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StarCraft II Beta First Impressions

After trying out the StarCraft II beta briefly last night, I have some thoughts and info I’d like to share.

Blizzard games have always been pretty scalable and I was wondering how my five year old Shuttle PC will fare. Here are the important specs:

Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ (2.0 GHz)
Memory: 2 GB of DDR-400
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT
OS: Windows 7 x64 Home Premium

And here’s the configuration I ended up running the game with:

StarCraft 2 Beta Configuration

The auto configuration actually pinned my resolution at 1280 x 720 resolution, but I bumped it up since I try to play my PC games at the monitor’s native resolution.

To my surprise, the game ran at a somewhat playable framerate. There were hitches when sudden shifts in on screen unit counts occurred, but other than that I did play a single successful 2 v 2 match.

As I alluded to, I’m was not big on the StarCraft multiplayer so don’t expect any major insights into the game itself aside from “it’s more StarCraft” — at least for now anyway. What I was most impressed with were the first “five practice” matches I was greeted with when I first launched the multiplayer. It’s supposed to help Battle.net gauge my skill level and throw me into the appropriate league. I can’t say how well it works thus far since I’ve just completed a single match, but it seems like a great idea.

The map I played on had rock barriers to discourage rushing and plenty of resource locations to expand to. It was a noob map and I welcomed it. They also fixed the game speed to “normal” which was nice. All in all, I think these kinds of touches will open up StarCraft II to a wider audience than the original ever did.

I hope to play more of StarCraft II, but I don’t when. Although it runs on my current machine, it is nowhere near optimal visual or performance benchmark. I’ve always said I’ll build a new PC for StarCraft II, so I guess I’ll have to look into that before proceeding any further.

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