Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm multiplayer to be more welcoming for newcomers

Starcraft 2 Heart of the Swarm preview

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.

Speaking to Polygon , Starcraft 2's game director Dustin Browder said, "We have some time set aside to give new users a better experience."

The result will be a new training mode for Heart of the Swarm: three missions that steadily increase the tech tree complexity and game speed, preparing players for life in the ladder.

"We used to say 'The campaign is the tutorial for the multiplayer' and it never really was," Browder explained. "It was partially true. You'd learn the race, you'd understand what the units did, but you didn't know how many barracks to build, you didn't understand that a rush was incoming right now, so get ready!

"The campaign just doesn't play that way. The reason a lot of players are strong at 'turtling' is because that's how campaign teaches you to play; a lot of our past campaigns certainly did. We're doing that less in this game."

Browder also revealed a series of UI tweaks that will help players get a feel for how many workers are ideal for mineral or gas harvesting. Other new features include auto rally points, unranked play, and a new experience system that allows you to gain something regardless of whether you win or lose.

Finally, a new Versus AI mode has been added, giving players the chance to face off against computer-controlled opponents of varied difficulty levels. According to Browder, "I don't know that this will get you to Grand Master or anything, but it might at least get you into Bronze. Which is sort of what we're hoping for with players that are struggling with that transition."

You can read the full interview over at Polygon .

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.