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The StarCraft 2 Beta is going at full speed. Thousands of players can be found online at any time of the day, testing their skill against each other, constantly improving and getting a better handle on the game. Many great games have already been played and released through replay files and YouTube videos, and this is just the beginning!

The first patch – of many to come, according to Chris Sigaty – has been released yesterday. Blizzard have been quick to assess the data and feedback gathered from the beta; the patch already introduces some balance changes among various bug fixes. Not only that, but some abilities have been completely removed from the game!

Here are the changes, followed by some clarification on their reasons.

TERRAN


Viking

The armor value for this unit in Fighter Mode has decreased from 1 to 0.
The damage done by this unit in Fighter Mode has changed from 6 (+8 armored) to 10 (+4 armored).

Reaper

The damage done from D-8 Charges has decreased from 40 to 30.
The delay between attacks for D-8 Charges has decreased from 2.5 to 1.8.

Orbital Command

The build time for this upgrade has decreased from 50 to 35.

PROTOSS


Observer

Gravitic Boosters: The cost of this research has decreased from 150 minerals and 150 vespene gas to 100 minerals and 100 vespene gas.

High Templar

Phase Shift: This ability has been removed from the game.
New ability: Feedback – Drains all energy from the target unit and causes damage equal to the amount of energy drained.

Colossus

The building pathing radius for this unit has decreased from .75 to .5625.

Mothership

Vortex: The energy cost of this ability has increased from 75 to 100.
Vortex: The target radius of this ability has decreased from 3.0 to 2.5.
Temporal Rift: This ability has been removed from the game.
Wormhole Transit: This ability has been removed from the game.
New ability: Mass Recall – Teleports all of the player’s units in the target area to the Mothership.

Nexus

Chrono Boost can no longer target allies.

Gateway

The build time of this building has increased from 50 to 65.

ZERG


Infestor

Fungal Growth: The damage done by this ability has decreased from 48 to 36.
Fungal Growth: This ability now prevents affected units from burrowing.
Neural Parasite: Functionality changed – The Infestor now channels this spell, which lasts 10 seconds or until the Infestor is destroyed. You can now target all units with this ability.

Terran Infestation: The ability’s energy cost has reduced from 50 to 25 and Infested Terrans now spawn 1 at a time.

BUG FIXES

Addressed an issue causing people to receive an “Internal Battle.net Error” message with their game client.

Muting your microphone will no longer cause your microphone to be turned off in the operating system once the program has exited.

Please note that the voice chat functionality has only partially been implemented. There are many known issues with voice chat that we expect to address in a future patch.

The “Medium” graphical settings were reconfigured to work better on appropriate machines. The video settings “auto-detect” functionality has been reset as a result.

Added a frame rate limiter to the game menus to prevent some graphics cards from running at higher frame rates than necessary.


The main change to the Terran has been the tweaking of the Reaper‘s attack, making it less effective in hit and run attacks against buildings. A common tactic with the Reapers is to quickly move around an enemy base, switching between harassing (and sometimes completely decimating) worker lines and taking down the occasional Pylon or Supply Depot. With the decrease in damage per attack, and despite the overall increase in damage per time, the Reapers will now have to stop and dedicate their attack to a building in order to efficiently destroy it.

The Viking‘s damage has been changed to allow the Terran to have a flying answer to the constant threat of the Zerg Mutalisk . Since they are light units, Mutalisks will now take 66% more damage from Vikings.

Vikings in Fighter mode

The only change to the Zerg was to the Infestor, the Zerg’s most advanced spell caster, and, unfortunately, quite an underwhelming unit according to feedback from all over the community. The new Fungal Growth ability might prove useful in Zerg mirror matches with its effect on burrowing, but the improved Neural Parasite spell will definitely come into use. Previously, this ability was limited to biological units, leaving out many of the potential threats to the Zerg unaffected. Now, and as seen in the third battle report, Neural Parasite will once more be able to take control of the super-dangerous, anti-swarm Colossus.

