Archive for the ‘Game Critiques’ Category
Tuesday, March 10th, 2015
I’ve been playing a fair bit of Hearthstone recently. Never got super into it back when it first came out, mainly due to the card pool being so tiny compared to MTG. But now things are looking a lot better, with two expansions out and a third one on the way. There are actually a couple things in this game that I prefer to the MTG way. The dependable resources for one are very nice. You never end up getting mana screwed or flooded by unwanted clumps in your deck. The hero powers are quite welcome too. I like always being able to do something, even if I can’t play any cards.
I’ve mainly played the priest and the warlock, which does kinda make sense, since my favorite thing to do in card games is drawing cards (logical, no?). And these two classes are the best at it, I think. The amount of card advantage you can get with the priest’s Northshire Clerics is ridiculous, especially at the lower ranks where people tend to play right into it. Then the warlock of course has the only hero power that draws cards. A very handy thing to have in a pinch. The warlock doesn’t have any synergies as blatant as all the priestly healing shenanigans, but there are some nice plays possible.
Naturally, I’m always looking to other games for good ideas, so it’s definitely worth asking what I can take away from Hearthstone’s mechanics. And the answer is surprisingly little. Really only the broadest concepts between Hearthstone and my gladiator game show any similarity. And those same concepts are found in any number of other games. Honestly, what I would most like to take away from Hearthstone is its relative simplicity, its effective communication, the powerful visual feedback, and its almost toylike nature. I recently played another card game called Duels of Champions, which I’d argue had very little of those things. It might possibly be a deeper game than Hearthstone (and certainly has more cards), but I found it very difficult to approach. Lots of really arcane effects written out in tiny text, and a rather convoluted system of rows and columns to play cards on. As much as I like the idea of grid-based tactics, I’ve never been that into card games that try to shoe-horn grids into them. I haven’t managed to get into Scrolls for the same reason. The art in that game is also a rather mixed bag.
Come to think of it, there really hasn’t been a tactics game that entirely won me over. The old school might & magic model never appealed to me that much. One of the biggest issues I have with those is the variable number of units represented by a single character graphic. That’s just a complete and utter failure in visual communication, in my humble opinion. Why would you draw all the attention to the gloriously rendered models of shiny knights if the tiny numbers at their feet are way more important?
Age of Wonders is one tactics-oriented game I did play quite a lot back in the day. But eventually I got tired of the slow pacing of the combat. You literally spend the vast majority of your time just shuffling dudes around on giant battlefields. Similar to Total War in that regard. Among more modern examples I suppose my favorites would be Hero Academy and Skulls of the Shogun, though both of those games veer a bit too casual. They both have tiny selections of unit types and no real ability to create army builds. Hero Academy also fails in my opinion by having incredibly slow multi-player, and no single-player to speak of. Clearly I have no choice now but to make the game that does everything right. How hard could that be?
— Peace and perfect games
Posted in Game Critiques | Comments Off on By the Hearth
Saturday, September 17th, 2011
These runty little goblins will be some of the critters you’ll face in the new Swordfall successor, which for the time being I’m calling ‘Arkeia’. They probably won’t be too great a challenge though, unless of course they bring along the whole clan. But they’ve got some much larger friends who will likely show up in your future nightmares. In all honesty though, it may yet be a while before you get to fight any of them. Progress on this game has been rather minimal so far. To be fair, I do have a solid start on the assets, much of the unit concepts done and a healthy set of design specs. The code just isn’t there yet. I did take a version of Swordfall yesterday and started cutting stuff out of it in an effort to turn it into my new game, but now I’m not so sure I want to go down that route. The games seem similar enough to turn one into the other, but on closer inspection there are quite a few differences. Just taking out the old maps, units, techs and generals leaves my code with a ton of obsolete references that need to be hunted down and cleaned up. On top of that I really feel like I should merge some of the class structures, using new methods I developed for Rise of the Colony. Plus, it would be so much cleaner to start with a fresh, brand new application and just copy things in as I need them. Might take a fair bit longer to get running that way, but I’d likely end up with fewer headaches and a more efficient end result. Bottomline is this may all end up going into November, though I’d like to finish it by the end of next month. Just from a financial viewpoint I kind of need to get it wrapped up and sold by January, so at the very latest I will have it done by the end of November, leaving a month for auctioning and sponsor branding. Of course that would probably push back the actual release to January or maybe even February, depending on what the sponsor wants. I don’t think a Christmas launch makes much sense in the flash world; you can’t exactly stuff one of these things under a tree.
