We hate waiting. Expectations heighten, people bore, you get so. frustrated. The more time the passes, the more we worry; what if it isn't as good as it could be? What if they're ruining it? What if we're ruining it?! And how the hell am I going to get into the beta! Well, we have two bits of amazingly good news: No more waiting for the latest issue of what we like to call the...
And secondly, here's how you're going to get into the beta: we've got two contests for you to dig your teeth into; both challenging with excellent rewards. Write us an editiorial, we'll give you a beta key. Answer some questions (note: they're hard), we'll give you a beta key and maybe a Blizzcon ticket. You've only got until June 15th for that one so hurry up. Design a hero, we'll design a beta key all they way to your hands.
In a conference call, Mike Morhaime stated that Blizzard was aiming for a release in late 2009 - we're dreaming of a Terran Christmas. As with ... well pretty much everything Blizzard ever say, this is what they're aiming for; not a confirmed fact. Karune reassured the battle.net forums that if the game isn't good enough by then; it won't be released.
There were also worries that the latest iteration of Blizzard's online multiplayer service Battle.net would be subscription based. While this has not been completely denied, Karune had the following to say:
When a player buys the StarCraft II box at retail, they will have the ability to play on the new Battle.net for free.
For those listening to the latest Activision Blizzard conference call, Mike Morhaime also mentions it there as well.
What this means: purchasing StarCraft II will allow you to play multiplayer, assumedly in all its forms (UMS and standard) both on LAN and Battle.net without any additional cost.
What this does not mean: there will be nothing that requires payment. The chances of there being some sort of "premium" service with additional features (for example, early access to expansion betas) that is subscription or one-time payment based are still high. On the side of speculation, this would likely be a Battle.net Account wide service; as opposed to specifically for StarCraft II (or Diablo III).
In the same thread Karune reinterated that StarCraft II's multiplayer is being designed around both ensuring that pro-level play will be as intriguing and long-lasting as that of the original; as well as making sure that players of every skill level are able to enjoy the game as much as possible. More information will be released on this alongside the Battle.net reveal.
Two other posts of note, both Terran related. One related to the Ghost - reassuring the community that this unit will be infinetly more useful than it was in the past. No longer just a vessel for embarassment at the hands of SlayerS_BoxeR, EMP has been returned to him for massive effectiveness in the Terran vs. Protoss match-up. There was also a question in relation to add-ons. The purpose of the question wasn't exactly easy to define, so have a copy-paste and make of it what you will:
While I don't know about the 'main idea' of the add-ons being detachable is so the other side could steal them, this mechanic is still in the game. The AI does not prioritize the buildings over the the add-ons in StarCraft II. 'Stealing' is also a bit trickier to do since Terran players can salvage buildings like add-ons and bunkers to get 100% of the cost back over X period of time (in which X is subject to balance still of course).
Many more contests, if ours don't do it for you; take a crack at those. We particularly like anything involving cake.
TeamLiquid also announced their Liquipedia, a definitive wiki for professional StarCraft information. This looks like it's going to be an invaluable resource for all matters relating to the pro-scene. Be sure to check it out when it's released a few hours from now.
Last, and we're praying this isn't least, the latest issue of PC Gamer UK had an interesting moment on its final "Next Month" page. Just a simple sentence. "Inside the StarCraft II Beta". A simple trick to sell a few more magazines or do they know something we don't? We'll find out July 2nd (or, hopefully, beforehand).
This concludes another edition of the Legacy Weekly, until next time.
The Legacy Weekly approves: The middle of June.