StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is still fresh off of the oozing, globular presses, and its community is still in a state of contention over the new units and the metagame still taking shape around them. A lot of the current concern is surrounding the new booster ability for Terran Medivacs, which allowed some relatively unknown players to defeat legendary Zerg players like Leenock in decisive fashion. Many have taken up the cry of "Nerf! Nerf! Nerf!" Blizzard, however, thinks the problem lies in the newness of the expansion more than the Medivac or another unit being overpowered.
We caught up with Level 85 Elite Tauren Chieftain frontman (oh, and he's also Senior Art Director at Blizzard) at the Heart of the Swarm launch last week to discuss the visual design of the expansion. What inspired the new campaign's aesthetic? How do you create Zerg characters that are both "zergy" and relatable to players? Between the two of us, is there enough hair in this room to knit a sweater? Listen in and find out!
Not only did I get to chat with the voice of Jim Raynor earlier this week at the Heart of the Swarm launch event in Irvine, CA, I also stopped by Blizzard HQ to interview Chris Metzen, Blizzard's VP of Story and Franchise Development, about the story of Heart of the Swarm... and beyond. Among the topics discussed are games as storytelling tools, where Kerrigan fits into Blizzard's roster of iconic characters, and what Thrall would order at Outback Steakhouse.
This week in eSports: MLG Winter is finally here! Heart of the Swarm has launched, and now is as good a time as ever to start eSportsing. Plus, competitive gaming has earned itself a spot at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference. Have a look at all of this and more inside. gl hf!
We sent intrepid, Viking-like Contributing Editor T.J. Hafer down to Irvine, California yesterday to take in the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm launch event at the Spectrum Mall. He was met by giddy pre-orderers, a hat, a Kerrigan, and the Robert Clotworthy, the voice of Terran good guy Jim Raynor.
In the run up to Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm's release later today, Blizzard are hosting a 21-hour global livestream of launch events, community features and the final of the Day hosted King of the Beta tournament. Those wanting to watch the full event will need to stock up on a body destroying amount of caffeine - the Irvine launch event, including the tournament final, doesn't kick off until 4am GMT.
StarCraft 2 developer AMA reveals why some things had to be cut from HotS, the problem with pro player feedback
The developers of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm recently did an AMA on Reddit, which brought to light some very interesting answers on everything from expansion features that didn't make it, to eSports, to release timetables. Game Director Dustin Browder (whom I interviewed not long ago) took point, providing responses to some of the community's most pressing inquiries.
This week in eSports: the Swarm approaches, and vengeance is upon us all! By this time next week, we'll have a champion for the GSL and IEM, Heart of the Swarm will be burrowed on our hard drives... and that's just StarCraft. Get off one last inject on your hatch, then 1-A your way down into this week's eSports news. gl hf!
The debate has raged, on Battle.net and around the counter at comic book stores, since '98: Terran, Zerg, or Protoss? But finally, in the eyes of two researchers in Edinburgh, a conclusion has been reached. Science has spoken. And the winner is...
This week in eSports: the death knell sounds for IPL6, but an announcement from QuakeCon gives us something different to look forward to. Things have come right down to the wire in The Defense 3 and the GSL, and the next MLG is right around the corner. There may be no better time this year to 6 pool or gank your friends into giving eSports a look. gl hf!
Much as we've all had a love-hate relationship with brick and mortar game stores, some of my fondest memories as a PC gamer have been lining up in the freezing cold with dozens of other gamers to grab the next big collector's edition at midnight on launch day. If you're hoping to have that experience with Heart of the Swarm, Blizzard has created a dedicated page to find launch events in your area.
This week in eSports: EVE Online gets its first ongoing, competitive league. The IPL could be changing hands. And only the final four remain in the GSL Code S. Get ready to face-check your weekly helping of competitive gaming news. gl hf!
There's only about a week left in the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm beta. Then you'll have to hug your Brood Lord plushie and rock back and forth for a whole 13 days before the game officially launches. As expansion day fast approaches, Blizzard has released the last of its video previews, and this one focuses on the new eSports and competitive features.
2012: The Year Without a Blizzcon. It was also the year I was finally ready to attend, which made the absence of Blizzard's annual blow-out all the more poignant. But at last, we've been told that the life-sized-Thrall-statue-shaped hole in our hearts will be filled once again on November 8 and 9 in Anaheim.
This week in eSports: which StarCraft II tournaments are making the switch to Heart of the Swarm, and which will hang onto Wings of Liberty a little longer? We've got the answers. Also, could World of Tanks break into the eSports scene? With an announced $2.5 million prize pool, it might be on the right track.
Blizzard is preparing to deploy the 2.0.4 patch for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, the last major patch before Heart of the Swarm, which will implement many of the changes teased for the expansion. A new interface, the new training modes, and the new replay features will all become available. Basically, everything except the new campaign, the new xp system, and the actual HotS multiplayer units will be included. Read on for specifics.
Maybe even more so than the players, casters are the public faces of eSports. Their engagement with the audience and the community has been a big part of growing and shaping the scene—even someone who couldn't name a single StarCraft II pro might recognize icons like Day and TotalBiscuit.
We recently had the chance to pose some questions to two of the veteran StarCraft II casters who will be bringing you the play-by-plays at MLG's Winter Championship next month: Alex "Axeltoss" Rodriguez and Nick "Axslav" Ranish. Read on to learn how they got into the scene, which players are the hardest to cast, and where they'd like to see eSports in the not-so-distant future.
This week in eSports: League of Legends Season 3 hits the ground running, MLG is already hosting competitive Heart of the Swarm, In Dota 2, only four teams are still standing in the upper bracket of The Defense 3.
Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm will be the focus of two invite-only competitions at Major League Gaming's upcoming Winter Season event. It should give us a nice opportunity to see what the pros can do with those jerk Widow Mines.
First up will be the Winter Season Showdown, a 56 player showcase that will take place on weeknights and select Sundays between February 4th and March 8th. That will be followed up, after the game's release, by a 32 player Exhibition Tournament at Dallas, Texas, between the 15th and 17th of March.
This week in our new competitive gaming column: could PlanetSide 2 be the first competitive shooter to achieve RTS/MOBA-level worldwide success? MLG and Sony think it just might. Plus: Who will secure their spots in Dota 2's The Defense 3 playoffs? This and much more below. gl hf!