So yeah, I have been a tad lazy these past couple weeks, and a little busier with other things than usual. Mostly this is due to starting my visual arts studies at the University of BC, though with only two courses I’m not exactly feeling overworked. And they are artsy courses too; not anything serious like ‘Advanced Human-Computer Interaction’, a course in which I naturally dealt with motion tracking and brain interfaces. Or more likely it was an introductory Java GUI course, but no one has to know that. Anyway, my homework for next week involves dripping ink on two sheets of paper… and nothing else whatsoever. I think I can handle that and still make some games.
So aside from taking my first steps to becoming a true artiste, what exactly has been on my mind lately? Well games of course, that goes without saying. Has there even been an entire day in all of time when that was not the case? Although these days I almost feel like I’m growing out of games. At least the playing them part; I’m as thoroughly fixated on game making as I’ve ever been. It might just be a lack of good games, but there’s been very few in recent years that I’ve managed to really get into and actually finish. Starcraft 2 is the only example I can think of right now. That definitely entertained me for a few months, but the ladder matches ultimately got really repetitive and hectic. Then there’s been some fantastic open world shooter games like Red Dead Redemption and Deus Ex, which I haven’t managed to finish but feel like I should. In the case of the latter I haven’t even finished my first mission yet. The high regard for it makes me feel an obligation to give it a chance, but all the crawling around vents just isn’t triggering the right neurons.
I could of course tell myself that I’m just picky with my genres, that I’m only really into deep RPGs and strategy games. Then again, I haven’t finished a single player RPG since Final Fantasy X and only reached level 35 in World of Warcraft. The latest iterations of classic strategy series like Civilization and Total War also leave me cold. In the case of Total War the reasons are at least clear enough. Empire covers a period of history that really doesn’t interest me much, and I found the ‘line up dudes into lines and wait while they shoot each other’ gameplay a bit on the simple side. Shogun seemed like a return to the glory days at first, but it’s just such a small game. There’s barely any units and all the factions are effectively identical. Then of course there’s a certain lack of attachment to it, having virtually no background knowledge in the machinations of feudal Japanese clans. Leading the mighty Chosokabe clan to victory just doesn’t mean a whole lot to me.
Civ 5, on the other hand, seems like it should be great but hasn’t been able to hold my interest very long. There’s definitely features in there that I don’t care for, but they don’t seem major enough to put me off the game by themselves. The reduced ability to optimize cities definitely does have some role to play; building the wealthiest or most productive city in the world was a major hook in the Civ 3 days. I also hate having land units turn into boats when they hit water; that just makes seas way too trivial of an obstacle. But surely that’s not enough to ruin the entire game, is it?
That naturally leaves us with the sad fate of the revered Age of Empires series: the cruel abomination known as Age of Empires Online. Okay, that might be a bit too harsh of an expression, but a healthy dose of scorn at this trend-wallowing, facebooky, freemium MMO-ification is definitely called for. Sure, the core game is essentially just AoE 2, which is a fine and safe way to go. The art style is heavily casual, but nonetheless pleasant to look at and pretty unique. No real complaints there. But the MMO frippery piled around this core doesn’t entirely work. It takes way too long to unlock a decent roster of units (meaning something akin to AoE 2), making the game feel awfully grindy as you slowly bash through one enemy camp after another with the same few unit types. This of course isn’t helped by the lack of enemy diversity, virtually nonexistent story, and the complete absence of any type of challenge, at least for the eight hours or so that I played it. But at least now all the casual players like three year olds and the mentally handicapped can feel like they’re winning all the time. Oh joy, what a wondrous gaming age we live in. Then of course there’s the afore-mentioned frippery: the endless stream of shiny gear you can put on your little warrior men. Admittedly, an interesting idea at first. In all honesty, I do like the idea of customizing and upgrading an army, considerably more so than doing the same with a single character. This is after all something that has barely been explored in games, and I do still like strategy games, at least in theory. AoEO’s approach might be a bit too much of a cut-and-paste hybrid, but still I think it deserves a few points for originality.
