Even The World’s Best Players Think StarCraft 2 Is Too Hard

Even The World’s Best Players Think StarCraft 2 Is Too Hard

People have been bitterly divided over Blizzard’s proposed changes to the way macro mechanics work in Legacy of the Void. But in the latest update, Blizzard’s David Kim has claimed that the crowd you’d expect to be most opposed to making the game less repetitive — South Korean professionals — are actually the most in favour of it.

The biggest fear players have expressed is more or less the slippery slope argument: if Blizzard starts dumbing down the mechanics required to play at a high level, then everyone will be able to play at a high level and the game will become a poorer competitive experience.

Kim, a senior game designer on StarCraft 2 and one of the first top level players of the original StarCraft in North America, refuted this in his latest community update. He pointed to the the recent Archon Mode tournament in Washington where even though top-level SC2 professionals were controlling a single base, there were plenty of instances of poor play.

“Last weekend, we looked at pro-level players competitively playing Archon mode and we were able to point out plenty of player mistakes in terms of macro, micro, delayed reaction times, etc,” Kim wrote. “This is with two pros playing as one, so we just imagine how big the skill-gap among professional players would still be especially in 1v1 games.”

He then goes on to drop the biggest bombshell: despite the massive chasm between people who want some macro mechanics simplified and those who want them abolished, the opinion of the South Korean pros isn’t divided at all. “We’d also like to remind everyone that the direction we’ve taken here has come out of the community summit where top-tier Korean pro players nearly unanimously said that even [Heart of the Swarm] is way too difficult to master in all aspects.”

“As we discussed the topic with them, reducing the clicks and work needed on macro mechanics was the best solution we came up with in that discussion group. We just wanted to point this out, because there does seem to be some disconnect between the Korean pro players’ opinions vs. some crowds of people making conclusions on what they believe Korean pros would think on these changes.”

It’s intriguing because at every stage of the game, Koreans have always — and are always assumed to — been mechanically superior players, and their higher dexterity and control has always been a benchmark that foreigners have been striving to reach. So it’s intriguing to see that they would be so in favour of lowering that bar.

It’s not totally a gracious move though. While one might think lowering the bar of mechanical difficulty for Legacy of the Void would only reduce their advantage other others, it’s worth noting that the South Koreans still have a far superior local competition, practice environments and infrastructure. They’re still able to practice more often and at a much higher level than their foreign counterparts, and this change would actually benefit all South Koreans too by reducing the wear and tear that accrues after playing several hours a day, six or seven days a week.

Kim adds that nothing is set in stone though, perhaps as a measure to try and quell the outrage and fury that has been ongoing on the Battle.net forums and elsewhere. “We would really like to encourage you guys once again to not be too extreme in both your thought processes and conclusions in this area,” he writes, which is a slightly amusing remark if you consider how much anger has been directed in Kim’s direction, as the man considered chiefly responsible for all things balance, over the last few years.


  • Starcraft is one of many pesky games where you can get really far simply by focusing on the fundamentals. If you’re great at macro, you’re going to do better than the vast majority of players.

    The problem is that macro is dull.

    Starcraft is a strategy game bogged down by economy. You want to smash armies together? Want to sneak little squadrons around to hurt the enemy? Sure. You can do that. But you’ll lose to the person that made sure their mining was on point and never got supply capped.

    It’s good to have fundamental skills in a game you can master. It’s bad to have those fundamental skills dominate the game so much that even the highest level players can lose because of it.

    Getting the balance right is key. Maybe the macro changes will strike the right balance and allow for a new wave of players to enjoy Starcraft 2. Maybe they won’t. I’m definitely going to get into Legacy of the Void to see if it feels right but I think I’ve reached the point where SC just isn’t doing the trick for me anymore.

    • I think you really nailed why I couldn’t get into the game. After the game came out I played it pretty seriously for around a year, watched lots of streams and videos and stuff to help me learn the game…

      I never ended up getting all that good, and where I was at I found the game really boring because I was always so heavily focused on getting the economy right that the aspects of the game that are actually strategically exciting were taking a real back seat. I felt like you needed to be at such a high level of play before the game actually became interesting that it was kind of absurd, and at that point I was sick enough of where I actually was at in terms of skill that I didn’t want to dedicate even more time to practicing to try and break through to that point.

      So I stopped playing, didn’t look back. If they actually go through with removing or reducing much of the macro busy work, they may just win me back.

      • ” I felt like you needed to be at such a high level of play before the game actually became interesting that it was kind of absurd”

        Couldn’t agree more.

  • I sorta lost interest mainly coz as a casual there was absolutely NOTHING for me to get my hooks on… SC1? Good grief the very many Defence, Tower, Rpg, Bunker and so on custom maps me and my mates used to play for hours…

    Sure there’s now an SC2 “arcade”.. but most of us casuals have moved on and basically just spare a few minutes just to watch the odd tourny or 2.

    • If youre talking about the arcade, thats not so much an issue for me. I love some of the TD maps and some if the sports maps like Zealot hockey, but yea.. building drones for 3 minutes and then losing to a teir 1 mass speedling/baneling exchange can get boring real quick. I just dont know why they couldnt have kept the workers bringing 8 minerals per trip like in SC1 in order to keep the game moving. I hate having practically no minerals and then 12 minutes in I went from having 0 minerals to 30 seconds later being well over 1,000 or even 2,000 minerals.
      The fun of the game was being able to engage in battles with a little bit if forgiveness coming from how your economy could get you back into the fight pretty quickly.

  • If they want to dumb down the multiplayer, by all means, feel free to attract more idiots!

    However, please do not dumb down the Campaign or single player vs Computer! Some of us prefer the game over more idiots!

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!