Tag Archives: Starcraft

Blog: StarCraft II Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition Unboxing

With the release of Heart of the Swarm just 4 short days away - and GKick’s interview with Rob Clotworthy, the voice of Jim Raynor, just tomorrow - we were greeted by a fantastic copy of the Collector’s Edition of Heart of the Swarm, ready for our enjoyment. If you’re one of the folks who has your copy of Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition en route, here’s a peek at what you’ll be getting when the box arrives!

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A look at the box itself, featuring the distinct purple artwork and Zerg logo in the center.

The Collector’s Edition features the game itself, a Behind-the-Scenes DVD with interviews from Blizzard crew and the voice actors behind the game, another amazing soundtrack, a Heart of the Swarm art book, the Zerg Rush mousepad, and a few free-play guest pass codes for World of Warcraft and Wings of Liberty. In addition, all Collector’s Edition and Digital Collector’s Edition owners will get several StarCraft II avatar pictures and a special skin for the Zerg Ultralisk, a Zergling pet for World of Warcraft, and a special Diablo III banner and Blade Wings for your character to add to their battle.net collections.

The first look inside! Every item fits very neatly into the box, thanks to a plastic insert with special slots for each item.
The first look inside! Every item fits very neatly into the box, thanks to a plastic insert with special slots for each item.

The game itself includes a lot of major updates to the core StarCraft II game. In addition to the new campaign mode, the game also includes new units and an overhauled ladder system for the popular multiplayer element of the game. This game also serves as the central of a three-part story that will culminate with Legacy of the Void, possibly in another 2-3 years from now.

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Art Book
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Art Book
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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Soundtrack

In this chapter of the story, we continue where Jim Raynor “saved” the fallen Kerrigan, who led the Zerg forces as the Queen of Blades, after the battle on Charr. However, it won’t last long as you assume command over Kerrigan and attempt to reclaim your place as leader of the Zerg all while avoiding and threatening the story’s main antagonist, Arcturus Mengsk. There’s a bit more to it, but you’ll need to play to experience it all.

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Heart of the Swarm “Zerg Rush” Mousepad
Heart of the Swarm Game DVD and the Behind-the-Scenes DVD/Blu-ray 2-Disc Set
Heart of the Swarm Game DVD and the Behind-the-Scenes DVD/Blu-ray 2-Disc Set

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm will be available on March 12th, 2013 online and at retailers nationwide. Heart of the Swarm requires StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty in order to play.07-entirety

GKick Episode 59: The One With The Big Announcement

newgkickOn this episode of GKick, we have a BIG FREAKIN ANNOUNCEMENT as NFL punter and former raiding rogue Chris Kluwe will be on Episode 60 of GKick! Also, we talk about the evolving NTA now Dragon Squad, Project Blackstone, more gaming news, the latest on the state of WoW, a new Transmoginista and more!

CLICK HERE TO GET A KLUWE

GKick Episode 54: The One With The Star Wars

On this episode of GKick, we talk a lot - perhaps too much - about Disney’s buyout of Lucasfilms, Star Wars, our favorite Disney memories, and even some World of Warcraft including Patch 5.1 info, Brawler’s Guild, and get some transmogrification tips from the Transmoginista herself, Ali!

CLICK HERE FOR LIFE DAY

Checking In With Blizzard: Diablo, All-Stars and More

Mike Morhaime has updated the community with some news for us all. If you don’t scour the forums and trawl the news- then this is definitely for you.

  • Diablo 3 will have an expansion. Originally, the idea was for the first one to have been released one year after the launch of the game- but as we well know, is just around the corner. If it was planned, obviously it’s going to be a complete surprise to us all. Mike confirms that the idea is still planned and the concept is still very much in the works.
  • As of 30th September, 2012- Diablo 3 has sold over 10 million copies. That’s not too shabby.
  • World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria sold 2.7 million copies in it’s first week alone. Yes. World of Warcraft is sooooooo dead. /sarcasm
  • Blizzard All-Stars is also in the development stages, also confirmed by Morhaime and ‘we’re doing some great work’. Internal testing is currently underway with game play. Nothing really concrete to report though, so just watch this space.
  • Heart of the Swarm for Starcraft 2 will now be released during the first half of 2013. Which is a bit of a bummer considering we’ve been hearing about it since Blizzcon 2011.
  • Blizzcon returns for 2013! The mega-con will be back for all you Blizzard fans, so get your costumes in gear!

