Earlier this week, London’s gaming elite were treated to the midnight launch of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, the latest venture from World of Warcraft developers – and social-life obliterators – Blizzard Entertainment.
After an extended hiatus from the StarCraft series, unsurprising given Blizzard’s reputation for slippery release dates (don’t even bother asking about Diablo III), SII:WoL picks up from its futuristic real-time strategy predecessor with the same three life-forms: the renegade human “Terrans”, the intelligent psychic “Protoss” species, and the grotesque insectoid “Zerg”, still battling for ascendancy in StarCraft‘s far-off galaxy.
For the uninitiated, starting the series from scratch would provide useful context, but mercifully (given the magnitude of the task) this is largely unnecessary as the sequel offers a gentle learning curve and introduction to the story. SII:WoL‘s innovations are mostly seen in its presentation, with movie-quality cut scenes and smooth in-game rendering; however the most significant change is in the Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) element. Be warned though: in South Korea StarCraft is less a game and more a life choice. Indeed, the hysteria surrounding it borders on the surreal, with jumbo jet fleets bearing the game’s branding and top gamers practically seen as national heroes – so you may want to hone your skills before venturing online.