My friends and I occasionally play an RTS (Real Time Strategy) game called The Battle For Middle Earth 2 (and its Rise Of The Witch King expansion). I enjoy playing it because it’s set in the Lord Of The Rings timeline of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. And since its real replay value comes from it’s multiplayer modes, it also helps that my friends actually want to play this game.

But I will always hold a special place in my heart for the RTS game that I cut my RTS chewing teeth on: Starcraft. My brother first learned of the game, and he soon brought me and then even my 10-year-old sister in to the fold. We spent hours pummeling away on each other through massive battles on distant planets with strange alien races. He drilled holes in the walls and floors of our house so we could network all 3 of our computers together and play at a moment’s notice without needing to move machines around. It was always a good time, even if he always beat us.

So it’s with bittersweet emotions that I learned of a sequel to the game that first captivated us eight years ago. The pre-release details look incredible, with understandably improved graphics, deepened and expanded game play, new characters, units, missions…but I’ll probably never have anyone to play it with. You can match up against random strangers on-line, but that’s not the same as getting repeatedly beat by your “little” brother. And even if I could convince him or my sister to play, I’m not sure that their dial-up Internet connections would be up to the challenge (although I’d be willing to try). And sure, maybe I could convince my Battle For Middle Earth friends to give Starcraft 2 a go. But with how little I’m available for BFME2 these days, I can hardly justify encouraging them to buy in to a new game that I’ll only occasionally have time for (not that I’d even be successful in my persuading).

Will I buy Starcraft 2 anyway? With my wife’s permission, absolutely. If the single player campaigns are anything like those seen in the original Starcraft and other Blizzard RTS games, then Starcraft 2 should be worth the purchase for that alone. But I’ll still miss the great fun of playing it with people I know. Thanks for the memories, Starcraft.

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