Australia Starcraft Server is live, and here is my review after playing on it for two hours.
Starcraft in Australia
“Starcraft” and “Australia” rarely appear in the same sentence. The picture below sums it up pretty well.
You’ve a truck. Even the “relevant” Starcraft images aren’t Australia. You have Tossgirl and WhiteRa as the top images. Anyway, the scene is not as dead as many think it’s, as there are some good Starcraft moments. MoonGlade, PiG and Iaguz are the big names.
While Starcraft is decently popular in Australia, the internet and server issues certainly make life difficult for the players. As far as I know, the players mainly play on the US server, and the ping is usually more than 200ms. I usually play with around 250 ping, and I can hardly do simple micro. It is impossible to do bio split, at least not for lousy players like me.
In short, the implementation of the Australia server for Starcraft is a game changer. Literally.
The Australia server was up for Heroes of the Storm for quite some time. You still log in to the US server, but the system will match you with fellow players in Australia. Thus, when I heard that the same is applied to Starcraft, I wasn’t surprised. With that being said, I have a mixed feeling about it.
I assume it works like Heroes of the Storm, and the match making system will match you up with other players in Australia. If this is true, does it mean that it will keep waiting for an opponent in Australia until I find one (seems that way in Heroes of the Storm as I can’t find a game at 2am AEST)? This is quite worrying, because there aren’t that many Starcraft players in Australia, and players may have a very long queuing time. I am all in for better in-game experience if that means I have to wait longer. Blizzard really needs to find the sweet spot to expand the search outside the Australia server after a certain waiting time.
That leads to another concern. The players will play on different servers based on the opponents’ locations, and it means that the ping will be different in different games accordingly. It is going to be hard to get used to that. Further, even if you queue into another player in Australia, there is a good chance that you will queue into the same opponent again because of the small pool of players in Australia (likely that both will queue at around the same time again).
After months of not logging in to Starcraft, I finally played some games just now. I wasn’t even sure whether I will get matched against another player in Australia to play that server. To my delight, I played all seven to eight games on the Australia server, and I assume my opponent is in Australia too. The waiting time is less than five minutes.
The ping is amazing! It is less than 50ms! For someone who has been playing with around 250 ping, this is like a blind person seeing light for the first time. Immense.
While the low latency makes a huge difference to the gaming experience, the few potential issues may get in the way. I played three games against the same player, and that is close to 50% of the eight games I played. With that being said, I played these few games on Thursday between 4pm to 6pm, and I am not sure if that is a good gauge for the match making concerns. I will talk to other players and know more about the experience with the Australia server.
All in all, I can say that I am very happy with the Australia server for Starcraft. One of the reasons why I don’t play often is the high ping, so I will certainly play more Starcraft from now on.
Good job Blizzard.
Featured image is taken from TGC Australia.