Hell, It’s About Time: Heart Of The Swarm Beta Goes Live

By Nathan Grayson on September 6th, 2012 at 6:00 pm.

I can only assume this screenshot was taken when Kerrigan's pathfinding went wonky and she walked right into lava.

It’s been quite the day for long-awaited project launches. First Natural Selection 2 got a release month, and now StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm‘s beta has all its Overlords in a nice, neatly organized row. Also, I guess Farmville 2′s taken to Facebook’s oh-so-fertile pastures. So that’s… yep. Anyway, StarCraft! The beta’s officially up and running, and you could very well be in it. But probably not – because the initial round of invites went out to “a select group of pro-gamers, members of the press, Arcade contest winners, and shoutcasters.” Soon, though. Sooooooooon.

On the bright side, there’s no NDA, so expect a blood-and-acid-spewing parade of information to hit the Internet any second now. You’d probably like to actually participate, though, and fortunately, you’ve got a few options. Blizzard explained:

“We will soon be inviting other players to participate in the beta, so be sure you’ve opted in by clicking on the ‘Beta Profile Settings’ under the Account Management section of your Battle.net account. Signing up from a Battle.net account that’s actively playing StarCraft II will help your chances of being selected. Note that opting in doesn’t guarantee beta access.”

“We’ll be providing beta entry giveaways through various promotions on our sites, as well as through fansites and community VIPs. We’ll have more information available on these promotions as they approach.”

As for available content, Blizzard says that it’s “starting off” with only multiplayer – which, if you want to read into things, suggests that single-player could potentially be added down the line. For now, though, it’s all about testing new units and abilities for each race. Meanwhile, “additional Heart of the Swarm features will also become available in future phases of the beta test. More details will be announced at a later date.”

There’s no planned ending for this beta, either, so it may well kick around for quite some time. There is, after all, quite a lot to balance here, and Blizzard’s proven impressively unafraid of cutting entire units and strategies in the past. So we’ll see. In the meantime, though, I guess my main advice for getting to play some StarCraft II early would be… to play more StarCraft II. Right then. If you need more profundities, I’ll be over here noticing that a lot of rock ‘n’ roll songs totally use the same few chord progressions.

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107 Comments »

  1. ShatteredAwe says:

    Blizzard’s already pissed me off with Diablo 3 and World of Warcraft. Sorry, but I will not be buying this expansion.

    • Nameless1 says:

      Not to mention the incredibly horrible Starcraft 2 plot and narration.

      • Sic says:

        Well, if you want to look at the bright side, it was infinitely better than the Diablo 3 plot and narration.

        • Jenks says:

          I didn’t buy D3, but I find that hard to believe. SC2 was really, really bad.

          • tetracycloide says:

            D3 was much worse. I think Diablo is what put it over SC2. For some reason they have the lord of terror talk your ear off with impotent threats.

          • Jenks says:

            Sounds like they stayed true to the series…

            RIP Blizzard :_(

          • Brun says:

            The dialogue in Diablo 3 was seriously something I’d expect to hear on Saturday morning anime cartoons. It was that bad.

      • x1501 says:

        Or stuff like Blizzard declaring offline gaming and LAN support as antithetical to their “philosophy”, only to later ban thousands of Starcraft II players for using nonkosher third-party cheating tools. . . in singleplayer games.

        • pkt-zer0 says:

          “Singleplayer cheats” being “MP maphacks on their auto-ban list”, actually.

          • x1501 says:

            http://www.cheathappens.com/article_blizzardbans.asp

            I even have a personal anecdote on the subject. Back in late 2010 or early 2011, a perfectly trustworthy friend of mine who had zero interest in competitive multiplayer, swore that he got suspended from Battle.net because of his use of a trainer in later levels of the singleplayer campaign. Since I have no reason to suspect that he was lying, “MP maphacks”, my backside.

          • acheron says:

            There are built-in cheat codes if you want to cheat in single-player mode. Why didn’t your “friend” just use those?

          • jrodman says:

            It’s easy to have a more satisfying experience with a trainer than you can control than build-in cheat codes which frequently don’t adjust the factors you care to adjust.

