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StarCraft 2 celebrates its tenth anniversary with its biggest update yet

(Image credit: Blizzard)

There aren't many videogames that are still being played ten years after they were released. Even fewer are still being actively supported by their developers at that age. StarCraft 2 is one of the rare exceptions, as Blizzard announced plans to celebrate the big anniversary with, among other things, new announcers to earn, esports reminiscences, and the official rollout of the 5.0 patch—the biggest patch it's ever had—that adds new achievements, co-op commander talents, and a major upgrade to the map editor.

Every StarCraft 2 mission in the game, including those in the Nova Covert Ops mission pack, has been given brand-new achievements, encouraging players to "relive the story [and] discover new ways to play." And if that's not enough to convince you to jump back in, a new Stone announcer—aka Agent X74996R—will be given to players who unlock them all. 

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Another new announcer, White-Ra—Ukrainian StarCraft 2 pro Aleksey "White-Ra" Krupnyk— will be given to all players who log into the game between July 27 and August 10.

The new Prestige Talents enables players who are really into StarCraft 2 to replay the level 1-15 progression for their maxed-out commanders, up to three times each, earning a new talent each time around. "These Prestige Talents can completely change the way your commanders play, opening tons of new gameplay options and strategic decisions," Blizzard said.

Stepping outside of the game itself a little bit, Blizzard is also planning on releasing a new series of short stories set in the Koprulu Section, one for each of the game's races—Protoss, Zerg, and Human—and members of the StarCraft 2 dev team will also be talking about some of their favorite moments from the last decade in StarCraft 2 esports.

There are some smaller gameplay changes on the way too, including a "countdown to start" timer that will tick off a short countdown after the loading screen, and the ability to select a game server in custom lobbies. That's not the end of it, though, as Blizzard said players "can expect to see more in the future."

The StarCraft 2 map editor update, first announced earlier this month, is major in its own right, incorporating elements taken from the Warcraft 3 editor aimed at making it easier to use overall without sacrificing "depth of customization." Highlights include the addition of map-to-map loading, which will enable multiplayer lobbies to be transitioned between new maps) making previously offline-only campaigns accessible through the StarCraft 2 Arcade), formation movement and water pathing, the creation of cliffs of up to 15 layers (they were previously limited to just three), and a new "data collection" system that enables users to "declare and group a set of data elements in a collection," which I can only assume is important for serious StarCraft 2 map makers.

The StarCraft 2 5.0 patch notes are available below.

General:

  • Custom Campaigns
  • A new genre has been added for Arcade maps called “Campaign”. (Introduced in the 4.13 PTR)
  • StarCraft II now supports transitioning a multiplayer lobby between two maps. For more information, see here. (Introduced in the 4.13 PTR)
  • A new subsection under “Custom” has been added called “Campaigns”, and displays maps published using the “Campaign” genre.
  • Editor Improvements (Introduced in the 4.13 PTR)
  • This update includes the largest number of Editor changes we’ve ever introduced. For more information, see here.
  • New Campaign Achievements
  • A new campaign achievement has been added for every mission in Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm, Legacy of the Void, and Nova Covert Ops. Upon completion of all 10th Anniversary Campaign Achievements, players will receive the new Stone announcer.
  • Note: These achievements can be earned on any difficulty above Normal. However, they are designed to be scalable and are possible, though extremely challenging, on even Brutal.
  • Countdown to Start Timer
  • In Versus games, a short countdown timer will now count down to the beginning of the game after all players have loaded.
  • Game Server Choice on Lobby Creation
  • Lobby hosts may now select their game server when creating a custom lobby.
  • Note: Requires enabling an option in your “Language and Region” options.
  • New Announcer: White-Ra
  • More GG, More Skill”
  • Note: White-Ra Announcer cannot be unlocked on the PTR.
  • New Announcer: Stone
  • "A Dominion Ghost with a mysterious past. He is simply known as "Stone"."
  • Note: Unlocking Stone Announcer on the PTR will NOT carry over to other regions.

