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Why Blizzard Should Enable LAN to SC2/D3

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 130 comments
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A brief look at an obvious reason why Activision Blizzard should include LAN support for StarCraft II and Diablo III.

Recently Activision Blizzard revealed that its upcoming sci-fi themed RTS StarCraft II would not feature LAN support when the first installment hits the streets by the end of the year. Just yesterday, it was revealed that Diablo III would more than likely depend on Battle.net for the multiplayer portion, and not include LAN support.

The company cited piracy and security issues, but as one disgruntled fan wrote on a (now deleted) forum post, removing LAN only hurts the legitimate customers. After all, pirates will reverse-engineer the games and enable LAN support anyway; they'll even launch dedicate servers to enable multiplayer across an illicit Internet network.

So from Activision Blizzard's point of view--seemingly rather cocky at the moment after recent threats to halt development for the PlayStation 3--why would the company invest development funds to include LAN support in its upcoming games? After all, the company has (presumably) dumped loads of financial resources to make Battle.net the final multiplayer destination for all Blizzard games. For those fans who have already set up an account on the new Battle.net 2.0, Activision Blizzard has overhauled the free service, enhancing it visually and even offer digital downloads of older games when provided serial numbers. There's even speculation that the service will eventually offer a paid service, however Blizzard CEO and President Mike Morhaime ignored the question when asked during E3 2009, only saying that he was not ready to talk about the subject.

But let's face it: there's no replacing LAN play. When asked to write an article on why LAN support should be included in StarCraft II and Diablo III, the first image that came to mind was the faces of friends, all unshaven, sleep deprived, with bags of food and crumbled empty soda cans littering the floor. While the Internet brings the world together, LAN support brings friends together whether it's in the basement, the living room, or stretched out across the house in a crazy jungle of electronic vines. There's nothing better than to hear the anguish of defeated buddies, their cursing voices echoing off the walls. LAN support makes the game more personal, which in turn makes the experience that more enjoyable.

Of course, it's highly possible to have a fake LAN game on Battle.net using wireless connections. But what if the connections are limited, or there's no Internet access in the area? What if gamers simply want to whip out laptops on the road and battle each other without tethering or using wireless minutes? Activision Blizzard will deny that ability with StarCraft II, and that's really not fair. It's not fair that legitimate customers--those who work hard and shell out the bucks for a new game during tough economic conditions--have no say on how--or where--they get to play the game. In one sense, that's like Ford saying that your new truck can't drive on dirt roads.

Obviously, that's a bit of an exaggeration. There's a lot of passion behind LAN play, and many gamers obviously reject the idea of playing without the support. Who can blame them? On a personal level, Activision Blizzard's claim about piracy and security reasons seem bogus. The company wants its consumers to play on Battle.net only; it wants to know when and for how long gamers play the games. While this may sound like a conspiracy theory, there really doesn't seem to a be a valid point for removing LAN without further explanation. Just how is LAN a security issue, and if that is indeed the case, how was that handled with previous StarCraft and Diablo titles which actually do offer LAN support? And how exactly is LAN a piracy issue? If the game must be activated through Battle.net, gamers could still skirmish offline.

No, the reasons sound bogus.

Maybe players don't care about achievements, stat-tracking and some of the other features Battle.net supposedly will offer. Maybe gamers just want to kick their friend's ass just like the old days.

As the saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

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Top Comments
  • 31 Hide
    apache_lives , July 8, 2009 9:38 PM
    Wont see me buying a lan-incapable game
  • 28 Hide
    tenor77 , July 8, 2009 9:41 PM
    We still will sometimes have a LAN party. They've become more rare but they're still a blast.

    Damn you Blizzard!
  • 26 Hide
    akoegle , July 8, 2009 9:51 PM
    How about all the custom maps that will come out that you just want to coop with your friends at home? LAN would make that much more enjoyable.
Other Comments
  • 31 Hide
    apache_lives , July 8, 2009 9:38 PM
    Wont see me buying a lan-incapable game
  • 28 Hide
    tenor77 , July 8, 2009 9:41 PM
    We still will sometimes have a LAN party. They've become more rare but they're still a blast.

    Damn you Blizzard!
  • 26 Hide
    akoegle , July 8, 2009 9:51 PM
    How about all the custom maps that will come out that you just want to coop with your friends at home? LAN would make that much more enjoyable.
  • 0 Hide
    apmyhr , July 8, 2009 9:55 PM
    They should be boycotted for this. I hate to say it though, but I'll probably get the games anyways :( 
  • 17 Hide
    Ramar , July 8, 2009 10:01 PM
    I've spent many a dreary-eyed weekend in a house with no Net, or at least not strong enough to do any more than barely surf while stealing a neighbors, playing CoD and Warcraft 3 with my friends. This really is a stupid move on their part. =/
  • 23 Hide
    Snowbum , July 8, 2009 10:01 PM
    Starcraft w/o lan support is simply stupid. I have played more hours of Starcraft over LAN then I have over battlenet.
  • 22 Hide
    the_one111 , July 8, 2009 10:03 PM
    SnowbumStarcraft w/o lan support is simply stupid. I have played more hours of Starcraft over LAN then I have over battlenet.

