Monday, August 02, 2010

Good god, I'd forgotten just how enthralled I could get in a computer game until I installed Starcraft 2. I've been playing World of Warcraft all along, but it's been months since WoW has been like this, maybe not since the current expansion was released more than a year and a half ago. These days if I'm ever in WoW for longer than I plan or "should" be, then it's almost always because I'm in a dungeon or raid with other people, the kind of thing which is aimed at some goal and quitting early means that the time spent thus far is wasted, sort of. That's time-consuming, but not in the same way the thrill of discovery can be, like right after an expansion or major content patch is released. Every minute it's something new that'll change your character or the world or both. Holy shit, that's some kind of walrus-man! Holy shit, that sea monster is bigger than anything I've ever seen, and it's talking to me! Holy shit, the reward from this simple collection quest is better than the staff I had from a raid! That's a reenactment of me when Wrath of the Lich King was released about two years ago.

Starcraft 2 has been like that, turned up to 11. There's the same "holy shit" stuff for someone who hasn't played any RTS games in years - holy shit, infantry that can jump over barriers, airships that heal and build buildings, a nonlinear single-player campaign - but not only that, there's also a cutscene and/or flashing red warning roughly every 15 seconds. Your base is under attack! Unit production complete! Your forces are under attack! Third optional mission objective found! And before I know it, it's 2 a.m.

On the bright side, I've never been very interested in competitive play. Now and then, sure, but like PvP in WoW, playing against other people just doesn't do much for me. So once I finish the single-player campaign here I'm sure I'll recover my sleep. Or at least, get back to working on stuff in WoW.