StarCraft 2’s UI Is Being Revamped In Patch 3.0

What’s the worst thing in between you and interplanetary domination in StarCraft 2? It’s not the endless hordes of revolting Zerg. It’s not the condescending space-worthiness of the Protoss, or the wannabee space cowboy antics of the Terrans. It’s the menus.

Luckily, that’s all gonna change when patch 3.0 lands.

The changes are all explained in detail over here, or in the video below.

There’s all sorts in there, explaining the ‘benefits of multiple windows’, visual references to Brood War, making the game’s Arcade creations easier to browse, and other changes to how chat works. They say they’re aiming for ‘a more social experience’, which involves making chat channels more accessible, increasing chat room sizes and kicking inactive people. So if you like to do your socializing in Starcraft 2 chat channels, this is the update for you.

I don’t mean to sound derisive, this is just a news post about a UI overhaul in which I’ve ran out of things to say. There’s a new UI, It’s almost certainly better than the old one. Some of you will read through all those changes, nodding or shaking your head at the small yet overall significant impact they’ll have on your experience with the game. Most of you will not. Videogames.

20 Comments

  1. NephilimNexus says:

    Great, now everyone in Korea will have update their neurochips to avoid clicking the wrong button six hundred times per second.

  2. Rao Dao Zao says:

    But I don’t want a more social experience, I just want to play the campaigns aloooone… :(

    • vlonk says:

      What could ever be achieved by this foolish approach? Socialize already, the Blizzard Skygod demands it! He cannot watch you in your offline state. He is not an all-knowing entity. He is demanding but also oh so kind. All you have to do to receive his blessings of XP and colored sprinkly goldenstars you have to stand under his watching eye at all times.

      • vlonk says:

        All hail the edit button, for he is the true god in these lands. We will pray for your return…

    • c-Row says:

      Then I fear you need to look elsewhere by now. At this point single player in Blizzard games – if present at all – has “evolved” into a mere afterthought or an obvious tutorial for their multiplayer games.

      • Asurmen says:

        Well that’s not true at all, seeing as single player uses mechanics and different units than multiplayer and doesn’t teach you the concepts you need for multiplayer.

        • c-Row says:

          Then why did every SC2 mission feel like “Hey, here is this map introducing a new unit/mechanic, and it’s the only/best way to beat it, so… yeah, you know what to do, and remember it later”? It was basically a showcase of things you could do without ever easing the grip on your hands. I don’t want a showcase, I want a challenge.

          StarCraft The First had various maps at the end of the Terran campaign which just let you do your thing and apply everything you had learned so far. For all I know SC2 might have, too, but everything before that felt totally forced so I lost interested about 2/3 into the campaign.

          • Asurmen says:

            That’s a different point than it being training for multiplayer, and actually backs up my argument. Can’t really train for multiplayer without combined arms.

            I simply think they do that to make each map unique rather than precisely the same build base build units kill enemy/get hero unit to location A that was the majority of SC missions.

          • Jeroen D Stout says:

            I rather enjoyed Starcraft 1 for a while but if I ever have to build a base starting with two workers I shall scream. It did not help the AI was not the finest so they compensated with having big angry units right outside your view range. I think it got better in the Protoss missions but I was too frustrated with it by then.

            I think SC2 went too far the other way in its specific missions. It has some gems (the Zerg infesting the Protoss ship was one of the finest missions because of the power rush) but sometimes it just gets a bit close to feeling the player isn’t needed in the sense that all it needs is someone to press the right buttons. Starcraft 1 was not afraid to not tell you you were on an island, in Starcraft 2 it is ‘the flying mission’ from the get-go. SC 2 also has a strange ability to tell you want you need to do before you even thought about it, like you are watching a tv series with a friend that keeps telling you ‘this is the good bit’.

      • Arkayjiya says:

        I have no idea what you’re talking about. Blizzard has put more effort in their single campaign for Heart of the Swarm than they did at the time of Warcraft 3. Warcraft 3 campaign. There is a lot less re-used assets from multiplayer, they’ve been a lot more inventive in term of objectives and stuff that made their maps unique… They suck at story, that much I can agree with, but it’s been 5 years now (okay, 11 years if you count WoW) so I don’t see what’s new here.

