The Solo StarCraft II Player Thanks You For A Shorter Heart Of The Swarm Campaign, Jerks

The Solo StarCraft II Player Thanks You For A Shorter Heart Of The Swarm Campaign, Jerks

During BlizzCon 2011 this weekend I got to ask Starcraft II senior designer Jonny Ebbert what was in store for the solo player in the upcoming expansions and why Heart of the Swarm‘s campaign is nine missions shorter that Wings of Liberty‘s. You whiny bastards.

Not you folks personally — well, not all of you at least. I’m sure folks that enjoyed the lengthy campaign in Wings of Liberty just sat back and enjoyed it, but those that didn’t like it complained loud and hard enough to be heard.

“We actually got a lot of complaints that it (Wings of Liberty) was too long,” Ebbert said, causing my brow to furrow quizzically. “Like a lot. We looked at the achievement data, and the completion rates just went (here he makes a schwooing noise, indicating a massive drop).”

About that time I got mad at everyone. I can’t play StarCraft II online. I’ve tried and tried but never seem to make any progress. Even when I think victory might be in sight my opponents suddenly morph into supercomputers, rebuilding entire armies from scratch and crashing down upon me like a wave at the last possible moment. I’m like a walking buff for the other team. So I take solace in the single-player campaign, and anyone that threatens to take even a smidgeon of that away from me is going to get cut (in my mind at least).

It wasn’t just the players either. “We got a lot of heat internally about it as well. People on other teams were just ‘It’s too long!'”

Ebbert assures me that while the Heart of the Swarm campaign is shorter, it’ll still be just as entertaining. “We’re always talking about concentrating the cool, so we decided to compress it from 29 to 20 missions. We’ve played through it and we’ve been ‘Yeah, this feels pretty nice.'”

And if it doesn’t work out, there’s always Legacy of the Void, the third instalment of StarCraft II. Ebbert says they’re going to see how Heart goes, and they’ll reassess for Legacy if need be.

“We’re totally cognisant of your type of player. We have ideas for the next one that we’re hoping will reward your type of player a lot more…people who aren’t online hardcore that want something they can sink a lot of time into in a single-player way. That’s definitely at the forefront of our minds.”

You heard the man, singleplayer StarCraft II fans; our time will come. Let’s just hope the wait isn’t too long. I’d hate to have to complain.


  • Considering I will be replaying WoL before HOTS, this does not bother me… cause I’ll have 49 missions of SC2.

  • I’m sorry what? The people that play primarily multiplayer were annoyed the campaign was too long? I didn’t realise anybody forced you to play through it at gunpoint.And these are the people Blizzard listens to when constructing a new single player campaign?
    My god, why am I even surprised, I’ve facepalmed nearly every decision Blizz has made since the release of Burning Crusade for WoW, I should really just stop reading anything pertaining to them.

    • This.

      Who the fuck complains about a game being shorter? Play times are shrinking by the year (don’t say Skyrim – big maps and loads of side quests do not count) and it makes me sick herp derp entitled gamer blah blah.

      • I call BS on Mr Ebbert.

        Even if there were complaints it would not be as direct as “the game is too long”

        it would probably have been more in the vein of
        “ZOMG, Ned mor varietys in terms of missions else it gets repetitive lolololol”

        and even then I would find it hard to believe anyone would compain about that.

  • While I haven’t picked up Starcraft 2 (Still playing Total War, Civilization and Re-playing Dune 2000), I consider 29 missions average in length at best.

  • I haven’t played SC online since the beta release. I play near enough to all games for the single player aspect. To me this sounds like a good excuse for slacking off and not releasing a third of the content.

    • Does sound like a good excuse to go straight to Brutal this time.

      As long as the mission designs are fun and engaging like they were in WoL, I really couldnt care less about the length. Still curious about price though.

  • This is false. He has no data to back this up. They are using this as an excuse to spend less time on the SP.

    I too, enjoyed the SP, but it was just icing on the cake. If you play SCII for the SP, you’re doing it wrong!

    • I’m sorry what? You know Blizzard takes statistics of what’s going on with their players right? So they would have the data there, because all of it gets sent to their severs.

    • Wait, I am doing it wrong by playing it for single player?

      I love the game. But I am, like the article poster, simply terrible at the multiplayer. I played SC1 multiplayer with officemates when it was new, and when Brood War came out, and we were all close enough that it was fun.

      But I don’t have that group anymore and now all my attempts to multiplayer end the same way they did in Warcraft 3 et al; I am horribly crushed.

