Blizzard prepares for StarCraft II expansion, shares new features

By on May 8, 2012, 6:30 PM

Blizzard has announced plans to introduce some long-awaited features to StarCraft II ahead of (or alongside) its first expansion, Heart of the Swarm, which is expected sometime this year. Arguably the most interesting addition is the ability to resume multiplayer games from a replay file.

Because StarCraft II requires the Internet, many games have been ruined when connections are lost to Battle.net. This is especially troublesome when money is on the line at tournaments. Players have been begging for a solution since 2010, so the resume function is greatly welcomed.

The new replay system will also allow multiple people to view the same file, a feature present in the original StarCraft, but still missing from its sequel. Besides the obvious benefits of multiplayer replays, the feature should make life easier on casting teams who commentate on pro replays.

As announced for Diablo III, StarCraft II will soon support Global Play. Users are currently restricted to their region, preventing them from playing with friends abroad without buying a separate copy of the game. This will no longer be the case. Likewise, the game will receive multilanguage support.

Blizzard promises new features for clans, though it doesn't cite specifics beyond calling it a "clan/group system." The company also vows to add unranked matchmaking, so you'll be able to experiment with new build orders or practice with an off-race without decimating your ladder ranking.

"It's shaping up to be an amazing year for StarCraft II," the developer wrote. Along with new features, Blizzard noted various other happenings, including a Heart of the Swarm preview at MLG Anaheim on June 8-10, an opportunity to gain HotS beta access, and a new StarCraft II magazine.




User Comments: 25

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treetops treetops said:

It was pretty terrible of them not to implement LoL rejoin game feature on disconnect. No its not the solution for solo but in team games why not? If d3 is as stale as sc2 im done with gaming.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Coming from someone who hasn't played SC2 in about a year and a half: what's stale about the game? I got a bit bored of it, but I don't think I'd call it stale. Care to elaborate?

Guest said:

Who cares company of heroes 2 is coming out....

treetops treetops said:

Coming from someone who hasn't played SC2 in about a year and a half: what's stale about the game? I got a bit bored of it, but I don't think I'd call it stale. Care to elaborate?

Well they did not introduce a new race, it feels like im playing sc 1. They have some new units but more old units then new units. When I look at the leaps they made with wc1-wc2-sc-wc3 they are huge compared to sc-w3-sc2 or sc-sc2, just going off there rts games, either way. Leaps in every way you can take it, but what I want the most is new gameplay and units. I used to think of new blizzard games as mind blowing and innovative, spear headers of that genre. Sc2 seems like a step backwards in sequel creativity and not as importantly but graphics\interface(bnet2.0 chat rooms are ghost towns for a reason). The graphics are ok but hardly amazing, barely on par with the times.

1 person liked this | Zecias said:

It's because they're appealing to the more hardcore/serious(people who play competitively) gamers.

"it feels like im playing sc 1"

I think that's what they were aiming for. xP

They want to capture the essence of the first game, while introducing new units and mechanics. To really push SC2 as a competitive game, as they have, they need to make sure the game is very balanced.

Even so... I don't really feel like they are lacking in gameplay or units.

units:

(old)rine, ghost, tank, bc(they changed it quit a bit tho)

vs

(new)rauder, reaper, hellion, thor, viking, medivac, raven, banshee

zealot, HT, DT, obs, carrier, archon

vs

stalker, sentry, immortal, colossus, warp prism. pheonix, void ray

ling, hydralisk(has had a big role change tho), ultralisk, mutalisk

vs

baneling, roach, infestor, overseer, broodlord.

There are more new units than old units for every race.

gameplay:

reactor add-on, CC powers

creep move speed, creep from overlords, no overlord detection, queen

warping, boosting

and of course, the gameplay changes resulting from new units.

I think this is just a case where you bought a game that wasn't catered towards you. There are plenty of other RTSs that are more focused on casual play and fun, if competitively imbalanced, mechanics. If you're bored of the game, you should try playing custom maps; some of them are really good. Just my 2 cents.

treetops treetops said:

Sc1 was not copied from another game and is considered the most balanced rts of all time. It is very competitive you do not need to blandly copy an old game to achieve those 2 elements, that's lazy. When sc1 came out it was very innovative and unique it blew everything else out the water. Sc1 is very fun you don't have to suck the fun out of a game to make it competitive.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

So Blizzard should have neglected its existing fan base to create an "innovative" sequel with no elements from the original? That sounds like a terrible idea if they had any intention of actually selling copies. Also, I'm not sure if you're saying SC2 is unbalanced (which it may very well be, I haven't played in forever), but it's kind of unfair to expect the same degree of balance from a two-year-old game as you might from a 14-year-old game. If you think the game is unbalanced now, what do you suppose it'd be like with a fourth race and starting from scratch without familiar units like tanks and so on? You aren't making a particularly strong case here, treetops.

