Blizzard is making an interesting new addition to the StarCraft website: a series of short stories that take place in the StarCraft universe, available free to read and download as a PDF.
The first of these stories is titled In the Blood, and is about a Terran's plot to sell off Zerg larvae. You can read it here on the official website, as well as read a portion of it below:
The port grub awoke in a cold sweat, as usual. The transponder implanted in his wrist cried its shrill alarm at five-second intervals. The boss man, Ivan, was calling. New product was in.
Instinct seized control, issuing orders to the grub's body. Twin adrenal glands juiced his veins with nature's own brand of stimpack. His lungs billowed. His heart raced. Blood cells rich with oxygen surged through muscle tissue as he began the rituals of awakening.
These short stories will be added in to the StarCraft II Lore page as soon as they come out. There will also be updates on the front page of StarCraft: Legacy as new installments are released.
Battle.net - StarCraft Short Story: In the Blood
The launch site for Heart of the Swarm is now live, and you can check it out here.
Blizzard - Heart of the Swarm Global Invasion
- Exciting new replay features have been added to Heart of the Swarm.
- Watch With Others - This feature allows you to watch replays in sync with other players on Battle.net.
- Take Command - This feature allows you or your group to take control of selected player armies while watching a replay.
- Recover Game - This feature allows you to recover a prematurely ended game from a replay.
- For more details about these new features, please see our overview on the StarCraft II Community Site.
- Vs. AI Mode has been enabled. Players can now challenge an AI opponent that scales in difficulty.
- Training Mode has been enabled. In Training Mode, you’ll work your way up from basic StarCraft gameplay skills to greater challenges designed to hone your skills.
- Lots of tweaks and polish have been made to the new UI throughout the beta.
- Health increased from 50 to 60.
- Supply cost increased from 3 to 4.Activating the Prismatic Alignment ability now causes a timer to display over the Void Ray for the duration of the effect.
- The Evolve Burrow upgrade requirement has been moved to the Hatchery.
- The Mac version of the Heart of the Swarm Beta is now working properly again.
- A full list of documented game and service bugs can be found in our Known Issues sticky in the Beta Bug Report forum.
Battle.net - StarCraft II Heart of the Swarm Beta Patch 2.0.3
StarCraft II's first expansion, Heart of the Swarm, is hitting stores on March 12th and with it, new replay features. Blizzardhas posted an in-depth look at each new replay feature that will be included in Heart of the Swarm: viewing replays with others, taking control of replay game, and recovering games.
Watching replays with others is self-explanatory; you can start a Battle.net lobby which players can join to view the same replay together. The original creator of the lobby will control the timeline and replay speed, whereas each player can control their own view of the game.
Taking control of a replay game is a feature that allows viewers of a replay to take over from a specific point in the replay. An example given on the Blizzard post is, if two players were watching a replay between JaeDong and Flash, one player could take JaeDong's place and the other could take Flash's, thus "resuming" the game from a chosen time. This allows friends to re-play decisive moments in a match, for teachers to repeat lessons easily, and to have rematches from any point in time.
The third and last feature is the "Recover Game" feature, which is focused on helping out eSports. If ever, whenever an issue pops up where a tournament game is untimely stopped, the "Recover Game" feature will allow tournament hosts to start a new lobby with the original players of a replay (the replay of the match that was abruptly ended), and then start the game from any chosen time in the replay. The game will restart from that time, making hardware failures and disconnects just a little bit less inconvenient.
For the full post from Blizzard, click here.
Battle.net - New Replay and Resume Features Coming in Heart of the Swarm
A new Creative Development Q&A is out, answering some questions about psionics:
Question: The psionic level of Kerrigan is 12. Compared to Kerrigan, what level are other units that can use psionic energy, like the Ghost, High Templar, and Archon?
Answer: The psi index rating (PI) was developed by the Confederacy, so the only beings that have been reliably measured with it are Terrans. It goes from 0 to 10.
Between 0 and 2, there is no noticeable psionic ability. (I'm a 1, personally.) At 3 and above, a person is considered "sensitive" to telepathy but is not a telepath. (The wranglers for the Ghost program are usually around 3.5.) PI 5 is telepathic, which also happens (surprise, surprise) to be the minimum acceptable rating for Ghost training.
PI 8 is potentially telekinetic, although PI 8s have been known to exhibit other outstanding powers. PI 8 is very rare. Nova is a PI 10. The only other PI 10s on record are Sarco Angelini (superintendent at the Dominion Ghost Academy) and pre-infestation Sarah Kerrigan. There is no data on how Spectres rate while under the influence of Terrazine.
Terran equipment refers to the Queen of Blades as class 12 because it can't measure her PI rating at all. She exceeds the scale and is at least an order of magnitude above 10.
For the full Q&A, click here.
Battle.net - StarCraft II Creative Development Q&A: Part 13
The next Creative Development Q&A is out, with a few interesting questions:
Question: How is it that, with Tychus under the employ of Arcturus Mengsk, he never knew of his son's plot?
