Why I won’t buy Starcraft II

My brother recently bought Starcraft II (SC2) and offered me a guest pass so I could play the game for seven hours. The seven hours passed this morning and I think it is indeed a brilliantly crafted real-time strategy game, and that it lives up to it’s universal acclaim. During the single player campaign I gave myself some practice in rushing and learning the keyboard shortcuts to give orders faster. I never expect to be able to match the superhuman professional South Koreans with their 300 actions per minute though). I’m good at playing first person shooters competitively but I don’t have any competitive experience in real-time strategy games, so I’d probably get my ass handed to me if I tried SC2’s multi player. Certainly that prospect would be enjoyable for my brother who has wild fantasies of defeating me in a SC2 match and is nagging me to buy Starcraft II so he can play against me.

What I appreciate about SC2 so much is it’s strategic depth. See it as a very complex form of rock-paper-scissors, with many different kinds of units being effective against another kind, but weak against others. That’s a far cry from certain older titles popular years ago such as Command & Conquer, where infantry was mostly useless because you could run them over with tanks and driving an adequate horde of tanks into the enemy base was highly likely to guarantee victory. When I carelessly applied a similar tactic in SC2, my force got mauled because it had no units which where effective against the battlecruiser flying above the enemy base.

I’m tempted to buy SC2, but there is a problem. Years ago I signed a petition asking Blizzard Entertainment, SC2’s developer, to release the game for Linux. At this moment, the petition has 1849 signatures, which I think is a lot if you factor in that many who desire a Linux port probably do not know of the existence of the petition. In the comment I gave when I signed the petition, I promised that I wouldn’t buy SC2 if there would be no Linux version. No matter how much I’d like to play SC2, I’m sticking to my principles because I don’t want to reward a company which doesn’t listen to what (a very small part, I know) of it’s customers want. I know it SC2 works very nicely on Wine, but that’s not good enough, I want a native port.

Fact is, Blizzard already supports Mac OS for (as far as I know) all it’s games. Mac OS is a Unix derivative, just like Linux is, and on the Mac OpenGL is used as the API, just as would be necessary for a Linux version. This means developing a Linux port would be relatively easy if they already support Mac OS. I don’t believe arguments that developing a Linux version for SC2 would be too costly, because for the Linux ports of id Software’s products only one person, Timothee Besset, has been responsible. And he worked on it in his spare time for the most part. Blizzard could decide to release an unofficial Linux version for which their customer support would not be accountable (just like id Software if I’m correct) if they could foresee it would be a problem, which would be fine. At the very least, Blizzard could have worked with the Wine developers or give instructions how to use Wine to run it on Linux, but they didn’t even bother with that. They don’t listen, they don’t get my coin.

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