Littleczr Littleczr said:

I agree, i got bored of sc2 in a year while i am yet to get bored of wc3. I wish they would release wc4 with more heroes and land battles. Maybe one more race.

treetops treetops said:

No I am not saying its unbalanced. But I am saying they have steered away from the way they have made games up until sc2 and I do not like it. Warcraft kept its fan base just fine going from warcraft 2(1995) to warcraft 3(2002) and the 2 games are very different. Starcraft 1 (1998) to Starcraft 2 (2010), stick closely to the previous design, a very unblizzard like move up until 2010. I guess people like clone like familiarity in halo and modern warfare. But I sure don't. And that is not what I am accustomed to receiving from blizzard titles. For anyone who wants to yell what about wow expansions, they are expansions not new games.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Gotcha. Well, you're certainly entitled to your opinion. I played the original quite a bit between 2002 and 2008 or so and I don't feel like SC2 is a clone. Various units and themes are carried over, but that's to be expected if you're talking about a sequel (versus a reboot or an entirely fresh property). For the record, I haven't played much of the Warcraft franchise so your comparisons are over my head.

treetops treetops said:

I suppose saying im done gaming is a little dramatic , I expected big changes in sc2. Guess they cannot please everyone. For the first time I am on the fence about buying a blizzard rts expansion. I liked the D3 open beta weekend I have high hopes for it, blizzard is my all time favorite game developer and I'd like them to keep what I perceive as their values. Que Sera, Sera

Guest said:

blizzard should release 'heart of the swarm' and 'legacy of the void' expansion/stand-alone packs at the same time...

...so that I could finally buy my sc2 battlechest...

I'm already old and I can't wait forever.

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

These "features" should have been released with the original game. People seriously could only play others in their same region? That is ridiculous.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Can you play a SP campaign with another race yet?

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

Nope, I don't think so. You have to play along with the story/campaign timeline. That's the thing with all Blizzard games. Well, at least until you complete the campaign.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Yep, I completed the Terran campaign long ago. No Zerg or Toss campaign. You are correct in SC1, you did Terran then the others were unlocked. SC2 didn't have that, and I thought that when it came out, they said the expansions would be for the other races. Maybe I'm remembering wrong. This one looks to only address multiplayer stuff.

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

Possible. Something like a multiplayer-only edition. Like Halo: Custom Edition.

benken2202001 said:

I suppose saying im done gaming is a little dramatic , I expected big changes in sc2. Guess they cannot please everyone. For the first time I am on the fence about buying a blizzard rts expansion. I liked the D3 open beta weekend I have high hopes for it, blizzard is my all time favorite game developer and I'd like them to keep what I perceive as their values. Que Sera, Sera

If you're feeling bored with SC2 it may be because you haven't explored all it has to offer. Try the custom game modes. I was totally hooked on the tower defense modes for a few weeks. Special Forces ELITE is pretty fun when you play with friends.

I agree that the SC2 expansions aren't adding enough for my interest (and money). I'll play other games until they get cheaper, then i'll give them a try. But I don't think i'll fork out $60 just to play the same game updated.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Yep, I completed the Terran campaign long ago. No Zerg or Toss campaign. You are correct in SC1, you did Terran then the others were unlocked. SC2 didn't have that, and I thought that when it came out, they said the expansions would be for the other races. Maybe I'm remembering wrong. This one looks to only address multiplayer stuff.

I might be wrong, but I thought that Heart of the Swarm was going to let you play the Zerg campaign, along with some other additions... Don't mistake the reported bug fixes / patching in this report with the actual expansion that is coming - it's clearly stated that the multiplayer issues are part of an update coming prior to (or in conjunction with) the new expansion.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Ok. I thought 'Heart of the Swarm' certainly sounded like a Zerg campaign add-on. But I read the TS article and the original article and it wasn't stated. Or at least I didn't recognize it.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm just going by memory of what they had planned when SC2 was first coming out... And hoping they stuck to the plan. Haven't been following it to much in recent months to know if anything changed.

I do recall quite a little bit of grumbling about having to buy expansions to get the other campaigns, when they just unlocked in the first game...

treetops treetops said:

Yeah I played the custom games, pretty much like the war3 custom games. Of course that's in no way blizzards fault. I hoped they would have added a match making\ranking system for the top played custom games. Suggested it before release got yelled at in the forums lol.

gingerbill said:

sounds like a lot of nice new features. SC2 is a bit fast paced for me but I do think it's one of the best games ever made. It's brilliant how they made 3 diffrent races that play diffrent yet are very well balanced. Guess its going to be awhile before we get to play the protoss campaign if HOTS is still awhile away yet.Never thought I would spend time watching other people play games but I really enjoy watching the SC2 tournaments.

gingerbill said:

For those asking HOTS is the zerg campaign , they have shown the campaign units and the tech tree's from the zerg campaign . The protoss campaign will be the one after that .

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Thanks for the confirmation gingerbill. It just wasn't clear from the article(s).

If you play the beginner stuff online, it shouldn't be too fast paced since they intentionally slow the game down for like 50 or so online matches. Its only when you venture outside of the beginner part where the game is sped up. If its still too fast for you, you could play Starcraft 1 (preferably with the broodwar expansion) because in the online games there the game creator can set the game speed. There are still plenty of people that play SC1 online. The balance in SC1 is about as perfect as it can be because they've had something like 14 years to work it out.

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