            Meanwhile, you want him to answer for someone else?

            This comes across as not believing, which is fine, but in context challenging is rude.

        • Brigand says:

          If he wanted to cheat in the single player why didn’t he just use the cheat codes? Unless.. he was trying to deceive the system because he wanted the achievements and portraits which other people had to get fairly. But that’s a fairly cynical suggestion and i’m sure your friend wouldn’t do that.

          • Blackseraph says:

            You seriously think that that should in anyway be bannable offense from single player game?

            That is not retarded at all…

          • Brigand says:

            Please, regale me with your extensive knowledge on the subject. You must be terribly well informed to be confident enough to throw slanderous words at me while not putting together a cohesive argument to back any of it up.

            All that aside, i’ll write a quick summary of why you’d be wrong.

            First of all, they could still play the single player portion of the game just in offline mode. Second of all, a good few people care about achievements (Don’t respond to that with condescendence) and put time and work towards getting them. Thirdly, Blizzard clearly state that using third party software is against their terms of service. So yes he should be banned.

          • x1501 says:

            Well, considering that we now have more than 5000km between us and I have no way of asking him directly, I can now only guess my friend’s motives were. But if I have to guess…

            The game was released on July 27, 2010. From what I see, Blizzard officially released the list of the “sanctioned” cheat codes on December 02, 2010, more than two months after the first wave of bans. Back then, he probably had no way of knowing about most of these codes to begin with.

            Even then, the official list of cheats seems quite limited compared with what third-party trainers like ones listed at the above site can do. Perhaps he was interested in using some of the more exotic “cheats”, like increased unit ranges and fire rates.

            Or, you know, perhaps the fact that no one had ever been banned for using trainers in singleplayer may have had something to do with his decision. Whatever the reasons, it’s important to remember that Blizzard’s pointless decision to merge the offline singleplayer with their user-unfriendly security-obsessed online ranked multiplayer service is not to blame here. Those guys are infallible. My “friend” isn’t.

          • Blackseraph says:

            @brigand
            Slanderous? You are taking this too personally I think.

            Anyway, from link x1501 posted

            For some, their accounts were suspended and for others their CD keys were disabled and they were completely locked out of playing even campaign mode in their legally purchased game.

            So no they couldn’t play offline mode.

            I also can respond to that achievement part with condescense, it really doesn’t matter if someone cares about them, it should not be ground for banning someone, since they really don’t matter all that much.

            Third point I gave to you but it is in no way moral in my opinion if it doesn’t affect other people, and most likely even illegal in some countries (mine for instance) to ban for something like that. It is also good argument for piracy as well.

          • Brigand says:

            @ x1501

            Yes that is a possible scenario alright. Sadly however, in the majority of cases do you really think that people were just cheating to experiment with the campaign when there’s something to gain from using third party hacks.

            @Blackseraph

            The term slanderous was used most jovially I assure you. I do apologise if the overall tone of my comment portrayed otherwise and didn’t appeal to the loveable gentleman i’m sure you are.

            I fail to see how a website called cheathappens could be anyway biased so I must grudgingly agree with everything you said there. Despite knowing that it’s a technical impossibility as there’s no way in hell they could stop you from opening the game and playing offline on a guest account. And even though i’m 90% sure that Starcraft 2 doesn’t even use CD keys just an online game code, that source you provided is definitely watertight.

            You don’t play Starcraft 2 do you? Achievements matter to some people it doesn’t matter if you think they’re pointless (I do too). If it’s important to them then their sense of accomplishment shouldn’t be undermined by someone else because they cheated, remember there are children playing the game. Children love shiny achievements.

          • jrodman says:

            Brigand, you’re being ridiculous.
            We’ve had game trainers for 30 years for games, and no one ever considered it morally problematic to use them, aside from very insecure gamers. That this suddenly merited a ban just because blizzard decided to make their game talk to the internet periodically? Also ridiculous.

            There’s no defense for this, and that you’re trying is stupid.

      • Dark Nexus says:

        Oh, the writing was painfully bad. I transitioned from initial glee, to groaning, to outright yelling at my computer screen. All during the first cinematic of the campaign.

