launch parties in selected cities of countries around the world, for example in Singapore.
Changes since StarCraft
Compared to the original StarCraft, StarCraft II was designed to focus more heavily on the multiplayer aspect, with changes that include major improvements to Battle.net, a new competitive "ladder" system for ranked games, and new matchmaking mechanics—designed to "match-up" players of equal skill level. In addition, the replay function, which allows players to record and review past games, was improved. Blizzard also stated they incorporated changes to the game that were suggested by fans.
StarCraft II continues its predecessor's use of pre-rendered cinematic cut scenes to advance the plot while also improving the quality of in-game cut scenes within the levels themselves, which are rendered on-the-fly using the same game engine as the graphics in the game proper. Blizzard states that with the new graphics engine that StarCraft II uses to render the gameplay, they "can actually create in-game cut-scenes of near-cinematic quality". Most Protoss and Terran units, and some Zerg units, have been shown on the StarCraft II official website, and in several video demonstrations held by Blizzard. Improvements include advanced scenery allocation and more detailed space terrain, such as floating space platforms with planets and asteroids in the background. Small cliffs, extensions, and even advertising signs were also shown to have been improved and refined.
Blizzard posted a release date for the game's first beta of Summer 2009, but failed to release a beta during that time. Since May 6, 2009, it was possible to sign up for the beta phase of the game. In November 2009, the game's producer Chris Sigaty confirmed there would be no public beta for the game taking place in 2009 but assured fans of the title that it would happen next year. On February 17, 2010, StarCraft II began closed beta testing. The beta was expected to last for 3–5 months. Beta keys for the initial release were sold on eBay for prices as high as $400. Blizzard has also released a map editor for the beta as part of Patch 9. According to the company, they planned to release a major content patch towards the end of beta testing.
As of 23 July 2010[update], eighteen patches have been released for the beta (only seventeen on European servers), including a patch which provided access to the Galaxy map editor. On May 12, 2010 Blizzard released the Beta client for Mac for the users who had signed-up. On May 17, 2010 Blizzard announced that first phase of the beta test would be coming to an end in all regions on May 31. The first phase was then extended to June 7. The second phase began on July 7, 2010 and ended on July 19, 2010.
Customers and reviewers who received the installation DVD before the July 27, 2010 release were greeted with an error screen, telling them to wait until the release date. There was no known workaround and some reviewers had praised the action for limiting journalists to playing and reviewing the game with actual players.
Blizzard entered into a co-marketing agreement with Korean Air that will last for six months, in which two of the airline's airplanes on both domestic and international routes prominently display StarCraft II advertising featuring Jim Raynor on the fuselage.
On April 8, 2010 Blizzard officially announced that the game will be available in a standard and collector's edition. The game will also be available for digital download from Blizzard on the release date; pre-loading began on July 15. The collector's edition will come with an artbook, 2GB flash drive modeled after Jim Raynor's dog tag with the original StarCraft and Brood War expansion preloaded, behind-the-scenes DVD, soundtrack, comic book, unique avatar portraits, a unique model for the in-game Thor unit in multiplayer and a World of Warcraft pet.
On June 24, 2010, at a press-only Korean event, Blizzard announced that Korean players would be able to play StarCraft II for free with an active World of Warcraft subscription. In PC bangs, or other cybercafés, players can play the game by paying 1000 South Korean won (approx. $1) per hour. Other options include a 30-day subscription for ₩9900 (approx. $8), a 24 hours play-time ticket for ₩2000 (approx. $1.50) or unlimited access for ₩69,000 (approx. $56).
The end-user license agreement (EULA) for Wings of Liberty differs significantly from those of Blizzard's earlier titles in that buying the game only grants the buyer a license to play, while the game itself remains the property of Blizzard. Any breach of the EULA amounts not only to breach of contract but copyright infringement as well, giving Blizzard greater control over how the game is used. Concerns have been raised by Public Knowledge over how the altered EULA may affect multiplayer tournaments not endorsed by Blizzard.
On August 3, 2010, Blizzard Entertainment announced that StarCraft II sold more than 1 million units worldwide within one day of its release. After two days (during which period Blizzard began selling the game as a digital download on its website) it sold approximately 500,000 additional units, bringing the total up to 1.5 million worldwide and making it the fastest-selling strategy game of all time. In its first month on sale, StarCraft II sold a total of 3 million copies worldwide.
Overheating video cards
Several gaming and technology sites reported an "overheating bug" with StarCraft II that in some cases resulted in permanent damage to video cards. The source of the problem is the fact that the frame rate is not locked on menu screens. This causes the graphics card to continuously render the image, resulting in excessive heat. Blizzard has acknowledged the problem, and posted a temporary workaround. They also recommended ensuring computer systems are well ventilated and contacting the videocard manufacturer for hardware-related issues.
