StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm video shows matchmaking features for beginners and veterans

Omri Petitte at

I don't know about the more experienced commanders out there, but my fun in StarCraft II relies a lot on whether or not I'm satisfied with the feng shui of my barracks placement relative to my base's refinery. Such a quirk usually doesn't bode well for me against humans, but I may find enough time and space to fuss over the spiritual alignment of my buildings in peace in Heart of the Swarm's new Training and Versus AI modes.

Part of Blizzard's intention in its redesign of matchmaking is striking a balance between catering to grizzled StarCraft II warhorses and helping fledgling players grasp the fundamentals. In Swarm, Versus AI mode now automatically picks what difficulty is right for me after I complete initial placement matches. Training gets even more basic, showing players the ropes of basic army and base construction techniques.

Unranked mode sets up matches against similarly skilled players sans the added pressure of ladder standings. Ranked play remains as it did in Wings of Liberty—competitive, aggressive, and something I'm deathly afraid of stepping foot in.

Hear more of Blizzard Community Manager Kevin "Cloaken" Johnson, the narrator in the video above, in last week's walkthrough of the changes Heart of the Swarm is making to StarCraft II's social features. StarCraft II's second coming is coming March 12.