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BlizzCon 2008 is fast approaching, and tickets to the event will soon be available for purchase. Hot on the heels of Blizzard’s recent mega-event, the World Wide Invitational, BlizzCon is going to be another stage where Blizzard will exhibit the latest developments to its games. Hopefully, StarCraft 2 will get more exposure this time around, like it did on last year’s BlizzCon.

What else can be expected from the event?

In addition to serving as a gathering place for the different Blizzard Entertainment gaming communities, BlizzCon will offer an array of activities, including discussion panels, hands-on playtime with upcoming games, tournaments, contests, and more.

BlizzCon

The event is going to take place on Blizzard’s home turf, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California on October 10 and 11. For those who can’t make it or can’t afford the admission price, the event will be televised using DIRECTV pay per view in high definition.

“Meeting and interacting with our players at BlizzCon is always a great experience for us,” stated Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We’re also pleased to be working with DIRECTV this year to bring the show, for the first time, to those players who are unable to attend.”

Tickets for the convention will cost $100 each, and will be available for purchase on the official BlizzCon website. Pricing for existing DIRECTV customers and programming details will be available in the coming weeks from Blizzard Entertainment and DIRECTV.

blizzcon.jpg

For more details about the BlizzCon convention and a taste of last year’s event, check out the official BlizzCon 2007 page.

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A new batch of questions and answers, fresh from the oven, has been posted by Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager. This is a pure batch – no Chat with Devs, no Gameplay Blog – but quite a few interesting answers.

1. What was the main reasoning to shifting the Hydralisk backwards one technology level? How does this affect the Zerg early-game, especially since the Zerg will have absolutely no anti-air units before the Hydralisks?

 

Actually, the Hydralisk has been brought back down to Tier 1.5, giving Zerg early anti-air capabilities without upgrading their Hatchery to a Lair. The test originally was to put Hydralisks at a later tech and have Corruptors be buildable earlier without a prerequisite building other than upgrading to the Lair. To make this happen, the Corruptors had to be nerfed appropriately to fit that tech, which made it very weak and much less fun. Additionally, without a prerequisite building, opposing players could not scout the Zerg player to see when they were going air, which did not fit the gameplay style we were shooting for.

The Hydralisks have returned to their original, StarCraft 1 tech level, after Blizzard’s little experiment with them as higher-end units. The decision process described above is noteworthy – it shows what Blizzard considers to be important for the game, and how tweaks are made to implement these considerations.

Hydralisks

2. What kinds of cheats will be included in Starcraft 2, and how will they be accessed/unlocked?

 

There will be cheats, but you wont know what they are from us :) sorry.

Thereisnocowlevel.

3. Concerning resources there is one big issue for mapmakers: There are only two of them. For many UMS-maps you need more different resource-types than gas and minerals, thus mapmakers were forced to use even civilians as a sort of resource. So will mapmakers be able to place their one, gather-able resources on the map such as lumber or gold?

 

Yes, we have recently added support for one additional custom resource type. Additional custom resources types may be implemented in the future, but there are no plans at the moment.

4. With the Battlecruiser’s new ability dealing splash damage to lightly armored air units, you could fear that the Thor has once more fallen into a role void. Is this the case or are the Battlecruiser ability and the Thor’s anti-air capabilities tactically different enough?

 

 The overlap is really no more different than a Siege Tank and the Yamato Gun ability or the Reaver and the Psi Storm from Brood War. The new ability helps the Battlecruiser against a specific group of units, which are units the Battlecruiser is already good against, rather than making it effective against all units. The last thing we wanted is for the Battlecruiser to kill groups of units that are supposedly effective at countering it, such as the Warp Ray.

StarCraft has always had “overlap” between natural unit abilities and spells/energy based abilities. However, energy based abilities are much less dependable, and can not serve as a long term solution or be solely relied on when facing a dedicated enemy. Likewise, Abilities like Psi Storm and the Battlecruiser’s new Missile Barrage are avoidable by skillful players, while the Thor’s flak cannons are not.

Battlecruisers

5. Does the Battlecruisers new AoE affect friendly units in the area?

 

No, the Missile Barrage does not affect friendly units.

6. Will it be possible to use the full 3D cinematics mechanic from the single player campaign in the map editor?

 

Yes, we are looking forward to seeing some awesome custom cut scenes from the community.

This is the second map-making question in this batch. Could this mean the Map-Maker series has come to an end?

