2017 is now coming to a close. We are now on patch 1.20 of StarCraft: Remastered. 1.16.1 and the private servers and third party programs that flourished under it are now mostly gone. If you want to play StarCraft, you now have one real option, and that is play on Blizzard servers with what features SC:R provide you. Herein lies the big problem.. not only does 1.20 provide less features than 1.16.1 did, but some key features that were advertised with SC:R still have not been released or do not work as intended. The features I talk about are:
- Matchmaking - Matchmaking, although a welcome addition to the old archaic method of finding opponents via lobby, is still shoddy at best. Better than at launch where results were actually completely DISCARDED and matches constantly got canceled, a large portion of players are still struggling to use the main feature of SC:R. I cannot speak for the Korean community, but a lot of foreign players have voiced their frustrations with the latency issues that surround the matchmaking system. Some players have even outright quit because of this issue.
- Leaderboards - Another feature that has been advertised on the starcraft.com website for SC:R is something that is even worse off than matchmaking and may be the worst feature in the game. People are still getting double MMR gains/losses, matches not recording, inaccurate display of MMR (I personally cannot see my MMR and haven't been since release), friend ranks do not get displayed for some people, and sometimes the leaderboards just flat out don't load at all. Did I mention season 1 hasn't started yet and we're approaching 90+ days since release? Blizzard has mentioned that once leaderboard/matchmaking issues are fixed, that "We will be resetting the Season when these issues are resolved". This announcement was made on August 16th, two days after release. It is now November 11th and we are still in a limbo test season. Reference: https://us.battle.net/forums/en/starcraft/topic/20758537891
- Profiles - What Blizzard advertised for profiles is so laughably different from what we got that I actually feel like I got robbed. This article was teased in the upcoming weeks for SC:R release: https://starcraft.com/en-us/articles/20814255. Compare those profile images to this screenshot I took of mine:
Other than the fact that the current profile lacks over 50% of the features teased in the screenshots that Blizzard provided, the current profile's features don't even work for the most part. See my MMR in my screenshot? That is not my MMR. Starlog.gg says my MMR is actually currently sitting at 2066 at the time I took this screenshot at. The history tab does not display all my games I have played, as well as having matches not being clickable so you can't actually see any info on previous matches with the exception of the very last match you played. Also, viewing other player profiles is really hit or miss on whether they ever load.
- Misc 1.16.1 Features - Through third party launchers, 1.16.1 offered: A better observer/replay tool that had unit counts, notification/lobby sounds, working friends list and working chat commands, lobby ping, lag detector, first person replays, EUD enabled with a strong Use Map Settings community, download status, and a ton more.
Now to hammer my point home: The thing that makes this situation all the more frustrating is what we learned at Blizzcon just a few days ago. According to a post made on the broodwar subreddit of someone who attended the event, they claim to have talked to the classic games team of Blizzard who revealed some unsettling information. "The team is small. Sounded like they had maybe 15 developers on the classic team and only a few seem to even still be working on remastered. Which makes the patches they have released very impressive imo". Although speculative, if true; this is nothing less than a slap in the face to the StarCraft community that they reduced the team while the game is nothing more than a glorified dump in .exe format with more glaring issues than Charlie Sheen. Rumors and conversations have been running that Blizzard's classic team has mostly moved on to WarCraft 3 Remastered, but there is no way to know for sure if this is true at the current time. I have also heard fucked up shit like Grant Davies is being chained up in Blizzard's basement as the sole developer working on StarCraft; Remastered and all the sewage pipes are directly aimed above him as the exit points. Kind of makes it feel a little odd that this all transpired and Blizzard still had the gall to tell us they did this "for the love of the community" when we are still not getting what we actually paid for.
Now for the positive stuff. The whole point of this topic is not to take a huge shit on Blizzard, but rather, how we can bridge the gap of shortcomings from their end. If you're new to this community, StarCraft: Brood War has been notorious for a lot of things. Match fixing, hitting kids in front of their mothers, developing useful skills toi have, and most importantly: we have a strong community of members who have a deep passion for this game. StarCraft: Brood War has survived many many years due to a strong Korean pro scene, but also due to an incredibly resilient and talented pool of contributors. The amount of servers, websites, and third party tools developed for this game may be one of the largest out of any game in existence. For servers, we've lived through PGTour, WGTour, Carrier, ICCup, Fish, Brain, Netwars, Shieldbattery, and more. As for third party programs? I feel like it would be a disservice to start listing them as there is way too many that have left a very large imprint on the game itself that I would feel bad if I forgot any.
I know most people are familiar with this stuff, but for those who aren't, here are some projects that were under way before StarCraft: Remastered was announced:
Shieldbattery - http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/brood-war/508993-shieldbattery-bw-revitalized-for-modern-mortals
A server that was going to modernize StarCraft before Remastered was announced. Still a work in progress, Shieldbattery had the ability to bypass StarCraft lobbies and a server entirely and would launch you into a StarCraft game in seconds from your browser. It included window mode, improved latency, and as in the process of developing matchmaking.
OpenBW - http://www.openbw.com/project/
This project was beyond amazing. "This is a complete recreation of a game engine. It is fully compatible with Brood War. Including every single feature, bug, and pathfinding quirk. The engine is written in c++ and the source will be publicly available." from this engine branched many amazing things. You could watch replays in your browser with OpenBW with a simple click. They provided BW AI support (if you don't know about the StarCraft AI scene, check it out. It is one of the most underrepresented but most intriguing things. ( http://www.starcraftai.com/wiki/Main_Page ; https://sscaitournament.com/ ) OpenBW also started on StarCraft: HD a few weeks before SC:R was announced (and has since halted progress). Their beginning work was really promising though, and can be seen on their website.
This is unlike the previous two, as it did not exist before SC:R, but it is now a vital 3rd party tool. This website gives us extremely interesting information and logs match histories to fulfill the gap that Blizzard has left us with their own incomplete profiles and match histories. I religiously use this website when laddering to check on my progress. I feel this is the type of initiative we need to take - to complete the missing parts of the game that Blizzard has released.
So in conclusion and summary, I hope this post enlightens people who are not aware of the current state of StarCraft: Remastered, and I hope it inspires people that we cannot wait any longer and must take the reigns for ourselves. I think it is time to sort of face the music and realize that what progress is done on SC:R is going to be extremely slow, and we cannot wait up for it. I do not blame the dev team, but this is the situation we find ourselves in. Ty2's father had a stroke.