Comic-Con is just around the corner, and Blizzard is bringing some exclusive merchandise to their booth. The merchandise being sold include transforming Zergling/Baneling plushies, mini Sylvanas, Shadow Illidan figurines by Funko, hardcover Udon World of Warcraft Tribute Books, Epic Purple Lanyards, and MOMOT papercraft products. To see the descriptions and images of these items, check out the full article on Battle.net.
A new situation report is out, and this time, David Kim is explaining current and future approach to balance.
More Action throughout the Game We strongly believe that this is the main direction the game should go. More action means more diversity, which makes the game more challenging to play and more fun to watch.
Change the Game to Promote Skill The Warp Prism change we tested last week is a good example of a tweak that benefits players who are amazing at multitasking, while having little effect on the game below the pro level. For an eSport game like SC2, we want more things in the game that separate out the very best from the average, not less.
Blizzard is asking for testers for their new desktop app that is currently in development. This app is "designed to improve the launcher experience for all Blizzard games and streamline the ability for players to get into their games."
To help with the testing, all you have to do is opt in to any of the game universe betas from your account management. An e-mail will be sent to you when you are selected for the testing.
BlizzCon, the annual Blizzard convention, is currently taking submissions for its original art contest and movie contest. Winners will have their submission(s) shown on the BlizzCon stage, and will also receive a ticket to BlizzCon and hundreds of dollars in cash.
For the original art contest, submissions have to be original works of art that features the StarCraft, Diablo, and/or Warcraft universe and is in a high-resolution JPEG format. The movie contest is similarly taking submissions based on Blizzard's game universes. The submissions may use any mix of live-action, animation, or game footage that is no longer than three minutes in length.
Submissions must be entered before August 23, and you can check out the full contest details for both contests on this page.
A new feature for StarCraft II has been revealed by Blizzard today, called Spawning, which allows people with the Starter Edition or Wings of Liberty to play Heart of the Swarm with their friends. People may join their friends' Heart of the Swarm parties to experience Heart of the Swarm multiplayer in all its glory, even without owning Heart of the Swarm.
Nowadays, anyone who hasn’t yet purchased StarCraft II can still play, thanks to the Starter Edition. While Starter Edition players have access to much of the game, there are many features that they previously couldn’t try before upgrading to the full game. Spawning closes that gap. Any player at a lower expansion level who joins a party that includes a player at a higher expansion level is Spawned up, and gets to play using the features and options of the highest expansion level for as long as they’re in a party together.
For example, when a Starter Edition player joins a party with a Wings of Liberty-level player, both are instantly playing Wings of Liberty. When those two players then join a party with a Heart of the Swarm-level player, they all immediately gain access to Heart of the Swarm content, and they keep that access until their party no longer includes any higher-expansion level players.
There's even a new Spawning page, which you can check out here. Blizzard's video explaining Spawning can be seen below.
Carbot also made an animation to celebrate the Spawning feature, which you can also watch below.
Blizzard also gave an interview to Penny Arcade explaining their reasoning for making Heart of the Swarm multiplayer "free".
“It came about in brainstorming on our side, and thinking back to some of the things we used to do back in the old days,” saidSigaty. “Remembering how that was received…even going back to Warcraft 2 when I wasn't with Blizzard, I remember thinking 'this is so cool that they did that.' So we wanted to give back that feeling to it.”
But there are other advantages that Sigaty says he's hoping the new initiative will bring to the StarCraft world.
“StarCraft tends to skew 1v1 in perception, because obviously eSports focuses that way. But we hear about players talking nostalgically about Big Game Hunters and building up massive armies with friends and wiping out AI armies. Or even just playing teams against each other. And for me personally, I'd love to see us break down some of the perception that the game is all about this ranked 1v1 play. And I think this is a great opportunity to share that.”
You can read the full Penny Arcade interview here.