Blizzard's creative development team has published a series of StarCraft story Q&As leading up to the release of Heart of the Swarm. The 11th installment brings us answers to such pressing matters as why Zerg can't play nice, and how Tychus Findlay is able to smoke in his space armor without passing out. Like we did last month, we've collected some of the best answers below, and condensed them into nice, Zergling-jerky-sized bites.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
In the lead up to the "impending" launch - er, in March - of Starcraft II's Heart of the Swarm expansion, Blizzard are extending its beta to include pre-order customers.
Anyone who bought the game before December 18th through Battle.net has been added to the test, with later buyers being added in waves over the coming weeks.
In the wake of the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week, it's understandable that people would look to place blame. Many in the media have been quick to suggest a link between shooter Adam Lanza's interest in videogames and the violence he perpetrated. Does the evidence support their claims? My research suggests not.
I've taken a look at the reports videogame-detractors have referenced, and talked to the author of an oft-cited study about the conclusions being drawn from his work. If video games do cause increased aggression, then it's not supported by the data available, and to suggest otherwise is to misrepresent the prevailing scientific opinion.
This week we had a chance to chat with Sundance DiGiovanni, CEO of MLG, on the past, present, and future of eSports. Read on to learn who he likes to watch, what he sees as being the biggest games for eSports in 2013, and where eSports could go in the next five years.
Blizzard has been posting an ongoing series of StarCraft lore Q&As with Heart of the Swarm lead writer Brian Kindregan. They're up to seven entries now, and you can read the latest one here, which links to all previous editions. We've extracted some of the more interesting and less-known facts for those who may not have the same voracious appetite for setting fluff as a certain, unnamed contributor to this site.
Tonight marks the beginning of MLG's Tournament of Champions, a single-elimination invitational pitting a who's who of the best StarCraft II players against one another for a $7000 prize. The opening match, kicking off at 9 p.m. Pacific, 6 p.m. Eastern, will be the God of Brood War, Lee "Flash" Young Ho, vs. Park "DongRaeGu" Soo Ho, a champion in both MLG and GSL play considered by many to be the current best Zerg player in the world.
If, like the fiery Butcher above, you're a bit vexed at the prolonged absence of PvP within Diablo 3, this spot of news probably won't sate your wrath. During a press conference held at Blizzard's Battle.net World Championship in Shanghai last weekend (via Gaming Blend), CEO Mike Morhaime revealed the studio holds "no plans" to bring the hack-and-crawl RPG into competitive tournament play.
Team Liquid recently caught up with StarCraft 2 lead designer Dustin Browder at the Blizzard World Championships in Shanghai. Over the course of the 30 minute interview, Browder revealed his team's plans to address the current balance and metagame issues in Wings of Liberty and the upcoming Heart of the Swarm expansion. You can check out the video inside, or if you're in a hurry, we've tl;dr'd the main points into a paraphrased list, organized by race, after the jump.
On February 16th, Blizzard's eSports organizers kicked off the year-spanning World Championship Series for StarCraft II. Hundreds of players from dozens of countries have battled through local qualifiers, national playoffs, and finally continental championships to make it to Shanghai this weekend for the tournament to end all tournaments. 32 players from every corner of the globe remain, but only one will go home with the title of global champion.
Eurogamer has reported that Heart of the Swarm well be released on March 12th, 2013. The information comes from Eurogamer's Spanish site, who spotted a listing on Battle.net. An official announcement is expected later today.
Blizzard still hasn't figured out how to link all of our minds with the protoss Khala yet, but it is giving us more tools to link up with our friends across the StarCraft 2 community. The Heart of the Swarm expansion will be introducing clan support, with a test build going live in the next major beta patch.
SlayerS, one of the most storied teams in professional Starcraft 2, will disband after their Global Starcraft II Team League match against MVP on November 3. Founded by Lim "BoxeR" Yo Hwan, a Brood War veteran and one of eSports' most acknowledged figures, SlayerS began in late 2010. At least three former members will be switching to League of Legends, while the future of most is still uncertain.
Blizzard's Starcraft 2 world championship series is one of the biggest eSports tournaments around, offering up prize money of $250,000 in a grand final due to take place in Shanghai in November 2012. The man behind it is Ilja Rotelli, Blizzard's Director of Global Community & eSports.
We sat down with Rotelli at the European finals of the World Championship Series in Stockholm to find out his plans for making eSports more accessible, balancing pro and amateur play, what the community might not be expecting once Heart of the Swarm hits, and why he wants to put Starcraft in every school.
At Gamescom last week Owen managed to grab Heart of the Swarm designer David Kim for an update on how the first StarCraft 2 expansion is coming along. Word is it's very nearly done. In fact, Kim mentions that it's "99.5 percent done." The beta is set to arrive "very soon."
Kim said that Heart of the Swarm's single player campaign will be twenty missions long, which is hefty, but most StarCraft 2 players are waiting to see what impact the new multiplayer units will have on the pro-game. One much-requested feature that won't make it into the expansion is LAN support. Owen asked Kim why local network support isn't a part of Blizzard's plans for StarCraft.
The best StarCraft 2, League of Legends and Counter-Strike 1.6 players are duking it out in Hanover this week for massive cash prizes at the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship. We're on day two, but we're still in the group stages, so there's still plenty of competition left.
The whole event is being livestreamed, and you can watch them for free on the ESL World site. Counter-Strike and League of Legends teams are competing for a $50,000 first prize, while StarCraft 2 individuals are fighting for a top prize of $35,000. Not a bad week in the office for those who claim the top spot on Saturday.
Blizzard recently confirmed World of Warcraft Monopoly and Starcraft Risk. Exciting stuff for the collector, but I'm not expecting anything that inspired. They'll probably just be reskinned versions of the classic games. And why not? Someone is clearly making a lot of money from the physical equivalent of DLC.
Do a bit of research and things get more interesting. There are already World of Warcraft and Starcraft board games available. They're appropriately themed to mesh with the game lore and, according to the informed hivemind that is Boardgamegeek, genuine fun to play.
A portion of PC Gamer has just got back from Bristol's very first Barcraft event, to watch the Providence Major League Gaming finals. Many drinks were drunk and much StarCraft II was watched, making it a turbo-excellent night. It's getting close to kicking out time here in the UK, but fans of tip-top level pro-gaming, don't panic: the MLG Providence finals are still ongoing, closing up tomorrow. If you want to watch them - and you really should, as they've been brilliant so far - get over to their website and catch the live stream. There's some incredible games still to go, and the whole event to play for.
We've also got two high-quality MLG Providence passes to give away to the first two people who comment with the name of a previous MLG StarCraft II winner below. Be quick about it, mind.
I'm a sucker for official merchandise. Not so much t-shirts and hoodies but classy stuff like plushies and figurines. That's why the official post-Blizzcon sale has got me interested. These products might be overpriced (and some might qualify as girl-repellent) but they're official and limited in number.
The special merchandise is available from now until November 18 at 10 a.m. PT. To gain access to the items, sign into the site with your Blizzcon 2011 ticket, virtual ticket or Blizzcon 2011 Pay Per View pass. Then enter your credit card details and bankrupt yourself!
Let us know what's in your basket/wishlist in the comments. I want the Diablo 3 t-shirt featured in the thumbnail image, lots. Whoops! I just contradicted the first line of this post. Sorry.
StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm is still in development somewhere behind the supply depot/bunker ramp defence in front of Blizzard HQ, but Blizzard did drop lots of details on Heart of the Swarm's new units at Blizzcon a couple of weeks ago. One modder on Reddit has devoted 60 hours of his life to recreating the new units in a custom map using the StarCraft 2 editor.