        It felt like fan fiction based on ideas from a bunch of friends sitting around going “wouldn’t it be cool if…” – and it wasn’t a particularly good example of that kind of fan fiction either.

        I don’t know that even a MST3K treatment of it could have saved the writing…

        The game play in the missions made up for it though, at least for me.

        • Walf says:

          Really? How was the writing any more silly or cliched then the original? The whole series is an homage to action movie and sci-fi tropes. You can’t tell me that classic lines in starcraft 1 like “Thank god for cold fusion”, and “It’s a zergling Lester” are any more sillier then “I always got another card to play”. And how about things like Fenix dying like a total chump in one of the first protoss cut scenes? Or Samir Duran’s deception.I didn’t see that coming. :P Hell, I’d argue that the whole protoss story in the original was clunky and didn’t get me very invested at all. It was even worse in the expansion. I had no interest or connection to the characters at all.

          I think Starcraft 2 did a fairly better job at investing me in the setting here and giving me a cast of characters I cared a lot more about and was more intrigued with. Was it perfect? No. But, it wasn’t say Command and Conquer bad either.

          • Dark Nexus says:

            Yes, really. While the first game wasn’t perfect and had it’s low points in the writing department, I found the writing in SC2 to be worse and the low points to be a lot lower, and a lot more frequent. SC1 had silly and cliched moments, SC2 was almost all silly and camp, with poor delivery.

            As far as C&C goes, they’re aiming for camp. That’s different. That’s like the cheezy B-movie that knows damned well it’s a B-movie (see: Anything starring Bruce Campbell) and acts accordingly. It felt like SC2 was aiming for badass, and missed by a wide margin. It committed the sin of camp that took itself seriously.

            I can’t say I cared for any of the new SC2 characters, and cared a whole lot less for the returning cast than I did initially in SC. The gameplay was what invested me in the setting, no matter how much the plot turned me off of it.

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          Starcraft aside, we really do need an MST3K for games.

          • Dark Nexus says:

            I’ve seen it done for cinematics before, but doing it for a full game would be amazing.

      • ChaosSmurf says:

        can someone explain this to me, as I don’t really get it. I’d agree StarCraft 2′s writing wasn’t a masterpiece, but I don’t understand the downright hatred.

        • Nevard says:

          People don’t like things that are both average and also successful, to the point where they will exaggerate the flaws beyond comprehension

          • ChaosSmurf says:

            oh.

            Well I knew that.

            More seriously: I wish StarCraft 2 was the quality that I expected of an “average” video game. That would be a very nice world.

          • Pyotrmarks says:

            Well actually I think people have the right to be hard and critic of Starcraft 2 when they were promised a great game with an epic story and we got that… One of the reasons Blizzard stated for breaking Starcraft 2 into 3 separate games was that they wanted to tell a better story, in their words:
            “The campaigns are planned as concentrated, epic storylines, with enough content to justify a full release.” Yeah right…
            I personally enjoyed the game, I think the missions were well designed and the gameplay was well thought out, but looking from a broader perspective you payed 60$ for a game that took 4 years and Millions of $ to be developed so yeah I was expecting a better story not that… they really dropped the ball there.

        • Brigand says:

          I love the game but it’s hard to defend the writing when the ominously named, super bad guy, ” The Dark Voice” quotes the A-team. I get that he’s just managed to pull off what was probably a pretty well thought out scheme but did he really need to say “I love it when a plan comes together”. They stopped short of a wink into the camera and a freeze frame.

          • ChaosSmurf says:

            Isn’t this just a style of writing, rather than an actual detriment? I realise it’s a pretty weak defense if you find that sort of thing cringe-worthy, but there is a segment of people – a not insignificant one – who excitedly flip their shit if you reference something they understand. I’m not the largest A-Team fan in the world (in fact, I don’t think I’ve seen an episode) but it made me chuckle.

            The game is full of this sort of thing, from the news broadcasts to General Warfield’s “terrible, terrible damage line” (now that one did crack me up properly the first time). It’s trashy and cliche and classic and appeals to the lowest common denominator – but it’s incredibly well DONE classic cliche trash that appeals to the lowest common denominator.

