Although StarCraft II
will not feature pure offline LAN play -- a cause of significant outcry from the sizable StarCraft
community -- it is likely to feature a mode that allows players to play through a local area network after authenticating online through Battle.net.
Such a mode would allow for the minimal level of latency that comes with a direct LAN connection, while also maintaining Blizzard's stated aim of making StarCraft II
an always-connected experience.
"That's certainly something we're discussing," said lead designer Dustin Browder, after being asked by Gamasutra about the inclusion of the feature.
Battle.net lead Greg Canessa, a former lead on Xbox Live, also spoke up on the matter in another BlizzCon interview. "Maintaining a connection with Battle.net, I don't know if it's once or periodically, but then also having a peer-to-peer connection between players to facilitate a very low-ping, high-bandwidth connection... those are the things that we're working on," he told consumer site Shacknews
Separately: "We really wanted to have a very integrated experience for our players," Blizzard lead designer Browder told Gamasutra of the decision to push constant Battle.net connectivity. "A lot of games these days require an internet connection to play."
He added: "We really wanted to bring all these players together and keep them in the same pool, and make everything work, so your achievements work, your friends list works, everything just works correctly, as opposed to having two separated ways to play."
Blizzard did confirm this weekend that it is possible to play StarCraft II
's single-player mode offline, but players will only be able to use a "guest account," not their persistent accounts, to do so. A similar method was used in 2000's Diablo II
, which requires online-enabled characters to only play the game when connected to Battle.net.
The studio has big plans for its online service, including allowing mod-makers to sell StarCraft II custom games
. And Blizzard's Rob Pardo dropped the surprising news that Battle.net is bigger than World of Warcraft
Gamasutra will feature full interviews with both Browder and Canessa in the coming days and weeks.