The best way I have ever heard someone describe an RTS is that it’s like a game of chess, but you also control everything surrounding actually fighting your opponent. You have to keep track of a million things at the same time, training units, gathering resources, scouting, attacking, retreating, researching, building, feinting, just to start. StarCraft II is a pinnacle of game design, where your skill can actually improve in very meaningful ways just by analyzing your play style and devising actual strategies.
When I started playing, I was immediately put in Bronze, because I had never played an RTS really competitively before. I was just the guy that would put the AI on easy and turtle up a massive force to decimate opponents, and I was content with that. However, laddering in StarCraft drove me to push my skills and become better at the game, with help from both the TeamLiquid forums and watching Day9. These people have such a passion for the game that it becomes infectious, and after coming up with build orders and recognizing when to scout and engage, I rose up the ranks quickly. In fact, in two seasons I had gone from Bronze to Platinum league, and ended up placing in the Top 50 for my division.
What I find funny is that I have a lot to say about StarCraft II, but what I say means next to nothing compared to other, more dedicated players out there. People are able to make a living playing StarCraft II, training hours upon hours with such intense focus. Millions of people (myself included) have paid real money to WATCH the GSL, to admire the beautiful back and forth between pros. Watching them play reveals the true draw behind the game: the ability to push the games systems to the limit while coming up with tactics on the fly, and being rewarded (or not) depending on how you succeed.
The campaign tells a good story, the art style is colorful and fun, and everything that has been done with custom game creating and matchmaking makes it an enjoyable experience to play the game. With the way they have the leagues set up a player should have a 50/50 win/loss record, meaning you’ll never be placed against Diamond league if you’re in Silver. It also feels great to see your rank climb up to the top of the charts, and getting really good to a point where you can get into Diamond is actually manageable, but it takes a lot of practice.
I love StarCraft II. I love, love, love the game so much. Never before have I been so immersed in a game than this one. StarCraft II is perhaps the king of the RTS genre (although I think Brood War players may disagree), and the community and everything else surrounding the game is truly astonishing. The amount of support Blizzard has given to the game and the community is staggering, from updates to sponsored invitationals and televised championships, they have expertly poised the game to become the head of the E-sports movement, and the “Barcraft” scene that has developed recently is a great thing for connecting fans and getting to see some hot SCII action. In fact, GSL 2012 Season One is going on right now, so check it out! Good luck, have Batman.