          • tetracycloide says:

            Cliche and in-reference ridden B-movie style witting, the panache, has always been their idiom hasn’t it?

        • Dark Nexus says:

          Well, it seems to have regressed since SC1. While everything else I can think of about the game (other than the DRM) was better than SC1, the writing was worse. While it wasn’t good writing on it’s own, it came across even worse when compared to the quality of everything else in the game. Simply put, it actively made the game worse than it could have been.

          Or maybe I just found the writing worse than you did.

          • ChaosSmurf says:

            Do you have any examples? I played StarCraft 1′s campaign a lot and – while it was fine – there weren’t any points where I really thought “this is some good writing”, though it has been a while. Equally, I just finished a StarCraft 2 run (Brutal Completionist, woo \o/) and, other than a couple of lines that make me cringe a bit (TIME WE PUT THIS REVOLUTION INTO OVERDRIVE is a little far, even for me), again there’s nothing that makes me want to stop playing the game, or skip a cinematic.

          • Dark Nexus says:

            Well, that’s just it. I certainly wouldn’t call SC1′s writing stellar (I’d call it average for a video game in the late 90s, maybe a little above average), but there weren’t cringe-worthy moments like in SC2.

            The fact that I kept playing and didn’t skip cinematics is a testament to the quality of everything else in the game, not an exoneration of the writing. While the gameplay was stellar, and the cinematics were superbly animated, I would have enjoyed both more if it weren’t for the terrible writing.

            Edit: That’s not to say SC2′s writing was all bad (I enjoyed the newscast bits, and most of the little extra bits they had in there), but I can’t really think of any writing that was part of the core plot that I enjoyed.

          • Alevice says:

            Starcraft 1 didnt have as many memorable lines (save for zeratul’s monologue to aldaris and tassadars response when he submitted himself for arrest), but Brood War had some great moments:

            [Kerrigan has betrayed Mengsk by killing Duke and his forces]
            Arcturus Mengsk: Kerrigan, you murdering bitch! We had a deal.
            Kerrigan: Oh, come on, Arcturus. Did you really think that I would allow you to come into power again? You practickly fed me to Zerg on Tarsonis, you’re directly responsible for the hell I’ve been through. Did you honestly think that I would let you get away with that?
            Arcturus Mengsk: But you said revenge was secondary to defeating the UED!
            Kerrigan: I lied. I Liberated this planet because it was the UED’s primary stageing point, not because I was under any obligation to you. I used you to destroy the Psi Disrupter and now that I’ve got my broods back, you’re no longer necessary for my plans. I think I’ll leave you here, Arcturus, among the ashes of your precious Dominion. I want you to live to se me rise to power and I want you to allways remember, in your most private moments, that it was you who let me lose in the first place

            Fenix: This is a betrayl most foul, Kerrigan. We were fools to have gone along with this charade!
            Kerrigan: You’re right, Fenix. I used you to get the job done, and you played along just like I knew you would. You Protoss are all so headstrong and predictable. You are your own worst enemies.
            Fenix: That’s ironic, I can remember Tassadar teaching you a very similar lesson on Char.
            Kerrigan: I took that lesson to heart, Praetor. Now, are you prepeared to die a second time?
            Fenix: The Khala awaits me, Kerrigan, and though I am prepeared to face my destiny, you will not find me easy prey.
            Kerrigan: Then that shall be your epitaph.

            Jim Raynor: Fenix! No!
            Kerrigan: What are you worried about, Jim? He died the way all Protoss hope to: in combat.
            Jim Raynor: He died because you betrayed him. How many more noble souls do you need to consume before you’re satisfied? How many more innocent people have to die before you realize what you’ve become?
            Kerrigan: You don’t even know what you’re talking about, Jim!
            Jim Raynor: Don’t I? I’ll se you dead for this, Kerrigan! For Fenix, and all the others who got caught between you and your mad quest for power!
            Kerrigan: Tought talk, Jimmy, but I don’t think you have what it takes to be a killer.
            Jim Raynor: It may not be tomorow, darlin’, it may not even happen with an army at my back. But rest assured; I’m the man who’s gonna kill you one day. I’ll be seeing you.