Execution though is another matter. The first problem is that the upgrades are too trivial to really notice, and seem terribly simplistic and arbitrary to boot. +5.1% damage output on one unit type is hard to get excited about. And these numbers just seem so strangely precise; some of the percent bonuses have two significant digits after the decimal. I’m not sure if this is evidence of highly tuned balancing or just an effort to make sure you won’t forget the whole thing’s just a shallow illusion built on meaningless numbers. And despite these upgrades resulting in a barely perceptible sense of power progression, they’re still enough to make fair matches with friends difficult to arrange. On top of that you have to level up for a while just to unlock the ability to even play multiplayer. Too bad for those who erroneously believe multiplayer to be the whole point of the genre.
Being the somewhat ill-considered, cut-and-paste job that it is, the game is riddled with muddled metaphors that make little sense. The crafting system is really the most glaring misfit of them all. You craft items out of planks and ingots like in any old MMO, but then those items are equipped on unit classes and mass-produced in battle using generic resources like wood and gold. It would all make much more sense if it were presented as developing new technology, but logic has very little place in this game. AoEO is not interested in finding new and clever ways to represent real world systems. This is simply an exercise in cutting successful pieces out of existing games and then nailing them together. A trendy Frankenstein concoction if ever there was one.
– Peace and better games
Sunday, August 14th, 2011
I’ve recently discovered a game called BattleForge. Well, it’s really more of a re-discovery; I remember hearing about this game back when it was still new, but then it just seemed to fall off the radar screen. After playing some ten PvE matches and reading some of the comments on metacritic, I can see a lot of the reasons why. The game has a ton of flaws and I’m pretty near burned out with it already, but the concept as such is still pretty unique.
Long story short, BattleForge is an RTS where you build decks out of various unit, spell and building cards. There are no actual card-like mechanics in the game, like drawing or discarding, which somewhat makes you wonder why they went with the card metaphor in the first place. And it really works hard at that metaphor, with cards flapping and bending almost convincingly when you mouse over their little icons. I suspect the only reason they went with this card system is the money bags they saw Magic: the Gathering pulling in. Now that the game has gone free-to-play, it’s business model is identical to your standard CCG. Like every other deck building video game I’ve seen, BattleForge makes you buy all your cards after giving you a small starter deck. Fortunately, it’s not nearly as expensive as Magic. Fifteen bucks should get you all the cards you really need, unless you absolutely must have all the rarest cards. There’s less than 400 cards in the whole game anyway, so there isn’t all that much collecting you can do.
As a concept there really isn’t anything else like it out there. There aren’t all that many RTS games to begin with, and none let you customize a faction before a match. Sadly, BattleForge fails otherwise on so many levels that it’s likely to accomplish little besides frightening away other devs from exploring this territory. Purely as an RTS its just not a very good game. There is some entertainment to be had in the singleplayer campaign, even though the story is complete nonsense. But at least it does present a decent challenge on the higher difficulty settings. I haven’t had much experience with PvP yet, but it doesn’t look particularly promising either. The players have full map vision at all times, and this design choice alone destroys a lot of potential for strategy. With full map vision there can be no sneak attacks or unexpected comebacks. The map design and node capturing mechanics also serve to simply funnel the players into each other. And of course there are the inevitable balance issues, with rarer cards being more effective and late game monstrosities crushing all life out of earlier units.
What enjoyment there is to be had isn’t easy to get at either. The UI design is downright embarrassing and many cards are overly complicated. Pretty much every unit has 3-4 different abilities, often with descriptions that go on for five lines. With a dozen different critters in your deck, you won’t remember much about what they can do. The game doesn’t really provide any context for the units either, so you won’t really end up caring much about them. Another part of this disconnect problem is some unnecessarily high stat numbers and a certain degree of abstraction that makes it difficult to compare units and figure out how much damage they can do. Each unit card in the game has an attack and defense value, starting in the low hundreds for lowly units, and going up to 4000+ for late game beasts. The defense score seems to translate directly into hit points, but it’s a complete mystery how the attack value relates to actual damage being dealt. Of course, additional stats like attack speed go completely unmentioned.
All in all, BattleForge is largely a lesson in what not to do. But it is interesting to see someone exploring this particular hybrid. I just wish more devs would try out customization models in strategy games, hopefully without blindly sticking to all the established conventions of CCGs. But that’s enough flogging of that tired old horse. I’ll come back to it only once I have something new to add, perhaps even a game of my own that revolutionizes the whole genre. Perhaps.
