StarCraft II: We're trying to create an e-Sport • Page 2

Dustin Browder on the RTS modding phenomenon.

Eurogamer: What about introducing some persistence? Could leaderboards and experience gain be added?

Dustin Browder: Dude, how fun would that be? Oh my God! Yeah, I'd love to be able to do that.

I can tell you two things. One, it's going to be a timing issue for us. I need to get people focused on Heart of the Swarm. That's where most of our effort's going to go, going forward. Some of our mod makers, as you can imagine, are pretty fanatical and they do want to keep balancing and patching these mods going forward and we'll definitely try to give them the time to do that. But we're probably not going to have time to introduce leaderboards in this pass. But it might be something we can address much further down the road once Heart of the Swarm is in full swing.

I will say this: we do have what's called our bank system, which allows you to save data to people's Battle.net profile. Our mod makers have already discovered this system and have already done a number of things with persistence in other mods. There is the ability to do persistence on Battle.net. It is a little complicated right now, but our fans have discovered the triggers to make it happen, and they are doing it on some of their mods.

You can definitely expect to see more and more done with that. Maybe RPGs where you get to carry your character from map to map, is something I believe is possible with our current system.

Eurogamer: These four mods, are they it for you guys, or will you do more?

Dustin Browder: We could definitely do more further down the line. I do not have a secret list of mods I'm not telling you about right now. DOTA's on the way. The mods we've released are going out there. We do have some more challenge maps we're planning to release in the next few months that are not really mods but they are more content for our community to expand on the challenge mode.

There's not a ton of mods in development at the moment. We probably will do more mods closer to Heart of the Swarm. Once Heart of the Swarm is looking really great we'll probably do a little bit more work on these, maybe do some additional mods. But there's not a hidden array of thousands more mods waiting to go out. All of that work is being done ultimately by the community.

Eurogamer: Have you come up with any games you'd like to riff off of as you have with the ones in beta?

Dustin Browder: We have not. I tell you, I really do like for mods to encourage the designers working on them to build them and own them. What's exciting about these mods is, I didn't do any lead design work. In fact, I almost did nothing. These guys did everything on their own. These are really talented developers who get a chance to stretch and show their skills and come up with some original and creative content. We try to make sure the individual designers, like mod makers in the community, are empowered and running their own show, that they are the lead designers of their own efforts.

I don't know what the next ones will be and I don't want to know. I want them to be empowered to come up with their own work. That approach has proven itself with these mods. They've come up with stuff I never would have come up with that was spur of the moment and inspired.

Eurogamer: Where are we at with the marketplace idea and players being able to charge for created levels and mods?

Dustin Browder: Struggling. We are moving forward. We are working on it actively now. As you can imagine there is an immense number of challenges for us to overcome. We're trying to deal with those issues. I don't know how we're going to solve some of the player rights issues. How do players protect their own maps so they don't get ripped off by other players? What are the rules of how much you're allowed to charge? There's just a ton of work for us to figure out.

We've never, ultimately, built anything like this before. Some of our competitors have and more power to them. But we haven't done it yet. So there's going to be a bunch of work for us to figure out how to get this done. But it's something we're working on. It's definitely a distance down the road. It's not in the next month. It's going to be some distance before we get this in the hands of the fans.

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