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Blizzard’s StarCraft 2 team has been busy lately, with both community managers and web content creators unleashing updates simultaneously. StarCraft 2’s official StarCraft2.com wesbsite has not undergone any major changes since its launch two and a half years ago. Indeed, this update brings some freshness to the familiar.

The new epic StarCraft2 Com Top Flash Banner

The site’s front page has received the most noticeable update. It now features a massive top Flash “cover” with a glowing, pulsating logo and a smoking Jim Raynor standing between the Queen of Blades and Zeratul. The cover, however, is the least interesting part of this book; the site’s updates include multiple detailed pages with new screenshots, short videos and artwork by Blizzard’s art and development teams.

The site now offers great information for StarCraft fans who have not been following StarCraft 2’s progress since its announcement and need some catching up to do. The new site portions include:

  • SinglePlayer Storytelling – a highly detailed article about StarCraft’s lore, characters, and the importance of the StarCraft universe and plot.
  • Legacy of War – an article about StarCraft 2’s 1v1 multiplayer map design with insight into the process of creating a competitive map from scratch.
  • Tychus Findlay – dedicated to the character who had the honor of introducing StarCraft 2 to the world in South Korea two and a half years ago.
  • Jim Raynor – detailed Jim Raynor bio.
  • Zeratul – detailed Zeratul bio.
  • Changeling – a short fiction story.

The new “Single Player Storytelling” page is extremely informative and caters straightforwardly to people interested in or considering buying StarCraft 2 when it comes out. Now that Blizzard has already unveiled its plans for the trilogy and the epic scale of the single player campaign, this article provides a much welcome summary.

Rather than offering a strictly linear campaign, StarCraft II lets players get involved more directly in the game’s story with branching, non-linear missions. Sometimes, players will face major decisions that could change the fate of certain characters or worlds. Other times, players can set aside specific missions for a while in favor of other jobs.

Arcturus Mengsk Single Player Screen Shot

The screenshot collection has been updated with several gameplay shots, as well as stunning single-player cinematic frames. Here are some interesting new shots from this update:

The second part of the update focuses on the 55th Q&A batch, spanning 7 questions in total, most dealing with advanced, meta-games questions such as DirectX 11 support, Battle.net 2.0 stat tracking and StarCraft/StarCraft 2 map conversions.

1. Not all potential players of StarCraft II have played the original StarCraft before, thus they might encounter problems with the understanding of the story. Is it possible to play the campaign of StarCraft II without knowing anything? Will you come up with some things that happened in the original StarCraft and Brood War again – just so that people not familiar to the story get more information?

We plan on having story elements that will bring players up to speed on the most recent plot developments and prepare them for the StarCraft II storyline. We also plan on having a plot summary of what transpired in the original StarCraft and Brood War during the installation process. However we feel that regardless of your familiarity with the original story, all players will be able to enjoy the story developments in StarCraft II.

2. You have already announced that you are going to record various stats when playing StarCraft II with the new Battle.net 2.0 – but how detailed will those statistics be? Will one be able to see how many units of a certain kind (for example Marines) one have build or even killed so far?

We will be recording a large amount of stats for StarCraft II, but we are still in discussion as to which stats will ultimately be tracked. We will determine how detailed the stat-tracking will be based on what information we think will benefit our players the most to help improve their game.

Be it E-Sports considerations, the search for self improvement, or just the human “ooh-shiny!” attitude towards self-inflicted statistics, Battle.net 2.0 will likely statisfy the aforementioned needs for detailed game statistics for all.

Battle.net Statistics

3. You have already stated that you will support DirectX 10, but what about DirectX 11?
We currently do not have any plans on supporting DirectX11-specific features, but the game will be compatible with DirectX11.


4. How many stats will a Hero unit be able to take? Three like in Warcraft 3 or is there even a limit?
If you create a user-map with heroes, you can outfit them with a large number of stats. However, currently only three stats will be able to be displayed on the UI due to limited space.

Despite Blizzard’s character stats UI limitations, map modders are certain to come up with plenty of workarounds to a bump as small as “limited space”. The tools showcased during BlizzCon (if you’ve missed it, watch the next video) allow developers to break, customize and bend virtually every aspect of StarCraft 2’s capable engine.

5. In lore Protoss warp in their units and buildings from some far planet. Will there be any mechanic that reflects this such as a “warp out” that could act as a refund?


We do not have any plans to include a “warp out” game mechanic. We have discussed the possibility of this in the past, but it felt too similar to the Terran mechanics of being able to salvage the structures.


6. Will there be a converter to convert our favorite original StarCraft maps to StarCraft II maps? I don’t want to lose all of my favorite maps from the original StarCraft when I get StarCraft II.

