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!
Got eSports? The competitive gaming scene has grown enormously in the last couple years, with PC titles like StarCraft II, League of Legends, and Dota 2 leading the charge. Many of you have probably already joined in the excitement and insanity, but if you haven't, I want to change your mind.
Heart of the Swarm is right around the corner. Take a few minutes to stop watching the cinematic trailer on loop and check out our meaty, Ultralisk-sized interview with game director Dustin Browder. We talk eSports, the new single player campaign, and the future of attackable rocks.
Thanks to its esports scene, much of the attention surrounding Starcraft 2 and its upcoming Heart of the Swarm expansion centres around the multiplayer. But it sounds as if Blizzard are aware that a large contingent of gamers never surface from the singleplayer ghetto, and plan to ease the transition to online play. That sound you hear is committed ladderers across the world salivating over fresh meat.
Why settle for just one hugely impressive CGI trailer with little to no relation to the game its purportedly promoting? Here, have a second, courtesy of Blizzard, who have released the opening cinematic for Starcraft 2's first expansion, Heart of the Swarm. I have unofficially titled it: "Stompy, Stompy, Boom, Squish." There's a Wilhelm scream and everything. Enjoy.
Heya fellow nerd-ballers. Get your hotkeys ready, because you're about to drop into the first edition of What to Watch: The Week in eSports, a new column bringing you the latest news on tournaments, players, personalities, and apocalyptic balance patches for the world's premiere competitive PC games. This week, we highlight the big events to look for in 2013, where to start in building your own game knowledge to gosu levels, and what happens when the worlds of eSports and journalism collide. gl hf.
Along with the new campaign, new multiplayer units, and a Swarm Host of other additions, StarCraft II's Heart of the Swarm expansion will include some tools to create custom interfaces for use in observer mode. Elements of the UI that are designed to help you play the game, but don't necessarily add the experience of watching it, can be shrunk, moved, or axed completely. Fonts can be swapped, and custom assets can be inserted.
Heart of the Swarm is the second expansion for Starcraft II, and it’s due for release on 12 March. Now, you could just say ‘Hey, ok, I can wait until then. I’ve eaten my fill of delicious Starcraft for now’. Or you could man up and grab one of the 1000 Beta keys that your old friends at PC Gamer have secured on your behalf.
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.
You needn’t see out the last few days of 2012 wallowing in a figgy pudding-induced sugar-crash: perk yourself up with this collection of the great features we’ve put up on the site this year. We’ve got informative how-to guides, insightful retrospectives, polemics, play-throughs, ‘making of’ stories and much more. You’re sure to find something in here to jolt you back to life or, at the very least, help to annul the post-Crimbo indigestion.
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.
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.
StarCraft 2's longtime player/commentator/ambassador Sean "Day" Plott is one of the best interviews in gaming. He's universally candid, positive, relatable, and unlike some game developers, he's got nothing to hide. He's also full of good ideas—another one of which was mentioned last weekend to GameSpot during the Battle.net World Championship in Shanghai. In that interview, Mr. 9 was asked to look into the long, six- or seven-year future of StarCraft, and tell us what he'd like to see in such a crystal ball. His response: StarCraft in high schools.
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.
"In the coming months," according to an announcement today, Blizzard will add an option to play StarCraft 2 against anyone in the world. Cross-region play functionality was mentioned back in May by the developer, but Blizzard is following up with additional details. To play on other regions, you'll create a separate profile for each server region you'd like to play on. "Each region will have separate profile data, meaning that characters, profiles, ladder rankings, progress, and friends lists will not carry over from region to region," says Blizzard.
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.