StarCraft II Will Have LAN After All - Almost

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StarCraft II Will Have LAN After All - Almost

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Desperate to play StarCraft II with your buddies but don't want to have to go through Battle.Net 2.0 to do it? Lead designer Dustin Browder says that the game is likely to ship with LAN functionality after all ... kind of.

I can't help but really wonder if Blizzard saw the backlash from the removal of LAN support from StarCraft II coming at all, or if it caught them completely by surprise. While the company stood resolute in the face of a petition that first had thousands of signatures, but as of August 16th had 100,452, declaring LAN to be a "footnote in history," it looks like Big Blue is willing to compromise after all.

Earlier today, we reported on some head-scratching remarks from Blizzard VP Rob Pardo, whose remarks essentially boiled down to, "We don't think anyone will really need LAN, but if people do need LAN, we'll work on giving them something like it." Now, it looks like we have some clarification on exactly what they're doing.

SC2 Lead Designer Dustin Browder told Gamasutra that while the goal of having an "integrated experience" for their players via Battle.net was still crucial to the company - "We really wanted to bring all these players together and keep them in the same pool, and make everything work, so your achievements work, your friends list works, everything just works correctly, as opposed to having two separated ways to play" - they were working on an option to allow for the best of both worlds: LAN-level connectivity, but a plug into Battle.net regardless.

Greg Canessa, the Lead Designer for Battle.net (formerly of PopCap), elaborated on these plans in an interview with Shacknews, saying that Blizzard's goal was to enable low-ping connectivity between players while keeping a minimal connection to Battle.net: "Maintaining a connection with Battle.net, I don't know if it's once or periodically, but then also having a peer-to-peer connection between players to facilitate a very low-ping, high-bandwidth connection.. those are the things that we're working on."

As I understand it, then, the proposed system would require an initial internet connection to authenticate via the Battle.net servers, and then would revert to normal peer-to-peer functionality, perhaps checking in every so often to update friends lists and the like.

If my understanding is correct and that is in fact their proposed system, I... find it hard to see a downside. The primary complaint I see against the lack of LAN functionality is that sending truckloads of data through a single pipeline (say at a tournament) will result in serious bottlenecks, and it's a similar problem for people with slow connections or for those who might be behind firewalls - like college students. As long as the only information being sent to Battle.net is a simple authenticity check, you could probably have a LAN party and not need anything more than a 56k modem.

It sounds like a perfectly fair compromise to me, but there's no way of knowing what exactly the system will be like until, well, we simply learn more about it. Either way, though, Diablo III chief Jay Wilson confirmed that his game would be supporting the same pseudo-LAN functionality, so if it works well, that should be cause for rejoicing.

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This sounds reasonable.

Nothing more to comment on.

Hrrrm, I still smell a rat. What's so tough in just putting in a LAN mode and not having to go through Battlenet which is notorious for packet sniffing?
Anyone who's seen the list of online cheats available for TF2 or the screaming TK'ers in L4D might want the game away from the net for that very reason.

well if yer theory is right.... wouldn't this leave the door wide open for stat modification? since the whole idea is to be able to track stats across yer accounts lifetime, and not having a solid connection to bnet during this possible LAN play would prevent Blizzard from keeping a handle on what's being modified and all that... i dunno, sounds like there's some potential for abuse, unless of course they disable those "features" (not referring to friends list and that kinda thing) for LAN play. of course, i don't know what all the benefits of being connected to bnet so far are, so i could be speculating absolute nonsense right now.

Hopefully this will quiet the 100,000 people bitching about LAN. You had to know that Blizzard is usually pretty damn good at customer pleasing, one way or another.

Win. Too bad my PC will never run it.

uppitycracker:
well if yer theory is right.... wouldn't this leave the door wide open for stat modification? since the whole idea is to be able to track stats across yer accounts lifetime, and not having a solid connection to bnet during this possible LAN play would prevent Blizzard from keeping a handle on what's being modified and all that... i dunno, sounds like there's some potential for abuse, unless of course they disable those "features" (not referring to friends list and that kinda thing) for LAN play. of course, i don't know what all the benefits of being connected to bnet so far are, so i could be speculating absolute nonsense right now.

