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The second death of “StarCraft 2” – IT House

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When you read this article, “World of Warcraft”, “Hearthstone”, “Watching Pioneer”, “Diablo III”, “Warcraft III: Remastered Edition”, “Heroes of the Storm” and “StarCraft” represented by Netease “The series of products have officially terminated all operations in the Chinese mainland market.

Now, Blizzard has shut down the Battle.net client function and all game servers in the country. NetEase officially released a farewell letter to Blizzard national server players on the afternoon of the 23rd, thanking the national server players for their support over the past 14 years, “We sincerely hope that this suspension of the server is not the end of the national server players.”

And when this long-span turmoil came to an end, not all games that bid farewell to Chinese players were blessed in the spotlight, as fresh as “World of Warcraft” or “Hearthstone”. In the entire Blizzard family bucket, there are also games that are preparing to quietly meet their second death.

For example, “StarCraft 2” has already reached the finish line once.

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The two deaths of “StarCraft 2” give players the feeling of riding a roller coaster.

In 2020, “StarCraft II” will celebrate its tenth anniversary. At this memorable moment, Blizzard has released a series of content updates.

This should have been a good signal, but the joy did not last long. Just three months later, another announcement brought the beginning of the “Dark Era”. Paid update” is just a short sentence, which severely damaged the enthusiasm and confidence of the players.

Amid all kinds of worries, “StarCraft 2″ has spent two years staggeringly. Decline” is the number one evidence.

Until last year, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard opened up entirely new possibilities. Compared with the anecdote that the acquisition cost sky-high prices, the hope that StarCraft players see is Microsoft’s positive attitude towards RTS games.

In 2021, Microsoft not only released “Age of Empires 4”, but also announced that it would remake “Age of Mythology”. In a recent interview, Microsoft Game CEO Phil Spencer also praised Blizzard’s RTS games. They are all seen by interstellar players.

The number of players and reviews of “Age of Empires 4” are also quite good

Can a top RTS-friendly company revitalize StarCraft 2, or even a more extravagant wish——StarCraft 3, no matter what kind of possibility it is, can make this stagnant water come back again? A new opportunity.

It’s a pity that reality doesn’t give people the chance to fantasize. Since Blizzard unilaterally announced at the end of last year that it would not renew its contract with NetEase, the countdown to the end began to hang in the sight of every player on the national server.

Amidst the numerous insults against Blizzard and Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Cordick, players began to face the death of “StarCraft 2” again.

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An important part of a game’s player community, including its content creators. “Kazama Liuli ZCL” is an UP host of “StarCraft” at Station B. He dedicates most of his time to StarCraft. In addition to making StarCraft-themed videos, he is also one of the few who still insists on broadcasting and explaining StarCraft events. people.

When asked about the impact of shutting down the server on StarCraft players, he answered me like this: “There are relatively few ladder players in StarCraft, but most ladder players have accounts on foreign servers, so it doesn’t affect them. But for those who are keen on ‘cooperation’ Mode’ and ‘Game Lobby’ players, the impact is huge.”

Judging from the third-party website, there are more than 20,000 players on the national server this season who have played the ladder game. In the past, the number of players was often below 10,000.

Like the space immigrants in science fiction, migrating to foreign servers is indeed an option for players. Although it needs to withstand network delays, at least there are games to play.

“Spiritual Argentine” is still affordable, but easy to be banned

After the news of closing the server, Kazama Liuli released a video immediately, teaching everyone how to play games on the foreign server. And like the popular game hall map “Interstellar Tavern”, the author is already planning to move the map to the Asian server and continue to update it there.

But not everyone is willing to join the action of “Wandering Interstellar”, because the loss caused by shutting down the server is unacceptable to some players, and their hearts are already exhausted.

The problem is focused on the game’s “cooperative mode”. This gameplay has rich gameplay and a time-consuming and laborious development system like RPG. Now it has become a psychological obstacle for people to move to foreign servers.

“Cooperative mode” is undoubtedly an excellent way to attract new players

“The cooperative mode needs to brush the ‘role prestige’, which is a very ‘liver’ gameplay, and asking them to do it again is simply going to jail.”

What makes people laugh and cry is that the public chat channels in the game are now full of advertising brothers who have also kept pace with the times, and have changed their business to foreign server account transactions and prestige leveling. These small advertisements have even invaded the Asian server, just like the Internet street “Cyberpsoriasis” in

Selling tickets for Noah’s Ark at the end of the world, that’s probably what happened

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Until now, e-sports events are also the means of “StarCraft II” to resist death.

No matter how people ridicule the decline of RTS games, the brilliance of “StarCraft 2” e-sports is still unquestionable, so high-level e-sports events are still looking forward to the last afterglow of this RTS.

These large and small competitions are not only a topic of leisure for interstellar players, but also entertain many “cloud players”. Wait for the name to be memorized.

Some well-known star players

Kazama Ruri told me that the largest interstellar event in Europe and America is IEM, which is held once a year. In South Korea, the GSL is also held every year, and it was announced that it will renew its contract this year.

In addition, there are also some small competitions held by Team Liquid and Alpha X, which are also interspersed in the middle of the competition, providing players with a practice environment and opportunities for communication. “

In the early years, Blizzard organized its own WCS e-sports event. Until 2020, Blizzard, which was in a downturn, transferred the operation of the e-sports event to the Swedish event organizers-ESL and DreamHack (currently the two have merged and become ESL Gaming), and later ESL included StarCraft II in the IEM tournament.

The IEM schedule also had a Chinese station

The most eye-catching thing is the final finals. After a series of points competitions, the top players will come to the famous competition end – Katowice.