Answer: Well, Tychus and Jim didn't find out about Valerian's plot until quite late—too late for Mengsk to stop it, really. But the truth is, Mengsk did know about Valerian's plot. Remember, Arcturus wanted Tychus Findlay on the scene when Kerrigan's humanity was restored. That was the ideal outcome Mengsk was hoping for, but even if that didn't happen, the plan still had lots of positives. It let him combine the tactical brilliance of Jim Raynor with the steadiness of General Warfield to affect an invasion of Char. If the invasion succeeded, then the Dominion fleet would have just taken Char and deposed the Queen of Blades—a victory for Mengsk. If the invasion failed, then the Swarm would still have taken a lot of damage, but the failure wouldn't be Mengsk's; it would be laid at the feet of the traitorous Prince Valerian and his crony Jim Raynor. In that case, Mengsk could use the entire fiasco as a rallying cry to win the people over: “we're now in great danger, with our military damaged by Raynor!”
Am I saying Mengsk would sacrifice Valerian if it suited his purposes? Yep! I don't think he would do that lightly, but in the end, he'd do anything to survive.
For the full Q&A, click here.
Battle.net - StarCraft II Creative Development Q&A: Part 12
A few months ago, Blizzard asked the community to submit their dances for a chance for them to get into the game. Blizzard has finally released their choices on which dances are making their way into Heart of the Swarm, showcasing the dances in a video.
Battle.net - Community-Submitted Dances Coming in Heart of the Swarm
A long time ago, soon after the release of Wings of Liberty, Blizzard announced they would implement a way to pay for name changes in the near future. Now, in 2013, Blizzard is issuing an apology to everyone that paid name changes have been deprioritized, and are also giving all accounts another free name change.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that the lack of name change options has caused anyone. We’ve definitely heard your passion for this subject, and we should have more information about a Paid Character Name Change feature shortly after the release of Heart of the Swarm. In the meantime, we’ve added a new free name change to all player accounts.
Blizzard has also promised to provide another free name change once the Clans feature comes out, and will give players forewarning on when that will happen.
Battle.net - Free Name Change & Paid Name Change Update
It's time for another StarCraft II Creative Development Q&A!
Question: In times of peace, what do templar, judicators, khalai, and Nerazim do?
Answer: Practice, man, practice!
Question: Throughout Wings of Liberty, Kerrigan invaded several planets and systems around the Koprulu sector in search of the artifact pieces. As a result of this, she must have come across several new strains to assimilate into the zerg army. Through this exploration, have there been new zerg strains introduced to the Swarm?
Answer: The Swarm did indeed encounter lots of new genetic material! There was not time to incorporate these strains before the battle on Char, but the Swarm is still aware of the other types of essences out there.
Question: Why haven't the protoss advanced in tech over the course of the games?
Answer: The protoss are an inward-looking race. They feel they achieved the perfect approach to technology and civilization long ago, and now they have little interest in changing. There are certainly protoss innovators, but in general they prefer steady, methodical progress. The protoss basically value stability above all. New tech has a way of changing everything.
Question: Raynor and Zeratul had a vision. We learned it was the Overmind's and that it showed the future (or a possible future). But how and why did the Overmind have this vision in the first place?
Answer: The Overmind's consciousness was molded by the entity referred to here as the Dark Voice. During that process, the Overmind was exposed to some of the Dark Voice's plans for the future. Scattered, confused images, sensations, ideas, concepts. Nothing clear or concrete. That vision was a narrative the Overmind constructed from bits and pieces, and it was about all that the Overmind could glean from the time spent with the Dark Voice.
For the full Q&A, click here.
Battle.net - StarCraft II Creative Development Q&A: Part 11
Part 10 is out for the Creative Development QAs, a section of which you can read below:
Question: Considering that Tassadar and Adun sacrificed their lives in a similar manner, is Adun still out there somewhere like a dead Jedi in Star Wars?
Answer: Adun is not a dead Jedi. However, it’s interesting that you see a connection between Adun and Tassadar.
Question: How is it that Tassadar became immortal and eternal, practically all powerful, and yet forced Zeratul and the Protoss armies to come to him (he made ZERO effort to help the universe or his race, but is oh-so-helpful once they arrive)? It is as if he was unable to do anything to help anybody other than hang out around the Overmind's body.
Answer: Who said he's all-powerful? I think Tassadar's presence in Wings very much implies that he is somehow tied to the Overmind's location. This is a character who has severe limitations.
Question: Is Mengsk an agent of the Dark Voice? Is that why he wanted Kerrigan dead and installed Tychus as a sleeper agent in Raynor's army? Is that why Kerrigan wants him dead and not for the betrayal and abandonment? If Mengsk and Tychus had a comm link open the whole time, why did he let Tychus take the Odin and let the events of Korhal and the prison breakout occur?
For the full QA, click here.
StarCraft II Creative Development Q&A - Part 10