Posts Tagged ‘StarCraft II’

Let’s get Raynor to rhumble: StarCraft 2 launches free version

Blizzard have released a big free version of sci-fi real-time strategy game StarCraft II, offering one full singleplayer campaign along with all the multiplayer. This launched overnight, available now if you sign up for Battle.net and download its client doodad. The free version contains the campaign from 2010’s Wings of Liberty–the one focused on humans–plus bot battles and online competitive, casual, and co-op action. That’s a fair chunk of clicking for free. A big ol’ SC2 patch has launched alongside this for all players too. Read the rest of this entry »

StarCraft 2 launching generous free version this month

A huge chunk of StarCraft II is going free later this month as a sort of big ‘ol demo for the wider trilogy. From November 14th, everyone will be able to play the full Terran story campaign from the original Wings of Liberty, the competitive multiplayer including units from all three chapters, and — with some limitations — the cooperative mode too. If you dig it, you’ll be able to buy the other bits of SC2 separately or in one big lump.

Oh, and people who own Wings of Liberty but skipped Heart of the Swarm will be able to get that Zergy instalment free – if they claim it in time. Read the rest of this entry »

Spawn Point: how to get into real-time strategy

spawn-pont-company-of-heroes

Hello. This is Spawn Point, a new not-quite-regular feature in which we take a genre, series or other facet of gaming culture, and try to convince you to give it a shot. It might be those hero shooters you’ve always wanted to get into, or that terrifying space game played by thousands of jerks. We’ll briefly explain the thing, followed by some ways for you to breach it.

First up, it’s… the real-time strategy. Read the rest of this entry »

Tweak-o! StarCraft II big balance changes incoming

I had thought Blizzard were about done with big StarCraft II balance changes, or at least had decided which units should be in the game, but nope! This week they announced a load of changes for all factions in multiplayer, redesigning some units and outright removing one. Blizzard explain, “This time around our general focus is to address underused units and abilities while also trying to reduce sudden game ending moments.” The changes are now live for public testing but won’t launch properly until after the current season ends in November. They’ve got a lot to test and think about. Read the rest of this entry »

Blizzard and Google betray humanity with StarCraft 2 tools to train artificial intelligences

When the robots come for us, bad sci-fi has taught me, it’ll be teenage whizzes who save the world. In light of that, I believe that Blizzard and Google’s DeepMind Lab are taking the audacious and treasonous step of pre-emptively toadying to our future robot overlords. They’ve teamed up to release a machine learning API and toolkit to use StarCraft II [official site] as a testbed for artificial intelligences. In short, they’re trying to teach robots how to outthink and outmaneuver twitchy teenagers in war.

Congratulations, you’ve sold the human race out for… what? Smarter surveillance tools? Better self-driving cars? When those spy drones hunt us and your car transforms into a bipedal robot with you still inside, you won’t find it so exciting. Read the rest of this entry »

StarCraft II getting an esportsy War Chest

StarCraft II War Chest

As Westlife once sang in their famous song about esports and their associated cash drives:

Tell me what makes an girl want to give you her credit card
Smile when you’re around and cry when you’re apart
If you know what makes a girl want to love you the way I do
Esports, you gotta let me know so I can get over you.

While I wait for top scientists to develop an answer to our shared problem, Starcraft II is smooshing its esports carrot against fans’ mouths/wallets in the form of a War Chest. Read the rest of this entry »

Gee gee! StarCraft II adding Tastosis announcer pack

We might not all have professional-grade StarCraft skills but soon we will all be able to have our games commentated on by the wonderful veteran commentary team of Nick ‘Tasteless’ Plott and Dan ‘Artosis’ Stemkoski. The pair have once again merged into the casting Archon of ‘Tastosis’ to record an announce voice pack for StarCraft II, which will launch this week with patch 3.14. I got into watching pro StarCraft through Tasteless on the Korean GSL competition, which Artosis has joined him in, so this sounds great. I hope Blizzard manage to capture the fun of two goofy pals goofing off. Read the rest of this entry »

Blizzard phasing out Windows XP & Vista this year

World of Warcraft, StarCraft 2, Diablo 3, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm are all to stop working on Windows XP and Windows Vista as Blizzard start phasing out support for ye olde operatinge systemes later this year. Other, older games will still work fine, but folks will need to upgrade to keep playing those newer ones. Windows XP is now fifteen years old and Vista ten, Microsoft have long since stopped updating either, and Blizzard say “the vast majority” of players have upgraded, so they’re knocking old Windows out and smashing ’em in a big skip. Read the rest of this entry »

Blizzcon Roundup: World Of Warcraft, StarCraft II And Heroes Of The Storm

There’s a lot going on at Blizzcon 2016 – new Diablo classes, Hearthstone cards and long-rumoured Overwatch characters for a start. If Blizzard keeps making games, how large could Blizzcon become in the future? Could it grow too large for Anaheim, California, perhaps? At this rate it’s only a matter of time before it engulfs the whole of the US West Coast. But for now: more announcements.

Between all of the show’s marquee announcements, and all its eAthletes competing for big cash money prizes, there’s also been the usual bevvy of updates unveiled for StarCraft II, World of Warcraft and Heroes of the Storm. Time for a roundup!

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StarCraft II Update Brings Separate MMR Per Race

Good news for StarCraft II players who play several factions: you’ll soon have a separate matchmaking rating for each one, meaning you can play/learn/try something different without tanking your ranking. Bad news for insecure SC2 players who try the “yeah but this is my first time ever playing Zerg ever in the world ever okay” excuse when losing: that won’t fly any more.