    I know, I never played SC besides on LAN!

    Blizzard has truly F***ed up on this one.
  • 23 Hide
    willv , July 8, 2009 10:06 PM
    will battle.net have advertisements? if so, that is the only reason i can see them wanting to funnel all game play to there. starcraft without lan is equal to a computer without the internet. they need one another. i'm keeping my money in my pocket
  • -1 Hide
    agnickolov , July 8, 2009 10:11 PM
    I suspect the form of piracy Blizzard meant is not stealing the game. As a long ago Diablo II player I still remember the many hacks that plagued the LAN and Open Battle.net game modes - these occasionally even slipped through into the closed Battle.net realms. However, I fail to see how LAN mode is to blame here (perhaps it makes it easier to create the hacks in the first place?) since this was mostly a problem with open Battle.net...
  • 11 Hide
    Aragorn , July 8, 2009 10:12 PM
    I was planning to be online on launch day for this game but at this point I may pass entirely as I really only play with freinds on LANs. There is officially no real point to me buying this now.
  • 3 Hide
    Shandris , July 8, 2009 10:13 PM
    It's a bummer to hear about no LAN, but I have an optimistic speculation... Blizzard may just be doing this to create a fuzz and will eventually incorporate the LAN towards game release date to show to the customers how much they value feekbacks. This may push the sales of the game because customer are likely to think that Blizzard is still a good company to invest money in, and we get what we want, LAN support. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to have an online-activated LAN support; where you have to activate the legit copy on B.net first before getting the LAN support... Just my two cents here.
  • 13 Hide
    jerreece , July 8, 2009 10:17 PM
    This is one Opinion based article by Toms that I like.
  • 10 Hide
    carpwrist , July 8, 2009 10:22 PM
    Now that I think about it, I only played a total of 10 online games of Starcraft, while playing countless LAN games.

    Maybe the truck comment isn't that much of an exaggeration.
  • 7 Hide
    Mr_Man , July 8, 2009 10:24 PM
    Quote:
    In one sense, that's like Ford saying that your new truck can't drive on dirt roads.
    Obviously, that's a bit of an exaggeration.

    Actually, that's a pretty good analogy! I wish I'd thought of that myself.
  • 9 Hide
    haze4peace , July 8, 2009 10:26 PM
    Starcraft 2 without LAN support just doesn't make any sense at all. That game is perfect for LANs. I spent many many hours playing the original with friends on a LAN. Most fun I ever had, one of the reasons why starcraft is my favorite game of all time. Bring back LAN support for SC2!
    The lack of LAN for Diablo 3 doesn't bug me too much though personally, but it should still be there.
  • 0 Hide
    maobao , July 8, 2009 10:32 PM
    Actually folks at Team Liquid have a article on the underground lan play called haofang, sorry to lazy to source the article but its there.

    Anyway Haofang in China links lan together using a simple program using lan to show a max of 255 games or so. Millions of players are able to bypass the need of buying starcraft through this because use of lan mean no need to authorize through blizzard.(People can use spawn and just play for free basically.)

    Further more when Blizzard went forward to take legal action it was found that nothing was against the EULA since it just a giant Lan network, this results in a loophole which there probably trying to address.

    In a bussiness view its better to shaft smaller North American market a little for the huge Asia market profit wise, who knows if this will be hacked or not but i guess blizzard will be able to take legal action this time around.
  • 0 Hide
    maobao , July 8, 2009 10:34 PM
    maobaoActually folks at Team Liquid have a article on the underground lan play called haofang, sorry to lazy to source the article but its there.Anyway Haofang in China links lan together using a simple program using lan to show a max of 255 games or so. Millions of players are able to bypass the need of buying starcraft through this because use of lan mean no need to authorize through blizzard.(People can use spawn and just play for free basically.)Further more when Blizzard went forward to take legal action it was found that nothing was against the EULA since it just a giant Lan network, this results in a loophole which there probably trying to address.In a bussiness view its better to shaft smaller North American market a little for the huge Asia market profit wise, who knows if this will be hacked or not but i guess blizzard will be able to take legal action this time around.


    Source : http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=96782
  • 3 Hide
    zaam , July 8, 2009 10:36 PM
    My theory is that LAN will be enabled in one of the future releases of SC2, Legacy of the Void perhaps? Then, they will say "Look, we finally enabled LAN support in this version! Now buy this one too!"

    They purposely cripple the first game to make the subsequent expansions look better. I wouldn't be surprised if every SC2 version they release will have some sort of artificial hinderance forcing to you buy all 3 if you want all features enabled.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 8, 2009 10:43 PM
    I've read the Hoafang source maobao TL has one about Hoafeng too!

    http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=96603 =] its pretty interesting and i can see why blizzard is attacking lan.

  • 4 Hide
    Timbo70 , July 8, 2009 10:43 PM
    When I emailed blizzard about a Linux version they used LAN problems as an excuse not to develop one, although an OSX version will exist.
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