The most disappointing and “safest” item on the patch notes list is the Protoss Mothership. This end-game unit, which turned out to be both fun and highly effective to use in competitive gameplay, has been hit with the nerf-hammer, and might as well be renamed “Motherbiter“. Having its “Town Portal” ability removed means the Mothership is quite vulnerable considering its extremely slow speed (think Overlord), and its most deadly spell, the black-hole generating “Vortex”, has had its effect dialed down and its cost increased. Granted, the old Mothership was quite the powerhouse, perhaps indeed an overpowered one – but it’s a shame to see it stripped down of its distinctive abilities and tuned to the exact same characteristics of the Arbiter: Cloaking field, Recall, and Vortex, which is essentially Stasis Field with a cooler effect.

We, among many others, have been testing the voice system integrated into Battle.net 2.0 and the game, but without great success. Communications have been choppy and unclear compared to modern stand-alone solutions, and it was clear that this is an unfinished feature. While it’s obvious that Blizzard will eventually get it right, this is perhaps the most immature aspect of the recently launched gaming platform.

Calculation Still Wrong

One of the most important patch-related questions has finally been answered conclusively. Will replays from previous game versions remain viewable? Answer:

Old version replays? Yes please.

As has been mentioned before, different display aspect ratios provide slightly different gaming experiences, giving (and denying) a certain edge depending on one’s system setup. Check out this animated gif to get a clear idea about how StarCraft’s field of view adjusts to the gamers’ monitors.

StarCraft Screen Ratio animations

While Blizzard has claimed that the difference will be minor, the above illustration makes it clear that it is not. If you have a 4:3 or 5:4 aspect ratio monitor and you intend to play StarCraft competitively, it’s probably time to move on.

Moving on, the thirteenth Blizzcast has been released, and it’s beta all the way. Very interesting comments from the senior people in charge of StarCraft 2, Dustin Browder and Chris Sigaty, which we will highlight here.

  • Blizzard hopes to release a patch at least once a week, promising to react as much as on a daily basis.
  • How radical can changes get? Dustin Browder: “As much as necessary”.
  • Is it possible that units will be introduced or removed from the game? Dustin Browder: “Absolutely”.
  • The planned period for the beta was 3-5 months, but Blizzard is currently targeting 3 months.
  • The Galaxy editor will be release late in the beta with a “major content patch”. No information on what else this may include.
  • The developers believe that the beta and feedback they get from the community is critical to the game’s success.

Some select quotes:

So community, you guys, will be doing a lot of interfacing directly and sort of bubbling up the big points to us.

… if we discover something that is a fundamental mistake, absolutely we will add or cut as necessary to make this game as good as we possibly can by the time it ships.

There’s definitely areas where we’ll be watching, areas where we’re nervous, we’re pretty convinced that we may have made a terrible mistake but we’re going to keep watching and see what happens. So far, things that I am convinced must be broken have not yet proven to be so. This is largely I think because other units are overshadowing them and preventing them from being that powerful, right. As the community plays, we’ll see what they find to be truly powerful and then we’ll see what really shakes out of it.

What we’re really trying to do is get players to have some additional strategy and choices when it comes to their base building and their economy, right. We really want to push that part of the game. We want players to be able to choose which type of player do they want to be. Do I want to be a player who can maximize my economy but maybe is not quite as good at commanding my forces on the battlefield or am I a player who is really good at commanding my troops out on the front line but maybe I don’t focus as much on my economy or do I want to try to balance both together.

… for sure the main central focus of the beta is balance for us.

As we continue to cover the beta, up to date news items, interesting tidbits, replays and videos will be posted on our Official Facebook page. Do come visit us there or check out the feed at the upper right corner of this page.

Surprise Nydus attack!


Google+

Blizzard has delivered. Thousands of people have already downloaded and installed the StarCraft 2 Beta, the Battle.net 2.0 platform is online and fully operational (where it counts), maps are downloaded swiftly, and finding a match takes seconds.

