StarCraft II Takes Spotlight at Intel Extreme Masters Global Challenge
StarCraft II, it’s all about StarCraft II. Here in the main gaming arena at Intel Extreme Masters Global Challenge StarCraft II has taken center stage and has achieved an almost cult like following. I’m not sure why, possibly because this is the first major release since StarCraft 1, so I guess for StarCraft aficionados it has been a long time coming.
Not knowing very much about the RTS genre (that’s real time strategy to us neophytes) the buzz around the release of StarCraft II was lost on me, but having watched a number of matches here at Intel Extreme Masters I’m beginning to understand the attraction. The closest game that I can think of that would compare is chess; there is a ton of strategy that is needed to be successful in this game. Admittedly I haven’t been able to grasp all the nuances of the game but in general here’s what I’ve been able to understand. StarCraft II is a military real-time strategy game set in the 26th century. The game consists of three species fighting for dominance, the Terrans, the Zerg and the Protoss, the Terrans are exiles from earth, and the Zerg are a race of insectoid aliens and the Protoss are a humanoid species. The basic premise of the game is to conquer your opponent using resource management and base construction which involves mining minerals and gas that is used to build fighting units and structures to support them. The graphics of the game are stunning and watching these professional gamers play is a lot of fun to watch.
The StarCraft II competition here at IEM is one-on-one and each player has to manage his resources, direct his units (builders and fighters) to mine resources, construct and expand his base, defend when necessary and attack when the opportunity presents itself. All this is done simultaneously with each player issuing up to 300 commands a minute to keep the game moving forward, pretty amazing when you think about it. The crowds in the gaming arena have been huge with standing room only and not much of that as you can see by the picture below.
Spectators watching StarCraft II competition
Although StarCraft II is the star of the competition there is also a Quake Live World Challenge taking place as well. Quake Live is much easier to follow, it is a first person shooter where the objective is quite simple; blast your opponent before he blasts you. There is strategy involved like knowing when to use your rail gun vs rockets and grenades and finding armor that’s dispersed throughout the map is an important aspect as well. The action can be frenetic but it’s easy to follow.
Quake Live up on the big screen
Touring the other halls that make up [gamescom](http://www.gamescom-cologne.com/en/gamescom/home/index.php) is interesting in itself; the show is comprised primarily of game developers and the developers of gadgets that go with gaming, mice, game controllers, chassis, fans etc. The attendees are mostly young adults, some come dressed as their favorite game character which makes for some interesting costumes. Every booth seems to have an array of games for the attendees to play so everywhere you look things are either being shot at or blown up so for those of us that are a few years past our teens it can be sensory overload at times.
As for the Intel Extreme Masters global Challenge… keep up with the winners and losers and see who’s advancing toward the finals in both Quake Live and StarCraft II here at [ESL's web site](http://www.esl-world.net/masters/). Also visit the [Intel Extreme Masters World Challenge](http://www.intel.com/consumer/game/teams/events.htm) photo gallery as well as [Intel.com](http://www.intel.com) where you can learn more about the Core i7 Extreme processor that is powering all of the gaming systems here in the gaming arena. Well time to get back to the competition, the semi finals of StarCraft II are about to start… bye for now.