– Peace and calm seas
Posted in Game Critiques | Comments Off on Forged in Battle
Saturday, June 18th, 2011
Just recently finished Portal 2, my first Portal experience to date. Well, to be fair, I didn’t really play it all through myself: I only finished the co-op campaign with my brother, and watched him beat the single player portion. Came within a hair of not having to use any walkthroughs, but finally relented on one part of the final co-op level. In retrospect the solution was incredibly obvious; just a matter of overly linear thinking on our part.
I’ve never been a big fan of puzzle games, but Portal has a lot more character than most. GLaDOS, the queen bitch computer, really steals the show. Even just the few little quips during the nearly story-less co-op campaign make it rather memorable. And there’s no denying that finally figuring out a tricky spatial conundrum has quite the satisfying ring to it.
But with all that said, I still don’t think it’s the kind of game that warrants the ‘standard retail price’ (which, as a concept, is soon going to die, in my opinion). We rented it for a week, and got through both campaigns at a relaxed pace of a couple hours a day. I think we skipped a day or two during the week actually. And really, why would you want to go through it again? You’ll either remember the puzzles and go through effortlessly, or feel stupid for not remembering. To be sure, it did take about two weeks of calling Rogers to find an available copy, but it was worth it.
Though of course, the price of anything is the price people will pay for it. With all the hype Portal 2 built up, I’m sure it’s doing just fine with the price as it is. We came close to buying it ourselves at first, but in the end saw the light of reason. Now the only question left is whether I should pick up the first Portal on steam, and see for myself how meme-inducing all those false promises of cake really are.
Posted in Game Critiques | Comments Off on Portaled Out
Friday, March 26th, 2010
Alright, this post should at last finish off this line of RPG inquiry. I’ll start with my views on FF XIII and ME2, and finish off with what I see as the defining characteristics of the RPG experience.
My review of FF XIII comes with a minor caveat, since I haven’t actually played the game for more than an hour or so. I’d like to find some interest at the thought of picking it up again, but having watched my brother play it about halfway through, my motivation is strangely lacking. Not that the game isn’t impressive on a cinematic level, but I’ve already seen that part. The difference between playing FF XIII and watching FF XIII is so marginal (especially for the first 10-15 hours) that I just can’t be bothered to go through it again.
FF XIII essentially comes in two parts: combat and cinematics. The latter is straightforward enough, with the characters mainly talking about how they have to keep fighting and not give up hope. But halfway through the game it’s still not quite clear who they’re fighting against or what for. Clearly, semi-divine entities with vaguely defined powers are at the root of the problem, with the characters as unwilling tools in their evil plan. More than that I haven’t been able to figure out.
While the story is a little uninspiring (though with a couple good moments), the combat has some potential. Despite directly controlling only one third of the forces at your disposal, there is definitely depth here, although it takes excruciatingly long to get to it. The most important action seems to be paradigm switching, which changes up the roles of your characters and the behavior of your two AI buddies. The basics of paradigms are not complicated but there are subtle differences between all the possible combinations. Usually you need a medic and a damage dealer (commando or ravager) in your paradigm. If the enemy does a lot of damage, use a synergist to begin with. If the enemy is tough, use a saboteur. If heavily damaged, bring out more medics. If the enemy is on its last legs, go with all damage dealers.
Aside from that there is also leveling up your characters, but there aren’t as many options here as it first appears. The characters all have a favored role that isn’t really worth trying to change. But with the paradigm system your characters often do need secondary and even tertiary roles, so there are choices there on how much focus to put on each. The system isn’t bad by any means, though I’m not a big fan of the ‘disks-whirling-through-space’ presentation of it. It is shiny to be sure, but it makes it unnecessarily difficult to tell where the hell you are.
