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StarCraft's 10-Year Anniversary: A Retrospective

On March 31, 1998, Blizzard Entertainment released StarCraft, a revolutionary real-time strategy game pitting three powerful and distinctive races against each other in a war-torn galaxy. In StarCraft, the resourceful terrans, mysterious protoss, and relentless zerg find themselves in a confluence of events that has only one possible outcome: an epic war for conquest and survival.

The year of its release, more than 1.5 million copies of StarCraft were sold around the world, making it the bestselling PC game of 1998. To date, it has sold more than 9.5 million copies worldwide. A considerable number of those copies have been sold in South Korea, where the game continues to enjoy unprecedented levels of popularity.

Augmented with the essential Brood War expansion pack, StarCraft remains one of the most popular online games in the world. Its legacy as a cornerstone Blizzard Entertainment franchise as well as a classic of the real-time strategy genre was recently brought back into focus with the announcement of StarCraft II.

Here are some of the notable features of the original StarCraft:
  • Three distinctive races, each with unique units, technologies, attributes, and abilities
  • A unique single-player campaign that introduces players to the epic characters and gritty sci-fi setting of the StarCraft universe
  • Fast-paced multiplayer play over Battle.net, Blizzard's proprietary online gaming service
  • The ability to create custom maps, units, and campaigns with the fully featured Campaign Editor
Multiplayer
StarCraft's gameplay supports a wide range of player skill, with play at the highest levels characterized by elite multitasking and micromanagement skills, as well as precise tactics and consistent execution. This led to StarCraft's rise as a competitive multiplayer game and its adoption by professional gaming leagues.

Battle.net, which was introduced alongside Diablo, evolved with StarCraft's release, and was tremendously important in the game's multiplayer popularity. Besides the existing matchmaking capabilities, ladder rankings were introduced, along with more detailed user profiles, including wins and losses.

As was the case with Diablo, the combination of compelling gameplay and well-implemented multiplayer support resulted in a dedicated and passionate player base.

Popularity
After its release, StarCraft rapidly grew in popularity around the world. In South Korea, it quickly became the preeminent multiplayer game in the country, and was instrumental in the rise of professional gaming there. The game is still as popular as ever in a country where top StarCraft players are celebrities and their competitive matches are watched by millions on national television networks.

The Brood War expansion, released in 1998, is an essential component of the StarCraft experience. In addition to a new single-player campaign, several new units and abilities were introduced, as were many game-balance changes that represented the new standard in StarCraft competitive play.

StarCraft II
On May 19, 2007, in Seoul, South Korea, Blizzard Entertainment officially announced the development of a sequel, StarCraft II. Continuing the story of the protoss, zerg, and terrans, the sequel intends to take the single-player and multiplayer strengths that were developed in StarCraft and elevate them to new heights. It is the next chapter in StarCraft's storied legacy.

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