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Blizzard, keeping up with its promise from two and a half months ago, will be providing StarCraft 2 players with one free Battle.net account name change. The recently announced one-time perk will be automatically credited to players’ accounts. Blizzard advises that you use it wisely – the next ones will not be free.

All StarCraft II accounts have been granted one free name change. If you’d like to change your character name, log in to Account Management and choose your StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty game license. On your game license screen a “Character Name Change” button at the bottom will initiate the request. After confirming that you’d like to change your character name, simply log in to StarCraft II and you’ll be prompted to select a new one. Please be sure to use this name change wisely.

In other news, Blizzard’s Official StarCraft YouTube channel has been updated with 3 new videos, providing lengthy introductions to each of StarCraft 2’s three playable races.

The Zerg:

The Protoss:

The Terran:

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It’s Replay Roundup time! We’ve gathered five videos for today’s update, featuring great plays, creative usage of units, and battles between some of StarCraft’s all-time superstars.

First, we begin with a match showing a Protoss player, HuHuman, exploiting the terrain to the extreme on the map Delta Quadrant. Watch him abuse his helpless Zerg opponent using great micro-managing skills.

The next game is a classic, long, epic game on Metalopolis between BratOK playing as Terran and Socke playing as Protoss. There’s so much action in this game, it might make you think there are two players are controlling each side!

This game, cast by Artosis – a great player by his own right – features IdrA, the infamous professional Zerg player, fighting against none other than BoxeR, playing as Terran. BoxeR, a legend of StarCraft 1, has dominated the scene for many years, and is often credited with inventing modern Terran play. A Korean, his fan club is the largest in the world as far as professional players go.

In this clash of titans, one can definitely see that BoxeR does not play a standard game, and it’s often unclear whether his StarCraft 2 skills have yet to become refined or if he’s exercising his own unique style of play. Will BoxeR, the ultimate Terran player, prevail against IdrA, the ultra-methodical and unstoppable Zerg player?

Our next game of the day was played on the Asian server, a Zerg versus Protoss. After quick fast expansions by both players, this Metalopolis game geared up for a macro war. Notably, the Zerg player takes great advantage of Nydus Worms, using them to the extreme to exert constant pressure on his opponent and maintain map control.

The game sealing today’s update is nothing short of insane. Played between fan-favorite TheLittleOne as Terran against Dimaga, the highly-talented and often unorthodox Zerg player, this game features unit combinations that will make your jaw drop with awe – especially since both of these great players actually make them work!

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How do we manage to keep up with all the videos posted, you ask? Simple: we use a dedicated video panel that is automatically updated with videos from several select channels!

The SC2Blog team is proud to present our newest addition to the site: the StarCraft 2 Video Feed Panel. This page will be updated as new videos are added to the various channels, comfortably laying them all out for you to see. Soon, filtering and sorting options will be added to provide even greater utility. Bookmark it and enjoy the latest and greatest StarCraft 2 replay videos!

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Think your channel should be on our page? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7m0RuVQ741c&feature=channel
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January hasn’t featured any significant official update from Blizzard (yet),  but a few pieces of information have surfaced through the constantly-growing RTS community team. Here’s a quick run down of the recent updates to the StarCraft 2 Universe.

The role and functionality of the Changeling, a shape-shifting spy unit that can be spawned by Overseers for an energy cost, has been clarified by Avarius.

The changeling’s transformation is permanent. Once it is within range of opposing forces, it will transform to that race’s basic tier 1 unit (marine, zealot, or zergling) and remain so for its duration. In the case of a team game or FFA where there are multiple races, the changeling will transform to the race it encounters first and not change again.

When questioned about the viability of the ability in high-level 1 on 1 matches, Avarius made it clear that he considers the Changeling a worthy addition to the Zerg unit roster.

I definitely think you will see them used effectively, even in high level 1v1 play. Who wouldn’t want an essentially free scout (only costs energy) to use to gather intel on their opponent? With the potential that you opponent might not kill it immediately, it can provide you with a sustained scouting advantage. Even high level players can get caught up in harassment, or base management and may miss this little guy sneaking into their base.

The next blue posts were translated by a SC:L staff member, and come from the Korean side of the Battle.net forums:

When more supply is required, and when I have to quickly build three Supply Depots at the same time, this is usually the method that I use.

1) I select some mining SCVs by drag selection or Ctrl + Left Click. It’s good to select at least three.