There will not be a map converter for StarCraft II. Map-makers will have to manually rebuild any of their maps using the new StarCraft II map editor.


7. I’m just going to assume that you will have some sort of window mode in StarCraft II. But I was wondering if you’re going to implement a windowed mode like the one that World of Warcraft has? You know where you can maximize the window, removing the borders and enabling fullscreen mode yet providing easy access to the desktop.

You will be able to select both windowed and full-screen windowed modes from the options menu.

The new site update represents a turning point for StarCraft 2’s development. It clearly targets the mainstream audience, much more so than the updates we’ve been used to, which deal with more specific things that us dedicated fans care about. This is a good sign that Blizzard feels that the game is mature enough to be presented as a product rather than an unfinished project.

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This week, the StarCraft 2 community has been provided with a few minor announcements and some cool StarCraft fan art creations.

The coolest update comes in the form of the recently revealed Brutalisk, a towering Zerg abomination slated to appear in Wings of Liberty, the Terran single player campaign. This unit has “custom map boss” written all over it!

Terrified Marines face the Awesome StarCraft 2 Brutalisk

(Released via Tweeter. Click for Big)

If you have been following the Blizzard rumor mill, you might have stumbled upon the short-lived newsflash that BlizzCon 2010 is scheduled for the 30th of July, 2010, in the Las Vegas Convetion Center. Good thing you haven’t paid anyone for a ticket yet, though – Bashiok, Blizzard’s official Diablo forum poster, switfly debunked the aforementioned rumor.

StarCraft fan art came in several different flavors this week, from cute miniature plush toys to an uber-detailed, 3D models of a Protoss.

Check out the full 3D model collection in this Korean Blog post.

StarCraft 2 3D Protoss

And here’s the stripped down body of this magnificent creature.

3D Naked StarCraft 2 protoss

(via StarCraft2.net.pl. You can download the full image collection here)

On the other hand, if you favor Zerg and/or plushies, here’s a dose of cuteness by mz-kitty:

Chibi Hydralisk by mz_kitty

What art form will StarCraft manifest itself in next? Only time will tell.

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In this update, we willl cover the StarCraft 2 news bits and updates from the last 2 weeks, during which a few small pieces of information popped up around the world.  The most important announcement comes to us from Russia’s massive gaming convention, IgroMir (GameWorld in English).

For this event, Blizzard has effectively produced a Blizzcon parallel in Russia. StarCraft 2 was playable for two whole days and fans got a chance to talk with Blizzard’s representatives, who were also present. No new information was revealed, but Chris Sigaty, StarCraft 2’s Lead Producer, has unequivocally confirmed that the StarCraft 2 beta will be released in 2010, and not during November of this year as previously promised.

IgroMir Screen

To the same effect, Blizzard’s President, Mike Morhaim, gave a talk to BlizzaVision’s investors, stating that the game is set to be released towards the end of the second quarter of 2010. This is in line with the statements regarding the length of the beta – 4-6 months – and lends more credit to Sigaty’s statement. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the dates won’t be pushed back yet again, even though Morhaime said that the bulk of the work on the game has been completed, with the project still progressing according to the established timeline.

Last Saturday’s Blizzcast dealt with a few open issues from August’s event, and, most importantly (or relevantly) for the StarCraft 2 audience, produced two new screenshots:

BlizzCast 11 StarCraft 2 Kerrigan Screenshot
BlizzCast 11 StarCraft 2 Screenshot

Blizzard has reinstalled the Vespene Laughs competition, allowing artists to submit StarCraft-themed comics and win some much coveted beta keys. The competition was likely scheduled to end close to the original planned date of the beta, but is now being extended in conjunction with the recent delays.

Comic!

Lastly, Cydra has been kind enough to answer a series of Sensor Tower related questions on the official StarCraft 2 General Discussion Forum.

1. Is the proper name Radar Tower or Sensor Tower?

Sensor Tower

2. What model is being used: Radar Tower, Sensor Tower, or a completely new one?

Sensor Tower has a passive Radar ability which expose enemy movements within its radar capacity.

3. What are the stats? (mineral cost, gas cost, build time, HP, armor)

It costs 125 mineral and 100 geyser gas and it takes 25 build time. Sensor Tower has 200 hp and 0 default armor. You can upgrade the armor of buildings by 2 at Engineering Bay.

5. Do cloaked and burrowed units appear as blips within the radar’s range?

No. Cloaked and burrowed units don’t appear.

7. Does the Tower have any other special abilities besides its radar function?

No.

8. Is the Tower salvageable?

Yes. you can salvage it for 100% fund.

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