Please note we don't actually have the keys yet. Some idiots were hounding Blizzard Q&A about whether keys were being given out...Thanks internet, you never cease to amaze me.
As a strong supporter of Internet stories, Starcraft 2 Beta rumors, and anything else that will stir up speculation, a recent email floating around the foreign scene was too prime not to write about. In the last day or so, top members of the community have started to receive invites to the impending SC2 Beta.
I had a chance to sit down (at my computer) with a few of the invitees to discuss their thoughts on the beta, release dates, and what their goals are for both SC2 coverage and feedback to the balance team.
First Up - Liquid`Nony! (Top American Broodwar Player, Former eStro team member)
Hi Nony, we haven’t heard too much from you since your return from Korea and the Estro team. What have you been up to?
Not much. I've been working and spending time with my fiancee. I haven't been playing any BW.
So word on the street (internet) is that you just received an invite for SC2 Beta. What was your reaction to that email?
First just pure relief haha. And then excitement. After hearing about SC2 for so long now, I had somehow forgotten that it's a real game that I'm actually going to play someday. And now that it's coming up, I'm totally pumped.
It's great that the balance team is taking an interest in the opinions of top BW players! My understanding is that a number of community members were selected based on both their strong technical skills and ability to articulate their thoughts. Have you thought of how you will be providing feedback to the balance team or to the community?
Oh yeah I'm excited to do my part to make the game the best it can be. I suppose the biggest contribution I can make is to be the best player I can be and tell them how the balance is at the top. No offense to anyone, but there may be a shortage of players with good English at the top.
It'll be hard switching from the mindset of complete faith that the game is balanced in BW, to having to assume that there's something wrong with the game and I need to point it out for SC2.
I agree! i hope the balance team realizes that i am available despite lacking any BW skill (no payment required). Obviously there is no credible public knowledge for a Beta release date – infact I was assured by 3-4 different sources that we'd see it March 31st...so much for that!
Yeah, I think within a month. Anything more than that seems excessively in advance. If it doesn't come out within a month, then I'm going to assume that they were planning to have it but it got pushed back. I can't be wrong!
What are your short term goals for beta and long term for SC2? Would you consider going back to Korea if it got picked up and became as successful as the original?
For beta, I simply want to contribute to Blizzard as much as possible. I hope all the top players do that since it'll be doing everyone a huge favor. As for long term, I'm not sure if I'll ever dedicate myself 100% to e-Sports again. I'll have to wait and see what opportunities arise.
Any wild predictions for Starcraft 2’s success as an ESPORT in the West after experiencing BW in Korea first hand?
Welllll, if the economy was doing great, I would have wild predictions. Esports were coming along just great. But now I think there's a bit of a bump in the road. I still think that SC2 will provide the best environment for an RTS player to become pro outside of Korea that the world has ever seen. And I know that's enough for a ton of gamers.
Finally, The Kennigit Institute For Advanced Release Date Studies is calculating the ACTUAL release date of SC2 beta and it needs your help. If you had to pick an exact beta release date, what would it be?
July 4! Go America!
Second: Chill (Teamliquid Stategy Moderator, Commentator, Co-President of Teamliquid Drama Committee)
Ok Kid, first of all, what qualifies you to get an invite over me?
You actually focused on getting work done at TL, while I focused on getting e-famous. Clearly we can see which one paid off.
Time to stop doing any work…You are a pretty vocal member of the community. How do you plan to contribute to helping balance during Beta? Through the forum or directly to the balance team?
Haha. My experiences with Blizzard (although this may not be correct) is that they are some faceless wall that you can't actually talk to. All my experiences have ended like that. I would love to actually be able to talk to them, but chances are they are too busy and are impossible to contact directly.
I plan on writing up my strategic experiences with the game onto the forums, and streaming everything I play while commentating (if that's kosher within their rules)
Yeah i checked with Karune about that actually and he thought we were good to go. All the invites are pretty articulate members of the community. While Blizzard is known for being slow, they are also known for doing things last minute. Do you think this list is any clue to a beta release date? Are you looking forward to the early disastrous balance changes in SC2?
No, not at all. My experience with playing games has always been pretty competitive. Even with casual games (like Castle Crashers, for example) it really bothers me when certain things seem more powerful and just poorly balanced. And really, I have no sense of mercy when it comes to improperly balanced games. If something is broken, I will abuse it to no end. Even though it will be refreshing to see a game making such rapid changes after StarCraft's balance stagnated years ago, I'm not looking forward to finding out which unit is broken every few weeks.
Given that the balance team has snubbed me (no invite), what do you think of me becoming the Perez Hilton of the community. I could post pictures with funny captions and spread rumors about top players and Blizzard employees. Do you think the drama experienced in the Broodwar community with increase with Starcraft 2?
I think you are too kind to fully turn yourself into Perez Hilton, as shown in our latest podcast. I seem to find that drama peaks as a community lasts longer. The community gets a little smaller and more well-defined, egos balloon, hacks become less traceable, and top players become much more recognized. As much as I love drama, SC2's release will probably bring with it at least a few months of warm, fuzzy happiness where every gets along everyone*
In Ansadi Dollars, how much money do you expect Starcraft 2 ESPORTS to generate?
What's an Ansadi Dollar? Haha.
New vernacular im making up
The Kennigit Institute for Advanced Beta Release Date Studies is running a scientific study. If you had to predict a beta release date what would it be?
Given my standard formulas, which have been proven to accurately back-solve previous releases, I will say 4 weeks.
Cool, thanks for the interview
I didn't do it for you. I did it for ESPORTS!!!!! *BOOM*
Finally: Liquid`Nazgul (Site/Team Cofounder, Hero)
Fearless Leader, I hear you got on the secret list. I haven’t seen you play much since TSL – are you planning to come back for SC2?
I'm bored out of my mind right now and craving for some new challenge! I'll give it a shot if I hope it's as good as BW then I can't see myself staying away from it.
You were around at the very beginning of progaming and saw Broodwar through its various balance changes. Are you excited to experience the new swings in balance at the start of Starcraft 2?
Somewhat. I wouldn't describe the fast early balance changes that come from im-balance and patching as a positive. After that once the game settles a bit the balance might go back and forth based on creativeness and skill development just like it has done with Broodwar. That's what's going to be great!
As far as I can tell from this secret list which will obviously never be leaked ever, the community members asked are either very highly regarded for their skill, or have the ability to articulate themselves fluidly. How are you planning to help provide balance feedback (write up? Streaming etc?) to the SC2 Balance Team.
I haven't given that much thought yet but streaming or writing articles would definitely be fun to do.
Liquid` has been a pretty tight knit clan and has had very few additions (the most recent being Nony). Do you think it will stay like this for SC2 or grow into something bigger.
That's something I've been thinking about. It could turn into a team with sponsors and tournament appearances but we'd have to change some stuff and definitely need some extra manpower to make it happen.
Last Question. The Kennigit Institute For Advanced Release Date Studies is calculating the ACTUAL release date of SC2 beta so I need your expert prediction for a release date.
Yes. This is for science.
Ummm July 9th 2009
Warning Extreme Esports Science Ahead
The Kennigit Institute for Advanced Beta Release Studies (KIABRS for short) is a small group of Esports Industry insiders who provide true accurate and credible scientific predications for Starcraft 2 Beta Release dates. You can find their prediction below.
+ Show Spoiler +
Kennigit: you get the email?
Kennigit: check yo email
Kennigit: sick right?
Fakesteve: i asked him if i should wear lipstick when i play