“CS:GO” players should also be familiar with the Katowice Finals

As the final battle of the game year, Katowice is a shining stage for top interstellar players to compete, and the gold content of the champion is among the best.

In addition to bringing countless wonderful battles to the audience, many famous scenes were born here. For example, in the 2021 Spring Split, the Solar player was blown up by a nuclear bomb by his opponent due to a mistake, and he collapsed.

As for the situation of domestic competitions, Liuli said with a smile, “There is also the WTL official league run by Brother Huang, which is one of the best large-scale team leagues in the world. Players have a bite to eat.”

The “Brother Huang” mentioned here, of course, refers to the well-known interstellar commentator Huang Xudong. Compared with the sluggish game environment itself, on the Internet that loves to watch fun, the name of “Huang Laoxian” has spread farther. He and his partner Sun Yifeng are a well-known anchor combination in China. They could have been ruthless and devoted themselves to For more promising games, they still insist on explaining “StarCraft 2” and organizing competitions by themselves, so that countless StarCraft players have a respect for them.

The “Interstellar Old Boy” composed of Huang Xudong and Sun Yifeng is already regarded as the spiritual leader of the interstellar circle, but in the eyes of those who don’t know it, it looks more or less like a “lonely brave man”.

Like Star Boy, Kazama Ruri also insists on explaining and making videos of Star games. In his contributions, whether it is a small event or a top competition like IEM and WTL, he is “according to what is said”, which makes people curious about the broadcasting rights of the game, but he is not at all concerned about this matter. I don’t shy away from saying that the issue of copyright basically does not exist. People hope that StarCraft will have more audiences and will not delve into these details.

“Interstellar and RTS games are already in their twilight years. As a result, the circle of Interstellar is too small. Everyone knows each other and is happy to share broadcast resources with each other. There will not be too many copyright issues.”

But even with such an open attitude, the attention of interstellar events is showing a downward trend year by year. On the one hand, the performance of domestic players in the top competitions of “StarCraft 2” in recent years is regrettable. The championship is monopolized by foreign players. Can be a luxury.

On the other hand, after the “first death”, many players and viewers who originally paid attention to “StarCraft 2” have already lost their follow-up confidence in Blizzard’s operations.

In this sluggish community environment, I couldn’t help but ask Liuli how many viewers he can have every day. His answer seemed very free and easy.

“I’m just a fan of StarCraft who uses love to generate electricity, an ordinary small anchor, and there are usually no people in the live broadcast room. But we want to ‘play StarCraft for a lifetime, be friends for a lifetime’, so we usually chat and watch games together It’s also ‘look at it if you have it, forget it if you don’t have it’, just like a tea stand set up on the side of the road, where people come to drink saliva, have a chat and then leave.”

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Liuli also shared a screenshot of the chat, recording a staff member of NetEase saying goodbye to him.

“I hope everyone will have a good future and meet again by fate.” Like the farewells of countless Netease employees these days, this picture also confirms the indisputable and complete death of Blizzard games during this period of time.

At first I guessed that in the “StarCraft 2” community, players should feel numb to “death”, but between the anger, sadness and helplessness, the optimism is also particularly dazzling-many people firmly believe that “StarCraft 2″ ” will return at last.

The player’s reasons sound very good: no game manufacturer has dared to ignore the Chinese market, and Microsoft Games’ attitude towards China is also very friendly. As long as the acquisition is successful, everything will turn around.

For players who still hope for the return of the national server, this acquisition has begun to entrust a different meaning-a subtle hope.

Such expectations are also reflected in other content creators. In 2021, DarkCarrot, which produced interstellar videos, successfully reached the top 100 of station B, which gave interstellar players a complete surprise, and also added some vitality to the “StarCraft 2” community, attracting many new players.

In the face of this service suspension crisis, he still maintains an optimistic attitude.

“Most of our StarCraft fans will update in the future, because we still believe that there will be some turning points in the future. For example, after Microsoft acquires Blizzard, it may talk to China again, so we still retain hope.”

In fact, no one is sure who will bring Blizzard back to China in the end, but at this moment, players cannot know the light and shadows on the negotiating table. Only Microsoft is the existence that players can see and call out. Like a brave man who defeats the Demon King, he is on the side of justice.

For a long time, people have always been willing to use the praise of “the ninth art” to describe video games, but what Blizzard has done now proves how flimsy that statement can sometimes be.

The beauty in the player’s eyes is the bargaining chip of the businessman. Once there is a dispute over interests, the player can only act as an innocent victim, just like snatching a child’s toy, the manufacturer can easily take it away. Those who accompany the player’s hard work, touch and daily life , and such things are not uncommon in the industry.

For example, EA, who likes to ruthlessly disband the studio

At the end of the interview, I asked Liuli what he wanted to say to StarCraft players on the national server, and he quoted two classic lines from Zeratul.

“The prophecy is yet to be known, and hope will never die.”

“Now is the cold winter of StarCraft’s national server, but I believe that when the light goes out, we will fight until the last moment. Although the national server is gone, I also want to believe that in the future, Microsoft will be responsible for Blizzard games, StarCraft, and StarCraft. RTS has a bigger vision and more input. The future will be even better.

“But not ours.”

A few years ago, when “StarCraft 2” announced that it would stop updating, similar scenes happened. At that time, players also used such lines to express sadness and hope, precious but fragile hope.

With love and hope, they silently waited for the next turning point in the past whistling and the current cold winter.

This article comes from the WeChat public account:Game Research Institute (ID: yysaag)by Leon45

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