Simple. LAN games won't count for stats.

This sounds like something we'll have to experience for ourselves before we can tell whether it's good or not.

Regardless, it's good to see that Blizzard has lowered the middle finger that was pointing at the fans.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Hrrrm, I still smell a rat. What's so tough in just putting in a LAN mode and not having to go through Battlenet which is notorious for packet sniffing?
Anyone who's seen the list of online cheats available for TF2 or the screaming TK'ers in L4D might want the game away from the net for that very reason.

I don't think it's a matter of it being tough, I just think that this is a core facet of their philosophy moving forward - having B.net 2.0 as a core service for all of their games - and the challenge is successfully integrating it with LAN gameplay.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Hrrrm, I still smell a rat. What's so tough in just putting in a LAN mode and not having to go through Battlenet which is notorious for packet sniffing?

Durrpaaadurrr reread the article or better yet go watch the SC2 panel from Blizzcon on friday. The online experience is part of the new battle new. Achievements, friends list, updates, the marketplace and whatever else is part of the game they are trying to create. Would you like to play World of Warcraft offline? Do you think playing it offline would take away something from the experience? Thats the point.

I really wish people would WAIT and play the new experience before running off and ranting making petitions for LAN when they don't even know the services that are offered.

SirSchmoopy:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Hrrrm, I still smell a rat. What's so tough in just putting in a LAN mode and not having to go through Battlenet which is notorious for packet sniffing?

Durrpaaadurrr reread the article or better yet go watch the SC2 panel from Blizzcon on friday. The online experience is part of the new battle new. Achievements, friends list, updates, the marketplace and whatever else is part of the game they are trying to create. Would you like to play World of Warcraft offline? Do you think playing it offline would take away something from the experience? Thats the point.

I really wish people would WAIT and play the new experience before running off and ranting making petitions for LAN when they don't even know the services that are offered.

You're talking about the gaming community at large, the same people who flew the fuck off the handle when Valve announced L4D2. Patience is about as foreign as moderation.

Hell even I'm guilty of overreacting on this one simply because I trust Blizzard for the same length of time that WoW could hold my interest (which is to say the combined lengths of the Onyxia Wipe and Leeroy Jenkins videos).

This compromise sounds promising.

AceDiamond:
[quote="SirSchmoopy" post="7.133101.2988120"]
You're talking about the gaming community at large, the same people who flew the fuck off the handle when Valve announced L4D2. Patience is about as foreign as moderation.

Yeah. After thinking about it I realized my point is in vain. Nintendo could release an image of Super Mario with a blue hat and shit would hit the fan within minutes on the internet.

Not to sound like a Blizzard fanboy, but I did pretty much expect something like this. I couldn't comprehend how Blizzard would completely abandon LAN, but they resolutely kept saying that Battle.net would be involved in multiplayer. This seems the pretty obvious compromise. I also don't doubt that Blizzard had this planned and were testing the waters with their initial announcement. Maybe they had this solution laid out but preferred not to implement it if they could.

still requires an internet connection == fail

What about our troops? Do they have connection to the internet 24/7? No. Will they be able to play against their friends on base? No.

BLIZZARD HATES OUR TROOPS.

SirSchmoopy:

I really wish people would WAIT and play the new experience before running off and ranting making petitions for LAN when they don't even know the services that are offered.

Possibly because those people got the idea of LAN looked into, given that it wasn't going to be offered earlier.

Personally, I just quite like to play a game, not "have the whole gaming experience", because that makes me feel like I'm about to be sold some hatchet job in Curry's. Surely Timmy has taught you never to trust the random magical items that are given out?

obisean:
What about our troops? Do they have connection to the internet 24/7? No. Will they be able to play against their friends on base? No.

BLIZZARD HATES OUR TROOPS.

Unless the USAF mechanic in my WoW guild is lying about being stationed in Kuwait, I'm pretty sure they can find internet somewhere.