Blizzard's Public Relations Manager, Bob Colayco said:
- "There is no code in our software that will cause video cards to overheat. When we saw this issue first reported, we conducted thorough additional testing and determined that for those players experiencing this problem, the cause is most likely hardware-related."
CrunchGear has also suggested that the problem is not with StarCraft II, but rather due to poorly maintained hardware and inadequate cooling. They do however agree that the overheating only occurs on non-framerate locked screens and provide the fix that Blizzard has offered to users. Other articles recommend that users regularly clean the dust out of their computer to improve the cooling efficiency of their systems.
Screens that are light on detail may make your system overheat if cooling is overall insufficient. This is because the game has nothing to do so it is primarily just working on drawing the screen very quickly.
|Computer and Video Games||9.3 / 10|
|GamesRadar||10 / 10|
|GameSpot||9.5 / 10|
|IGN||9 / 10|
The game was particularly praised for retaining the popular RTS gameplay while introducing new features and improved storytelling. GamesRadar felt that "In many ways, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty feels like StarCraft 2.0 – and that’s a good thing", stating that it "delivers on all fronts". NZGamer.com said the game was "the best RTS game released in years and one of the best games on PC". In relation to its story, Game Trailers stated "If there's anything immediately apparent from Wings of Liberty's story, it's that the series' narrative structure has evolved well beyond the original's sparse between-sortie intermissions", calling it "an epic and entertainingly told yarn", while X-Play praised what they considered to be "flawlessly in fact--is integrating the story with the gameplay". Giant Bomb echoed this view while also noting the Hyperion portion between missions, finding it to have "more depth of character, more believable pathos, more surprise twists--than I honestly expected out of the story". IGN however noted that "no doubt franchise fans will eat it up, but newcomers may be wondering what all the fuss is about while going through the early missions that lack the kind of urgency you would hope when the fate of civilization is in peril."
Joystiq was very positive towards the improved multiplayer matchmaking service, calling it "similar to Xbox Live and PSN, which is a welcome change from the archaic matchmaking of Battle.net in previous Blizzard games", while GameSpot called the amount of online content "remarkable", noting the variety of maps and up to 12 player online support. When comparing the single and multiplayer modes, GameSpy felt that the single-player portion was "less inspiring, mostly because of the extremely shallow learning curve", with the online multiplayer being "so smooth, so challenging, and so much plain-old-fun". John Meyer of Wired praised the improved graphics engine, saying that it "shows decades of polish" and a "slick new presentation".
Matt Peckham of PC World also noted that some buyers expressed dissatisfaction with the absence of LAN-based multiplayer gameplay, the lack of cross-realm play and the campaign being limited to the Terran race. Game Revolution, in relation to currently only being able to play the Terran campaign however pointed out that "Wings of Liberty has 29 missions; the original StarCraft had just over 30. Fair odds say the next one will have roughly the same amount; Broodwar brought about 30 too. We already got the full game for $50, and we’re getting offered two expansions. If you want to feel outraged about something, pick something else."
StarCraft: Brood War is the most successful e-Sport in the world, and it is has been referred to as the national pastime in South Korea, where there are two television channels dedicated to broadcasting professional StarCraft matches. It is not yet clear how the release of StarCraft II will affect the e-Sports scene and the current Brood War circuit; however, there have already been a number of large tournaments during the beta-testing phase, the most notable being the HDH Invitational and Day's King of the Beta.
While there is clearly an interest in a professional StarCraft II scene, there are several factors that could affect the way it develops as an e-Sport. Blizzard recently had a break with the Korean e-Sports Players Association (KeSPA). This breakdown has led to an uncertain future of KeSPA's legal ability to broadcast Blizzard's intellectual property of both StarCraft and StarCraft II without paying royalties. So far only one of the two major StarCraft broadcasters, MBC Television, has agreed to Blizzard's new terms.
Blizzard and GomTV signed an agreement on May 26, 2010 allowing GomTV to create and broadcast the GomTV SC2 Global League, a series of tournament of $170,000 prize pool each in South Korea. This agreement follows the decision from Blizzard to cease the negotiations with Kespa and confirms the fact that blizzard has decided to take another route to promote e-Sport in Korea.
There is also a major concern that a professional scene will not develop without the ability to play over a LAN. The reason for this is that there is a latency delay between commands issued and game response when played online. LAN greatly reduces this delay and allows for much finer control over in-game units. Currently, Blizzard has no plans to support LAN play, putting the future of professional StarCraft II in question.
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