7. Most users know that even invisible units can be seen by experienced players since they cause this nice little blur effect while in Warcraft 3 invisible units are indeed invisible aside from leaving footprints on the ground. So what about transferring the ‘real’ invisibility into the World of Starcraft by allowing mapmakers to choose from those two different invisible modes for each unit?

 

Map makers will be able to remove the blur effect that is currently on StarCraft IIs invisible units.

Cloaked Dark Templars

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Blizzard’s World Wide Invitational 2008 swag bag included a very promising item – a beta key for an unknown Blizzard game. Blizzard’s fans split into two camps at this point – the hopeless, lifelesss WoW addicts which claimed the beta key to be for World of WarCraft’s Wrath of the Lich King expansion, and the awesome, intelligent and handsome StarCraft fans who have decreed that the key is a clear sign that the StarCraft 2 beta is near.

Wrath of the Lich King

 
Today, Blizzard has officially announced that he beta key is for Wrath of the Lich King and not StarCraft 2.

We have some information to share regarding the beta codes received by those who attended the 2008 Worldwide Invitational or the 2007 BlizzCon. These codes are going to be used for the Wrath of the Lich King beta test.

If you do have a beta code from one of these events, we urge you to register it immediately and without delay. Full details on how to register your code can be found at the following page:
http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/misc/beta-signup.html

Despite the fact that StarCraft 2 is not as close as some might have imagined due to the recently received key, hopefully fans will not have to wait for WWI 09 to get their hands on the beta.

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More than a year after its introduction, the Mothership persists in posing a challenge for Blizzard’s developers. As Dustin Browder mentioned in a recent interview, the Mothership is still a unit with no distinct role on the battlefield. Neither overpowered nor blatantly weak in its current form, the Motership’s flaws are not that obvious. Unfortunately, Blizzard’s designers simply don’t receive enough feedback from testers to ameliorate them.

… once in a while it happens and then we’ll get some data but it just makes it a lot more complicated.

While the majority of the community isn’t able to provide feedback regarding the current build, additional pointers from StarCraft fans just might save the Motership from ending up as a glorified arbiter. Up until now, gameplay reports by fans haven’t been positive either, and it appears that even a month of discussion wasn’t enough.

Concerning the Mothership, it’s pretty much useless. It comes with all its abilities fully upgraded, but since you build it from the Nexus, you’d have to go all the way across the map to get into your enemy base.


The SC2Blog will be conducting a poll, designed to let the community voice its opinion on what it considers to be the role best suited for a MOTHERSHIP – one that’s positioned at the top of the Protoss tech tree.

Here are the options. Choose wisely.

  1. Straightforward Capital Ship. Massive shields and armor, high-damage output and a few combat abilities. A supreme offensive tool.
  2. Disruption and Damage. An offensive support tool, with significant AoE damage and punishing abilities like the Black Hole and the Planet Cracker.
  3. Mega-Battery. The ultimate mobile support unit, feeding mana and shield energy to the army. Can absorb a lot of damage, regenerates quickly.
  4. Air Domination Station. A flying AA fortress of damage and disruption. Anti-air AoE damage, Force Field and Lockdown type of spells, a disease-like aura that causes AA damage.
  5. Support Fortress. A flying castle with an array of battle control and support spells that can protect/recharge/hide friendly units. Also possesses abilities to disable/slow/lock down enemy units.
  6. Super Troop Carrier. Highly armored and with multiple defensive abilities and teleportation. Able to transport entire fleets and armies across the battlefield.
  7. Flying Factory. The Mothership can build ANY Protoss unit and warp it to the location it’s at. “Production” costs 110%.
  8. Base Breaker. Focused on abilities which cause significant damage to buildings, locking down production, disabling defenses and paving the way for attackers.
  9. Annihilator. The Mothership has a 5 minute “recharge” timer. Acting as a superweapon, the Mothership is equivalent to a Nuke in terms of damage output. Once charged and removed from its dock, the Motership’s “Unleash” ability becomes available.  An “unleashed” Mothership delivers massive damage to air and land units around it for 15 seconds.
  10. Power Plant. The Mothership has a wide radius aura, which: powers buildings, accelerates production by 15%, adds 40 energy points to all shields, doubles regeneration rate, and stops all enemy regeneration and healing abilities.  

Cast your vote in the poll to the right, and leave any additional feedback down in the comments, especially if you voted for the “Other” option.

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