StarCraft is broken. You know it. I know it. The internet knows it. Hell, even Forbes knows it. So what can be done about it? Well, I have some ideas.

Source: Blizzard

The Problem

StarCraft 2 has a problem, one that I would argue has existed since the initial release, Wings of Liberty. The problem is that the aspects of the game which are most important to winning are also the least fun. The fundamental rule of StarCraft according to FilterSC is, “how much you can build and how effectively you can use it.” I expanded on that base and made a list of the most important aspects of the game:

  1. Building the most stuff
  2. Using that stuff efficiently
  3. Controlling the map to deny opponent from building stuff
  4. Adjusting what stuff you build to counter opponent
    So much of the game is focused on “building the most stuff,” which essentially means simply remembering to press buttons at certain intervals (build SCV, build supply, train units, use mule call down, etc.) It’s not accessible to new players and is extremely stressful. Even the pros don’t like it.

A Solution

To fix StarCraft we need to change what the player focuses on to something else. This new hierarchy of focus needs to be accessible and not stressful, which will hopefully mean it's more fun. I propose that the new order of importance should be:

  1. Using that stuff efficiently
  2. Controlling the map to deny opponent from building stuff
  3. Adjusting what stuff you build to counter opponent
  4. Building the most stuff
    While it is just a reorder of what the player focuses on, it has drastic implications on the game as a whole. Unlike clicking buttons on queue, commanding units effectively and out-thinking your opponent by properly countering them is fun. So let’s free up the players mind to focus on fun aspects of the game. Remove artificial to-dos that were created to increase the skill cap but aren’t fun.

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The Plan

So how do we reorder the focus hierarchy and change the fundamental rule of StarCraft? There are 3 ways:

  1. Macro mechanic changes
  2. UI changes
  3. Unit changes
    We are going to focus on #1 and #2 for this article, because I think they compliment each other nicely. Fixing the macro is essentially swapping mundane tasks for exciting ones, while UI improvements gives the player the right tools to do those tasks.

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Macro Changes

Auto-Build SCVs / Drones / Probes (and possibly remove race specific macro abilities like spawn larvae, etc.)
Workers have their own Supply fixed at 90 and don’t require depots / pylons / overlords
Make buildings tougher
Together, these should free the user’s attention from babysitting their economy to instead using their units and adjusting to their opponent. Players will be able to build larger armies faster, but also able to build and manage more expansions. This will enhance multi-front battles, enable survivability from one battle defeat, and emphasize map control instead of APM.

Source: Douglas Hewitt

UI Changes

  1. Revamp layout
  2. Improve Unit Selection
  3. Global Build mode
  4. Global Train and Research mode

The idea here is to reduce repetitive setup during each match like making control groups for your buildings. In addition, the new layout will teach new players to use hotkeys faster.

It's always better to show ideas rather than just describe them, so I made an interactive prototype of the suggested changes. You can click through several screens and see how the new UI would flow with the gameplay modifications. For more of my thoughts on the matter, I also have some videos below.

I believe these changes will make the game more accessible and less stressful, which ultimately makes it more fun. At the end of the day, thats what StarCraft should be all about. The best athletes master their sport because they love their game; they don't emphasize skill caps or perfect balance. Video games should be the same way, and StarCraft needs to be fun again.