After playing the StarCraft II Beta for a while, it still holds up as a solid successor to the original StarCraft.
Battle.net has been completely revamped with Achievements added in and a ladder/match-making system similar to that of World of Warcraft Arena.
New teams play 5 placement matches that will land you in a league ranging from Copper to Platinum. I love this new system since it saves me the trouble of finding matches against players of around equal skill level. You can still play private matches against friends, but those aren’t ranked.
My only gripe with the new Battle.net is that you invite your friends to a “party” and you get a tab that pops up into a small chatbox. I miss having the channels in the old Battle.net where large groups of people could meet up.
As for the game itself, it’s mostly the original StarCraft with updated graphics similar to WarCraft III. There are of course new units, abilities, and structures, but the core gameplay remains largely the same. The pace of the game feels quicker with units and buildings being destroyed more easily.
Protoss is my race of choice, and I must say that Void Rays are amazing. They’re basically flying glass cannons that annihilate buildings in a blink of an eye, but can easily be destroyed itself. I haven’t played Zerg or Terran much since I was mainly a Protoss player in SC1, but I’ll still give them a try.
Look at how long StarCraft has lasted. StarCraft II will be played for many years to come, making this a definite purchase for me. I can’t wait to do some 4v4 matches with my friends!