CantFaketheFunk:

obisean:
What about our troops? Do they have connection to the internet 24/7? No. Will they be able to play against their friends on base? No.

BLIZZARD HATES OUR TROOPS.

Unless the USAF mechanic in my WoW guild is lying about being stationed in Kuwait, I'm pretty sure they can find internet somewhere.

Ask him about the chicken and garlic burgers they do in the Sukh's. They're to die for.
There was a good one just off the Al-Farabi Roundabout in Hawally.

CantFaketheFunk:

obisean:
What about our troops? Do they have connection to the internet 24/7? No. Will they be able to play against their friends on base? No.

BLIZZARD HATES OUR TROOPS.

Unless the USAF mechanic in my WoW guild is lying about being stationed in Kuwait, I'm pretty sure they can find internet somewhere.

Stationed is not the same as deployed.

"Achievments"?

*Dissapointed/ing Groan*

The_root_of_all_evil:
Hrrrm, I still smell a rat. What's so tough in just putting in a LAN mode and not having to go through Battlenet which is notorious for packet sniffing?

I got to agree with this. This is not a fair compromise. It is just a fucked up half assed measure.
What is soo damn hard with just having LAN? What if you are without internet? It just makes no damn sense.

SirSchmoopy:

AceDiamond:
[quote="SirSchmoopy" post="7.133101.2988120"]
You're talking about the gaming community at large, the same people who flew the fuck off the handle when Valve announced L4D2. Patience is about as foreign as moderation.

Yeah. After thinking about it I realized my point is in vain. Nintendo could release an image of Super Mario with a blue hat and shit would hit the fan within minutes on the internet.

Good thing they didn't have the Internet (as we know it) in 1988 then.


Although that's probably an in-joke by now given how there's an alt costume of him in the Super Smash Bros. games that looks like that.

Avykins:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Hrrrm, I still smell a rat. What's so tough in just putting in a LAN mode and not having to go through Battlenet which is notorious for packet sniffing?

I got to agree with this. This is not a fair compromise. It is just a fucked up half assed measure.
What is soo damn hard with just having LAN? What if you are without internet? It just makes no damn sense.

On the contrary, it's absolutely a compromise - one that enables LAN functionality but still preserves their goal of having an integrated B.net experience. That's what a compromise is - a solution with things that both parties want. Having LAN support without B.net wouldn't be a compromise at all, that'd be completely going one way. (Not saying that it would be an inherently bad thing, just that it wouldn't be a compromise in the strictest sense of the word)

CantFaketheFunk:
I don't think it's a matter of it being tough, I just think that this is a core facet of their philosophy moving forward - having B.net 2.0 as a core service for all of their games - and the challenge is successfully integrating it with LAN gameplay.

....Why didn't they just come out and say this in the first place!?

(I think Blizzard chose to purse its lips and get free publicity for Starcraft2...)

triorph:
still requires an internet connection == fail

Exactly. The main point of LAN play, is NOT needing an internet connection. This is Blizzards way of completely missing the point!

I know they are doing this mostly as an anti-piracy measure, but ONE online authentication should be enough. Even Steam has an offline mode, and in offline mode you can still use the LAN functionality. Blizzard should consider that approach...

triorph:
still requires an internet connection == fail

This.

Well, at least they are thinking about it now.

Better, but still retarded. They're still requiring a net connection.

If they do that, a pirate server will be put together quickly. Result?. Pirates will be able to play LAN without net connection. Buyers won't. Pirates get a better product without paying for it.

Why not simply give us the old, reliable and fantastic classic LAN option?. At this point, one has to ask who at Blizzard really enjoys making fans miserable. I'd guess it's Pardo, given his last memorable lines, you know "footnote in history..." and other silly things.

triorph:
still requires an internet connection == fail

I don't think you can put any better than that.

All well, it's a small step for fans.

Why would anyone in a LAN party, a game that shouldn't be stat trackable in the first place, care about being connected to B.Net at all? Will they be chatting with friends outside the party via B.Net? Perhaps they will be accepting an invite from someone outside the LAN and decide to play with others in another game?