        • Nevard says:

          Yeah. Starcraft II’s story is a load of balls, but the actual gameplay experience is great.
          The fact that every mission has some unique gimmick, that it introduced units that simply don’t exist in multiplayer (because balance isn’t really a concern), that you have all of this out-of-mission metagame stuff, is far more interesting to me than if I just had a rote list of scenarios that I would be able to win by playing the starcraft multiplayer against some AIs on differently coloured maps.

    • Zekiel says:

      Me toooooo….

      Also I’m slightly grumpy that this interface update will probably gobble up another 5GB on my already-full hard drive, just so I can click a different-shaped button to “continue campaign”.

      • jrodman says:

        It’s kind of worse than that.

        The amount of cpu time and network activity that occurs simply to present a “play game” button is enormous. The menu code in starcraft 2 requires more resources in ram, disk, cpu, and network transfer than several other games I play. Here I mean several other games running at the same time. Which I actually do. Sometimes I tab out of a slow game and run a short game in the middle, and then tab out of that and work for a few hours in a text editor, compile some code, and then return to the slow game.

        In starcraft 2, I can barely use the computer when it’s sitting in a menu.

        Add to this that modern game menus seem to be focused on reinventing the web browser very poorly. Some use actual browser code, but break functionality like caching with alarming regularity (downloading the same image 40 times during a single session is a good use of everyone’s resources!) Some use bespoke code of some kind. All of them build interfaces far *worse* than an over-designed web page: menus hidden behind incomprehensible images; categories that are identified by labels that make no sense; weird utility menus hidden behind tiny circle icons. It’s enough to make me wish I could launch their games from the command line with flags like:

        starcontrol2.exe –multiplayer –ranked –race=protoss

        Oh and don’t get me started around the updater that runs a launcher that runs a switcher that runs a menu where you can launch the game, all building hives of files with totally wrong permission schemes.

        Competence left long ago, I’m pretty sure bureaucracy of some kind is in charge by now.

  3. Emton says:

    Hey I just got the starter edition but I won a LotV beta key, does this do me any good?

  4. Stupoider says:

    Will Blizzard finally add an easily accessible exit button to the UI in their more recent games? Or will that insidious bit of psycho-engineering be around forever? Because having to hit escape to exit the game when you’re already on the main menu seems completely daft and, knowing Blizzard and amount of psychologically driven design in their games (skinner box etc.), I wouldn’t be surprised if they excluded the exit button just to keep it out of mind.

    • Nevard says:

      Looks very much like it’s going to be “click options menu in bottom corner, click quit”, like Heroes of the Storm. Couldn’t see a straight up exit button on any of those screens.

    • Asurmen says:

      Both D3 and SC2 have perfectly accessible exit buttons. What are you smoking?

    • jrodman says:

      Indeed, they hide quit/leave/exit on the menu that is misdesigned, but at least they bother to handle keyboard inputs like alt-F4 or command-Q properly. There’s a growing trend for games to simply ignore that sort of thing.

  5. Emton says:

    This game has serious problems. If someone could forward this to Blizzard forums or something for me that would be great because “Starter Edition” peons can’t post to forums.

    There is major problems with customizing hotkeys. At first I used regular then I decided to switch to gridkeys. So I tried the Grid Keys profile and decided I might want to have attack move on A instead of T like the regular keys. Well the only way to do that is to customize the regular keys into gridkeys. But this can’t be done, there are several units that end up with conflicting keys, one being the ghost and banshee, and there’s no reason for the keys to be conflicting.
    So I scrapped the whole idea (after wasting a couple hours trying to set it up over and over and over because for some reason restarting the game was resetting certain binds) and went back to the gridkey profile and decided to get used to using T to attack move.

    Now with the 3.0 update it complains about conflicts every time I start up and at the start of every game, yet it shows NO hotkeys to resolve…

    Furthermore I’m playing custom multiplayer games, nearly every person that joins is from Peru or Brazil or something and there is no way to see how good the connection is, so nearly every game someone just lags out and it’s game over. It’s like there’s hardly any US players even on…

    So far I’m glad I haven’t spent any money on this…

  6. kikito says:

    I hope they just make the single player better than HOTS. I am not interested in multiplayer at all.