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The new Battle.net that had launched with StarCraft 2 might have taken many users by surprise – if they did not keep up with SC news during development – with its permanent character names and the lack of chatrooms.

Blizzard has promised to bring chat rooms back within a few patches, and now, gamers not happy with their handles will be offered a name change for free soon as well. Why bother writing “free“? Well, because Blizzard will be charging for Battle.net name changes in the future.

The recent 1.0.3 patch continued the tradition of providing a minor bug fix while leaving gameplay balance intact.

Bug Fixes:

Fixed an issue preventing some players from accessing offline play from the login screen

Our Nvidia-sponsored GeForce GTX 460 StarCraft 2 flipbook contest came to an end this weekend, bringing multiple interesting submissions. As promised, the winner of the contest will be awarded with a EVGA GeForce GTX 460 768MB and the runner up will receive a SteelSeries limited edition professional grade StarCraft 2 mousepad.

The second place, along with the mousepad, goes to Stephen Barnes for submitting this animated battle, called “Death From Above”.

The winner of the contest is Nadya Emmyl from Stary Oskol, Russia, who submitted this excellent animated reenactment of Kerrigan’s last stand on New Gettysburg.

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Join the Dominion was a Blizzard media campaign that included fan participation – submitting propaganda posters as well as taking a Terran military entrance exam. The campaign’s focus was the gradually unlocked StarCraft-related media content in the form of inspirational posters, StarCraft 2 story trailer videos, music from the game, and various propaganda items. We’re going to go over all the unlockables in this post, summarizing the entire campaign for your viewing pleasure!

To start, go ahead and get a good feel of the campaign by taking the entrance exam, which will assign you to your duty in the service of the Terran Dominion. Are you a skilled Viking pilot or more of a suicidal Firebat? Better find out before StarCraft 2 is released!

After finding out about your future role in the Terran military, check out this awesome gallery of StarCraft 2 posters:

Download some StarCraft 2 ringtones and SMS alerts:

Check out the fan-submitted propaganda poster gallery here, and vote for the one you like by “liking” them with your facebook account.

Lastly, brace yourself for three amazing StarCraft 2 videos. The first two detail the story so far: the Terrans’ arrival at the Koprulu sector, the Protoss’ attempt to eradicate the Zerg, Kerrigan’s transformation into the Queen of Blades, and the events leading up to the beginning of StarCraft 2.

The last video is also the newest trailer for StarCraft 2 we’ve posted recently, combining stunning pre-rendered animation with in-game scenes seamlessly to create one of the best hype trailers ever, just in time for StarCraft 2’s imminent release!

In just a few hours, the wait will be over. Some may have needed the hype machine, but they had most of us at “StarCraft 2”.

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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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“Papírový model kanónu terranského Mariňáka” is the topic of today’s post.

Extremely dedicated fans from the Czech Republic have created a true to form paper-based model of the Terran Marine‘s 8mm C-14 Impaler Gauss Rifle.

A geek and his gun

The rifle is presented from every possible angle in the picture gallery of this Czech StarCraft 2 site, but for those of you who are even more into paper violence, instructions for creating a piece of your own are also available.

[InstructionsModel PartsAlternate Addon]

Aliens Papercraft, the group behind this project, will begin selling the replica on October 4th, later this year. In the mean time, enjoy this video, which showcases the rifle from every imaginable direction (and then some).

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