            (all of those from a single mission, True Colors)
            [Zeratul kills Razsagal to free her from Kerrigan's control]
            Kerrigan: I can hardly believe this! You’ve killed your own Matriarch!
            Zeratul: Better that I killed her, than let her live as your slave, Kerrigan.
            Kerrigan: Well, I have misjudged you, warrior. You are worthy, indeed. You are free to go.
            Zeratul: What?
            Kerrigan: I said, you are free to go. I’ve already taken your honor. I’ll let you live, because I know that from now on; your every waking moment will be torture. You’ll never be able to forgive yourself for what I’ve forced you to do. And that, Zeratul, is a better revenge than I could have ever dreamed of.
            Zeratul: You will regret this decision, Kerrigan. We shall meet again.

            [Kerrigan to DuGalle after Duran killed Stukov]
            Kerrigan: Oh, and by the way Admiral, your friend Stukov was twice the man you are. I’m glad you saved me the trouble of having to kill him.

            And some memorable moments from SC1

            Zeratul: Are you truly so blinded by your vaunted religion, that you can’t see the fall ahead of you? Your Conclave believes that they are winning this war, but all they’ve succeeded in doing is helping the Overmind to win.
            Aldaris: What could you possibly know about our designs, blasphemer?
            Zeratul: You speak of knowledge, Judicator? You speak of experience? I have journeyed through the darkness between the most distant stars. I have beheld the births of negative-suns and borne witness to the entropy of entire realities… Unto my experience, Aldaris, all that you’ve built here on Aiur is but a fleeting dream. A dream from which your precious Conclave shall awaken, finding themselves drowned in a greater nightmare.
            Aldaris: We shall see…

            Aldaris: Tassadar of the Templar, by your actions you have severed yourself from the mercy of your brethren. You refused to destroy the Terran worlds as was commanded. You have questioned time and time again, the sacred will of the Conclave. And you have abandoned your Homeworld in its darkest hour. Most grievous of all is that you have allied yourself with the blasphemous Dark Ones and learned to utilize their profane powers in tandem with our own! What say you, oh fallen Templar?
            Tassadar: Aldaris, I submit myself to the Conclave’s judgement. But know this, given the same choices again, I would surely have made them. I have sacrificed all, that our world might live. I have sullied my honor. I have discarded my rank and standing, and I have even broken our own most ancient traditions. But never think that I would, for one moment, regret my actions. For I am Templar, and above all else, I have sworn to protect our Homeworld ’till the end.

            And Megsk grand speech

            rcturus Mengsk: Fellow Terrans, I come to you in the wake of recent events to issue a call to reason. Let no human deny the perils of our time. While we battle one another, divided by the petty strife of our common history, the tide of a greater conflict is turning against us, threatening to destroy all that we have accomplished. It is time for us as nations and as individuals to set aside our long-standing feuds and unite! The tides of an unwinnable war are upon us, and we must seek refuge upon higher ground, lest we be swept away by the flood.
            The Confederacy is no more. Whatever semblance of unity and protection it once provided is a phantom; a memory. With our enemies left unchecked, who will you turn to for protection? The devastation brought by the alien invaders is self-evident. We have seen our homes and communities destroyed by the calculated blows of the Protoss. We have seen first-hand our friends and loved ones consumed by the nightmarish Zerg. Unprecedented and unimaginable though they may be, these are the signs of our time.

            The time has come, my fellow Terrans, to rally to a new banner. In unity lies strength; already many of the dissident factions have joined us. Out of the many, we shall forge an indivisible whole, capitulating only to a single throne. And from that throne, I shall watch over you!

            From this day forward, let no human make war upon any other human. Let no Terran agency conspire against this new beginning. And let no man consort with alien powers. And to all the enemies of humanity, seek not to bar our way, for we shall win through, no matter the cost!

      • tetracycloide says:

        Don’t care about the plot or the narration because the actual gameplay in the missions was pretty brilliant. Easily one of the best RTS campaigns ever in terms of the actual game part.