In general, the beta seems to be going very smoothly. Many players already populate the various leagues, the interface is smooth and quite intuitive, and is, amazingly, integrated into every part of the game in a very unobtrusive and efficient way. Some complaints about unused space have been made, but where it matters – inside the game – it functions beautifully.

Download Count Error - Over 16777% !

Ten Blizzard maps have been made available, all in either 1v1 or 2v2 sizes, on a variety of tilesets:

  • Blistering Sands
  • Desert Oasis
  • Scrap Station
  • Steppes of War
  • Kulas Ravine
  • Lost Temple
  • Metropolis
  • Twilight Fortress
  • Shakruras Plateau

Some maps come in two flavors – novice and normal. Novice type maps have a slightly modified topography and provide players with conditions conducive to less eventful early games.

Novice And Regular StarCraft 2 Maps

Battle.net’s post-match screen includes a very informative tab that provides a clear summary of each players’ build orders, directly compared to each other. This second-by-second view provides a great insight into the first crucial minutes of the game and will help players understand where exactly they might have gone wrong without taking the time to go over the replay.

Build Order for the win!

Next on today’s agenda, we’ve compiled a short list of changes to the game we haven’t heard about before the beta began:

  • When a Protoss player has one or more Warpgates, hitting “W” will select all of them, making warping units to the field a button-click away at all times.
  • Lurkers are no longer a part of the game. The unit is completely gone.
  • The Protoss macro mechanic has been replaced. Instead of the periodic Probe mining bonus, the Nexus now has “Chrono Boost“, a 25-energy ability that the Nexus can use on ANY building, including those of allies, to increase the speed of unit production and research. Extremely useful in all situations, from the beginning of the game (build Probes faster) to the end (Build Mothership faster).
  • Speaking of the Mothership, its “Black Hole” ability now functions as a souped-up Stasis Field, sucking up all units around the area of effect and keeping them trapped in another dimension for a short period before spitting them all out when it dissipates. Use with a well-timed Nuke for bonus points.
  • Mentioned just a couple of days before the beta, Banelings can now again be used as underground mines, detonating while burrowed. However, the favorite strategy with Banelings is currently “get a lot of them and roll into the enemy base”.
  • There is NO chat on battle.net besides that with your friends and the “parties” you form with them. No regional or global channels like in StarCraft 1, and no chat gem either.
  • The Battlecruiser no longer has different abilities to choose from. Instead, only the Yamato Cannon is available after being researched at the Fusion Core.

Battlecrusiers Yamatoing

  • When a player losses all his main structures (Command Center, Hatchery, Nexus), all his units and structures are revealed to the enemy. This measure was implemented to prevent players from abusing the players who just beat them by playing Pylon hide-and-seek. However, it is already raising some concern about end-case situations (stalemates, players still having enough money, etc). The SC2Blog recommends turning this feature off in tournaments and other high-level competitions.

If you’re having a hard time letting go of your recently acquired StarCraft 2 Beta, you can now enjoy its theme music even when doing what you should have been doing instead of playing:
Terran theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcghLSIpZlM
Zerg theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ivYHY8V-XA
Protoss theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuh96ogWoAc
Menu theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVNyU-BF9wg

For players who are not in the beta and are eager for some action, here are some new high-definition gameplay videos. If you’re looking for more, stay tuned and keep an eye over our Facebook page – it will periodically be updated with noteworthy live streams, as they occur.

Google+

No more rumors, no more waiting. The StarCraft 2 beta is here, and we’re all downloading it like mad. In a few hours from now, the net will be flooded with all the information, screenshots, and videos we’ve all been waiting for – and a few lucky thousands will be providing them.

Beta be downloading

Just a couple of hours before the beta was unleashed on the suspecting but unknowing public, the official system requirements page went up on Blizzard’s support page. Only the minimal requirements are up at the moment, and they’re indeed quite minimal. If you’ve purchased a computer with a standard graphics card in the last 5 years, you’ll be just fine.

