Starcraft 2 getting unranked matchmaking, clans, multiplayer replays, and GLHF magazine
The first expansion to Starcraft II, Heart of the Swarm, will bring a load of new features to Starcraft II competitive play. Expect a lot more live coverage to come out of Korea in the near future too.
Production director on Starcraft II, Chris Sigaty, has just posted a developer update on the official Starcraft II blog.
Chris references some of the most exciting games from the Dreamhack Open and the MLG Spring Arena, and mentions that that KeSPA and OnGameNet are committing to Starcraft II leagues in Korea, breaking GomTV's monopoly on competitive Korean coverage. That change means the world's best Brood War players will likely be making the switch over to Starcraft II soon, including superstars Jaedong, Flash (who's already been spotted playing the newer title), and Bisu. Then there's Blizzard's official tourney: the 2012 Blizzard World Championship Series. That will probably end up as grand as it sounds.
It's not all community news though. Chris has also spilled the beans on Heart of the Swarm's new mechanics. Soon, players will be able to resume games from a multiplayer replay, turning crashes and disconnections from guaranteed gamebreakers into minor inconveniences. It'll let players resume play from a convenient moment; a massive win for fans of live streams and competitive play, hopefully putting an end to problems like those seen during the recent Global Starcraft II Team League finals, between Marineking and PartinG.
Global Play will also be implemented. That means players can create characters in different regions and play with friends from all around the world, bringing the community a bit closer together. Diablo 3 is getting a similar feature when it releases next week.
The first implementation of Clan Support is also due to hit, along with unranked matchmaking, which will put players up against similarly ranked players without risking the integrity of ladder rankings. Expect more details closer to release.
Blizzard also draw attention to GLHF magazine - a "volunteer-run e-magazine developed by an international team of StarCraft enthusiasts. We haven't read it, but it sounds friendly enough. GLHF to those guys.