2) After pressing ‘B’ (building hotkey) then ‘S’ (Supply Depot hotkey), while holding Shift, consecutively left click at the locations you want to build at before right clicking a mineral patch.
3) Out of the selected SCVs, only three of them go to the selected locations and each build a Supply Depot, and once construction is complete they return to mining minerals.

That’s how automated things have become in StarCraft 2: building multiple supply depots and sending the workers back to harvest minerals is easily achieved by issuing one concentrated and short batch of commands, eliminating many of the repetitive actions otherwise required in the original game.

Building entire Tech Tree via a Single Queue Achievement ?

Another bit of info from Korea details the unit classification system, which has received a major overhaul in StarCraft 2. The new system is much more streamlined and simple, following clear rules that make hard unit counters very apparent.

Light armor, heavy armor, biological, mechanical, giant, psionic, etc. are some attributes that units can have.

For example, the Ultralisk has heavy armor biological giant attributes, whereas the Archon has the psionic attribute. You can probably tell from looking at the Archon, but not all units are divided into [light armor/heavy armor]. Damage calculation is also different from the previous game. Units attacks always do at least 100% of the damage value shown on the screen. And then, depending on the attacks property, additional damage may be dealt when attacking units with specific attributes.

For example the Archons base damage is 25, and deals an additional 10 damage against biological targets. Therefore, Zerg units (which are usually biological) take 35 damage when attacked by Archons. And in the case of the Siege Tank, its Siege Mode deals 60 damage, so it deals 60 damage to all ground units. If the old system of explosive, concussive and small, medium, large was used, then Marines would take reduced damage from a Siege Tank.

On the topic of friendly damage, Zhydaris explains which explosion is ally-friendly and which should be more carefully handled:

… exploding Banelings do not damage allied units: both your units and those of your allies are not affected at all by the acid explosion.


Reaper’s explosive charge does actually damage allies, as well as your own units and buildings, so be careful when playing with those flashing packages.

The official StarCraft 2 website has been updated with a brand new 6-page Mothership story, including a short, action packed clip of a Mothership-backed Protoss force decimating a Zerg army. The Mothership sports a slightly altered design and a new attack animation.

Ain't no ship like a Mothership

StarCraft 2’s community team has also revealed a new doodad screenshot via Twitter. The art is high-detail and worth a closer look – make sure you click on the image for the full-size screenshot.

StarCraft 2 Doodad - Tude Debris

The following concrete and un-speculative bit of info is bound to make quite a few people happy, as it serves as real evidence that StarCraft 2 is indeed being tested live on Battle.net or, at least, that it is about to be in the immediate future. The Blizzard official support page now includes lengthy support articles for StarCraft 2!

Starcraft 2 Support Pages

The guide gets quite specific and even includes a detailed StarCraft 2 Mac Version Video troubleshooting article!

There’s also some hype about the the recently announced Activision-Blizzard public conference call that will be broadcast on the internet, as it might include a clear plan of action for the upcoming months.

Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) intends to release its fourth quarter and calendar year 2009 results after the close of the market on Wednesday, February 10, 2010. In conjunction with this release, Activision Blizzard will host a conference call that will be broadcast over the Internet.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010
1:30 pm Pacific Time (4:30 pm Eastern Time)

To listen to the call, please log onto:
http://investor.activision.com/events.cfm

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Today’s post contains a few leftover bits of StarCraft 2 from the BlizzCon event. While not entirely new, these offer a good chance to catch up and perhaps find some information previously missed.

The 2v2 StarCraft 2 exhibition matches were prime example of the fast-paced, unforgiving RTS action that gamers are bound to experience when StarCraft 2 is released. The three videos, totaling just under 30 minutes, contain two full 2v2 matches, from the very beginning to the inevitable GGs. While the videos were available on YouTube during the event, Blizzard have only recently uploaded them to their official exhibition match page. Unfortunately, the quality stayed the same – we won’t be seeing these in HD.

Key quote of the match: “Nerf David Kim“.

Blizzard has also recently sanctioned the release of a five part interview with Dustin Browder, Lead Designer of StarCraft 2. The interview covers little, if any, unknown ground now that BlizzCon is behind us, as it mostly deals with issues which were revealed and analyzed during or immediately after the convention.