PC Minimum Requirements:

• Windows XP SP3/Vista SP1/Windows 7
• 2.2 Ghz Pentium IV or equivalent AMD Athlon processor
• 1 GB system RAM/1.5 GB for Vista and Windows 7
• 128 MB NVidia GeForce 6600 GT/ATI Radeon 9800 PRO video card
• 1024×768 minimum display resolution
• 4 GB free hard space (Beta)
• Broadband connection

An attached note informs that these are not final. Also, it mentions that the Mac beta version is not ready yet, but will be available during the beta.

Important note: we’ve been getting reports of many people who have not received any email notification, but have just logged into their Battle.net account and found the following. If you’ve opted-in, don’t wait for a notification!

StarCraft II Beta Available!

Google+

Blizzard’s community and web teams have been busy preparing the official Battle.net forums, and understandably so – the beta forums comprise the largest and most important channel of communications with StarCraft 2 beta testers.

First of all, the login page for the beta forum is up. It requires a StarCraft 2 beta key to be accessed, so there’s nothing much to see there just yet – but for those lucky souls who got into the beta, it will soon unlock the ability to post on one of the most interesting forums on the Internet.

Of equal importance, the official beta FAQ has been posted by Avarius. The FAQ in PDF format can be found here.

Beta Access


How do I sign up for the StarCraft II beta test?


In order to sign up for the StarCraft II beta test or future Blizzard Entertainment beta tests, you first need to create a Battle.net account. You can then opt in to the beta for StarCraft II, as well as betas for future Blizzard Entertainment games, through the beta opt-in process. To get started, simply click Beta Profile Settings in Battle.net Account Management. Please note that opting in to a beta test through this method does not guarantee that you will be selected.


If I opted in to the StarCraft II beta, how will I know if I’ve been selected to participate?


If you are selected, you will receive an email from Blizzard instructing you to log in to your Battle.net account at www.battle.net. You will be able to download the client directly from within Battle.net Account Management. We plan on inviting players in waves, so if you do not receive an invitation in the beginning of the testing period, there’s a chance you might receive one in a later wave.


I attended BlizzCon 2008 and received a beta code. Do I have to go through this process?


There is a separate process in place for players who received StarCraft II beta codes from BlizzCon 2008 or have unused beta codes from earlier Blizzard events. To redeem your beta code, visit the beta sign-up page (don’t worry that the page says World of Warcraft), and enter the code from your card, along with a valid email address that you check often.

Once you’ve completed these steps, we will contact you via email at some point during the StarCraft II testing process with further instructions. Please note that in order to participate after your receive the invitation, you will need a Battle.net account (if you don’t have one already).


I received a beta key from a contest, promotion, or event other than BlizzCon. How do I access the beta?


We will be sending out emails with beta keys to winners along with detailed instructions on how to access the beta test. Players who receive a beta key via email will need to create a Battle.net account, click “Add or Upgrade a Game” in Account Management, and enter the key there. The beta client will then be available for download from within Battle.net Account Management.


How long will the beta test last?


We have not determined an exact date for the end of the beta test. We will notify participants when the beta test is nearing completion.


How many players do you plan to invite to the beta test?


The number of players we invite will be based on our testing needs. If during the course of testing we determine we need more players to participate, we’ll invite more.


How are beta test participants selected from the opt-in pool?


Beta testers are chosen according to their system specs and other factors, including luck. Our goal is to have a good variety of system types to best test compatibility.


How to Play


What game modes are available in the StarCraft II beta?


StarCraft II beta testers will be able to play a number of ranked multiplayer modes, include multiplayer ladder quick match, which has 1v1, 2v2, and free-for-all (FFA) modes. In addition, testers will be able to play unranked custom matches. We are not testing the single-player campaign of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty during the beta period.


