Well gosh, isn't it around time? Blizzard have finally revealed and officially begun to speak about the third instalment of StarCraft II's trilogy, Legacy of the Void, at Blizzcon this weekend. It's focused on those enigmatic space-elves the Protoss for its singleplayer along with the usual spread of balance update and unit additions for multiplayer. The campaign is about your man in the middle there, Artanis, as he forms an army to take back his homeworld and coincidentally runs into the universe-ending machinations of the series' big bad. Meanwhile the changes to the online game hope to bring the foundation of modern e-sports back to some of its former glory. Get the deets below.
The campaign looks to follow a similar formula to what's come before. An opening couple of missions will set the scene, introduce you to the concepts of the Protoss and it'll expand from there, giving you a choice of what planets to visit and units to unlock and upgrade. There's a hub area, the Spear of Adun, Artanis' flagship where characters can be spoken to. It also serves as the "hero unit" for this campaign, replacing Kerrigan from Heart of the Swarm. Rather than actually being present on the battlefield, it has a number of special abilities that can be called from orbit, disrupting or destroying enemies and buffing your troops. Missions themselves will be a mix of general RTSery and special scenarios. Shown off was an orbital facility where your base must be moved between resources via massive rails carrying the structure it's based on.
For the e-sport side, three videos have been released detailing the changes for Zerg, Protoss and Terran. Each are receiving specific counters to strategies that have proven too strong in the past or nerfs to their own most commonly seen units. The return of the Lurker, Zerg's burrowing, spike-spewing siege unit is welcome and long-requested, being one of the most powerful individual units from the first game. We see a little of the influence of the campaign shining through with the flying upgrade to the Swarm Host's locusts, something which could be done in the latter stages of Heart of the Swarm.
Also announced, though not much detail was gone into, are two new game modes. One is a play on the old "team melee" mode from Brood War, where two players control one base in a multiplayer game. It leads to some great feats of multi-tasking or allows two newer players to still play at a reasonable level. Tournaments have been ran for it in the past and it would be great to see something like that again. The other is an "objective focused co-op mode" which very little was said about. You'll select commanders from the StarCraft universe and have persistent campaigns against the AI with a friend. From that description it seems akin to Dawn of War 2's Last Stand mode.
By the time you read this there should be an archive from the tournament livestream of some pros going hands-on with the new units and rebalancing.