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Blizzard has published a very specific request for feedback on StarCraft2.com. Having designed two different yet equally suitable Dark Templar unit models, Blizzard is leaving it up to the fans to decide which one should appear in StarCraft 2 Multiplayer matches.

Different clans take great pains to distinguish themselves through variations in weapons, armor, markings, and dress. For example, the famed hunters of the Zer’atai dress in the bones of slain zerg; the Boros are known for their blank-faced helms and heavy armor; and the Lenassa wear distinctive cloth wrappings and bear wickedly curved warp blades.

Dark Templar options

The first option represents the Lenassa tribe of dark templar, which made its debut in the original StarCraft. This unit carries a single warp blade, and a cloth shroud covers its face.

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The second option represents the Zer’atai tribe of dark templar, who wield dual scythes and wear an ensemble of heavy armor and the bones of slain zerg.

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The third and final option is to have both tribes represented: When you build a dark templar, either the Lenassa or Zer’atai dark templar would spawn randomly.

The dilemma is not complex; it is one which most companies solve behind the corporate curtains, often ending up picking the wrong model due to simply not having the tradition of crowdsourcing certain design decisions. That’s not the case with Blizzard, who often seeks direct feedback from their fans. This is another one of these occasions, so get out there and make your voice heard.

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The SC2Blog, devout proponents of democracy, will also be hosting a poll on the subject.

Last weekend, Dustin Browder had emerged from Blizzard’s Dev campus and has given quite a lengthy interview to Ziff Davis’s 1UP, one of the world’s largest gaming websites. The interview contained few unknown details, but, again, has provided an updated “State of Development” view on StarCraft 2.

Ironically, while both Diablo 3 and StarCraft 2 appear in 1Up’s  “25 of the Most Anticipated Video Games of 2009“, Thierry Nguyen (1Up’s writer) seems to have a very realistic view on Blizzard’s schedule, reminding everyone of its famous “when it’s done” mantra.

1UP: First off, some of us were wondering: Do you ever feel limited in the ability to be creative design-wise because of the StarCraft legacy? Do you find yourself caving in to pressures to appease your older fans at the cost of innovating the game?

Dustin Browder: No, not at all.

RIGHT. StarCraft fans are not only loyal and passionate, they are also quite loud. While Blizzard has the amazing knack for delivering masterpieces in consecutive fashion, Blizzard’s fan base deserves credit for providing the constant stream of feedback most companies can only dream of.
A significant portion of said base has been familiar with StarCraft’s look and feel for a decade, and while gamers do not want to end up with StarCraft 3D, it’s safe to assume that the change will not be as drastic as it was with WarCraft 3.

game sold more than 9.5 million copies worldwide, so even though StarCraft today has a reputation as a super hardcore RTS game, it truly did have mainstream appeal.

Televised starcraft

StarCraft is perhaps the closest thing to becoming the modern equivalent of chess. While many gamers are familiar with the game’s basics and have played some multiplayer StarCraft games, there also exists a large group of professional players, which has taken the game to a depth level matched only by games which have existed for centuries.

So once we ship the core game of StarCraft 2 and start delving into the expansions, we’ll have a great deal of that infrastructure under our belts and be able to concentrate primarily on content creation for the two expansion sets.

Remember that technically, StarCraft 2’s multiplayer experience won’t be finished either. As mentioned earlier, every expansion will contain new units (or mechanics) which will add to each races’ arsenal. The expansions are projected to be released year after year in consecutive fashion, which means it’ll take StarCraft 2 a minimum of two years to reach the point where the multiplayer game is finalized with all available units. This is when the game can begin the long process of balancing, hopefully maturing slowly into a masterpiece worthy of its legacy.

It doesn’t make sense for Kerrigan to be flying around in a battlecruiser and picking out mercenary missions for cash, which is what you’ll be doing with Raynor in the core game’s campaign. So we’ll be doing something different with Kerrigan to get her to evolve and grow her Zerg army. Meanwhile, Zeratul’s Protoss campaign may require you to engage in diplomacy with the different Protoss tribes in order to gain access to…

liberty wings tech screen

This is quite different from StarCraft 1 and just about every other RTS game to ever hit the market. Blizzard’s investment in the not-part-of-actual-RTS details of the Single Player Campaign is quite staggering.

We’ve put by far, the most amount of work into the Terrans — the other two campaigns are still in planning and concepting

…Being able to focus on one race for 26 to 30 missions gives us the breathing room to give players meaningful choices…

Three months ago, on October 13, the status did not appear be much different...

according to Chris Sigaty, lead producer, they are now finishing “Wings of Liberty“, the Terran campaign.

Dustin Browder: You’re certainly going to see other major characters like Kerrigan and Zeratul make significant appearances and impact in the first campaign…

It looks like Blizzard is working in full force to finish the first part of the single player campaign while finalizing the multiplayer game in order to launch StarCraft 2 within the next few months. Will we see a beta soon?

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