StarCraft II will be losing one of the franchise’s most popular features – LAN Support. In an interview, Rob Pardo, VP of game design indicated that LAN would not be supported for the upcoming RTS sequel. “We will not support it,” he said. Instead, the only multiplayer for the game will be found through Battle.Net, Blizzard’s online service that is currently being redesigned. We contacted Blizzard for confirmation and were told that it’s true that StarCraft II will not support or feature LAN play at all.
While this might surprise StarCraft fans, particularly those that go to LAN centers for the competition, it’s not surprising given that many of the new elements for the game seem to be tied into Battle.Net’s tracking mechanics. In many ways, Battle.Net is attempting to provide improved features for players and observers alike. For example, spectators will be able to track a myriad of stats for each player within a match, including their army and economic strength, as well as see a specific build order for every unit fielded within a battle. Other features, like the new replay functionality, seem poised to take advantage of Battle.Net’s community functions to upload videos and screens to the service. We covered a number of the new Battle.Net features within our recent multiplayer preview, but that only serves to underscore the point that Mr. Pardo made: StarCraft II won’t have LAN support.
Word from South Korea regarding their response to the lack of LAN play has yet to come in. Though, we are sure this news will make many hardcore Starcraft fans not too happy. But, all in all, it make sense to us. The improved abilities provided by Battle.net are clearly good and although latency may become more of an issue, most people are able to secure a decent internet connection these days.