StarCraft II launch day guide

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Why do big games always come out on Tuesdays? Don't publishers know that most of us have work or school then, and that now we have to weasel our way out of multiple obligations so that we can enjoy the game as quickly and thoroughly as humanly possible?

Despair not, fair gamer, for here is PC Gamer's guide to launch day gaming, full of tips and tricks for ensuring that come tomorrow, you'll be able to enjoy StarCraft II to its fullest.

Call in sick

Face it, you weren't going to be very productive at work today anyway. Your mind would've been elsewhere, so why not put your body elsewhere, too? Need tips on how to fake an illness? We recommend learning from the master.

Gather your forces

While you can always jump into the murky waters of automatic matchmaking, a multiplayer game is best enjoyed with a crew of buddies you know. Before the big day make sure to send an email, Facebook event invite or even a Google Wave if you're crazy like that, and set a time when you can all get online and play together.

Distract the significant other

It's hard to enjoy your game when your wife or girlfriend is competing for attention, or making you feel guilty for ignoring her while you game. If you have the means, pony up for a gift certificate to a local spa for a manicure/pedicure and maybe a facial mask. The benefits of this are twofold: you get her out of the house and entertained so that you can game uninterrupted and with a clear conscience, and you reap the rewards of being a thoughtful boyfriend/husband. Cheaper alternative: cue up The Notebook DVD on Netflix.

Note: The above is not sexist. If you're a woman and you're playing StarCraft, your boyfriend/husband is not going to be hassling you, he'll be on the phone to his buddies telling them how awesome his StarCraft-loving girlfriend/wife is and giving you a backrub as you play. The only problem you're likely to have is if you hog the PC and never let him play.


Give downloaders the boot

Nothing spoils a good round of online gaming like a big dose of lag. If yours isn't the only PC on your internet connection, make certain that word gets around to everybody on the network that this is a no-download day. That means no Netflix streaming, no Hulu, no Steam downloads and especially no torrenting. If your router supports it, look into enabling Quality of Service (QoS) filtering to make sure that your game traffic is given the highest priority.

Stay hydrated, but don't drink more than you need to

In online multiplayer, having to run to the bathroom is not an option. Drink only when thirsty.

Do not disturb

If you're in a dorm or apartment where people have a tendency to drop in unannounced and make distracting noises, make sure you let them know that you're unavailable for chit-chat. Hang a sign on the door, put up an away message on IM and set your phone to go directly to voicemail.

Plan for a worst-case scenario

With the evils of modern online-activation DRM, even if you bought a boxed copy, the unlocking process can and frequently does go awry when activation servers are overwhelmed by everyone trying to activate at once. Don't be surprised if you're not able to play your preloaded game immediately when the countdown hits zero—it could be an hour or more before you can activate. Have a game standing by that you can play in a window while you keep an eye on the situation.

Take a shower

Please, have some dignity.