How do I play against a computer opponent?


After launching StarCraft II, you will be asked to log in using your Battle.net account information. Once you log in and create or select a character, you will be brought to the main Battle.net screen. To play a match against a computer opponent, click the Multiplayer button in the top-left corner of the screen.

Next, click the Create a Game button in the lower-right side of the Multiplayer screen. Select your map of choice, and then click Create Game in the lower-left corner of the screen. After clicking Create Game, you will enter a new game lobby. You can adjust game settings on the right side of the screen and add AI opponents by clicking the +AI button located in the upper middle of the screen. You can adjust teams by dragging the computer player to the opposing team (or keep a computer player on your own team if you wish to play 2v2 against computer opponents). When you’re ready to begin, click Start Game.


How do I play a multiplayer ladder game against another human player?


To find a human opponent through the beta ladder system, log in to Battle.net, select Multiplayer in the top-left corner of the screen, pick your settings, and click the Find Match button on the lower-left side of the screen. You can also adjust which maps you would like to play on by using the Map Preferences button located to the right of Find Match.


How do I adjust my map preferences for ladder play?


To adjust your map preferences, log in to Battle.net, choose or create your character, and select the Multiplayer button in the top left of the screen. Click the Map Preferences button toward the bottom left of the Quick Match screen, and then click the check boxes next to each map you would like to vote against playing in your ladder matches. When you’re done, click Save Preferences.

There are separate map preferences for 1v1, 2v2, and free-for-all (FFA) modes that are each saved independently of one another. To adjust the map preferences of a different mode, select the bracket you wish to adjust preferences for and click the Map Preferences button. Click the check boxes to vote against the maps you would least like to play and click Save Preferences.


How do I play a multiplayer game using the StarCraft II Party system?


You can create a party in StarCraft II by inviting players who are on your friends list or by their character name on Battle.net. In the top-right panel, click Invite to begin gathering players into your party. Once invited, party members will be able to use voice chat and the party chat room to speak to one another. Clicking a player’s avatar portrait in the upper-right corner of the screen enables quick access to that player’s profile.

Players in the same party can join games together as a group. You can either choose to join a custom game or queue up for rated team ladder games by selecting Quick Match in Multiplayer. Simply invite your teammates from your friends list or by character name, select Multiplayer in the upper-left corner of the screen, and choose your desired match type.

To play a rated team ladder game, press Find Match once you and your teammate(s) have selected which races to play and adjusted map preferences. To join a custom game, select Join a Game, choose an existing game from the lobby, and select Join as Party. Once in the game lobby, you’ll be able to select your race and color preferences. You can also create your own custom game by selecting Create a Game, choosing your map, and then selecting Create as Party. Once the lobby is created, you can adjust your match settings. You can also open your game to the public for others to join by clicking the Open to Public button in the upper middle of the game lobby. Once a game lobby is made public, it cannot be made private again.


How do I add a friend on Battle.net?


There are two types of friends you can add: Real ID friends or StarCraft II friends. To add a friend of either type, first open your friends list by clicking the button directly left of the microphone icon in the lower-right corner of your screen. Next, click the Add Friend button. A window will open prompting you to enter either your real-life friend’s email address (matching their Battle.net account name) or a StarCraft II player’s character name. When you try to add a Real ID friend, a request will be emailed to that person asking if he or she wishes to accept the friend request. The player will not be added to your Real ID friend’s list until he or she accepts.


What is the difference between a Real ID friend and StarCraft II friend?


Real ID friends on Battle.net can see each other’s full profiles, including real-life names, real-life profile information, and all of their characters across all Battle.net games. Both players must mutually agree to become real-life friends before either will appear on the other’s real-life friends list.

To add a StarCraft II friend, simply enter a player’s character name. You will immediately start seeing that character in your friends list, but you will not be able to access real-life names, real-life profile information, or any other characters he or she might play. Other players are not notified if you add their characters to your friends list in this fashion.


