mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

Improving Starcraft's Co-op

Spencer and I celebrate an important achievement today: we maxed out all the heroes in Starcraft’s cooperative mode.

Co-op mode was one of those unexpected surprises that we ended up really enjoying and spending a lot of time playing. Spending a lot of time with anything, you invariably come up with a bunch of wants and asks. If you’re reading this, Blizzard, take heed!

  • Add a survival mission like In Utter Darkness from the Wings of Liberty campaign. This would be like the current Temple of the Past co-op mission but instead of only needing to survive for 25 minutes you would fight until you are completely overwhelmed. You can even add a leaderboard to encourage people to survive as long as possible. People love leaderboards!
  • Add more heroes. Given the time it takes to max out a hero, this is the easiest way to increase play-time (besides increasing the level cap).
  • Allow resource sharing. Yes, this could devolve into one person feeding another but who cares? Make it like multiplayer where you cannot share until after a certain point in the game or add a penalty (e.g. 10% tax on resources shared) to discourage it.
  • Add more missions. Even better (and ultimately easier for you), allow people to create their own co-op missions like you can create maps and custom games. Let people play these custom missions and vote on them. The top missions can get promoted to “official” co-op missions featured more prominently.
  • Add “over-the-top” bonus objectives. Give players incentives to take risks to make the mid to late game more exciting. Even on brutal difficulty, once you make it to the mid-game the challenge drops off considerably. Encourage spreading armies, going deep into enemy territory, or building strange unit compositions to up the ante.

It’d be nice to see some of these and other improvements to co-op mode. But realistically, given the pace at which Blizzard has been updating co-op mode, we likely won’t see much in the near future. I’d love to be proven wrong here though!

Update: One day later and Blizzard announced they’re releasing some updates to co-op mode in the upcoming 3.3 patch. There will be weekly “mutators” that enhance difficulty for specific missions, and mastery levels (all the way to 90!) which are similar to Diablo 3’s paragon level. It also looks like Abathur might be joining the ranks of heroes! Also, check out the accompanying update video. I’ll take it! GG, Blizzard!