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Three Moves Ahead Episode 103 – Community

February 10th, 2011 by Rob Zacny · 17 Comments · Podcast, Three Moves Ahead


Rob turtles up for a free-for-all discussion of RTS multiplayer gaming with Tom Chick and Chris Remo. What really powers the Starcraft II community, and why can’t other RTS games match it? It looks unstoppable, but does a challenger arise with League of Legends? 3MA favorites Supreme Commander II and RUSE depress the panel with their multiplayer front-end, but Chris cheers himself up by building a cathedral in Dawn of Discovery.

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17 Comments so far ↓

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  • frags

    Yay! Chris Remo. I hope you can get him on more often.

  • frags

    Oh and it’s nice to see Tom back in the podcast.

  • MFToast

    Nice discussion. It seems that the real issue with everything that isn’t Starcraft 2 or League of Legends is lack of really solid multiplayer infrastructure and match-making. It’s not that the design is any better or worse. These other companies just need to get their butts in gear for more match making and infrastructure, and it doesn’t mean they have to sell out and change everything about the game. Keep ’em coming guys!

  • Chris

    Glad to see some SC love, it’s something this site needs more of. :)

    I don’t agree that low level players don’t appreciate the importance of ongoing balance changes. The last patch, for example, made the Phoenix so much easier to build, it dramatically changed the likelihood of Protoss early game air at any level.

    Rob (I think) commented on the perception that SC is more granular and precise than other games even though that may not always be true. Speaking as a professional as well as a gamer, I don’t deny that other games are good too. But I’ve never seen a convincing argument that I should put down Starcraft and invest my limited gaming hours in any other RTS. When I feel like I’ve played too much and need a chance to relax more, I just flip over to a Day[9] Funday Monday or something like that.

    That’s an interesting question, which perhaps will arise later in the podcast. To me, Starcraft is just *satisfying.* Other games are interesting or fun, but they always leave me wanting a better experience or a less frustrating experience or something. Maybe more community, which is the point of this episode. Good stuff, for sure. (And I do freely admit that it’s been years since I seriously played a different RTS rather than just dabbling.)

    Shoutout to HuK!!!

  • Jason Townsend

    Great podcast.

    It came up kind of late, but I thought the co-op point might be one of the more important answers to the original “question” posed in the podcast; compu-stomping with friends doesn’t run into the balance/mapmaking challenges of smaller playerbase games.

  • Bruce

    It’s weird how even though Tom Chick loves war, he hates wargames.

  • Lee Wang

    I’ve been a devout follower of GPG games for a long time, but supreme commander 2 isn’t even close to rival SC2. For one it is a dumbed down less fun version of #1; the community is smaller, it lacks any real strategic depth and the differences between races is no where near as
    interesting as SC2.

    Regarding League of Legends, I’ve been playing it for some time and it’s really fun. However the competitive scene is virtually nonexistent, there is a group of people that consider themselves the top players, but the difference in skill between them and an experienced player is very small. It’s mostly the teamwork that counts.

    I was a nonbeliever once, I was certain SC2 wasn’t as good as the large strategic games like Supcom but in the near impregnable shell of ridiculous mechanics only bend to make you click more(like larva inject) resides a deep and beautiful game.

  • Peter S (Mind Elemental)

    Hey, did someone break Sylvia? Or did Tom start drinking tea instead?

  • Jarmo

    The coffee was the schtick of “Tom Chick, regular panelist”. “Tom Chick, visiting expert” doesn’t need a schtick. He’s now in the prestigious position of an esteemed guest star. A gimmick would be overkill and an impolite imposition on the hospitality of his host.

    On the other hand, I, too, wonder how Sylvia is doing. She did become a recurring character in the show.

  • Shaun

    Still in the middle of this podcast, but I wanted to chime in before I get started on a history paper here.

    I think it’s interesting that you guys talked about competitiveness improving the sportsmanship of the players. In many games (especially tabletop gaming) being competitive is usually associated with someone who wins at all costs and is most certainly not a gentleman.

    Company of Heroes also has a strong competitive community (or at least it did when I last played it). Everyone knows who the top players are, theres constant debate about the efficacy of certain strategies, and of course there are plenty of match replays to watch.

    Enjoyed the episode. Looking forward to 104.

  • Anders

    Can’t match it? Because the community of StarCraft II is full of kids.

    Just like WoW.

    Just because a community is HUGE, does not mean it’s a good community.

    Hardly a community I am interested in being a part of.

  • Chris

    Anders, it’s obvious that you’ve hardly spent any time playing Starcraft (if you’ve played at all), or looking at high quality communities such as Team Liquid.

  • Ben

    Good podcast with a thoughtful discussion and good guests.

    Since it’s the internets, I’ll offer my opinion.

    Rob made the point that he’ll wait 5 minutes for a RUSE match and then switch to StarCraft 2. Also, everyone seemed to agree that Battle.Net has done it right regarding infrastructure, community and matchmaking. That is a high barrier for other games to meet.

    I think that Valve/Steam has an opportunity to expand their current community offering. My guess is that they have the resources and infrastructure to create a strategy game matchmaking service with rankings/leagues/leaderboards. In the same way that many games accommodate Steam friends, the Steam cloud, etc. RTS games could opt to use a Steam version of Battle.Net.

    Players could queue for multiple different games, easily compare rankings across multiple games, the list goes on.

    Each time a new game comes out now, it has to try and build a community and the infrastructure to support it. Battle.Steam would help consolidate the community and not fragment it.

    As I wrote above, I think Valve has this capability. With DOTA 2 they have a reason to implement it.

  • Javier-de-Ass

    doesn’t supreme commander 2 use steam or steamworks, what you call it infrastructure software whatever, for this?

  • Anders

    Chris , actually I have. Quite a bit. But I stopped due to the immature level of players I met.

  • Chris

    Shame, I’ve never had a problem ignoring the immature players who actually act out instead of minding their own business.

    Even off of the high-quality forums, I’ve had some great conversations on Battle.net.