I just destroyed my opponent! How do I watch my game’s replay?


After logging in to Battle.net, click the small video-camera-shaped button in the top-left corner of the screen. This will allow you to access replays for previous StarCraft II matches, organized by game type.


How do I check on my ladder progress?


To view your match results and current ladder ranking, click on the medal-shaped icon in the top-left corner of the Battle.net user interface.


How do I customize my profile?


Select the far-right button on the top-left panel of the Battle.net user interface. This will give you access to your match statistics, achievements, and match history, as well as the ability to change your portrait.


How do I enable or disable voice chat?


Click the microphone button located on the lower-right corner of the screen (next to the time). When there is a line crossing out the microphone, voice chat is disabled.


How do I change which Battle.net account is logged in?


Click the Menu button in the bottom-left corner of your screen when in the Battle.net lobby. The Log Out button will return you to the login screen to change accounts.


What Battle.net features are you testing during the StarCraft II beta test?


While testers will be able to experience much of the functionality of the new Battle.net, certain features, such as the ability to communicate with World of Warcraft players through the Real ID feature will not be available at the start of the beta. Battle.net features and functionality will be added and enhanced as the beta progresses, right up through the retail launch of StarCraft II and beyond.


How do I exit the StarCraft II beta?


If you are in the main menu of StarCraft II, click the Quit button in the lower-left corner of the screen. When logged in to Battle.net, click the Menu button in the lower-left corner of the screen and select Exit Game.


I heard that I can share resources and control over units in StarCraft II. How do I use these features?


When in a StarCraft II match, click the small icon in the top-right corner of the screen and use the check boxes to enable or disable shared unit control. You will be also able to share resources in this fashion once you are more than five minutes into a match.


How do I adjust my StarCraft II settings?


Click the Options button on the main menu to customize your settings for StarCraft II. You can also change various settings during a StarCraft II match by clicking the Menu button.


Will there be a Mac version of the beta client?


We plan to release a Mac version of the beta client at some point during the beta test period. We’ll have further details to share as the beta test progresses.

Where can I get more information about the status of the beta-test servers?

Please refer to the Tech Support forums http://forums.battle.net/board.html?forumId=25352527&sid=5000 for information on server status or for other technical issues. You can also report issues via webform or email at beta.techsupport@us.battle.net .


I found a bug while playing. Where can I report this to get it squashed?


If you find any bugs, please visit the Bug Report forum http://forums.battle.net/board.html?forumId=25498616&sid=5000 to report the issue.


Is there a forum where I can leave beta feedback, offer suggestions, or discuss the game with fellow beta participants?


We’ve set up several forums specifically for this purpose; you can find them all at the StarCraft II Beta Forums index page http://forums.battle.net/index.html?sid=5000. We encourage you to use these forums to discuss the game with your fellow players, and we definitely want to hear your feedback. While anyone is able to view the content of these forums, only beta participants will be able to post, and all beta forum participants must follow the Forum Guidelines http://forums.battle.net/thread.html?topicId=23140465238&sid=5000.

Since the document is bit large, the SC2Blog has prepared a ninja highlight summary. It boils down to:

  • No information about new ways of getting into the beta.
  • If you have secured your place in the beta, you will receive an email before the beta with further instructions.
  • More waves of invites will be sent out during the beta.
  • The beta will last as long as it has to.
  • Owners of certain system specs have a higher chance of being selected to participate in the beta.
  • Beta testers will be able to play ranked and unranked 1v1, 2v2, FFA , and custom games (against the AI as well).
  • No Wings of Liberty single player campaign testing.
  • All the social features, including voice chat, are in the beta. For now, no cross-game communication.
  • Arranged teams will be possible to form, allowing players to quick match or join games together.
  • Viewing replays requires players to login to Battle.net.
  • Mac version will become available during the beta.

Beta launch is imminent. The day draws near. Man all battlestations. Brace for impact!

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