Why you need to follow StarCraft
Whether you are a veteran to the eSports scene or a newcomer, StarCraft is possibly one of the best games to follow.
Here are some of the main reasons why this game is one of the pillars of eSports:
It paved the way for eSports – in the days when the World Cyber Games was starting out as the first major international competitive event in the uncharted territory of online gaming, StarCraft had already begun to establish itself as the unofficial sport of South Korea. The game had millions of fans, dedicated television channels and attracted sponsorship from large South Korean companies such as Samsung, SK Telekom and Korea Telecom. The players quickly gained celebrity status and were recognized nationwide. The very first official pro gaming tournament, KPGL (Korea Pro Gaming League), was organized as early as 1998.
Balance – the original StarCraft gained such cult status in Korea not only because of its addictive gameplay or the strategic freedom that it provides, but because the Brood War expansion brought the necessary balance between the playable races. Balance is key in any RTS and many other StarCraft competitors learned this the hard way. Without a state of balance between each playable faction, it is hard to imagine a video game turning into a solid eSports discipline. While the original StarCraft had some issues with balancing, the Brood War expansion brought in the necessary changes to even the odds for each race. StarCraft 2 has the same underlying principle and thus its success has been natural
Tastosis – the commentary synergy of Dan “Artosis” Stemkoski and Nicolas “Tasteless” Plott is well known to the StarCraft 2 community. The duo brings the magic of the GSL to Western audiences and combines deep knowledge of the game with authentic humour. Their contribution to the popularization of the game is huge. The casting Archon merged back in 2008 when they began casting together at BlizzCon and then at the WCG Grand Finals in China during 2009. Their unparalleled knowledge and analytic skills are a result of their experiences with the game first hand – both of them used to be Brood War pro gamers and still maintain a high level in StarCraft 2. In short, if you are new to the game, these two will be your best guides.
A bright light in a fading genre? – whether the RTS genre is stepping back in favour of MOBAs is a much discussed issue nowadays. The brilliant gameplay simplicity that the latter provides puts them on a higher rank in terms of accessibility, but the RTS genre still has much to offer. Undoubtedly, StarCraft 2 is currently one of the most popular RTS and eSports disciplines. The Legacy of the Void expansion made each competitive game more dynamic, intense and shorter. The level of excitement in StarCraft equates to any other eSports discipline and the game itself offers a greater variety of creative ways to end the contest (as opposed to destroying the enemy core as in MOBAs). The community is also an important part of every eSport game and the StarCraft one is more mature, consisting in large of old school gamers, many of whom undoubtedly spent countless nights playing the original StarCraft back in 1998.
If you are a solo player, go for StarCraft – although there are team competitions, the most prestigious StarCraft tournaments are 1v1 clashes. Once having entered the isolated cabins, the players have only their skills, strategy and mental strength as tools for forging victory – there are no teammates to blame for one’s performance. Unlike other team eSports, where people management in relation to performance can be quite a complicated task (e.g. MOBAs, where constant roster changes take place), StarCraft goes easy on this criteria. Moreover, the game puts players in an equal position, whereas in MOBAs, the drafting phase can end the game before it has even started. Last but by no means least, while team rivalries can be fierce, nothing is as competitive as a head-to-head bloodbath between two archrivals.