What makes Starcraft II!

Off Topic Dicussion
Was having a discussion with some friends the other day regarding some of the key elements to an RTS. Here's my thoughts on the role of a meta-game within an RTS and a brief overview of how to achieve it.


Would appreciate some feedback/discussion.

Starcraft is a successful RTS because it introduces a diverse but balanced game. Many other RTS lack either and are not as successful. Diversity(of the races) and balancing is difficult to create. Starcraft was able to accomplish this which is why its so good. Just look at how different each race is. Many other RTS's have VERY similar races, aka. they all have terran-like buildings. But in starcraft its different because of zerg's creep, terran's mobility, and toss's pylons. So a strong/successful RTS is one that's balanced, diverse, and as you said the meta-game.
Which boils doing to having meaningful decisions. What Starcraft II does well is creating equally meaningful decisions that maintain their diversity as you pointed out. The overall mechanics of Starcraft are very simple which significantly helps achieve this. In comparison, games like Company of Heroes use significantly more complex systems which makes achieving this balance and finesse slightly more difficult. To each their own, there are pros and cons of both designs.
One of the things I like best about Starcraft I and II is that they're are 3 distinct races. Many RTS games make some claim that they have distinct races but they're pretty much the same except for the skins and some minor change to make them "different". But I mean look at how different a marine, zergling, and zealot are, and somehow the game is still pretty balanced. Also I lke how the focus is on macro, it makes the game much more intense (and frustrating!), difficult and fun then games that focus more on micro.

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