Irrelevant. Show me data that says running through battle.net kills "90%" of tournaments. Also, you should get some accurate information. "Small scale" for online tournaments? There was a Europe vs Asia tournament that ran for 3 consecutive weekends, definitely small scale right?
Sorry, I didn't word my previous post correctly. I wasn't saying that only small scale tournaments would be possible, I was attempting to say that small scale tournaments are possible over Battle.net
as well as large scale funded tournaments. The issue comes with the fact that needing internet access to have a little 8 man to 32 man tournament, the kind that would take place over a day at a LAN, makes things needlessly complicated, and removes the 'Tournament' conditions.
Keep in mind that Starcraft is one of the most played LAN games of all time. Honestly, take a look at the Program for any LAN event, and you'll most likely see Starcraft on there. Most fan organised events, these are the zero funding, grass roots 'Tournaments' do not have internet access. Attempting to organise such an event is now far more complicated than just 'show up, bring PC' and issues like lag come into play, when in a tournament situation there should never be lag of any kind. All Stacraft II tournaments - not meet online events, I mean actual, face to face, real life tournaments - will require Blizzard approval to have the Starcraft II LAN edition present.
We will be addressing StarCraft II tournament functionality in a post launch patch to the game, soon after ship. This patch will include features to address the needs of location-based pro tournaments, but we have not discussed any specifics about tournament support beyond that.
But wait, let me guess, your next argument is "Oh but it should be at launch! How dare they not include it and only *now* think about doing it!" Right?
The LAN support will most likely still require an open internet connection to authenticate the players involved. The game is literally hard coded to remove offline support - hence why the game's custom maps are not available to pirates. Patching in true LAN support is highly unlikely as it would provide the necessary modifications for a private multiplayer community to spring up, much like in Modern Warfare 2 and World of Warcraft.
As for whether or not such things should have been included at retail, I'll let the facts speak for themselves. Stacraft is the
eSport title. It is played around the world at major LAN Tournament events every month. It has stayed relevant due to it's multiplayer component's Tournamanets, made possibly thanks entirely
to LAN support. Starcraft II, and Battle.net
2.0 by extension, was designed to promote a competitive multiplayer environment from the ground up. Starcraft II's budget exceeded US$100,000,000.00, the only other game to do so is Grand Theft Auto IV, and it's development time stretched to a massive 7 full years of active development. The game received a large scale, multiplayer only BETA, and places were so sought after that registration keys to the BETA were sold on eBay for US$500.00. The retail game is sold for US$60.00 in America and US$80.00 is most other regions.
Do you think built in clan support, tournament support and LAN play at retail is asking too much given that the previous title in the series was released with one of those three missing elements some 11 years ago?
You're the one using a straw man argument. You complained about Blizzard providing a platform for users to sell their created works with approval. I pointed out that it exists everywhere, and that you're a hypocrite for complaining about Blizzard's method, but not everyone else's. That still stands. Not to mention you're flat out wrong. The ability for people to make some money from high-level mods *encourages* people to make high-level mods, not discourages.
As I pointed out, custom maps are not applications or games. They are custom maps at the least, mods at the best. As I asked, please show me somewhere else where I can make a map for a Real Time Strategy game - not an application, not third party software, but a simple map - or a modification for any other game and have been provided by the developers of that game with a legal avenue for charging for access to it?
Paying map makers to make professional level maps is what would be called a high risk business venture in terms of the probability of achieving a large profit margin. Instead of having their own people make maps to generate a steady stream of income, Blizzard have out-sourced this element to the community. Why pay people to make maps to, in turn, generate a profit when you can get people to do it for free and still make a sizeable profit? If I am multiplayer focused and wish to keep up with the communtiy, I'll have to purchase that content. This forces the hands of the players who wish to participate in the community to pay for each new map that enters the rotation.
As for the charging of fan made content being a catalyst for greater quality of said content, has the lack of such incentives been a catalyst for poor content in the past? Will suddenly adding price tags to the 'good' content make that content better? From a simple 'Pros and Cons' stand point, it'll actually have the opposite effect. What was 'good' will now be mrely 'ok' because it's no longer a free addon to expand your game, and what was merely 'meh' will become 'ok' simply because it's free.
How is this relevant? I showed you Stardock's platform - Wincustomize.com. Or are you saying now that it's okay for users to sell their desktop skins after months of work with Stardock's tools through Wincustomize, but not okay for users to sell their mods after months of work with Blizzard's tools through battle.net? Seems to me the difference is you don't really care for desktop customization much so you don't care if people charge for them or not (and probably "support" it 'cause they put effort into it, right?) but as soon as the same comes up with a mod that takes at least as much effort, it's suddenly Very Bad? Please.
You showed a platform that allows people to charge for the large scale modification of the visual presentation for the platform on which the user operates their computer, of which the end purchase result is based on how much a person likes the visual theme.
You then compared that to a custom map for a video game. Ignoring the obvious differences between the two, I said please show me another company that allows users to legally charge for maps or mods for a video game. Sorry, I meant to say the good
mods. The bad stuff, they can have that shit for free. Is the effort someone will pour into what Blizzard considers a 'bad' map is quite different from the effort put into a map or mod that Blizzard knows will make them money? No, so don't try to take the high road. A simple map for Starcraft II that was laboured over by a user for weeks, determining choke points and gameplay flow? Pfft, one of a million, throw to the crowd for free. A simple map that uses basic scripts to create a Last Man Standing variation that was completed in a day? Might attract some fans, better charge for it to make sure they make something off of it. Quality doesn't enter the picture: it's all about bankability, and that doesn't bode well for the community at large.
Do I like that custom maps can now be charged for, when it's those same custom maps that allow multiplayer titles to remain as viable as it has over the years? No, and I won't dress it up. I believe fan made content for games should always be free. Would DotA or Counter-Strike be as popular today if the mods cost money to play? Instead of just jumping in and trying it, it's now a calculated risk on the part of the end user. This is not the same as constructed software like Ventrilo or Hamachi or iPhone Apps, or making an entirely new game, so please don't try that argument again. Making a Mod for Starcraft II takes effort, sure, however this isn't hard coding an entire graphics engine and game that requires specalised knowledge. Activision Blizzard has seen how popular a mod can be. Instead of relying on that popularity to sell copies of their game, they've decided that since Starcraft II is going to drive it's own sales, charging for the 'good' Mods as they're released is far more profitable. Keeping the content free keeps the community open and encourages community interaction, growth and natural evolution. Then again, since the community is segmented to the point of being restricted to geographical forums, the removal of chat channels, the removal of cross region play (SEA is an exception due to the backlash experienced received from AU and NZ players), the restriction of user profiles and the restriction of User Made Content to the region it was made in (obviously for legal reasons and enforcing regional pricing) perhaps a segmented, stagnated community is what Blizzard is hoping for - makes over priced expansion packs seem more attractive.