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Thread: How dead actually is Starcraft?

  1. #1

    Default How dead actually is Starcraft?

    There's been a bunch of debates about this on youtube, and all that, and people seem to get really angry if you even suggest that Starcraft is dead. I've been under the impression that despite the fact some people still play it, and there's still contests going on, but how dead is it really? I know in terms of lore it's pretty much gone, mostly due to the fact that Blizzard didn't even try to make SC2 line up reasonably with its origin. But honestly, in terms of gameplay, was SC2 really a failure? If the story had been good or at least reasonable, would SC be more popular than it is right now?


    "Seeing Fenix once more perplexes me. I feel sadness, when I should feel joy."
    - Artanis.

  2. #2

    Default Re: How dead actually is Starcraft?

    When people say it's dead, I feel like they're comparing the player base to fortnite, DOTA, LoL, etc and come to the conclusion that Starcraft must be dead because it doesn't have the numbers that these games have. But lets objectively look at this:

    -On twitch, there's an average of 7000 people watching SC2 in the last 90 days(https://sullygnome.com/games/90/watched). That means that, at any moment, there's 7000 people watching people play starcraft.

    -According to this site (https://www.rankedftw.com/stats/popu...r=-2&sy=c&sx=a), there's around 200k 1v1 being played every day in the world.

    -Here's a popular sc youtuber(https://www.kedoo.com/youtube/en/cha...6bRoj-5QRmqt_w). He has 2.8M monthly views.

    I think it's safe to say that starcraft is alive and well. These stats are good, especially for a game that's almost 10 years old.

    I don't think that having a good story would have significantly changed what happened. The thing about starcraft is that it's like a high quality buffet. You have too many good meals on the table for your dinner to be ruined by one plate. And to be honest, the reality is that there's very few people that dig deep into stories the way that we did. In fact, I think that regular gamers actually had a generally positive view of the story. If you look back at all the reviews from IGN and etc, everyone was praising it iirc (though there was complaints that it was cheesy). In other words, the plot was satisfactory for the rest of the world, there's just our little niche that is bitching about it.

  3. #3

    Default Re: How dead actually is Starcraft?

    I guess so. It's just...well, even years after Mega Man has put out a game, there's far more love going on for it, it seems like. Nowadays Starcraft feels like Warcraft's little brother. I was watching this video of Blizzard's top ten mistakes, and they didn't even mention Starcraft once. It's one thing for people to be
    playing the game, but fan life takes on angles of its own, you know? Not to mention that there's no real excitement for the franchise's future anymore.

    Thanks for the links, though. It's kind of hard to find objective stuff out there, and honestly, I'm kind of curious what kind of stats SC vanilla got back in the day. Not that Twitch was around back then.


    "Seeing Fenix once more perplexes me. I feel sadness, when I should feel joy."
    - Artanis.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How dead actually is Starcraft?

    I don't think there's any easy way to get old stats. Maybe if iCCup kept records it would give some indication but I couldn't find anything. What I remember from before the sc2 announcement though is that the sc fandom was weaker than it is right now or anyways that's how it felt to me. Like the post activity on blizzforums, teamliquid and the official forum during that time was weak. Even the competitive scene didn't have a huge reach. People were playing warcraft 3 and then of course WoW was the big thing so it definitely felt like SC was WC's little brother back then. More so when they killed SC:G. That's how I remember it anyways up until sc2 was announced.. then it blew out for a bit. Overall I'd say the SC fandom was strong from 1998 to maybe 2004 and then it went on life support until 2007.

    As for excitement for the franchise, if anything, whenever I see a blizzard article on gaming sites, there's always a guy in the comments that asks for a SC MMO or a revival of SC:G. At the same time I get what you're saying. Honestly, I don't get why there's so much fan activities for Mega man comparatively. Or forget Mega man, how can there still be this many people into Final fantasy 8. It's not even a franchise, it's one game that's 20 years old but somehow there's more people drawing fanarts and writing fanfic for it than there is for starcraft. It's kinda interesting really. I guess Starcraft is just missing some critical elements to gather the kind of fan love you're referring to.

  5. #5

    Default Re: How dead actually is Starcraft?

    Starcraft is probably the most popular traditional RTS and it is a televised sport in South Korea. RTS in general isn't a very popular genre due to its learning curve.

    The Starcraft story is hardly the worst video game story. Video game storytelling in general isn't very good, so Starcraft doesn't really stand out as particularly bad. Since most gamers expect bad stories, they don't really pay much attention to why it is bad.

    However, since it isn't remotely good it doesn't attract the same kind of attention as Mega Man or Final Fantasy. Those games have healthier fandoms due to a combination of better writing, better character design, easier gameplay... oh screw it. The real reason is because those games have pretty boys for fangirls to obsess over. Most fanfiction and fanart is made by women. Women like pretty boys with angsty backstories. It's not rocket science. Starcraft's shitty writing and shallow characters don't attract the creative fans who look past the surface.

