At the last minute, video game giant Blizzard Entertainment has reversed an unpopular decision to block Australians from being able to play its upcoming StarCraft II game on American servers.
The company had been facing a wave of dissent from Australian players furious about its original decision to block local gamers from playing against their friends overseas by locking them into playing through a new server in Singapore set up to serve the South-East Asian region as a whole.
“We’re pleased to announce that all players who purchase the Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand version of StarCraft® II: Wings of Liberty™ will also have the option of playing on North American servers following the launch,” the company said in a posting today on its Facebook group devoted specifically to South-East Asia.
“While we still encourage gamers to play on the local servers, which will offer lower latency and more action during peak hours, we recognize that many players have longstanding friendships and rivalries with North American players, and would like to continue playing with them. Because of this, we’re giving Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand gamers access to both regions’ servers, so they can choose where they’d prefer to play.”
Blizzard’s intention is to make the additional access available within 60 days of StarCraft II’s launch — which will take place on Monday 26 July at midnight — with the official launch day being 27 July.
When the additional functionality is added, the video game giant wrote, players with a South-East Asian copy of StarCraft II would automatically gain the option to download the US version of the game through its Battle.net online match-making platform. They will be able to use either copy at will.
However, the move does not resolve the questions of StarCraft II players who want to play on other international servers — such as in Europe or the highly competitive Korean zone.
“Players who purchase the Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand version of StarCraft II will have access to the Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand and the North American Battle.net servers. No other multi-region play will be available at this time.”
The news comes as Blizzard has been making wider attempts to resolve the issues of Australians concerned about poor speeds to its international servers for multiplayer games.
The company has long fielded complaints from gamers about the lack of a dedicated World of WarCraft server in Australia, for example. However, it has been working with Australian ISPs on providing the fastest transit path to the new Battle.net server in Singapore, with which it hopes to resolve many of the problems.