Sunday, November 30, 2008 There Is No Cow Level

Alright guys. Here’s the scoop:

I dig StarCraft. A lot.

I’ve been playing the game off and on for years. I still remember, back in middle school, exploring the contents of my friend’s WarCraft II: Tides of Darkness CD and finding the trailer for a new Blizzard RTS. It had a funky isometric viewpoint. And it didn’t have orcs or wizards. It took place in the realm of Skywalker and Picard, Vin Diesel and Tom Hanks. It was in space.

“How would this work?” I wondered. “How the hell would they handle spaceships? And why the fuck am I not playing it now?”

My relationship with StarCraft has evolved over the past ten years. I started with an illegal copy I could only use when my friend wasn’t online using his, and I finally bought a Battle Chest of my own in high school. Why do I keep coming back to it? Because I never mastered it. I only learned how to Zerg Rush a year or so ago, and I’m AWFUL at it. I’ve only beaten the campaign once, and I’ve never beaten the Brood War campaign.

In fact, most of my time has been spent on Battlenet playing “Use Map Settings” games—variants on popular RPGs, defense maps, and other miscellany whose authors cleverly exploit the map editor to create games that remind you of StarCraft, even though you're playing something else entirely. I’ve probably logged hundreds of hours using Sunken Colonies in a vain attempt to prevent critters from running across a map.

These are fun, but as any Korean will tell you: it ain’t StarCraft.

If you’ve ever played the game online, you know that to get ranked, you need 10 wins, and the aforementioned “Use Map Settings” games don’t count. I’m not sure if Blizzard has proper ladder rankings for StarCraft anymore (they’ve created some cockamamie “League” system that I don’t understand - nor do I care to), but that won’t stop me from trying to get my 10 wins and ladder rank. At the very least, I’ll prove to myself that I am, at worst, mediocre at a game I’ve been playing for years.

With the impending release of StarCraft II, I’ve decided to chronicle my quest here on CHARGE SHOT!!! Stay tuned. This has the potential for utter disaster.

Ready to roll out…