Earlier this week, it was revealed that Blizzard's long-awaited RTS game StarCraft II would not offer LAN support when the first installment eventually goes retail. In fact, Blizzard's VP of game design Rob Pardo confirmed the company's lack of support during a recent interview with IncGamers, making a firm statement that Blizzard has no plans for LAN support whatsoever. To add insult to injury, Pardo didn't--nor anyone else over at Blizzard--bother to explain the reasons behind the non-existent LAN support decision.
The news caused a negative ripple effect across the gaming community, with many heated fans vowing to boycott StarCraft II and condemning the company, and even lit up the local Tom's comments system. A petition soon found its way online, asking Blizzard to insert LAN support within StarCraft II rather than forcing gamers to rely on Battle.net alone for multiplayer action. The petition has a current total of 16,398 signatures, and even lists five reasons why Blizzard should reconsider LAN support.
However, yesterday Bob Colayco from Blizzard's PR department further explained the company's reason. According to his statement to Joystiq, Blizzard is focusing primarily on Battle.net as the multiplayer gaming destination for all Blizzard titles. 'While this was a difficult decision for us, we felt that moving away from LAN play and directing players to our upgraded Battle.net service was the best option to ensure a quality multiplayer experience with StarCraft II and safeguard against piracy,' he said.
Colayco went on to provide minimal details regarding Battle.net and StarCraft II, saying that advanced communication options, achievements, stat-tracking and additional features require the player to be connected to the service. 'We're encouraging everyone to use Battle.net as much as possible to get the most out of StarCraft II,' he added. 'We're looking forward to sharing more details about Battle.net and online functionality for StarCraft II in the near future.'
StarCraft II fans will get their first taste of the multiplayer portion sometime this summer with the release of a public multiplayer beta. This first installment of the StarCraft II trilogy, Terrans: Wings of Liberty, is expected to ship by the end of the year, with Zerg: Heart of the Swarm and Protoss: Legacy of the Void to follow thereafter.