You have to admit that Blizzard does make cool games. Did you finish admitting that? Good. Now we can move on with the rest of this article. One of the most important aspect large gaming companies don’t seem to understand and by that even us everyday gamers, is how does Starcraft 2, and for that matter Blizzard games in general, manage to gain such huge success? The answer cannot possibly be forced into a single word or even a sentence. The beauty of Blizzard games comes from the large variety of elements which work perfectly together.
One must understand that in order to give a game a longer lifetime, it’s multiplayer aspect needs to be top of the notch. Even the best single player games will lose ground as time will pass and in order to keep it alive, game companies need to help users to either develop Mods for that game, Valve and Half-Life with its huge number of modifications during the years. User generated content might give the game a longer lifetime, or maybe new add-ons for the game or even expansion packs. But all of these elements will fade as time progresses.
So in order to keep a game alive for many years, you simply need a multiplayer component for the game which will stand the test of time. In order to achieve that you need the game to be balanced from all the aspects – units in the game, races in the game, strategies, map specific strategies and so on. The other important element is maintaining a level of balance between users. Just think of a new user wanting to join the incredible world of Starcraft 2 and within the first game he might get matched against the number 1 player on the ladder.
The Starcraft 2 ladder is probably one of the best designed and most balanced multiplayer platform systems in the world. There are a series of reasons behind this as well. The first one is obviously the element of experience, as Blizzard has been working on the development of a balanced and well structured ladder system since Starcraft 1 for that matter. They’ve improved it over the years to the point where the ladder in Starcraft 2 is close to what someone might call perfect. Thinking back a while, the largest issue which plagued Warcraft 3 was that the ladder showed only the top 1000 players of a region. Considering that at any time you might have 300 or 400 thousand users player on a single region, it would make it hard for users to get to the top and have their names display on the ladder, so in the Starcraft 2 ladder, Blizzard added division next to the leagues.
The leagues will help determine the skill level of a player while the division will help him keep track of his evolution in a much better fashion. The other element is that a division contains 100 players, so this way a player will get to see his or her name on the top of ladder at any given time if he or she works hard on improving. Thanks to the addition of the latest league, the Master League, Blizzard increased the competitive level of games in the upper leagues while keeping the Starcraft 2 ladder as balanced as possible.
It’s hard to restrain myself and talk about such important elements in Starcraft 2 within these small articles, yet I do hope I gave you boys and girls a helping hand when better understanding the ladder system in Starcraft 2. As always if you want more details information on this subject along with some more numbers attached to these previously mentioned elements make sure to check out the Liquipedia, Team Liquid’s version of Wikipedia, where you will find information on anything related to Starcraft 2. Until next time, keep up the training and make sure to get to one of those top spots – see you on the ladder J.11