@iscariot83 Oh, you’re playing Neptune’s Pride? I’d love to check it out. I just never thought I’d get enough friends together who’d want to participate.

Put me in the 1) camp for SC2. But you guys already knew that.

If you’re intimidated by the multiplayer, maybe I can offer a few things to soothe your fear of being repeatedly battered by an army of tiny StarCraft experts.

a) Region locking means you’ll never play against Koreans. Ever. (Unless they import a North American copy.)

b) The matchmaking is very effective. It’ll probably be even better when the game is live, since beta participants probably tend to be more hardcore. Live will have a broader pool of players with more average schmos.

c) Blizzard has said that there’ll be a challenge mode, which eases you into the habits and style of play that are more conducive to multiplayer. For example, one might challenge you to complete certain tasks by only using hotkeys.

d) Well, you can always do comp stomps or mess around with the custom community maps. My friends and I found quite a few that were really fun during the beta.

Anyway, I wouldn’t say that the multiplayer is impenetrable. You just need to be willing to invest some time to get to a basic level of competence. For me, that involved playing one ten-minute 1v1 match, where I got clobbered by a guy using a very simple strategy (attack with squads of 3 marines and 2 marauders ad infinitum). His plan was so straightforward and automatic, he may as well have been a CPU set to Easy.

I watched the replay afterward (another ten minutes), which showed me a ton of basic things that I’d been doing wrong—things that would never have occurred to me otherwise. Stuff like constantly building workers, building more than one unit-producing facility…. After that, I think I actually won my next game. I lost a whole lot, but won a few, and kept playing and watching replays and learning and getting better.

When I really started getting into the game, I started watching games with commentary, which was like a positive feedback loop.

If you’re interested at all in SC2 multiplayer, here’s my advice:

Play 1v1 matchmaking until you lose (this won’t take long). Do your best, but don’t get discouraged when you’re defeated. When you lose, watch the replay from the opponent’s perspective. Pick up whatever you can from him.

Keep playing 1v1 if you like, but really, I’d suggest that you find a friend and play lots of 2v2 matchmaking with them. 2v2 takes the sting out of losing, because you can laugh it off with someone else. It takes the pressure off, since if you screw up, you’ve got a buddy to fall back on. Also, it makes the victories even sweeter, because you’ve got someone to celebrate with. (Your 1v1 opponents probably won’t want to stick around after the match to chat about how great your victory was.)

(This is all coming from a guy who only used his SC2 beta code because eBay took down his auction when he tried to sell it. I had zero interest in SC2 beforehand. Before the SC2 beta, I’d never played an RTS online.)