Leak Aftermath - some thoughts on what we learned
Disclaimer: Below are just my thoughts on what I've reported at the start of the month. They're not based on any undisclosed info because I've revealed pretty much everything I received from my source.
Based on Earth's History
It may be because I love SC2 and I've recently played through the HotS campaign, but every time I read this remark I think of the very surprising reintroduction of Stukov, a human that came to this corner of the galaxy from Earth. He had a somewhat important role during the campaign, but I got the feeling that his main job there was to remind us that Earth, our Earth, is a part of the Starcraft universe. And that it may play a role in the future, especially since it became obvious that the Zerg know about it and even more, where it is located.
This may be just the writers trying to make the story more interesting or Blizzard paving the way for SC3, SC:Ghost, etc. sometime far in the future. Or it could be them paving the way for Project Titan.
If this info proves to be true, and Project Titan's story takes place on Earth (so it's not just ambiguously based on some Earth history / myths, which is still a possibility), then Titan and SC2 are implicitly part of the same universe and timeline, even if Blizzard makes no other effort to actually tie them together. Although if this is true, they probably will.
This would fit perfectly with the rumor we had at the start of the year, namely that "Titan isn't technically a new IP, it is.. but it isn't. Its a spinoff of an existing Blizzard IP". If this guy was speaking the truth, then there really is no better explanation for what he was trying to say.
This does not mean we'll have Protoss or Zerg in Titan. Not at all. The story-line might take place before the expedition to the Koprulu Sector (so somewhere between the 21st and 23rd centuries) or maybe long after. From the little we know about post 21st century Earth from Starcraft lore, the planet was definitely not a quiet and peaceful place. Fast forward a couple of centuries later, who knows in what state it will be. There are numerous options, even without including the alien races discovered in the Koprulu Sector.
Many IFs here and I wouldn't place any bets on this theory, but I found it too interesting not to share.
One of the main goals of the games industry is creating a game that will keep on giving (money) even after the initial rush of sales from launch. In a constant, predictable and sizable way, month after month, even without huge new additions. MMO games were, and still are, one of the best answers to this dilemma and it's why so many companies have tried to enter this market, even if it's a very expensive one to get into.
eSports support basically fills the same hole, just maybe in a more indirect way. Keeping your game always in the news thanks to tournaments, players, events and gathering a very devoted community around it is, I'm sure, extremely beneficial to sales and a great guarantee that your game will have a long and healthy life.
And so, pretty much every new multiplayer-focused game these days tries to get a piece of this market, from World of Tanks to Guild Wars 2, not to mention all the old fashioned MOBAs that keep spawning. Few developers will tell you that they don't want their game to become an eSport.
This is why it's extremely predictable and probable that Blizzard, one of the main originators and supporters of this concept, will of course attempt to add a new successful eSport to the still very small list. It's obvious that the company is extremely committed to eSports, looking at the effort they're constantly making with SC2 and the evolution of All-Stars (from a "week-end" project to one that already has a few years of development behind it). Also, they recently brought in 20+ people from IGN Pro League, a branch of IGN that used to organize major events (IPL) and weekly eSports content. They're also moving to San Francisco to open a new studio there that's going to be fully focused on, you guessed it, content production for eSports. If that's not commitment, I don't know what is.
They didn't manage to make something with WoW, but let's be honest, the game didn't need to be an eSport to succeed and that's probably why they didn't really push it. But I'm sure they're looking forward to fixing the mistakes they've made with WoW and turn Titan into a successful eSport. When it comes to this domain, it's stupid to bet against Blizzard.
As to how will this effect the game itself, it's hard to say now, but looking at all the other examples, I can't really pinpoint major disadvantages that eSports support brings to a game, even if it's an MMORPG. PvP in WoW was (is?) screwed up not because they tried to make it watchable, but because WoW was not really designed with PvP in mind from the start. PvE is actually the main reason WoW's PvP has problems. Having eSports support means offering an equal playing field for all those involved, which is something desirable for any game. It also means that it will be easy to learn (watch), but difficult to master, which again, is something any game should aspire to.
I've said it before and now, with the way the RMAH worked for D3, it's even more obvious that Project Titan will not include this "feature". Blizzard wants this new MMO to have longevity, maybe even more than super efficient income sources, and a real money AH does not help with this. It does the exact opposite actually. There are enough ways to monetize an MMO without having to risk its success by integrating a pure RMAH in it. I'm sure that all the other ways will be considered first.
Blizzcon 2013 Teaser
Ignoring the rush of info we'll have at the end of the year, during and after Blizzcon, this also means that the entire second part of this year will be a very interesting one. There are quite a few things that need to happen for Titan to be ready for teasing in November.
It of course needs a name and implicitly a trademark. After that it needs a few web domains, one for use and others for protection. It also probably needs a small(?) hype campaign even before Blizzcon, to get people in the mood. Also, some of the people involved with the project might become more open and give out their own small teasers from time to time since I'm sure that the feeling of super secrecy will start to diminish a bit and also, they will be contributing to the hype campaign. There will also be new people involved with the project, which is never a good thing for keeping secrets.
I know some think this is an obsolete way of implementing combat into MMOs, but I think this is a bit of a false impression. There are multiple ways of building a TAB targeting system (as opposed to pure action combat we have in FPS games and some RPGs) and it mostly depends on the game and how old or conservative it is. You of course have the pure and established TAB targeting we can see in WoW, but at the same time, contrary to what some may think, Guild Wars 2 also implements a TAB targeting combat system. A bit tweaked, with some fancy action stuff sprinkled here and there (the active dodging and some of the positioning skills), but at its core it's still TAB targeting.
When trying to predict Titan's TAB targeting system, I think we should look more to the newer iterations, like we see in GW2, and not at the old and classic one WoW has.
I love pure action combat, unless it becomes too reflex-based, but I also think TAB targeting is quite ideal for MMOs. For now at least. A pure action system introduces many problems when it comes to lag-based, large number battles. You need a strong and complex physics or collision detection engine and you have to be much more strict with your animations.
Plus, to maybe reach one of the core reasons for why Titan will be based on TAB targeting, it's easier to translate this type of combat to consoles than pure action combat. Free aim is not something consoles excel at, so any assistance is welcome. I also think TAB targeting helps create more tactical and less chaotic fights, thanks to the easier use of precise Crowd Control abilities and easier targeting of allies.
I know we've talked about all this in length in the actual leak article, but let me know if any new thoughts arise after reading this. And of course, if you agree or not.
- Tiam likes this