Blizzard announces cross-region play, multiplayer match resume for Starcraft II
In the most recent Developer Update, Blizzard's Chris Sigaty announced several features coming in and around the release of the Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm expansion. These include multiple items that the community has been clamoring for as far back as beta, such as clan support and cross-region play. Still no LAN play, but cool nonetheless. Read on for specifics.
- Cross-region play: Like Diablo III, Starcraft II will now allow players to create profiles in any region they choose. Your ladder ranking and such will still be region-locked, but there will be nothing stopping you from reaching Grandmaster in North America, Europe, and Korea on the same account save for the necessities of food and sleep.
- Resume from replay: Anyone who has been following the competitive scene knows that Blizzard's continuously staunch refusal to allow LAN play has caused problems in major tournaments when Battle.net has suspended or even dropped a player in the middle of an important match. This feature seems to be meant as a work-around, allowing a match in which a player disconnected to be resumed where it left off right from the replay file. It's no substitute for LAN support, but at least it's a solid step toward alleviating a very real problem.
- Clan system: At last, you will be able to unite your squad of 4v4ing crusaders under an officially-sanctioned banner! Very few details are given, but we can at least hope that it will include such features as clan chatrooms, and possibly something equivalent to Diablo III's banner system so we can wear our clan colors into battle.
- Unranked matchmaking: Ladder anxiety. That feeling you get going into a multiplayer match with precious, invisible Internet points on the line. Sometimes you just want to jump into a low-stress bout with a like-skilled player without having to worry about taking a hit to your virtual awesomeness ranking. This new option will let you do exactly that. It'll work more or less exactly like the current matchmaking, except that there are no ladder points to be lost or gained.
- Multiplayer replay viewing: Anyone who has ever tried to help a friend out of Bronze league will understand the usefulness of being able to have multiple players viewing the same replay, with a shared set of Play/Pause/etc. controls. Now you can point out exactly when and where your scrappy apprentices went wrong... or have it pointed out to you, as the case may be.
Other than the obvious LAN support, what other features do you want added to Battle.net in Heart of the Swarm?