Update 3.7, which hits the North American servers today, also boshes in psychic superspy Nova as a new paid commander in the Co-op Missions mode. Read the rest of this entry »

KeSPA Announces Closure Of StarCraft Proleague

StarCraft 2

The Korea e-Sports Association, KeSPA, has announced it will be discontinuing the world’s longest-running esports league, the StarCraft ProLeague as of 18 October. Its closure comes after 14 seasons of competitive play across the Brood War and SC2 iterations of the franchise.

You can read the statement in full after the jump but I wanted to say that the golden years of competitive StarCraft were a bit before my time in PC Gaming and esports proper so what I know, I know from research and watching older VODs. With that in mind I’d really love to hear your experiences watching both ProLeague and with StarCraft in general – who you followed and why, standout moments, tiny heartbreaks – that sort of thing. Just leave a comment :) Read the rest of this entry »

Zewg Wush: StarCraft II Gets Cute With StarCrafts Mod

You are all adorable.

StarCraft II has got a whole lot cuter with the release of StarCrafts, a mod based on the long-running webcartoons by CarBot Animations. It gives everything a cartoony makeover, replacing all models and textures with squishy cartoon equivalents, complete with cutsey new animations. It’s still StarCraft II, it just, y’know, looks delightful. Given that the StarCraft II Arcade is included with the game’s demo, you don’t even need to own any of ’em to play this. Go on, get cute. Read the rest of this entry »

Logging Off: Blizzard Dropping The Battle.net Name

After twenty years, Blizzard plan to step away from the name Battle.net for their online platform and services. The Diablords and Warcrafteers today announced that they’ll be “transitioning away” from the name Battle.net, which they’ve been using since the first Diablo way back in 1996. No, Blizzard now want to name elements boring things like Blizzard Streaming and Blizzard Voice. Ah, the end of an era. Another icon falls.

Look, let’s be honest: names which are also domain names had become daggy by ooh we’ll generously say 1999. But don’t you see, Blizzard? A ’90s revival is going on – for the first time in yonks, the name Battle.net currently sounds cool.

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Mech Me: StarCraft II Big Balance Overhaul Incoming

I’m always interested in big balance changes to long-running competitive games, the rewriting of rules and reshaping of how matches go. I’m still waiting for football to follow Dota’s lead and re-landscape and re-plant the pitch every few months – I’d love to see how the cars deal with that. Over in the world of StarCraft II [official site], Blizzard have announced details of a big rebalancing coming up in November. Why go into it this early? Because they want a good few months of feedback and tweaking. Terran mechmen, read on! Oh, and hey, SC2 is on sale now too.

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Starcraft Universe: Hands On With The Open Beta

I think one of my favourite things about seeing a game jump genre is what it means for the ground-level stuff. An Ultralisk is never going to be scary, viewed from top-down, with a small army at your disposal. Leering down at you, with so many hit-points that the mission is more about distracting it, it becomes a very different matter.

Ever since World of Warcraft landed, Blizzard fans have longed, nay, demanded the chance to go on similar RPG adventures in the company’s other beloved series – The Lost Vikings. Sadly, today is not that day. However, a few days ago one of the most exciting fan-projects to remind people that the Starcraft II arcade exists hit a pretty big milestone – Starcraft Universe: Beyond Koprulu went into open beta, with the full game due in a couple of weeks. While I’m sure we’ll have some more on it then, not least because ‘open beta’ turned out to consist of a lot less content than I was expecting after playing through the three extremely long ‘prologues’, I went to take a peek.

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StarCraft Universe: The “MMO” That Blizzard Let Live

StarCraft Universe [official site], the free multiplayer RPG that has been built as a StarCraft II mod, is finally due to come out next month, after an eventful 5-year development. On top of that, the open beta is now live and can be played through the StarCraft II Arcade right now. You can even play with its free Starter Edition.

It’s been a strange ride for this not-quite-MMO, including legal scares, name changes and a Kickstarter. What’s all the fuss about? Come here and I’ll tell you.

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A Lament For The LAN Party

Before broadband and the connected world of information, we found different ways to mix our social life and our games. LAN parties. Where our PCs had a big group hug and let us kill one another in peace. Michael Johnson remembers those times.

Growing up as a PC gamer in the 90’s was a curious experience, the dawn of the internet age was upon us, but everything was still a little bit rough around the edges. To illustrate this – try playing the dial-up modem noise to a millennial and tell them that this sound used to accompany turning on the internet and they’ll say something precocious like “You had to turn on the internet?” before laughing in your face and stealing all your pogs.

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StarCraft II: Abathur Goes Co-Op Commander In 3.3.0

As someone who writes a lot about esports it feels weird how strange and incomprehensible I still find StarCraft and StarCraft II [official site]. I can sort of follow them but the intricacies are lost on me so I am mainly covering this Legacy of the Void [official site] 3.3 patch about co-op missions and the like because the gif on the site makes it look like Abathur is taking to the stage to deliver a talk about sales figures or something.

Observe:

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First Of Three StarCraft II Mission Packs Out This Month

StarCraft II: Nova Covert Ops [official site] is the three-part single-player standalone StarCraft II mission pack that was announced at BlizzCon last year. Back then, a vague “Spring 2016” release date was attached to the first installment, however Blizzard have now confirmed March 29 as launch day for those living Stateside, and March 30 for Europe.

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Wot I Think – StarCraft II: Legacy Of The Void Singleplayer

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void [official site] is the second expansion for StarCraft II, this time focused on mystical, mouthless, paladin-like alien race the Protoss. I’m not much of a one for StarCraft II multiplayer, but I wanted to see the singleplayer tale through to its conclusion and, heck, I do miss traditional real-time-strategy, so I took a belated look at the campaign mode.

When your entire cast consists of people who don’t have mouths or pupils, you need to do your damnedest to ensure their words carry the emotion their faces cannot. Legacy of the Void does not do that. In fact, it does the exact opposite of that.
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