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In the latest Developer Update, the StarCraft 2 development team announced some big UI changes coming for Heart of the Swarm, the upcoming expansion to SC2, including implementation of some huge features that players have been asking for since the release of the game.
Planned to launch “at or around the launch of Heart of the Swarm” include:
- Multiplayer resume from replay: This feature is key for many major tournaments and local events that rely on smooth, error-free execution. This feature will allow games that are ended prematurely to be resumed from a replay, meaning issues with Battle.net disconnections or lag should no longer cause regames or early results. While it isn’t LAN, it’s a big and important feature.
- Clan/group system and unranked matchmaking: While no details were given, it was revealed that Blizzard is planning a clan/group system of some kind to launch alongside Heart of the Swarm. In addition, the ability to play in unranked games will allow players to match against like-skilled opponents while they test new builds, off-race, or experiment in the game all without affecting their position on the ladder.
- Multiplayer replay viewing: A part of many major events is the ability for multiple casters to view the same replay. In the past, this relied heavily on timing - as in both casters with the same replay file loading it independently and clicking “Play” at the same time. While this usually works, there are many cases where timing is off. Now, multiple players will have the ability to view the same replay at the same time. In addition, this is extremely useful for coaching as it allows both players to have a seamless viewing experience over their replay together.
- Global Play: Finally, and perhaps the biggest feature, is the implementation of Global Play - a feature initially revealed for Diablo III - into StarCraft II. This feature, in addition to multilanguage support, would allow players to be able to play on any region’s ladder or against any other player regardless of where they are in the world, a long desired option. Previously, players would have to purchase additional copies of StarCraft II that are local to the region.
These features, and more, will be discussed more in-depth as we get closer to the release. In addition, news about how participation in the StarCraft II Patch 1.5 beta could earn players a spot in the upcoming Heart of the Swarm multiplayer beta is coming in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for that!