Another thing that sticks out to me about FF games in general is the rather random nature of their items and enemies. It often seems like the visual representation of everything you come across is almost completely cut off from its gameplay function and statistics. Even in the beginning, before your characters get magic powers, they fight some pretty dangerous looking soldiers and giant war machines, and yet somehow manage to overcome them with a couple punches. Something feels off when a heavily armored soldier fires a machine gun burst into my guy’s chest, who then walks up and punches him in the gut, dealing ten times more damage. Naturally, things get progressively weirder as time goes on. You fight everything from giant, flying warships to blobs of goo and things that kinda look like dancing birds with enormous flapping sleeves. From what I’ve gathered, these things become even more unrecognizable later in the game. Your first reaction to these wild and varied forms is bound to be “what the hell is that thing?’ But after a little while it doesn’t really matter. They’re all just enemies. The stuff on screen is just shaking, flapping, spinning noise that you ignore as you cast Libra and go look at data that actually tells you something useful. The noise is certainly pretty, sometimes even managing to look pretty damn cool. But does it have anything to do with gameplay? Not really.
Going off on a bit of tangent, this rather reminds me of a Gnomon Workshop video I watched once about creativity in character design. The instructor, whose name I can’t recall, had an approach to design that is probably pretty close to that of FF artists. He started off by drawing extremely rough and random sketches, making sure not to have any idea of what the hell he was trying to make. He didn’t even know whether he wanted to make an environment or a character. After going through at least a hundred pages of random scribbling, he finally discovered a shape he liked and started rendering a character out of it. The character he ended up with was a pile of random blobs with and eyeball sticking out of it. This was creative, he said, because no one would be able to say what the hell it was. See, the only way to be creative is to create completely unrecognizable things that are completely unlike anything that already exists. But of course under his own criteria he failed utterly in being creative, because he drew a clearly recognizable eye on his creature. There is nothing creative about eyes, really. Eyes have been done to death already by other artists, and they also happen to exist in real life! Come up with something original for once, you noobs.
Time to get back to work now; I swear the next part will be the last.
To be continued…
Friday, March 19th, 2010
This should be considered a continuation of my last post, although it may end up taking a bit of a different route than I first had in mind. The goal, however, is to still to get to the bottom of the RPG genre, to see what really defines it and what it has that draws people in. I’ll consider this question in light of several recent RPGs (or at least RPG hybrids) that I haven’t fully managed to get into despite high expectations.
I’ll start with Borderlands, which I rented a few weeks ago and played pretty extensively with my brother. I also tried it online briefly without much success. Player levels in the game I joined varied widely and there didn’t seem to be much coordination, with the two higher level characters blowing through everything pretty much on their own. The game is definitely at its best when played in co-op with friends who are all at about the same level. A few times either me or my brother would race ahead a little bit in single player, and then later we’d have to play a bit of catch up to even out our characters again. Not necessarily ideal, but definitely enjoyable.
To put things simply, Borderlands is basically Diablo with shooter mechanics. The story is similarly weak, the shooting feels a lot like hacking and slashing, and likewise there are endles piles of magic items to collect. I call them magic because more often than not their effects seem arbitrary and inexplicable. Now how does regenerating ammo work exactly? A small munitions factory in your pocket perhaps? Or maybe a teleportation device that steals ammo from some warehouse? Irrelevant, right? It’s just a gameplay mechanic, you might say. Just another way of more conveniently replenishing a number. And to an extent I can accept that. I can still enjoy Borderlands for the mindless, shooty, bloody grinding that it is. But I would nonetheless argue that Borderlands is filled with arbitrary number-whoring that threaten to tear open the one great lie of video gaming: that we are actually doing something interesting in some other place, instead of pressing buttons merely to change meaningless numbers. I feel this illusion breaking down when I have to empty five clips of ammo into the center of some guy’s face before he falls down. It breaks further when I can shoot another guy that looks the same, and bring him down with just one shot. In those moments I am no longer on a distant planet, laying waste to a horde of sado-masochistic raiders, but merely reducing a property called ‘hitPoints’ on a virtual object called ‘enemy.’ What is it that I get for reducing all these numbers to zero? Watching the numbers of my character increase? So that I can go to a slightly different place and instead shoot enemies with somewhat higher hitPoint numbers?
Still, raw numbers do have some strange attraction to them, even when they don’t serve as a particularly logical representation of anything. With enough variation in gameplay actions and graphics, it is possible to just enjoy the challenge, appreciate the visual spectacle, and long for those precious numbers to change for the better.
There is another mechanic that in my mind makes the numbers more palatable, and is something that Borderlands lacks in. This, quite simply, is choice. There is some of this in Borderlands, like which class to pick and what weapon to use. But of character customization there is little. There is no visual customization (aside from color), only one active skill to use per class, and stat bonus skills that are often obvious picks. Statwise there is much more control here than in most RPG hybrids (like Fallout 3 and ME2) but it still feels like something’s missing.
