Garena to unleash first localized game, ‘Starcraft 2’ breaks records


Strategy gamers are among the hardest to please. Maybe it’s because they don’t easily fall for eye candy graphics or fancy weaponry like other gamers. But once they do find a game that suits their taste, they can also be the most loyal of fans. Take the case of the seemingly incurable obsession called DotA and the phenomenal sales of StarCraft 2. 

This devotion might be one of the reasons why gaming company Garena opted to release a strategy game instead of the customary massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), or FPS as its first locally published game. Gametime had a chance to chat with Brand Manager “Zodiac” to talk about Garena and their upcoming game Heroes of Newerth (HoN).

GAMETIME: For those who are not too familiar with your company, what is Garena?

ZODIAC: Like other gaming companies, we are involved in localizing content and game titles for the Filipino gamer. However, unlike most gaming companies in the country, we are an international company with a global footprint and years in the international market. 

Garena has gained global popularity with its world-famous online gaming platform, which serves as an arena for gamers to battle, interact and enjoy their favorite games with friends and other gamers worldwide. 
Gamers experience unparalleled good latency powered by Garena’s advance network solution. Since then, Garena has developed several cutting-edge technology enhancing gaming experience as well as published games in several countries.

Our presence can be felt in over 200 countries around the world. We have the ability to connect all of our gamers creating a vibrant and strong community. In the Philippines, it starts with bringing together gamers from all 7,107 islands around the country.

Each gamer has their own preference in choosing games. There’s only one common thing among gamers—they want the best. Garena aligns its mission to bring the best games and services to all gamers. 
To further support this, we have our own Research and Development team that develops software and other products that compliment and support the games we publish enhancing the way a gamer experiences a game.

Gametime: What are the other games you’ve released locally?

Zodiac: Garena has been servicing DotA for several years and it is still the most played game in all the Cyber cafes. Very soon though, we will be releasing a slew of new titles into the market. Heroes of Newerth will be the first online game we will release here in the Philippines. 

Gametime: Most gaming publishers usually start with an MMORPG or a casual game, why did Garena choose a strategy game?

Zodiac: It’s really not a matter of the “right type of game,” we just found the “right game” period. Garena feels that HoN is the perfect game to release to the Southeast Asian territory and is a perfect match for the Philippine market. Another reason is Filipino players love to compete as well as work together as a team. We want to ensure that the games we are bringing in are the best of its genre and something that will really suit the local flavor.

Gametime: How would you compare Heroes of Newerth with DotA?

Zodiac: Most heroes in Heroes of Newerth have a direct correlation (direct port) from Defense of the Ancients (DotA), with similar abilities and statistics as well as gameplay characteristics such as team battle, Hero leveling, Skill leveling, creep battle, base destruction and in-game itemization. The additions that differentiate Heroes ofNewerth from DotA are non-gameplay features such as tracking of individual statistics, in-game VOIP, GUI-streamlined hero selection (draft mode, etc), match making, and     chat features.

The game also uses S2 Games’ proprietary K2 Engine that gives the game very nice graphics, and a client-server model similar to that used in many modern multiplayer games. Several features added via updates include a Hero Compendium (a list of the heroes in the game with detail statistics about them) and an in-game ladder system.

Gametime: Everybody seems to be playing DotA, how do you think it could compete with such a popular game? 

Zodiac: DotA is an awesome game, and without it, none of these games would be in existence now. Our goal really is not to compete with DotA, since we are also handling it, but rather to provide players with more alternatives. HoN is really an evolved game, and as such is an entirely new experience.

Gametime: How much would be the rates? What kind of payment system are you going to use?

Zodiac: We are still in the process of finalizing the rates for the GCA Café’s and VIP Players. Players and Café owners can top-up through our pre-paid card and e-pin system.

Gametime: When is it going to be available commercially? 

Zodiac: Our target launch for closed beta testing is this August. Open Beta as well as Commercial Launch will depend on how each phase progresses. Our objective is not to rush the launch but rather to make sure that everything is working as it should when we open the game to the public. We want t make sure that we deliver only the best service to our gamers.

To get the latest news and events happening in and around the community, visit our Philippine Portal regularly at http://ph.garena.com/ The official Heroes of Newerth Philippines Website is at www.heroes.ph.

To be continued next week.

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Stellar sales for ‘Starcraft II ‘
As expected, gamers went out in droves to get a copy of StarCraft II and the numbers prove it. According to Blizzard, Wings of Liberty sold a million copies in its first 24 hours of availability, and over 1.5 million in its first two days, making it both the biggest-selling PC game of 2010 so far and the fastest-selling strategy game ever.

The total figure includes copies of the game downloaded from Blizzard’s official online store and other online distributors. Sales from key Asian markets, including South Korea and Taiwan, however, has yet to pick up as fans are still able to play the game’s “open beta” version for free. Between 50 and 60 percent of the original Starcraft’s 10 million sales were in South Korea, where the game has become something of a national obsession.

Analysts predicted the game will sell as many as seven million copies by the end of 2010. 

“We launched Starcraft II in 11 different languages and on 5 different continents because we wanted to make sure as many players as possible were able to log on and play on day one,” Blizzard Chief Executive Officer Mike Morhaime said. “We’re pleased that so many people around the world have already picked up a copy of the game, and we look forward to welcoming even more players to Battle.net in the weeks and months ahead.”

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For all your PC gaming needs drop by Datablitz’ branches at SM, Robinsons, and Ayala Malls. You could also call (632) 7345058; (632) 7338477; (632) 7348 or check out their website at www.datablitz.com.ph. Send your questions and comments on anything gaming to eduyisgood@gmail.com or gamexads@yahoo.com . Check out myeduysblog@blogspot.com for the latest gaming, pop, tech, and music news, and follow me on twitter.com/ed_uy.

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Garena to unleash first localized game, ‘Starcraft 2’ breaks records

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