      I am what the netrek community used to call ‘free beer’. Someone who sucks so much they are just an amusing and easy kill for anyone with even average skill.

  • Yeah, I think Blizzard you just stop listening to their audience. People don’t know what they want.

    It’s at this point where Blizzard keep making these weird compromises on the end product. Everything is modeled around this kind of statistical marketing bullshit. oh, and the forums. God help every person on there.

  • Let me try to understand this, people are complaining that the campaign is too long?..
    And how long do these people spend on multiplayer mode then?
    I miss the good old days of Dune and Red Alert..

  • Too long?! I beat it by 8:30am after picking it up after the midnight release? how is a 8 hour campaign too long?

  • Wait, are people who play this game purely for the single-player experience saying they want LESS single-player content? Am I high?

    • “Wait, are people who play this game purely for the MULTI-player ONLY experience saying they want LESS single-player content? Am I high?”

      – There i fixed that line for you!

  • Guess i’ll wait until it’s in the budge bin 10 years from now. By then the complete trilogy will only have been out for possibly 6years (bet the protoss campaign wont be out until 2015).

    And by that time, when the graphics have aged horribly, I pray people will realise that Blizzard really didn’t deserve all the praise for dicking around on Starcraft and Diablo for 10+years and still demanding full price for essentially expansion packs and an engine that was modded on warcraft 3.

    • When will people stop using graphics as an excuse? Gameplay is what makes or breaks games… You could have the most realistic game ever made, but if your gameplay consisted of cleaning your house and going to get milk no-one would play the game.

  • Looks like shitty excuses to cover the fact that Activision are bullying Blizzard into release windows that suit their profits rather than the fan’s best interests.

    Don’t believe me? Diablo 3 is by all means ready for launch, but Activision want all the spotlight on Modern Warfare 3 so they can market it’s DLC without any distractions. Instead, Diablo 3 has been pushed back until q1 2012, making it a direct competitor to EA’s next blockbuster, Mass Effect 3.

  • This is why I hate episodic or broken up games! I don’t care if you can listen to the fans between episodes to make improvements, in the end you different game than you did in the beginning!

    leave that stuff for actual sequels, where you mission really is from the get go to make a better game than last time in every single way.

  • The campaign was a wonderful story, truly hit you with the character development. campaign completion was most likely down as people just went straight to the multiplayer, with only one faction the protoss and zerg players probably didnt care. Also listening to the trolls on the forums, this must be madness !!!!

  • As someone who played through the campaign 4 times, to see the different upgrade paths, alternate levels, and try to get all the achievements, this shits me.


  • I also find this a strange decision… My experience is EXACTLY like the writer (Mike Fahey) describes. I suppose I’m all for quality over quantity, so if they deliver 20 really fab missions I think it’s better than 29 with mediocre missions and a few high points.

  • Ah what? Mike here has every right to be annoyed, I am too. Do gamers nowadays really have that much of a short attention span?

  • What? Why would you change a game to suit a section of your audience that would disregard it anyway?
    This smacks of bullcrap quite frankly, I get steam rolled all the time in MP because I really don’t have time to learn build orders, learn map chokes etc. so I truly enjoy being able to take my time in SP.

    Doesn’t anyone at Blizzard remember when games were a challenge, not a reward?

  • Hooray!

    You know at this rate when the Toss expansions come out not only will every unit be cut for brand new ones so as “to avoid confusion from too many options”

    We will also be reduced to just 1-3 missions coz 20 is so long for Single Player and we all want to jump straight to multi anyway!

    (end sarcasm)

  • Don’t really care. The total SC2 campaign is still going to be much larger than the SC1 one, or most games anyway. You’ll be buying this for multiplayer, SP is just gravy.

    And if you’re someone who just plays SP because you’re not good? Just play a bit more. Starcraft isn’t the E-sports sensation it is now because of Jim Raynor.

  • I get the feeling they bought this crock from the same place as that “(real-money market, always online DRM) is what the fans want,” shit they were shoveling recently.

  • Hopefully after HotS, and the achievement levels are exactly the same they’ll realise that the length of the campaign does not actually have an impact on the number of people who go for the completion achievements and they will do more for the protoss expansion.
    Although I do fear that they’ll say “oh, it must still be too long”

  • So what you mean to tell me is that the people who are playing for the multi-player experience are actually complaining about the length of the single-player campaign…? Besides, the campaign was only like what, 8 hours?! What is happening to the world…

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