        • ChaosSmurf says:

          This. I struggle to think of one that was as good in it’s actual RTS segments (WarCraft 3′s RPG bits were brilliant and DoW2 was pretty excellent – but I wouldn’t call it’s single player actual RTSing).

        • Nevard says:

          This pretty much matches my opinion, the storyline was really nothing to write home about but the actual game part of the game I would rate very highly.

      • Carra says:

        Blizzard should hire a few writers.

        SC2′s level design was the best I’ve ever seen in a RTS. But the story? Tss, it’s completely forgettable. They did a better job with the first one.

    • Ross Mills says:

      Did you enjoy Starcraft 2? If you did, why not buy the expansion? I doubt they’re suddenly going to ask for microtransactions for each level…

    • Smashbox says:

      You know what sucks? Me too. This was in my definitely-gonna-buy pile, but I feel (and-Im-being-honest-not-hyperbolic-here) ripped off by Diablo. I feel scammed out of my money. I’ve been playing Blizzard games for more than half my life, and I really did trust them.

      I’m not buying this, and I’m probably done buying their games, period.

    • Brigand says:

      I feel sorry for Nathan always writing the Blizzard related articles. The comment section is always littered with people using it as their allotted time to vent their distaste at Blizzard and not discussing the content at all.

  2. MythArcana says:

    There is no strategy in RTS anymore. There is no clout in Blizzard anymore, either.

    • Sic says:

      Have you played on the SC2 ladder?

      Simple question.

      • HexagonalBolts says:

        I agree with Sic – that’s a completely ridiculous statement, there is such an insane amount of strategy in starcraft 2 that it boggles the mind, I am not a twitch gamer at all – probably the worst counter-strike player ever – but I adore starcraft 2. There’s just such an amazing amount of flexibility and variation.

        • aepervius says:

          It is a question of perspective. Game which tend to rely on twictch and my reaction time can make the difference between victory and defeat, are IMHO not strategic. SC2 thus has a strategic part (planning what you want to do) but that is at some point lost when a reaction 5 second later means you lost lot of unit/the war. That seriously limit the strategy aspect of the game to me. In fact the OP while exagerating, at the medium / high level of the ladder where the strategy are known, is more a question of who will do it quicker than the others, rather than a real difference in strategy. *shrug* you may have another perspective.

          ETA: as a heavy chess player as I am, even in speed match you still have much much more time to think a counter move than in SC2 you will ever have, maybe split seconds. That is the point which destroy the strategy aspect to make it a twitch one.

          • Milky1985 says:

            Still means there strategy, i’ve seen pro games won by a build order win, they scouted what the opponent was doing, built the perfect counter, boom.

            I’ve seen games where people have been behind but using smart strats (normally forcing the enemy to to be everywhere on the map, or forcing the counter) got the win back.

            Just because its has a element of control to it as well doesn’t mean theres no strategy, it is a valid strategy to focus on your strong points, so if your strong point is micro then get yourslf into a postiion where micro wins (blink stalkers vs stalkers for example). Its not chess stratagy, its a different strategy.

          • Groove says:

            I’m in the yes for strategy camp. In my mind SC2 skills break down like this:

            Low levels – Getting a plan at all is the most important thing. Having a good build order, a strategy of what to build and when, keeping up probes and pylons production, then knowing when to attack are all key. This will leave you so much more stuff/more relevant stuff than your opponent that micromanagement will hardly even factor in.

            Mid levels (all the way up to diamond league really) – control becomes key, you will hit limits on what you can do without high apm. You need to control battles without stopping building, you need to split/group your units, you’ll need to form concaves to maximise firepower, and you need to harrass effectively while also fighting and building.

            Really high levels – You need both. You need to be haring around at 100+ apm, then also making the correct strategic choices in the heat of the moment. Not a build order, whether to move your units a couple of inches right to have their backs against a terrain feature, or calculating in a second whether you need to pull a drop back or if you can overwhelm defenders.

    • Magnusm1 says:

      Wat.

    • Noc says:

      You’re right, there is no clout in Blizzard, in the same way that there’s no “I” in “team.” Okay, I guess there’s a little bit of clout in Blizzard, but just a sliver.