Here’s the first video of the 5:


In case you have no intentions of going through this hour-long 5 video interview, check out the following exhaustive summary, courtesy of TeamLiquid:

  • For BlizzCon 2007’s story-mode build, most players would just click through Raynor’s dialog lines, ignoring them. Blizzard wanted the player to choose how they want to play the game based on the missions they chose, not based on something they said in a bar, because that doesn’t feel appropriate for a game about commanding armies and smashing empires. Choices that gave more meaning were; “Where do I send my army next?” and “How do I upgrade my technology?” The choices you were given when speaking to other characters looked like they were important and meaningful, though they really weren’t, that’s why Blizzard removed it from the game. Some people would probably have enjoyed this part of the game, but that’s not most people. Blizzard cut content because they want to keep the best stuff, and overall this makes it a better game.
  • Blizzard does have interest in exporting replays to a video format, but will probably not get around to it soon due to time constraints. Dustin Browder claims “We’re hugely interested in supporting e-sports and this is one of those things we want to do. I don’t know what the status on this is, but we will have patches after ship and expansions yet to come.”
  • The map editor will be released on beta, but not on day 1. Probably somewhere mid beta. Blizzard wants to beta test the editor itself first and see how it interacts with Battle.net. Also Blizzard wants to let modders try it, so when release comes we will see some cool mods pretty early.
  • Some RPG-style quests in StarCraft II take hours to create, others could take weeks or months, depending on how difficult it was to put together. Blizzard wants some of the quests to have multiple solutions. They did not want an RPG system that implies that there will be hundreds of quests. They want it to be more about the starmap and tech purchase.
  • StarCraft II has a lot of unit models that are no longer in the multiplayer, and some who were made specifically for single player. Dustin didn’t have a number, but claimed we will probably have to wait until the expansions to reach the same amount of models that were in WarCraft III.
  • The BlizzCon demo takes place at the middle of the beginning part of the campaign, there are three missions previous to the mission branch playable at BlizzCon. The Zerg are making their move into Terran space, but Jim Raynor at the time is leader of a relatively small and helpless faction.
  • Blizzard has put equal emphasis on the importance of single-player and multiplayer. Many fans of the series that are still active in the community are focused mostly on multiplayer, but much of StarCraft’s popularity is based on its campaign modes.
  • Dustin’s biggest hope for the game is racial balance and living up to StarCraft’s expectations and legacy.
  • The campaign has a full tutorial system, with videos and interactive missions. Skirmish mode also includes starting tutorials for the non campaign races. The campaign also includes multiplayer oriented challenge modes that help practice skills and tactics used for multi-player battles.
  • Internally, Blizzard feels the Zerg are vastly underpowered, namely in tier 2. Beta will be the period where they direct the game’s balance.
  • Racial identities and playstyles are being treated as self-emerging through development. Terrans have developed into a much more mobile race, but this is not the final decision for their overall playstyle feel.
  • Unit upgrades and unique ability upgrades are not segregated in order to make the building choices more varied and interesting.
  • Macro mechanics are still being reworked, overall they are happy with spawn larvae and MULE calldown, while Proton Charge is still being looked at for big changes.
  • Dustin feels that Zerg and Terran are close to equal difficulty, with Protoss being the easiest to use.
  • The Raven is close to how they want it designed, with some changes possibly needed for the point-defense turret to make its role more clearly understood.
  • Infestor’s spells are currently being re-worked.
  • Burrowed Banelings contain Terrans until they acquire mobile detection (Ravens).
  • Some Protoss missions are playable in WoL for storytelling purposes.
  • The campaign currently has approximately 15 tilesets.
  • Multiple tilesets can be used in single maps.
  • The basic idea for the Protoss campaign is the ultimate shattering and re-unification of the Protoss factions. The basic gameplay idea is to utilize the strengths and weaknesses of different Protoss factions to create your own new Protoss unification.
  • The Protoss campaign will be more focused on the Star Map and planet exploration than the Terran campaign.
  • The DLC plan includes additional challenges more geared to the evolution on the current meta game. Other DLC plans are still not decided.
  • Map editor features not necessary for StarCraft II (such as an inventory and hero system for DOTA clones) are included.
  • Models and graphics from the campaign can be used in custom maps, animations can not.
  • The Zerg have more “iconic” units that they feel could not be removed (Zergling, Hydralisk, Mutalisk), so it is more difficult to make the Zerg fresh and interesting.
  • The campaign will feature a lot of super high powered unit upgrades and abilities that won’t be in multiplayer.

That’s the last of it for this year’s BlizzCon. To celebrate the final ending of the event, here’s a video of a real StarCraft party!

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