The new short story for StarCraft II is out, featuring the Terran SCV.
When “Pearly” Bousquette signed on with Raynor’s Raiders, he knew his life was about to become much harder and infinitely more dangerous. But when he and his crew of SCV pilots are sent on a simple strip-and-rip mission, things quickly turn sour… and it’ll take all of Pearly’s ingenuity to get his crew back home alive.
Read the full story here.
Battle.net - New StarCraft Short Story: The Fightin' SceeVees
Blizzard has posted a lengthy FAQ on the StarCraft II main page, answering some common questions about the Heart of the Swarm ladder, its leagues, and seasons.
Question: I’ve been losing quite a bit on the ladder lately. Why am I not being demoted?
Answer: To keep play at each skill level on the ladder competitive, we no longer demote players in the middle of a season. (Exception: Demotions down from Grand Master league are applied in cases of high bonus pool (inactivity).) Unless you're an inactive Grand Master, you can only be placed into a lower league when you play your initial placement match(es) in a new season, or by leaving the league.
Question: When I choose to play “unranked”, do I only face other unranked players?
Answer: No. At this time, players who are playing with and without ladder points on the line are in the same pool. In order to expand the interests of players who choose to play unranked, the game maintains a separate hidden skill rating for ranked and unranked play.
At the highest levels of skill, ranked players are only matched up against other ranked players, and unranked players are only matched up against other unranked players.
Read the full post here.
Battle.net - StarCraft II Ladder, League, and Season FAQ
Another call to action is here, asking users to test some Warp Prism balance changes.
We’ve just published a custom version of Derelict Watcher, called "Derelict Watcher TE (2.0.8 Balance v1.0)", in which we’re testing small balance changes to StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. Our plan is to first consider the changes below, and potentially test additional changes after reviewing your feedback. Here’s the situation:
- Warp Prism
- The Gravitic Drive upgrade has been removed from the Robotics Bay.
- Movement speed increased from 2.5 to 3.375.
- Acceleration increased from 2.125 to 3.25.
You can read about these changes in this forum post, and discuss the changes in this discussion thread.
Battle.net - Call to Action: May 30 Balance Testing
The next short story is out, and this time, it's about the Siege Tank.
Marius is a grizzled, old-school siege tank driver, every bit as tough as the neosteel shell of his vehicle. But when this hardened veteran comes face-to-face with a deadly target, his skills and his resolve are put to the ultimate test.
Read the story here.
Battle.net - New StarCraft Short Story: Momentum
Blizzard has just posted the new short story, featuring Terran Vikings in all their adaptability.
Erik Snabb did his time in the corps, but he got smart and traded in his wings while he still could. Going from being a fighter ace to being a loving husband and father took some getting used to, but Erik is handling it well… until the zerg threaten his home and his family once again.
Read the story here.
Battle.net - New StarCraft Short Story: Lost Vikings
To anyone who has purchased BlizzCon tickets, the due date for providing your names and optional game information is May 14. You must edit or enter attendee information by May 14.
If you purchased BlizzCon 2013 tickets for family or friends, just a reminder you have until next Tuesday, May 14 to enter or edit attendee information, including:
- The names to be printed on the badges
- Battle.net account names for the pre-show online merchandise sale for BlizzCon ticket holders—more details to come. (Please note that only registered accounts will be able to access this pre-show sale.)
- Optional game information such as World of Warcraft character, realm, clan, and BattleTag.
If this information hasn’t been entered by May 14, all badges will default to the name on the purchaser’s Battle.net account. Don’t miss the opportunity to customize your badges!
Battle.net - BlizzCon Ticket Reminder: Attendee Information Deadline May 14
The new short story, "Carrier", features the Carrier.
This slaughter should never have happened. Fleet command had assigned the Koramund to lend its firepower to protoss forces engaged in a nasty fight with the zerg. But on the journey to the front, the Koramund had picked up a distress call from what had long been believed to be an abandoned colony on the remote planet of Vanass.
The distress call had been a ruse; the Koramund warped right in the middle of a zerg swarm. Retreat was not an option.
Read the full story here.
Battle.net - New StarCraft Short Story: Carrier
Blizzard has posted some information about replays in patch 2.0.8, and some explanations about the new data recorded in replays:
Starting with Patch 2.0.8, replay files will contain much more information, and we'd like to share some of those details with you today. In order to do this, we collaborated with the fine folks behind GGTracker to put together a preview for just a few of the awesome game stats and performance metrics that can now be pulled from our new-and-improved replay files.
Army Strength & Battles
Currently, GGTracker's Army Strength chart allows you to see which units were in your army at any point during a game. After patch 2.0.8, these graphs will also show when combat took place during each match. Battles are indicated as shaded regions on the Army Strength chart below.
One of the keys to improving as a player, especially for those who are new to the game, is to focus on building a strong economy and spending your resources as efficiently as possible. With the improvements we've made to replays, along with a few of GGTracker's new charts, you'll be able to do just that.