    Although those of us criticizing the story have very different ideas of precisely where it went wrong. Most critics seem to think SC1/BW are perfect and SC2 was bad, but I'm in the minority of people who think the franchise was always poorly written. I could gone on for hours explaining why the writing was always poor and I have done so many times before. At this point I find it more constructive to write the plot of a reboot rather than keep complaining.

    If you want Starcraft to have a healthy fandom, you need characters with actual depth and stories that aren't blatantly nonsensical. And that depth needs to be shown onscreen, not relegated to licensed fiction nobody reads.

    Why do you think Game of Thrones has so much fanfiction? Because 1) its characters have more depth than a piece of plywood and 2) the story occurs organically as a result of the characters' actions rather than author fiat. Both of those criteria Starcraft utterly fails at every step of the way.

    Remember how season 8 of GoT was the worst? Starcraft has been like that since the beginning. The quality has always been low so that most fans, being used to low quality, don't realize it could be so much more.

    The same could be said for Warcraft. WC1 and WC2 are too vaguely sketched out to be criticized, but Warcraft 3 is where things started going wrong. In WC1/2, the factions act of their own accord. In WC3+, we have various plot devices that take control away from the characters. Over at Scrolls of Lore, Marthen has been working on a rewrite of Warcraft that makes it morally ambiguous and politically complicated (IIRC s/he's educated as a historian). Among other things, the Scourge is turned into an actual nation-state with citizens and whatnot, and the Burning Legion is changed to multiple unrelated demon armies that attempted to invade Azeroth over its history. In my opinion all the changes make Warcraft feel more believable.

    I'd like to see more treatments like that for Starcraft. That is, an attempt to write the history of the Starcraft world as if you're a historian writing about a real world, rather than the hackneyed schlock crapped out by Metzen while he was dealing with his drug addiction and girlfriend issues. There's absolutely nothing about the Starcraft plot that feels like it could happen believably; that's how reliant it is on nonsensical plot devices and everyone acting like idiots.
    Last edited by Mislagnissa; 05-23-2019 at 07:19 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: How dead actually is Starcraft?

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich_bird View Post
    I don't think there's any easy way to get old stats. Maybe if iCCup kept records it would give some indication but I couldn't find anything. What I remember from before the sc2 announcement though is that the sc fandom was weaker than it is right now or anyways that's how it felt to me. Like the post activity on blizzforums, teamliquid and the official forum during that time was weak. Even the competitive scene didn't have a huge reach. People were playing warcraft 3 and then of course WoW was the big thing so it definitely felt like SC was WC's little brother back then. More so when they killed SC:G. That's how I remember it anyways up until sc2 was announced.. then it blew out for a bit. Overall I'd say the SC fandom was strong from 1998 to maybe 2004 and then it went on life support until 2007.

    As for excitement for the franchise, if anything, whenever I see a blizzard article on gaming sites, there's always a guy in the comments that asks for a SC MMO or a revival of SC:G. At the same time I get what you're saying. Honestly, I don't get why there's so much fan activities for Mega man comparatively. Or forget Mega man, how can there still be this many people into Final fantasy 8. It's not even a franchise, it's one game that's 20 years old but somehow there's more people drawing fanarts and writing fanfic for it than there is for starcraft. It's kinda interesting really. I guess Starcraft is just missing some critical elements to gather the kind of fan love you're referring to.
    I'd always remembered the SC community as fairly okay before SC2's announcement, but that may have been because I hung out at Blizzforums, and the Warcraft/Diablo crowds there would hang out in Chit Chat and such. Likewise, at fanfiction.net it seemed like the writers there were reasonably good for fanfic level writers, rather than the pairings we've been getting for a while.

    I know this is going to sound narrow, but even if we don't see it right now, the utter oblivion of SC2's story means that there's nowhere really to go. Starcraft had good gameplay before SC2 (and I'm told that SC2 plays reasonably well) so absent of any real gameplay innovation, a sequel was never necessary. The only thing that really required closure was the story. That's probably why they went with SC:G rather than SC2 at first, because BW ends with no real reason for humans to fight Protoss, no reason for Protoss to fight anyone, and the Zerg weakened by Kerrigan's constant fights and the loss of the cerebrates/2nd overmind. Thus, any real fighting would have to be done on a far smaller, not RTS scale.

    After SC/BW, there was so much potential in every direction, in terms of the hybrids, Duran, Duran's masters, Kerrigan's intentions, Light+Dark Protoss potential, human political turmoil...but it all got squandered. This story potential could have served for many different styles of game, but now...I just don't know where to go.

