In what might well be described as “a very smart move”, Blizzard have announced the acquisition of the IGN Pro League — including the technology, assets, and some of the employees. The acquired goodies will be mashed together into Blizzard’s own eSports team, based in San Francisco.
The news follows on the heels of Blizzard announcing a major overhaul to the StarCraft II WCS including new global broadcasting partners and a massive $1.6 million prize pool. Part of the overhaul included the discussion of a new “central hub” for players to follow along with all the action, which seems to be what Blizzard are angling at with this announcement today.
Blizzard won’t be the first developer to try and bring eSports coverage in-house — Riot already does the same thing, and it’s working out pretty well for them. It’s not clear exactly what Blizzard will be using their new eSports office for, but it’ll be interesting to watch.
Blizzard have very excitedly flooded the internet with zerglings to announce that Heart of the Swarm blitzed through 1.1 million sales in just 48 hours.
Viewer numbers on their livestream events and their coverage of the MLG Winter Championship in Dallas were also similarly excellent, and well deserved for what is generally a thoroughly well-made game with plenty of community-driven tweaks.
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is a huge beast, and that’s why we decided to pair up and take it on from all angles. In this single-player video review, we explore where Heart of the Swarm fits in the overall storyline, what Kerrigan gets up to when left to her own devices, and whether or not there’s enough of a storyline there to justify a full expansion.
If you’re after more information on the multiplayer side of things, read our massive in-depth review by our resident Grandmaster League-player, Alex.
Perhaps the most telling observation one can make about Heart of the Swarm is that, despite it being their expansion, Zerg players are the least happy about the changes.
They’re not despondent; they’re just not cheering from the aisles. It’s particularly noticeable in Australia, whose competitive scene has been characterised with an unhealthy degree of Zerg commanders for the last two years. Most of our tournaments were strictly all-Zerg affairs: Jared “PiG” Krensel, for instance, won the Australian leg of the Blizzard World Championship Series purely thanks to his prowess in the Zerg vs Zerg mirror.
Changing the status quo, obviously, can only be a good thing. But it’s not as if the race is at a distinct disadvantage across the board, as Andrew “mOOnGlaDe” Pender showcased at the HotS launch in Federation Square. It’s just that the collective’s knowledge has effectively been reset.
With Heart of the Swarm launching today, Katie Williams chased down and spoke to Sean ‘Day‘ Plott — one of StarCraft II‘s biggest names and the man behind The Day Daily, a StarCraft II (and any other topics that come to mind) vidcast that reaches thousands and thousands of viewers across the world each day. In this interview, Sean speaks about his motivations in trying to teach others, what Heart of the Swarm means for the current metagame, and why schools will soon be having their own competitive multiplayer eSports teams.
Take advantage of the fact that our clocks are substantially ahead of our American brethren and get cracking on Heart of the Swarm, which is available to Australians right now. It’s a hefty download but if you’ve kept your client up to date it shouldn’t be too crazy — on the other hand though if you have no StarCraft on your system at all it’ll set you back about 10 GB.
Heart of the Swarm brings a full Zerg-themed campaign which kicks off where Wings of Liberty closed, as well as a new slew of multiplayer units, a new training mode against AI that responds to your skill development and suggests tactics and builds, and more. Here’s everything we’ve written about it so far.
You can pick up a physical copy from places like EB for around $48, or you can buy a Digital Deluxe version direct from Blizzard for $65. There are Collectors Editions at retail as well, but good luck getting one of those if you haven’t pre-ordered already!
How’d you like my groove, Daggoth?
The launch of StarCraft II‘s next expansion, Heart of the Swarm, is upon us in just 13 days — and this new launch trailer released today amps up the suspense for the single-player narrative. As somebody who generally enjoyed the story more than the multiplayer side of StarCraft, I’m pretty okay with this. Take a look below and let us know what you think.
Blizzard have announced that Dustin Browder, the man behind StarCraft II as we know it, will be flying in to make a guest appearance at the Federation Square launch event for Heart of the Swarm.
The night will also feature digital speed painting by 3D Artist Luke Mancini, and a developer Q&A as well as live exhibition matches between notable Aussie eSports luminaries such as Andrew “mOOnGLaDe” Pender, Jared “PiG” Krensel, Mark “yang” Richardson and Daniel “deth” Hayne.
If you can’t make it to Melbourne’s Federation Square at 8PM AEDT on March 11, the whole event will be livestreamed (as part of the rolling coverage of all the global launch events at Blizzard’s official livestream site.
As we head into March and the release of Heart of the Swarm, Blizzard have released a video showing how the new replay features will work — features that are available in the current Wings of Liberty patch right now.
The video below highlights new replay features such as the ability to watch replays as a group, the ability to immediately jump into a replay after a match, and of course the ability to resume a game from a replay at any time and play it out differently. The ability to recover matches that have crashed is also discussed, which will be of great use at tournaments.