Co-op Missions

  • Commander Prestige
  • A new “Prestige” system has been added that allows players to play through the level 1-15 progression up to three additional times per commander. Each time a player activates Prestige with a given commander, they will unlock a unique Prestige Talent, which can be used to change the core gameplay of the commander.
  • Only one Prestige Talent may be equipped at a time for each commander and it is possible that a player equips none of these talents, in which case, the commander will receive their standard loadout.
  • Examples of Prestige Talents include:
  • Abathur: The Limitless - Ultimate Evolutions are uncapped in number. However, Ultimate Evolutions require 200 Biomass to morph and Biomass gives half the normal benefits.
  • Alarak: Artificer of Souls - When a Supplicant dies, it will permanently increase the damage and attack speed of one of Alarak’s nearby non-heroic mechanical units. However, Alarak’s active abilities deal 50% less damage.
  • Dehaka: Broodbrother - Dehaka gets a brother. However, they both have less life.
  • With 18 commanders and 3 Prestige Talents per commander, this means there are 54 new Prestige Talents to try out.
  • Note that Co-op experience gain rate has been GREATLY increased on the PTR to facilitate the testing of the Prestige feature.
  • Commanders
  • Abathur
  • The Double Biomass Chance mastery increased from 1% per point to 1.5% per point. Maximum bonus increased from 30% to 45%.
  • Artanis 
  • Tempest anti-air weapon range increased from 6 to 10.
  • Dehaka
  • The Greater Primal Wurm Cooldown Mastery increased from 1.5% per point to 2% per point. Maximum bonus increased from 45% to 60%.
  • The Gene Mutation Mastery decreased from 2% per point to 1% per point. However, it now works additively with the base trait instead of multiplicatively. Effective maximum gene mutation chance increased from 32% to 50%.
  • Han & Horner
  • Assault Galleons with the Hanger Bay upgrade now have the Endurance Training ability, which allows them to regenerate health while out of combat.
  • Hellion damage increased from 15 (30 vs armored) to 15 (40 vs armored). Weapon upgrade bonuses adjusted accordingly.
  • Wildfire Explosives base search radius increased from 3 to 4.
  • Wildfire Explosives Mastery bonus search radius increased from 4.24 to 5.66.
  • Karax
  • Solar Efficiency level 1 upgrade cost decreased from 200/200 to 100/100.
  • Solar Efficiency level 2 upgrade cost decreased from 250/250 to 150/150.
  • Solar Efficiency level 3 upgrade cost decreased from 300/300 to 200/200.
  • Solar Efficiency level 1 upgrade now increases energy regeneration by 1 every 6 seconds, down from 2 every 6 seconds.
  • Solar Efficiency level 3 upgrade now increases energy regeneration by 3 every 6 seconds, up from 2 every 6 seconds.
  • Research Enhanced Targeting cost decreased from 150/150 to 100/100.
  • Research Optimized Ordnance cost decreased from 150/150 to 100/100Research
  • Reconstruction cost decreased from 150/150 to 100/100.
  • Research Rapid Recharging cost decreased from 150/150 to 100/100.
  • Research Shadow Cannon cost decreased from 150/150 to 100/100.
  • The Fire Beam upgrade no longer decreases the Colossi's weapon speed.
  • Research Repair Drones cost decreased from 200/200 to 100/100.
  • New upgrade: Graviton Catapults: Costs 150/150: Makes Carriers launch Interceptors more quickly and increases Interceptor attack speed by 25%.
  • Repair Beam Healing Rate mastery bonus increased from 1% per point to 3% per point. Maximum bonus increased from 30% to 90%.
  • Chrono Wave Energy Generation mastery bonus increased from 1 energy per point to 3 energy per point. Maximum bonus increased from 30 energy to 90 energy.
  • Mengsk
  • Rank 0/1/2/3 Royal Guard units now increase Imperial Support by 1/1.5/2/2.5 per supply, up from 0.5/1/1.5/2.
  • Bulwark field radius increased from 3 to 5.
  • Bulwark field armor bonus increased from 3 to 5.
  • Rank 1+ Sky Furies in either mode now deal 50 bonus damage against Massive targets, up from 25 bonus damage.
  • Nova
  • Vehicle and Ship weapon upgrades now increased the Raid Liberator's damage from 13 per upgrade, up from 5.
  • Stetmann
  • The Friends Forever talent has been moved from level 5 to level 9.
  • The Pushing the Egonvolope talent has been moved from level 9 to level 15.
  • The Mechnum Opus talent has been moved from level 15 to level 5.
  • Stukov
  • Infested Marine cost decreased from 25 to 15.
  • Tychus
  • The Outlaw Availability Mastery increased from 2 seconds per point to 3 seconds per point. Maximum bonus increased from 60 seconds to 90 seconds.