      I don’t think this is anything new, though? Unless they went through a phase of calling themselves “Cluzzort Entertainment” when I wasn’t paying attention.

    • sophof says:

      No strategy is maybe a bit harsh, but it could be much more interesting yes. However, since most players appear to have put a gazillion hours into ‘micro’, I doubt that will change soon.

      To the nay-sayers. Imagine if in SC2 every action that had only 1 correct outcome was done automatically…

      • tetracycloide says:

        Which actions are you thinking of because I can’t think of any that fall into that category outside the worker split at the start of each game.

        • arccos says:

          Yes, I don’t really get the complaint. RTS’s are by definition not turned based: you don’t have infinite time to respond. You have to be both good at the strategy aspect and the real-time application of it.

          The fact that there is a limited number of optimal move sets for the start of the game seems kind of an odd reason to claim there is no strategy, if there are people claiming that. You can only move four different checkers at the beginning of that game, and a couple are bad choices. The same applies to a lesser degree in chess. In any of these games the move sets don’t open up right away.

          In the middle skill ranges of SC2, there’s a ton of variety in the actions per minute players have. A good strategist with a slower APM often beats a faster, less strategic player. Towards the high end of the ladder, of course the APMs increase. The skill difference is going to be lower, the difference in APM is lower, and that’s because like any game there is a skill cap that players approach.

  3. pkt-zer0 says:

    Yeah, so. I thought SC2 was pretty great, and the expansion is moving in the right direction to make the multiplayer even better. Looking forward to the campaign as well, that was surprisingly good in the original (aside from the not-so-surprisingly terrible story).

    • Prokroustis says:

      I’m trying to think of why it was that bad, or worse than the original’s anyway, and cannot. Some help?

      • Brigand says:

        It turned the overarching plot into a traditional good versus evil mess held together by your stereotypical tacky prophecy while mutilating at least two great things from the original Starcraft.

        • Prokroustis says:

          No, really, how is that? It’s not really good vs evil, you can certainly sympathise with Mengsk for example, and with different pov’s coming with the expansions, that’s surely something good? As for the big prophetic baddies, it was already in part established in brood war in that creepy extra level I believe. Finally, what are these two great things that got mutilated?

          We’re talking about just the story, not the writing, gameplay, balance, or blizzard in general, just clarifying it’s honest curiosity about whether my quality judging sensors really fell that off.

          • Brigand says:

            The Dark voice not being aligned to a particular faction and seemingly wanting to destroy everything makes him the evil force that needs to be combated by comparison everyone else is a saint. You can sympathise with Mensk because of his character that was established in the first game. There’s not much to him in this one other than he’s a dictator and he’s constantly foiled by Jim Raynor and friends.

            I did enjoy elements of the story, my main problems with it arose in the Protoss side missions. I feel that prophecies just tend to simplify things and the original Starcraft was somewhat more complex because of the uncertainty of everything. Tassadar and the Overmind.

            In the end it all comes down to personal opinion really. It’s not objectively bad or anything I just personally was disappointed in a way.

          • Prokroustis says:

            Ok, thanks for the clarification. To each his own I guess. :)

  4. Ergates_Antius says:

    Dear Blizzard: Orange is not the only colour.

  5. Kid_A says:

    From what I’ve played of it thus far, and from other people I’ve watched streaming, it seems like Terran basically has a choice in a standard macro game between going bio and losing, or going battle hellion-Warhound-Viking and having a chance. I hope they fix that, because I’d really like to use bio for something that isn’t an all-in.

  6. FreudianTrip says:

    Blizzard were kind enough to ban my account for suspicious activities for having the audacity to download the beta that was publicly available. So awesome.

    This would be the second time I’ve had my account banned for something of this sort. Last time was when Diablo 3 came out and I attempted to log-in to the game I’d just bought (a week after release). Banning me from every Blizzard game I owned. Fun times.

    In other news, I look forward to not getting accepted into the beta as I never do.

