Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why Blizzard rocks!

I really do love Blizzard. They are a group of incredibly intelligent and insightful games developers. They only have 4 game franchises to their name and yet they are infinitely succesful. From the strategy genre with the likes of Warcraft and Starcraft to RPG's and MMO's such as World of Warcraft.

The real reason I love them is that while most games development houses are so focussed on the latest and greatest graphical punishment for your PC's hardware, Blizzard will work out the lowest common-denominator when it comes to hardware specs and then focus on that level of graphical grunt. No need for the latest price busting graphics card to play World of Warcraft or Warcraft 3. And the good news is that their upcoming releases, Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 will follow the same trend.

Instead of graphics, Blizzard focus on what is, to me at least, a more important aspect; gameplay. A game can be absolutely drop-dead gorgeous in the eye-candy department and yet still totally suck as far as enjoyment is concerned. I played Crysis. Gorgeous game, with everything looking so incredibly realistic it was jaw dropping. But after the jaw was picked up off the desk and glitz fades away what was left? A game that was, well, average in my humble opinion. I never finished Crysis because it bored me eventually.

Blizzard's focus on aspects such as playability and plot means that its games far outlast those that focus primarily on visuals. Look at Starcaft as an example. There are professional (yes, people get paid) Starcraft leagues and tournaments in Korea with huge attendances. Not to mention television rights as well. This is from a game that was released in 1998 for goodness sake. World of Warcraft is another example. Graphically WoW is slightly aging, and yet it still manages to enthral a massive audience (well over 11 million subscribers now).

What this also means is good news for Linux gamers. I play WoW on Kubuntu (my Linux distribution of choice) and it runs better in Linux with Wine than it does in Windows XP. Recently I found my Starcraft CD's from back in the day and they played too. Diablo 2 also does as well as Warcraft 3.

This is absolute brilliance by Blizzard. Not only are they ensuring that the largest possible group of hardware configurations on PC can play their games, but they are turning every Linux user into a fan at the same time by their decisions to not be "cutting-edge" in hardware needs.

I just hope that with the soon to be released Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 that they haven't forgotten that and that us Linux users will be able to help contribute to Blizzard's bottom-line by spending our money on their great games ... and then play them for the next 10 years. From what I have seen of the video's and screenshots, this does happily, seem to be the case. Only time will tell.


  1. GG :)
    despite busy times, i still kick sometimes quick SC games. it's 11 years since i've seen it and played it for the first time.

    A good friend of mine showed it to me and i remember even now how i've been taught to move SCVs for the 1st time. Over the time, ( i didn't developed the gaming chromosome, but looked into some strategy games for fun ) SC remained on in my top 10 on the first place. One true love.
    I still even have replays and VODs from 5 years ago, and i don't remember a phenomenal box-office breakout but i do remember The Emperor's, SlayerS_BoxeR, nuke rush.

    Professional gaming requires something special. SC progaming imho requires a lot of dedication, training and a lot of inspiration. They deserve all the money and fame they are getting. Kudos to Korea.

    gl hf.

  2. SC ~ where the term 'Zerg'! was born ^.~