Needless to say, some folks were less than pleased about being forced to play over the Internet, when a local network connection provides for gameplay with essentially zero latency. I figured I'd give Blizzard a chance to explain itself, so I asked what went into the decision. And this is what they said.
We don’t currently plan to support LAN play with StarCraft II, as we are building Battle.net to be the ideal destination for multiplayer gaming with StarCraft II and future Blizzard Entertainment games. While this was a difficult decision for us, we felt that moving away from LAN play and directing players to our upgraded Battle.net service was the best option to ensure a quality multiplayer experience with StarCraft II and safeguard against piracy.
Several Battle.net features like advanced communication options, achievements, stat-tracking, and more, require players to be connected to the service, so we’re encouraging everyone to use Battle.net as much as possible to get the most out of StarCraft II. We’re looking forward to sharing more details about Battle.net and online functionality for StarCraft II in the near future.
This will probably affect the hardest of the hardcore competitive players, who demand a completely lag-free environment in which to flex their skills. Personally, I sure as heck wasn't planning to schlep my PC to any LAN parties anytime soon, so I can't say I'm too disappointed in this omission. The number of people using third-party LAN play services like Hamachi and Garena is probably big enough for Blizzard's bottom line to feel it, so I can't say I'm surprised they're trying to keep their game as profitable as possible.
Does this ruffle anyone else's feathers?