In this opinion piece, Chris Breault examines his experiences playing Blizzard's recent Starcraft II beta, suggesting that it's the key ladder-based system behind the much-awaited PC RTS which'll mean the difference between joy and frustration for its legion of players.
Starcraft II is likely the most ambitious feat of RTS engineering ever attempted. Blizzard aims to strike a near-impossible balance between the desires of the hardcore, who have played Brood War for over a decade, and the new, larger audience they plan to attract.
But for all the care and craft put into the game, Blizzard hasn't been able to manage this tension, and the beta shows this. Few people outside of the SCII beta forums have discussed it, but a big piece of the game's multiplayer is seriously dysfunctional.