    People still play it for the gameplay, but eventually it's just going to fade out.


    "Seeing Fenix once more perplexes me. I feel sadness, when I should feel joy."
    - Artanis.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How dead actually is Starcraft?

    In summary: "Starcraft" as a game is fine and will keep on going, because it's primarily known as a game. "Starcraft" in terms of story and lore? ... Not so much.
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


    _______________________________________________

  8. #8

    Default Re: How dead actually is Starcraft?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nissa View Post
    I'd always remembered the SC community as fairly okay before SC2's announcement, but that may have been because I hung out at Blizzforums, and the Warcraft/Diablo crowds there would hang out in Chit Chat and such. Likewise, at fanfiction.net it seemed like the writers there were reasonably good for fanfic level writers, rather than the pairings we've been getting for a while.

    I know this is going to sound narrow, but even if we don't see it right now, the utter oblivion of SC2's story means that there's nowhere really to go. Starcraft had good gameplay before SC2 (and I'm told that SC2 plays reasonably well) so absent of any real gameplay innovation, a sequel was never necessary. The only thing that really required closure was the story. That's probably why they went with SC:G rather than SC2 at first, because BW ends with no real reason for humans to fight Protoss, no reason for Protoss to fight anyone, and the Zerg weakened by Kerrigan's constant fights and the loss of the cerebrates/2nd overmind. Thus, any real fighting would have to be done on a far smaller, not RTS scale.

    After SC/BW, there was so much potential in every direction, in terms of the hybrids, Duran, Duran's masters, Kerrigan's intentions, Light+Dark Protoss potential, human political turmoil...but it all got squandered. This story potential could have served for many different styles of game, but now...I just don't know where to go.

    People still play it for the gameplay, but eventually it's just going to fade out.
    I think you are 1) blinded by nostalgia and 2) in love with the idea of what Starcraft could be rather than what it is and what Blizzard can do with it. #2 is true for me too. Boy is it ever.

    Considering Blizzard's track record (just look at every game story they've written, this isn't rocket science), it is highly unlikely that your proposed Brood War II would have been better than the Starcraft II that we got. If it was released fairly shortly after BW, your nostalgia would probably blind you to its extreme storytelling flaws just as you are blinded to the extreme storytelling flaws of SC/BW.

    I don't believe there was much story potential after BW's downer ending, at least not without feeling like a cop-out. Of course, that would be perfectly in keeping with SC/BW's bad writing overall. Pretty much every key plot point is a cop-out.

    The writing of Starcraft II isn't really much worse than that of SC/BW. It just has way more opportunities to show off how bad the writing is by virtue of having a much larger canvas to work with.

    The plot of SC/BW is presented as episodic dialogues by low-res talking heads. Because there isn't really that much for a player to engage with, it is very easy to miss the problems with the story. Especially if the player is a minor, since minors are hardly known for their skill at literary criticism. And it's a video game story, which as a medium has extremely low standards by default.

    SC2 came out over a decade after SC1 and technology had matured radically in that time. So had the kids who played SC1, so had their tastes. SC2 wasn't protected by nostalgia goggles and it had vastly more audiovisual engagement, so returning players got the full blast of Blizzard's bad writing in gorgeous high-definition.

    I mean, I personally admire your dedication but I feel like you're shooting yourself in the foot by refusing to recognize Starcraft's flaws. I can point them out for you if you like in a short essay or something.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    In summary: "Starcraft" as a game is fine and will keep on going, because it's primarily known as a game. "Starcraft" in terms of story and lore? ... Not so much.
    I can't wait until the next Starcraft game comes out and butchers the lore even worse like what Blizzard did to Warcraft. I'm holding out hope that an increasingly awful story will convince more bitter fans to engage with me when I propose rebooting the story to give it better writing, rather than just constantly regurgitating impossible fantasies of Blizzard writing an alternate timeline that caters to the vague demands for better writing that Blizzard has consistently shown they are incapable of providing no matter how much money they invest.

  9. #9

    Default Re: How dead actually is Starcraft?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mislagnissa View Post
    I can't wait until the next Starcraft game comes out and butchers the lore even worse like what Blizzard did to Warcraft.
    Eh, it can't be any worse after Sc2 since those that hated it already or don't care for it will just ignore it. The next story will only cater/matter to the existing fanboys.
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


    _______________________________________________

  10. #10

    Default Re: How dead actually is Starcraft?

    It's safe to say that, if there's a plot at all in the next game, it will be bad. Giving the narrative less exposition is probably the best thing they could do for the story itself. Misla is spot-on on that one. What made the older Blizzard stories good, was their more subtle nature. A return to form would do wonder. That's not to say that they need to go back to talking portraits but instead to let the players figure it out more often.

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