Bug Fixes

  • General
  • Fixed an issue where adding and taking away units from a control group with a large number of units would cause performance hiccups.
  • Co-op Missions
  • Karax
  • Newly built Nexuses will now properly cast Chrono Boost on themselves when there is a Karax in the game.
  • Increased the subgroup priority of Energizers in phasing mode to match that of regular Energizers.
  • Mengsk
  • Fixed a bug where Imperial Intercessors with the Dual Resuscitators upgrade would heal more quickly than intended.
  • Stetmann
  • Fixed a bug where Mecha Baneling Egonergy Enhanced Explosives damage was capped at 50.
  • Mecha Utralisks now have a cleave attack as intended.
  • Tychus
  • Fixed an issue where canceling a queued Outlaw could cause a player to lose the Outlaw slot.
  • Versus
  • Shield Batteries will now correctly obey stop commands on non-defensive structures while autocast is enabled.
  • Shield Batteries with the Battery Overcharge buff may no longer restore the shields of units inside transports.
  • Editor Fixes from 4.13 Based on Feedback
  • Special thanks to the mapping community. Your feedback has been very helpful for hunting down editor bugs over the course of the 4.13 PTR.
  • Cliff Pathing is now correctly populated for Cliff Levels higher than 3.
  • Fixed an issue where using some items could crash the game.
  • Fixed an issue where a new Hero Unit type could have their attribute points accumulated incorrectly when leveling up.
  • When changing a Data Collection's ID, the editor will now skip changing the linked objects’ id if the given objects were defined in another dependency. This is to avoid crashes.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the legacy map converter to crash.
  • Fixed a bug where the CAbilIcon frame would ignore its command index property.
  • Additional Editor Changes Based on Feedback
  • Additionally, we’ve added the following features based on your feedback:
  • Added Trigger Editor GUI support for "Unit Info Button Tooltip overriding" functions:
  • Unit - Set Unit Info Button - Ability Tooltip
  • Unit - Set Unit Info Button - Button Tooltip
  • Unit - Set Unit Info Button - Item Tooltip
  • Unit - Reset Unit Info Button - Ability Tooltip
  • Unit - Reset Unit Info Button - Button Tooltip
  • Unit - Reset Unit Info Button - Item Tooltip
  • Added Trigger Editor GUI support for "Data Table Instance" functions.
  • There are too many trigger actions to be listed in patch notes. Please find them all in the trigger editor’s "Data Table" category.
  • Added more presets to the trigger editor’s Behavior Categories list. It now matches the Behavior Categories list in the data editor.
  • Implemented many data fixes for Warcraft Sample mods based on forum feedback.
  • If you would like to create Warcraft-style melee map, it’s best not to use the default StarCraft II melee game options as they will disable a hero’s ability to gain XP. Instead, we’ve added a custom "Use War3 Melee Setting" trigger action in the Warcraft sample mod. This trigger action will set the player’s hero limit, starting buildings, time of day, and creeps based on Warcraft III melee settings.
  • Added a Boolean property, UseAlertIcon, to the CInventoryPanel frame.
  • If checked, items in the inventory will show the Item’s alert version name, icon, and tooltips. If unchecked, it will show a normal icon.
  • This is useful for creating items with different descriptions when found in an Item Shop versus when it’s in an Inventory.
  • Default off.
  • Added a Boolean property, ShowAgentInventory, to the CInventoryPanel frame.
  • Added based on feedback that some modders would have the "Show Buyer's Inventory" feature to be optional instead of a global change.
  • A Neutral Shop’s inventory panel will now only display the "Buyer's Inventory" with this value checked.
  • Added a Boolean field, Require Enabled, to the new "Unit Test Weapon Type" validator.
  • When validating whether a unit has a Ranged or Melee weapon, this field can be used to ignore disabled weapons on the unit.
  • All Warcraft III melee heroes have hidden anti-air weapons that can only be unlocked by Orb. This change allows these melee heroes, like the Mountain King, to no longer to be marked as having a ranged weapon.
Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.