On July 27, 2010 we launched StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. We sent Blizzard developers to major launch events in locations spanning the globe including London, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm, Moscow, Fountain Valley (near Blizzard HQ), Singapore, Taipei, Mexico, Brazil, and Australia. We were grateful for a chance to celebrate the launch with gamers all over the world, but we weren’t out of the woods yet. We watched and worried for the next few days. Was the game good enough to be worthy of the StarCraft name? Would the players like it?
Within the first 48 hours, the game sold over 1.5 million copies, making it the fastest-selling strategy game of all time. Within a week, we finally breathed a sigh of relief, believing that maybe we had created a game that could stand on its own, a game strong enough to carry the StarCraft legacy onward for years to come.
Even after the launch we had no idea what would happen. Would the balance hold up to the demands of the eSports community? Would the professional players want to play? With the first season of GomTVs Global StarCraft II League and the addition of StarCraft II to Major League Gaming, those fears were put to rest. From legendary Brood War heroes to relative newcomers, these players displayed incredible skills in head-to-head competition. Since then, more tournaments have sprung up to make StarCraft II a truly global phenomenon, including hundreds of local and regional tournaments, as well as the North American Star League, Dreamhack, and TSL tournament series, and to date nearly $2,000,000 has been awarded to these truly exceptional players.
These tournaments have left us with electrifying memories: FruitDealer’s triumph in GSL season one. HuK’s epic victory at DreamHack Summer. NaNiWa’s legendary streak at MLG Dallas. MarineKing showing us what it takes to dodge banelings. NesTea teaching us how to crack a protoss wall-in. We’ve witnessed many great moments in StarCraft II competition in such a short time, and we’re barely scratching the surface. The amazing games and incredible plays we have seen in this first year are too numerous to list and have left us eager to see what happens next.
Of course, eSports is only part of the picture. The StarCraft story continued to unfold as players fought desperate battles in the Wings of Liberty campaign. We watched as a whole new generation took up the challenge of proving their skills as StarCraft II players. We witnessed millions of ladder matches and team games played on Battle.net over two seasons of ferocious ladder competition, and we’re getting ready for a third. We derive our greatest sense of fulfillment from watching as players around the world enjoy the game.
The mapmaking community did its part too. With tens of thousands of custom maps uploaded to Battle.Net and hundreds of amazing custom games to play, we have all marveled at the technical, artistic, and creative skill of the StarCraft II mod community. Desert Strike, Storm of the Imperial Sanctum, Marine Arena, Zealot Frenzy, Star Battle and, of course, Nexus Wars have shown us an entertaining glimpse of what the talented StarCraft II community is capable of creating. We couldn’t resist throwing our hat into the ring and hope that players have enjoyed Aiur Chef, StarJeweled, and Left 2 Die.
StarCraft is more than just StarCraft II, it is a culture that has been with us for over a decade. It’s a game and a world that we are honored to be part of. We’ve been hard at work making sure that the sequel holds up to the high standard of excellence we’ve set for ourselves. We released 14 patches since the game’s launch, including many small balance adjustments and a ton of improvements too. We’ve added brand-new Battle.net features like the Master and Grandmaster Leagues, custom game improvements, chat channels and more, and we remain hard at work on further improvements.
We’re not even close to resting on our laurels and we remain just as fiercely dedicated to StarCraft II today as we were the day it launched. Today we have a Blizzard All Stars playtest. Tomorrow we are going to play the first part of the Heart of the Swarm campaign (complete with cutscenes!). We continue to work on expanding multiplayer and improving Battle.Net. We can’t wait for BlizzCon this year: not only will we get to meet with players from all over the world and make some exciting announcements, but we’ll also get a chance to watch some of StarCraft II’s best players go head to head live in both the Global Battle.net Invitational and the GSL Finals.
So, we wish you a happy birthday, StarCraft II. You had an amazing first year, and we’ll do our best to make sure that you’ll have many more great years to come.
- StarCraft II Development Team