Blizzard has rolled out a whole wave of unlockable goodies across Diablo III, Starcraft 2, Overwatch, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original Starcraft on PC. Each game has a different reward to claim ranging from small profile portraits to exclusive skins featuring Sarah Kerrigan (yay!).
Here’s a breakdown of what players of each tittle will receive should they login between today and March 31st:
Starcraftr II – A set of three user interface skins (one per race), a portrait and a decal.
World of Warcraft – /salute a Starcraft mini-pet and receive the “Salute to Starcraft” limited time achievement.
Overwatch – Sarah Kerrigan Ghost Skin for Widowmaker.
Hearthstone – Play the Starcraft themed Tavern Brawl between March 21st and 25th and receive 3 free Kobolds & Catacombs packs.
Heroes of the Storm – 20th anniversary Protoss, Terran and Zerg display pictures featuring artwork from the original game.
Diablo III – Dominion’s Revenge pet.
I’m a little disappointed in the Heroes of the Storm reward in particular. Considering the amount of Starcraft Heroes – like Raynor, Kerrigan, Tychus etc – you’d think they’d have something a little more substantial than three display pictures. Both SCII and Heroes of the Storm even share the same engine! Rumor has it the next revealed hero will be from the Starcraft Universe but the dev team could have done so muchg better here.
Starcraft II’s Wings of Liberty Campaign will be available in its entirety for free alongside the complete unranked & AI multiplayer suites Blizzard announced today during their Blizzcon keynote. Later this month a major patch will be released for SCII that unlocks more content for free users that was previously only available to owners of Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm or Legacy of the Void. Previous to the upcoming patch the free version of SCII, called Starter Edition, was limited to the Terran faction only and with a small selection of multiplayer maps.
Here is a breakdown of the features of the brand new Starcraft II: Free to Play edition:
Access to the complete 12 hour “Wings of Liberty” campaign for all players.
Previous owners of “Wings of Liberty” will be gifted “Heart of the Swarm” by Blizzard.
Access to the complete unified multiplayer (Vs AI) suite with units from across all 3 campaigns right away for all players.
F2P commanders can earn access the Ranked mode after earning 10 daily “First Win of the Day”.
All Co-Op Commanders available up to level 5, no more rotation!
Starcraft II’s Free to Play patch will go live on November 14th.
Starcraft II’s popular blonde ghost Nova will be the focus of the next story set in the Starcraft II universe Blizzard announced this morning at Blizzcon. Originally scooped by IGN before the official reveal – Starcraft II: Nova expansion will be the first in a series of mission packs for the long running Starcraft 2 platform. The first 3 missions of Nova Ops will be released before June 19th of this year Blizzard has announced.
Blizzards Chris Sigalty had this to say about the game:
“focusing on a story that’s a little more intimate, a little darker in tone. We’ve been so focused on the galactic conflict [in StarCraft] and the galactic story. We’d like to explore something a little bit closer to home.”
This week has been pretty huge for games and it’s only Tuesday evening here on the west coast. I’ve got two reviews in progress – Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax and RockBand 4- both of which I will be digging into over the weekend for coverage sometime next week. Rather than focus on the near-future let’s travel to the stars with two titles I’ve been playing over the past two days.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
Over the past week or so I’ve been taking nightly trips to the outer colony worlds of Koprulu section in StarCraft II with my wife. I’ve been watching her replay the Wings of Liberty campaign in anticipation of the release of Legacy of the Void. My previous experience with StarCraft II was pretty much limited to the multiplayer during LAN parties during my college years so I never really got to appreciate the game’s robust single player.
Watching Jim Raynor build up the rebellion on Mars Sara has been an interesting and rather thought provoking exercise for me this week. Unlike other games with strong multiplayer components StarCraft II introduces campaign specific units with their own abilities and statistics that have no bearing on the multiplayer. This is particularly surprising given how prominent that the SC franchises is in the realm of e-sports. I think my favorite mission has to be the hijacking of the large mecha ‘the Odin’ from the dominion. Listening to Tychus ask Raynor if he can ‘take him [the Odin] home’ is just amazing as he rains fiery death down on the dominion, even if Tychus’ final resolution leaves a bit to be desired especially the growing tension between Raynor and him.
Although I am sure some of you can agree the plot-forced romance between Raynor and Kerrigan is absolute trash and probably should have been left on the cutting room floor. Raynor has all of the personality of a piece of dried toast and his ambitions of ‘saving Kerrigan’ and ‘making everything better’ remove what little agency she has had in the series thus far.
Hopefully next week’s play through of Heart of the Swarm will fare a little better.
Returning To Star Wars: The Old Republic
Bioware’s return to a galaxy far far away has been off my radar for the better part of three and a half years, almost as long as this site has been in operation! A friend of mine who is a subscriber tempted me to come back to the game after a long absence by offering me a seven day subscriber level trial code. The bait worked and I jumped back into the boots of my red haired Sith Marauder ‘Kit’.
Much has changed among the The Old Republic in the intervening 3 and a half years. First and foremost was the implementation of Free-To-Play mechanics, which are usually a deal breaker for me when it comes to games – with the only exception being phone or tablet games. Thankfully I found my time going through levels 20 – 25 to be pretty much uninterrupted by the micro transactions save for reminders that I could level up even faster if I forked over some cash and could instantly respawn upon death rather than going to medical bay. The EXP bonus would have been nice but in all honesty I found the number of side-quests available enough to keep me occupied for over 40 hours last week alone!
My return to SWTOR also reminded me of another MMO side activity that I absolutely adore- gather & crafting. I spent all of the time I wasn’t questing back at the Sith Imperial Fleet having my companions running gathering missions for me. I somehow leveled up my Treasure Hunting skills to half of the level cap (200/400) and now my companions are bringing back mod-able gear (that is to say some pretty rare stuff) that is higher level than my character. Has it cost me a lot of credits? Oh hell yes, I’ve probably sunk a good 85 – 100K into crafting but it has been well worth it so far.
Have you ever wanted to see a Zerged out Kerrigan throw down with Thrall? How about Tasadar and the Witchdoctor from Diablo 3? All possible with blizzards new MOBA game, Heroes of the Storm.
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games have recently become as common as grains of sand on a beach but Blizzards entry is looking to differentiate itself by creating a unique niche inside of a very crowded environment. Heroes appeals to a more casual audience than league or DOTA with most matches lasting less than 20 minutes, and a heavy emphasis on team fights and objectives. The item shop has been removed and leveling is done as a team, rather than individually. This is balanced out with a unique role system that creates a rock, paper, scissors feeling when choosing champions. Games are made more variable by a set of talents that modify the core ability of each champion which you chose as you level up in game. This system makes the game feel very much like Warcraft III with progressive leveling of your heroes as the game goes on. The whole thing is wrapped up in the beautiful tile sets of blizzards many worlds and has a really aesthetic.Read More