To be continued…
Saturday, March 13th, 2010
A few weeks ago I described Borderlands to my brother with the following words: “It’s quite a bit like Fallout 3 with co-op but it’s much more of an RPG.” I wouldn’t agree with that statement anymore, as it could easily be flipped around depending on your definition of what makes an RPG an RPG. I was arguing of course that Borderlands is more RPG-ish because it has tons of loot, more power gained from leveling, etc. Fallout 3 of course has very few weapons and you gain power very slowly, so I always saw it mainly as a sandbox shooter.
This line of reasoning defines character expansion and progression as the central element of the genre. This is primarily what I play RPGs for, so naturally this is mainly what I judge them on. Though I liked Fallout 3 enough to play it through 8 levels, I got tired of the lack of character progression, and the lack of things to buy. I was eventually also tired of the monotone grey-brown grunge everywhere, and not engaged by the story enough to play for its sake alone.
There is actually one particular design decision in Fallout 3 that stood out to me as pretty bizarre: the use of character progression choices as ‘humor features’ that add nothing but an amusing graphical effect. Considering how little choice there is to begin with in Fallout 3’s perk system, taking meaningful choices away for the sake of an ‘all-enemies-explode-on-death’ skill seems misguided. Not that there’s anything wrong with having a bit of black humor in a game, but it’s an issue when it crowds into a critical gameplay system like this. How much of an outcry would there be if, say, Blizzard gave Diablo 3’s Witch Doctor skills that do nothing except make dead enemies explode into rainbows? Not that Blizzard would ever do that, of course. They actually know how to design games, for one thing. (And no I’m not a fanboy)
The reason I didn’t much care for Fallout 3 is the same reason I haven’t been able to get into Mass Effect 2 or FF XIII either. ME2 to me is just a shooter with some dialogue options, and FF XIII is starting to look a whole lot like God of War with lots of menus. I’ve looked forward to it for years (not too obsessively, mind you) but I can’t get past the overwhelming linearity in just about every element. Even weapons are upgraded in a completely linear and boring fashion by just throwing EXP from random items at them.
To be continued…
Saturday, February 27th, 2010
I would argue that the best RTS of all time is still Starcraft, with Age of Empires 2 coming in second. I was never too into Warcraft 3, and the fact that it’s now only used for DoTA goes to show it’s hardly in SC territory. I liked AoE 3 even less; the units didn’t have clear identities and I’m no fan of the colonial period.
In the turn-based camp Civ 3 is still the reigning champion, with Civ 4 feeling like a major dumbing down of the series regardless of the various Civ 3 issues it addressed. With CivRev continuing the slide into dimwitted cartoon territory, I’m not optimistic about the upcoming Civ 5.
And finally, the best RTS/TBS hybrid is Rome Total War, although to be fair there are virtually no games in this category outside of total war. Nonetheless, both Medieval 2 and Empire failed to match what RTW did. Both had terrible launches with AI issues that made them nearly unplayable, and to this day the combat engine in M2 and Empire is still a step back from their predecessor. Napoleon just looks like an x-pack for Empire, and since I have very little interest in the colonial era to begin with (don’t like the combat or the wigs) I can’t see myself picking that one up.
There really haven’t been all that many recent games in this genre. I didn’t care for Dawn of War 2, though the first one was alright. For me strategy has always been about building and resource management, so I’m understandably not fond of the dumbing down that’s happening in the genre. The new C&C game looks like a perfect example of this trend: everything is turning into a checkpoint-capturing action game, with less thinking and shorter sessions.
I actually bought the Risk-clone Lux Delux a couple weeks ago. Not bad for what it is, but does get old fast. Don’t much care for the ugliness, the generic factions, and especially for the retarded blitzing through enemy territory. Why can enemy armies run through my entire empire in one turn when I can’t move my armies more than a single space?
There have been a couple space strategy games, both in the RTS and TBS fields but they’ve all had flaws, and this has never been my favorite setting to begin with. I did get into a little game called Space Empires V a while back, but ultimately its ridiculous microing and annoying espionage system ruined it.
So what is there to do but make a strategy game myself? It’s either that or wait for Starcraft 2.