Among the many stats that GGTracker accounts for, the Spending Skill measurement is one of its most intriguing and one that many players have found useful for leveling up their play. This measurement is an adaptation of the intricate Spending Quotient metric introduced here, and allows you to see how your economy management skills stack up against other players on a range from Bronze to Grand Master, as well as track your improvement over time in this aspect of StarCraft II gameplay.
You can read the full post here.
Battle.net - StarCraft II Patch 2.0.8 Replay File Enhancements
STARCRAFT II PATCH 2.0.8
- The “Damaged Units Only” status bar option now applies only to life, shields, and energy. All other status bars behave as if “Always” is selected.
- Custom observer interface files are now read from the “My Documents/StarCraft II/Interfaces” location rather than account specific locations.
- The Idle Worker button now plays a subtle glow animation while active.
- The Regions button on the Login Screen is now visible at the password entry step. Upon selecting a region, players will be logged out to account entry with the proper region selected.
- A confirmation dialog now displays for players attempting to login to regions running a newer version of StarCraft II than their current version, rather than automatically closing the game client and patching up to the newest version.
- Replay files now contain additional game information and statistics for data analysis. (Stay tuned for further instructions on how to utilize this data in an upcoming blog post on the StarCraft II Community Site.)
- Recover Game UI no longer shows any events after the “Game Ended” event. For 1v1 matches, it is no longer possible to accidentally recover the game after one of the players has already been defeated.
- “Internet Cafe” has been added to the list of Group categories.
- Lobby countdown timers have been reduced from 10 seconds to 3 seconds for “Recover Game” and “Watch with Others” game lobbies.
- The order for “Most Recent” and “Highest Rank” in the “Sort by” dropdown menu on the Profile > Ladder > Career Summary page has been switched.
- The “Career” heading on the Profile Summary page has been renamed to “Statistics”, and “Total Career Games” has been renamed to “Games Played This Season” to more accurately reflect the data being displayed.
- A new “Show Game Start Countdown” option has been added to the Game Options window in the Map>Map Options menu. Enabling this option will display the 3-2-1 countdown timer that was added in Patch 2.0.4 for the Take Command and Recover Game features. This option is disabled by default.
- Fixed many text and sound localization issues throughout the game for all languages.
- Fixed many keyboard layout and hotkey issues across all languages.
- Fixed multiple crashes that could occur when utilizing the Take Command feature.
- Fixed an issue in which multiplayer replays could not be re-paused if a player left the game while it was paused.
- The Watch Replay Solo button is now properly disabled upon completing a game of StarCraft Master.
- Replays no longer always play Terran music. Music for observers will now always match the race of the last player in the lobby. (In a future patch, this will be further addressed to play a random selection of music from all races for observers.)
- Fixed an issue that affected the accuracy of APM calculation. Additional changes to APM calculations will be coming in a future patch.
- Cloud saves are now properly created when exiting completely out of the client from Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm campaigns.
- Fixed a rare crash that could occur when launching a Challenge mission after playing an Arcade game with an unusual dependency configuration.
- Fixed a rare crash that could occur when closing StarCraft II.
- Fixed an issue in which the “Waiting for Players” dialog could occasionally appear on the loading screen and drop players from the game.
- The “Pauses Remaining” counter is now consistent with how many Pauses are available.
- Fixed a number of streaming failures that could occur when streaming and repairing certain game archives.
- Video subtitles use the locale found in the Text Language field rather than the Speech and Movie Language field in the Options > Language menu.
- Training Mode maps are now properly categorized in the Match History page as Versus AI games rather than 1v1.
- Stage 1 Training Mode Help Menu now properly states that Reapers can be trained from the Barracks.
- Fixed multiple issues which caused Reduced Violence mode to display red blood.
- Fixed an issue which caused text glow to display improperly.
- Fixed a number of outdated loading screen tips.
- Lighting now behaves consistently for the Razer Marauder keyboard, Spectre mouse, and Banshee headset.
- Fixed a rare crash that could occur with particles made using the StarCraft II Art Tools Beta.
- Heart of the Swarm Campaign
- The following achievements no longer restart their tracking progress when playing across multiple missions: Smoking Corpses, Leaping Death, Get a Grip, Unchained, Shifted Priorities, Where the Wild Things Are, So Many Banelings!, Worker Rush, and Surprise!, FFA Gladiator, and Free-for-All Crusher.
- The Monster Smash achievement progress bar is no longer set to zero when loading a save or checkpoint.
- Fixed a graphical issue that could occur during the control room cutscene for the “Back in the Saddle” mission.
- Fixed a graphical issue that could occur when alt-tabbing out of StarCraft II from the Travel screen.
- Fixed a number of animation issues for Kerrigan and Raynor “Lab Rat” mission debriefing scene.
- Fixed a number of streaming failures that could occur when traveling to Skygeirr Station before the “Infested” mission.
- Fixed a number of icon image display issues on the Kerrigan upgrades screen.
