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.