What you need to know

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STARCRAFT II. Series anniversary art from Blizzard shows key characters in a rare moment of non-conflict. Illustration from Blizzard

STARCRAFT II. Series anniversary art from Blizzard shows key characters in a rare moment of non-conflict. Illustration from Blizzard

MANILA, Philippines – Starcraft II is one of the 6 medal games in the inaugural esports tournament of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) after being featured in various international multi-sport events in the past.

Here’s what you need to know about the game:

What is StarCraft II?

StarCraft II is a real-time strategy game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. It is the sequel to StarCraft and its expansion pack, Brood War, which were both released in 1998.

Three races battle it out in this outer space saga: the humans known as the Terran, an advanced race with psionic abilities called the Protoss, and the swarming, insect-like Zerg. Each race has its own unique way of building structures, creating units, and gathering resources.

The base game titled StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty was released for Windows and Mac in 2010. Two expansion packs followed: Heart of the Swarm in 2013 and Legacy of the Void in 2015.

How do you play?

In a competitive setting, StarCraft II is typically played one-versus-one.

Players start the game with a base and some worker units who can gather and mine minerals and gas – StarCraft IIs basic resources. These can then be used to construct units and structures, which can be made stronger as the game progresses.

The main objective is to be able to make an army of units strong enough to attack and completely destroy the opponent’s structures. All 3 factions have their strengths and weakness, with the best players knowing how to mix up the units in their army, and at the same time, counter effectively the attack strategies of their opponents.

How popular is it?

Starcraft: Brood War, the expansion pack to StarCraft, is usually credited as one of the games to lay the foundation of modern competitive gaming.

When the game was released in 1998, it became what has been described as a national pastime among the youth of South Korea. From there, the game’s esports potential grew, attracting media companies and sponsors who wanted to broadcast tournaments to millions of people.

So when StarCraft II launched more than a decade later, it was immediately poised for esports success. The game was considered the largest and most popular esport in the world in 2011 and 2012.

But it was upstaged by other titles such as League of Legends in the years that followed, and only saw a resurgence recently when Blizzard announced that the game was going free-to-play in 2017.

Intel together with the International Olympic Committee hosted a StarCraft II tournament ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics. It was also featured in the 2018 Asian Games as a demonstration sport. – Rappler.com

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