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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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StarCraft 2 development news has been scarce, with the majority of the discussion and comments originating from BlizzCon fallout and gamer impressions from the recent PAX convention.

One of the biggest debates, one which has provoked Karune’s response, started with an elaborate post about the Zerg Queen Spawn Mutant Lavrae ability. After careful analysis, the ability was deemed overpowered while also being too simple, making the 1-hatch Queen the best (and perhaps only viable) opening for any match.

Basically, for 150 minerals, you get more than a hatchery’s worth of extra larvae. That means off one hatchery, for 150 minerals and 2 supply, you can simulate a 2.5 hatchery production. Larvae inject is really easy to use and I had no problems remembering to do it every time. I had two fully saturated bases making hydras, and I only needed 2 hatcheries to keep up. Two hatches + 2 Queens = roughly 5 BW hatches. Yes, that’s scary.

They see me Spawning, They hatin...

Karune, noticing the sincere concern of the community, posted a rebuttal and pointed out another elaborate post on the counters to this strategy.

With Terran, you will naturally want to block your choke point. This in itself will easily stop fast Zerglings, as you can use Marines to fire upon enemies from a cliff (since they don’t have LoS, just make sure you keep those pesky Overlords at bay, which is relatively easy as well). SCVs do an excellent job of repairing much faster than Zerglings can do damage at this early of a stage.

As we approach the inevitable public StarCraft 2 beta, such strategy debates and heated balance arguments are destined to emerge, and it’s encouraging to see Blizzard’s community managers paying such close attention to the various fan communities. Of course, it’s good to remember that

you can expect lots of things to still change and be changed throughout beta.

Blizzard is preparing for the launch of StarCraft 2 and the new Battle.net via various pro-gamer and eSport-supporting partnerships, like the one recently signed with GomTV. In August, Blizzard has officially partnered up with Razer, a high-end gaming peripheral maker.

The first Razer StarCraft II tournament level gaming peripherals are poised to revolutionize the RTS category. The new line of professional gaming peripherals are engineered and designed from the ground up with unique exclusive features to cater to the StarCraft II community. Razer will incorporate its expertise in design, ergonomics, technology, and professional gaming peripherals to give StarCraft II gamers the competitive edge.

Coming Soon, By Razer

The press release announces an alliance between Blizzard and Razer, with Razer committing to supplying future StarCraft 2 gamers with pro-tournament level of gaming gear and Blizzard endorsing and promoting these products – such as the Zerg Messenger bag made available during Blizzcon. The rest of the StarCraft 2 product line has not been officially released yet, for obvious reasons. For a taste of things to come, check out this SteelSeries WoW-tailored gaming mouse, complete with a billion customizable buttons for all your macro needs.

Yet another StarCraft 2 pre-beta sub-era has come to an end, with Blizzard announcing the last Vespene Laughs contest winners. This time, only two entries made the grade.

Congratulations to the winners of August’s “Vespene Laughs” Comic Contest! This was the final month of the contest, and we’d like to thank everyone who participated for their effort and enthusiasm over the past six months..

StarCraft 2 Comic - Bad MountA fatal Hydralisk Impression

To wrap this post up with some good, old-school awesome, here are a couple of giant hand-made StarCraft plushies (click to see the entire collection!).

StarCraft Probe and Plush Reaver

Plush StarCraft Probe

The first Razer StarCraft II tournament level gaming peripherals are poised to revolutionize the RTS category. The new line of professional gaming peripherals are engineered and designed from the ground up with unique exclusive features to cater to the StarCraft II community. Razer will incorporate its expertise in design, ergonomics, technology, and professional gaming peripherals to give StarCraft II gamers the competitive edge.
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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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Kevin Yu, better known as Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager, has given an exclusive interview to GameReplays, where he used to work as a Game Administrator under the name SageKing.

Karune talks about his job at Blizzard and explains what being a community manager for one of the world’s largest gaming communities means to him.

Highlights:

In college, I had actually studied Communications and International Relations, which does have some relation to what I’m doing now; but I think the passion for gaming and community building was the bulk of my ‘qualifications.’ As a child, I had always loved strategy titles – turn based games like the Civilization series, Master of Magic/Orion, Jagged Alliance, and then real-time-strategies as they began to come out, with Westwood’s Command and Conquer series, and obviously Blizzard’s Warcraft and StarCraft series.

Blizzard has always been a company which values community as a high priority. I am the one who is fortunate to be able to build upon that reputation. StarCraft 2 has always had plans to integrate the community closer with the title. I believe my job has been to further build upon that idea of community interaction, empowering the community with tools and opportunities to grow and build their own identities, as well as implement new ideas that I feel could build a closer relationship with the community and the developers.

karunepatch.JPG

Workdays, despite being similar in hours, are actually not that identical from day to day. I try to start the day by answering a few forum threads where appropriate. Usually in the early part of the day, there are meetings with the community team, or with the PR (Public Relations) team, where we can update each other on the status of our current projects or brainstorm on future endeavors. In the afternoons, the activities could range from playing StarCraft 2 with the development team or community team, interviewing developers for BlizzCasts, gathering fan questions and getting answers for our Q&A Batches, brainstorming and pitching new community projects, working with the web team on collaborative web/community projects, debating with fellow co-workers on the latest strategies in StarCraft 2 or class discussions about World of Warcraft, and well?the list goes on.

You can read the rest of the interview on GameReplays.

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