Should I buy StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm?
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on Heart of the Swarm and I came across one very interesting post by a StarCraft II player who commented on a thread with ‘Why are you all looking forward to Heart of the Swarm so much? It’s going to be imbalanced and it will take a long time to figure out, why not just continue with Wings of Liberty?’
I thought about this for a while and came up with three of reasons why Heart of the Swarm (HotS) will be a better game than Wings of Liberty (WoL) ever was. If you want to read my thoughts on the Heart of the Swarm campaign, read this instead.
Reason 1: Making changes in Wings of Liberty is almost impossible
StarCraft II is an eSport. This means that people make money and a living off of it. If the publisher of the game (Blizzard Entertainment) decides to change a unit a day before a big tournament is held the entire StarCraft II community will shiver in despair, sing ‘Kum bah yah’ around the campfire and sent angry letters to both Blizzard Entertainment and sponsors of the tournament. This is obviously bad in Wings of Liberty. You can’t change a game suddenly because progamers are always practising and trying to become better at the current game. Any changes that are being done have to be relatively minor so that they don’t break the entire balance of the game.
For example, what would happen if they all of a sudden decided that Siege Tanks should start with the Siege mode already researched and that Medivacs should heal twice as much? Well… The game would be pretty broken. In Wings of Liberty they simply can’t make big changes such as this one, only very minor ones either because something is too strong or too boring.
This is one of the main reasons why Heart of the Swarm will be better than Wings of Liberty: Massive changes can be done in a relatively safe environment. The Heart of the Swarm beta is the perfect place to mess around with the balance and change the game for the greater good, without making everyone (well almost everyone) angry. Some huge changes are already being implemented making the game more exciting and less plain and boring.
Reason 2: KeSPA Professional StarCraft II gamers
When Wings of Liberty got released on July 27th 2010 and got very popular in ‘the West’, the Mecca of esports better known as Seoul, South Korea wasn’t accepting the game at all. StarCraft: Brood War was much more popular than StarCraft II, and will be so for about the first 2,5 years after release. Recently the Brood War professionals switched over however, and they are stepping from a game that got released in 1998 to a game that got released in 2010. This is a huge difference. Wings of Liberty is not Brood War. For more than a decade the Brood War players are trying to become good at one certain game, and they are all of a sudden stepping into a whole new game that works entirely differently besides the fact that it has strategy in it and familiar names such as the Marine and Zergling.
With the release of Heart of the Swarm the entire professional scene will kind of need to start from scratch. Build orders, maps, strategies that worked in Wings of Liberty will not work in Heart of the Swarm. Things will need to be figured out again. This is where the Brood War professionals are on even footing with the established StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty progamers. They will need to figure out the game, just as much as the rest has to, and they will have a massive advantage with their practise regiment, their way of experiencing and improving in the game and their culture of esports.
It’s already frightening how incredibly good some players (for example SK Telecoms Rain) have gotten in just a few months of play. Once Heart of the Swarm gets released the KeSPA professionals will most likely start dominating the scene.
Reason 3: Exciting new skill based units
This reason why HotS will be better than WoL is kind of the same like reason 1 but is different in the fact that Blizzard Entertainment was able to observe for a long time before making changes. They saw that Zerg didn’t really have any kind of siege unit (besides the Tier 3 Brood Lord) and decided to add the Swarm Host. Even though this unit is currently not being used all that much in the Heart of the Swarm beta it will become a very valuable unit once the progamers take a look at it. Holes in the game can be filled. Swarm Hosts is just one of the many examples you can name of skill based new units and features in Heart of the Swarm.
Another great example of a very potential unit is the Mothership Core. Protoss in Wings of Liberty doesn’t have all that many options to get aggressive early on: Thus the mothership core. Blizzard Entertainment was able to take a look at the game, see there was a little bit of a problem for early game Protoss and fixing this with an entirely new unit. Something that they definitely could not do all of a sudden in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm
Even though the Heart of the Swarm beta isn’t finalized yet (heck, they got 3 months left even!) it’s already looking like a very promising game. There are a lot of reasons to come up with why Heart of the Swarm will be better than Wings of Liberty.
Are there any reasons I left out that definitely should be named here? Post them in the section below!