LAN gaming is specifically to allow people in very close quarters to play the same game side by side without people not on the network. I read this and boggled at the stupidity of someone thinking a LAN player would want anything to do with B.Net during the course of their game.

Requiring an ISP connection to the WWW completely defeats the purpose of a LAN game period. This smells of DRM and software protection.

Playbahnosh:

triorph:
still requires an internet connection == fail

But in 2009 you can be pretty damn certain that any LAN you might want to play the game at also has an Internet connection.

It's DRM. That much has been clear since the beginning. The people who're complaining likely just want it to be easier to pirate the game.

paketep:

If they do that, a pirate server will be put together quickly. Result?. Pirates will be able to play LAN without net connection. Buyers won't. Pirates get a better product without paying for it.

But... they don't.

The advantage of the LAN over B.net is nigh-instant ping. If you can get that plus the shiny bells and whistles that come with B.net 2.0, assuming they're good enough, then the pirates who only get the nigh-instant ping have the inferior product.

On a personal note, speaking as a PC gamer and a person and not so much a member of the Escapist staff - I find it mind-boggling that in this day and age people think a LAN party won't have even the slowest, most cursory connection to the internet. The previous complaints - what if we're behind a firewall, or what if there are 20 of us playing on one pipeline - were completely valid, because those would result in genuine gameplay issues. Complaining at this point (assuming we're interpreting this functionality correctly) feels like splitting hairs because you're not getting full support for an archaic system exactly how it was, instead of a pretty-damn-close approximate for said archaic system that requires the slowest of Internet connections.

JediMB:

Playbahnosh:

triorph:
still requires an internet connection == fail

But in 2009 you can be pretty damn certain that any LAN you might want to play the game at also has an Internet connection.

It's DRM. That much has been clear since the beginning. The people who're complaining likely just want it to be easier to pirate the game.

I think you are confusing LAN parties with huge gaming events. I was referring to small LAN parties, with only a few friends. Bring over your rig, connect to the switch, tank up with soda and snacks, shut the door, and prepare for wanton gaming for a week. Having internet at a LAN party is like having your would be wife at your bachelor party. Just wrong. Not to mention the places that doesn't have internet but does have people who wanna play games in LAN.

As for piracy, it's not an issue with a game of this caliber. Since profits will rocket sky high regardless of how many people are pirating it. Take a look at StarCraft, people STILL buy it, because it's awesome AND cheap now. If it's good, people will buy, but if you make your customers gaming experience a nightmare, no matter how much protection you use, your game will get gangraped by crackers, mutilated by modders and flamed upon on the internet. That's street justice for ya.

paketep:

If they do that, a pirate server will be put together quickly. Result?. Pirates will be able to play LAN without net connection. Buyers won't. Pirates get a better product without paying for it.

Pirates get the Single player and a 'cracked' version of LAN which may work with dubious efficiency and be prone to crashes as pirated copies tend to, all for free.

Legitimate players get the Single Player, a proper version of the LAN, the full online multiplayer and their new super-duper-awesome-cures cancer-magical girl spawning BattleNet, costing...uh, £40? £45?

As a long time Blizzard supporter, the decision isn't really that hard.

CantFaketheFunk:

obisean:
What about our troops? Do they have connection to the internet 24/7? No. Will they be able to play against their friends on base? No.

BLIZZARD HATES OUR TROOPS.

Unless the USAF mechanic in my WoW guild is lying about being stationed in Kuwait, I'm pretty sure they can find internet somewhere.

I went a year without an Internet connection, not on a deployment but in bases inside my own country. Had to apply for permission to bring a personal laptop on base. Hell, I might still have the permits with the laptop's serial number and company commanders' signatures somewhere among my old papers. That laptop was about the only personal item I had. Nothing more would fit in the personal locker after issued gear.

Militaries do what militaries do. Security, discipline, necessity, etc. Don't think your USAF mechanic is the rule.

This just seems like an all round bad move to me. It will suck if your a fan of Million Man Lans, small lan parties with friends etc

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