- The correct campaign progress is now displayed on the Heart of the Swarm campaign select screen after beating the campaign and logging in from a different machine.
- Fixed and clarified multiple unfriendly strings, error messages, and text input bugs that could occur when performing various operations on Battle.net.
- Fixed many display and navigation issues that could occur when performing various operations on Battle.net.
- The “Watch with Others” and “Recover Game” features are now properly disabled for Offline Mode.
- Fixed an issue which occasionally caused players to enter a locked state if they were dropped from a match and selected “Watch Replay as Party”.
- Fixed an issue in which the Save Replay button appeared active but was non-functional after navigating back to the Score Screen from the Map Info page.
- Fixed a number of sound issues that could occur when repeatedly interacting with a replay timeline.
- Clan entries are now properly removed from the Groups list when a player is removed from a clan while in-game.
- The Create, Edit, and Delete buttons now display properly when navigating directly to a clan’s News tab.
- It is now possible to invite non-friends from the "Players Near You” list to a Group or Clan.
- Spam clicking the Leave Clan button no longer opens multiple confirmation windows.
- Fixed a display issue that could occur when banning and unbanning a player from a Group.
- A scrollbar is now created in the Edit Info window for a Group or Clan populated with enough text that scrolling is required.
- Maximized Group windows are now properly unmaximized upon double-clicking on the window header.
- The Groups list is now sorted alphabetically rather than by online member count.
- Fixed a rare crash that could occur when the maximum number of player slots were filled for certain Arcade games.
- Fixed an issue in which review text for Arcade games could become distorted.
- The review screen for Arcade games now properly displays character portraits rather than the default SC2 logo.
- Closing the Game Info screen for Arcade games can no longer cause closed chat windows to reopen.
- Fixed an issue in which the dropdown menu on the Profile > Ladder > Friends page always defaulted to 4v4 Arranged.
- Bonus pools no longer display negative values if the system clock is set to a time in the past.
- Chat window sizes are now preserved when closed and reopened.
- Fixed a display issue that could occur for players who are ranked in 15 or more teams.
- Fixed an issue in which creating an offline custom game occasionally caused players to enter a locked state.
- Fixed an issue that could cause dropdown menus to become disabled on the Custom Games, Browse, and Open Games tabs.
- Fixed an issue in which 3vAI placement matches could occasionally become stuck at 2 matches remaining.
- Active Live Event banners no longer cause the Kerrigan or Planets backgrounds to pop in and out when transitioning to and from the Home Page.
- Fixed an issue in which the Rewards screen could occasionally show incorrect information for the selected tab.
- The Social bar can no longer overlap UI buttons during the Credits.
- Players can no longer become stuck in an infinite loop when launching and quitting out of the Tutorial.
- Rank frames now display around non-friend character portraits.
- Frame rate performance has been improved when mousing over or scrolling through a populated Match History.
- Gameplay and Races
- Fixed a display issue in which Worker Status UI could cover town hall status bars in very high resolutions.
- Fixed a rare crash that could occur when attacking an AI base.
- It is no longer possible for SCVs to be left inside of a vespene geyser after canceling an under-construction Refinery.
- The Collector’s Edition Thor wireframe is now displays properly.
- The Void Ray’s Prismatic Alignment ability now plays a sound effect when activated.
- The Mothership’s Time Warp ability now plays a dissipation sound effect.
- Fixed an issue that caused uprooted Spine Crawlers to occasionally appear rooted.
- Creep Tumors being created from an existing Creep Tumor can no longer be attacked before they are visible.
- Zerg eggs no longer play extraneous sound effects when units hatch.
- Impact effects can no longer change location when units are turned quickly.
- The Oracle’s Pulsar Beam can no longer extend behind the Oracle when attacking large targets.
- Fixed a graphics crash that could occur in a variety of map loading scenarios.
- Fixed a rare graphics crash that could occur when playing certain Arcade games.
- Fixed many localization issues across all languages.
- Publishing a 1-player map with the “Hide Battle.net Lobby” option enabled no longer prevents users from playing that map in the Arcade.
- Terrain Module
- Fixed a rare crash that could occur when using the Undo/Redo operations while modifying water cells.
- Data Module
- Simultaneously modifying the cost of multiple units no longer causes a crash.
- Switching between Categories (such as Units or Combat) in a Behaviors (Buff type) Modification table now occurs more quickly.
- Macs using Nvidia GTX 680MX graphics cards now default to max resolution and Ultra graphic settings rather than low resolution and Medium graphic settings.
- Anti-aliasing now works correctly.
- Changing Language and Text settings in the Mac editor no longer causes a crash.
A new short story is out. Behold: the Dark Templar!
All Jake wants is a fresh start as far away as possible from civilization. When he discovers an Eden-like planet tucked away in a remote, unchartered star system, Jake gets ready to carve out his own private little slice of heaven . . . never suspecting that his supposedly “perfect” planet holds a dark and terrifying secret.
Read the full story here.
Battle.net - New StarCraft Short Story: In the Dark