    • AbsoluteDestiny says:

      It’s unlikely that it was for downloading the beta client. It happened to me for just checking my account at work as well as at home for an optimistic beta key. Given that I basically never log onto my account and did it about 10 times on different machines in one day, I’m not surprised it was targeted by a bot as suspicious.

  7. f1x says:

    My question is,
    are they going to sell this expansion for the same price as the… “main game” (Sons of Liberty)

    If its so, i’m gonna find it very hard to justify a purchase considering I play mostly the campaign….
    gonna find it very hard to justify even if it was half price….

    • FreudianTrip says:

      $40

    • Nevard says:

      I think they were quoted saying “it will not be priced as a full game” but I can’t be bothered to find the source right now

    • ChaosSmurf says:

      From the Heart of the Swarm FAQ (http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/game/heart-of-the-swarm-preview/faq):

      How much will Heart of the Swarm cost?

      We typically don’t provide details about pricing until the game is closer to release. We do view Heart of the Swarm as an expansion set, so for the regions that have a standard box business model such as North America and Europe, we will price accordingly. For other regions that have alternative business models, we’ll provide details at a later date.

    • f1x says:

      Well it sounds expensive still, I mean,
      sure there is a lot of work behind this expansion but I feel like I’m being sold a couple more units and a new campaign which might not be as long as the sons of liberty one

      probably I’m also a bit demotivated, with the recent “deception” of D3 and the fact that SC2 Sons of Liberty was not really as addicting/awesome as I expected

  8. Soolseem says:

    Anyone else notice this is pretty much the exact same screenshot as the one on the I Am Alive story directly below it?

  9. Smuckers says:

    Well, having finally built my first PC, partly to be able to play sc2 even though I bought it at launch (protip: macbooks with gma 950 cannot play anything newer than warcraft 3). I have to say I am excited for this. Perhaps others have had different experiences, but sc2 has been the first rts where I have felt comfortable enough to actually try multiplay for a change. The community seems to be fairly kind even to nubs like me.

  10. CaspianRoach says:

    Starcraft 2 has singleplayer???

    • Moraven says:

      Which has fun missions.

      I doubt SP will be in the beta, was not that I recall in WoL beta.

      • Milky1985 says:

        yeah tehy keep the SP and MP units speerate, even afte all the balance patches the Single Player units that are in the Multiplayer don’t seem to have been touched (snipe on ghosts is still 45 for example, veeerrrryyyyy useful on the last mission!)

  11. Moraven says:

    Got in the beta. Only have had time for a few games.

    I enjoy the new look of the creep and how it expands for zerg. Only have had time to explore the swarm host and fast hydras (yes!).

    Other changes made that have been an outcry.
    Start of game makes your workers start to mine. (great if you lagged at the loading of the game and/or not quick hands) along with showing how many workers are mining at your base node (6/24 workers at the start). Honestly, it will not have any effect for the pros and give the everyone else the ability to become a better SC2 player.

    Also the default UI changes on unit health bars throw you off a bit at first.

    Game looks pretty in Ultra.

    Need to try some protoss out here.

  12. BobbyDylan says:

    I quite liked SC2, so I’ll definately be buying this.

  13. reggiep says:

    If you ever need an example of what whiny, crybaby bitches exist in the gamer community, just visit the comment section of an RPS post that talks about Blizzard.

    Starcraft 2 is a very solid game, and surprise, surprise, no one plays the game to discover a compelling story. It’s all just a campy gameplay delivery system. And gameplay it does deliver. What? You wanted unique and original story in a game about Space Marines and aliens? I’d say you suck at managing your own expectations.

  14. lijenstina says:

    It’s also the place in the Internet were we get to know what you do with your friends. Heh, like RPS readers have friends. :P

  15. anduin1 says:

    Call me a glutton for punishment but I’ll still be buying. I still enjoy Blizzard games over a lot of other series and appreciate continued patches and support that they give their games. Granted, the changes may piss people off sometimes but I still think of it positively. I need to sell more crappy d3 items so I can just get HotS for free.

  16. Totally heterosexual says:

    That outfit

    I love sexy sci-fi <3

  17. jrodman says:

    I look forward to downloading the zero-cost “starter edition” to watch pro replays.

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