In Response to Grubby’s Open Letter

(A friend of our’s, Liam Harper, wrote up this great response to an open letter written by Grubby in regards to the state of the StarCraft II eSports scene. I wanted to share it here with everyone because I think it’s a great response to a very interesting letter. Enjoy)

Earlier today I was browsing my Twitter stream when professional Starcraft 2 player Grubby (@followGrubby) tweeted a very interesting letter.
 “Open letter to the community about viewership tournament fatigue in sc2 eSports

This is an attempt to see if there is a possibility for a concerted effort to help improve upon an aspect of eSports, in this case StarCraft II eSports. There are so many theories that come to mind, but each has its merits and disadvantages. Recently and regularly I read descriptions of problems in our world of SC 2 eSports. That is happening because of our community’s PASSION, which is great. One problem I’ve read about (whether the majority sees it as one or not, I find that hard to accurately judge) is “viewer tournament fatigue”. Just to explain, the concept here would be that the scene is suffering (yes, suffering, not blossoming) under the stress of too many tournaments; of oversaturation, and thus in extension suffering of a reduced significance of any one tournament. Is this a problem, or not? And if it is, and should be done about it, if anything? If you care about the eSports scene, or care to add your voice, I’d love to read your opinion (point 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6: other).
Public discussions have been had many a time over this topic and other topics similar to it, but because of the complexity of the problem, I’d like to absorb your input and maybe come up with a comprehensive plan, or just keep it in mind so that I may see what I can do to improve the scene by, at any point in the future, like nudging it into the correct direction. I could try to accomplish solutions behind the scenes, or thru airing opinions on vblogs, I don’t know yet. For now, see this as a survey or even a school sociology finals exam question (it’s starting to look like one). Heh, hey, maybe I’ll grade your answer!For this item, public discussion is allowed, even encouraged - hell, you’re a free (wo)man - but for the purposes of this I’d like to request an answer to my email address contact@followgrubby.com so I can keep the discussion pure and without input or fear of judgment from 3rd parties. So if you want me to reply - though a reply is not guaranteed; I can’t predict the response size from the community - I will only do so by email. Looking forward to your reply!

———-

Your name and nickname:

Q: Let’s for a moment say that tournament fatigue of the viewer is a realistic problem. What will improve SC2 eSports the most according to you, and help fix this problem?

(1) more quality and quantity tournament coverage is needed on TeamLiquid/ESFI World/other sites so that the tournament and player stories get developed more. I can still choose to watch tournament A, B, or C or all three; when I do, I can easily find previews, power ranks and results as well as interviews and pictures.

(2) We need to have less tournaments around. Delayed gratification will make the next tournament that much better. With too many tournaments around, I don’t know what to follow anymore.

(3) tournaments need to become more well rounded; the time that *just* providing a proving grounds for top players for 1-4 days was enough, is over. The responsibility lies not with independent coverage, but in the production value, post-production value and pre-hype and side shows that tournaments themselves deliver. I will watch a lot more tournaments and streams if only every tournament had the production, self-generated hype or ‘feel’ of (for instance WCS EU).

(4) The same points as in point 3, but adding the following:
Every party has a responsibility to improve the viewership experience for the audience. This means a fan needs to tell his friends about SC2/tourneys/eSports; a tournament organization needs to raise her own production value; a player needs to go above and beyond “just playing” by becoming actually involved; would-be writers, people from the community with passion need to start covering tourneys; etc; basically anyone who can do anything needs to start doing it.
The theme of point 4 is: “We dont have time to let the hype and growth of (SC2) eSports die off or decline before *maybe* it gets super big in the year 2030 after our own active followership.”

(5) There is no problem of oversaturation. The market of supply & demand will sort itself out eventually. Tournaments that don’t provide enough quality or have enough improvements will concludingly have low viewership, therefore die off and make room for the new. The same with players who don’t perform; they, too, will be replaced by the new. The circle of life will naturally work itself out, as will the circle of eSports life. No amount of theorizing is going to change anything about the direction that eSports is going to be taking, whatever that may be.

6) other. The solution is: <your solution>

———-

Greets,
Grubby”

Personally I don’t see Starcraft 2 as having too many tournaments. If people want to watch tournaments 24 hours a day and 7 days a week then they can, but they only want to watch the big tournaments they can do that too. The two biggest problems are as follows.
A) The SC2 scene seems to be too chaotic. Whilst I don’t believe that there are too many competitions I do think that perhaps the scheduling could be improved. The best comparison I can come up with is that the SC2 scene is like the tennis world. You have your “majors” (WCS and MLG to name two) and then you have tournaments all the time too. In tennis you also have that and people don’t complain about fatigue (well apart from the players), so what’s the difference? I personally think the SC2 eSport scene would benefit from a so called “governing body”, one that a company would apply to before being allowed to run a tournament. The governing body could then look at available dates and assign one. The fact that some of the “smaller” tournaments could clash wouldn’t be a problem as it might give some lesser known players some exposure (as what happens in tennis). The dates for the majors would be kept clean just for them. Yes it would give them a higher seat at the table BUT they are the ones who put the most effort into the production and the overall “product” so in my opinion they deserve it.
B) This brings me onto my second thought. Right now I think the scene is too fractured. There are tournaments here, there and everywhere but there isn’t one particular place to catch them all and to be updated on the smaller competitions. So why not set up a dedicated SC2 channel? If there isn’t enough content for that then an eSports channel covering other games such as League of Legends and DOTA2 as well? On this channel could be live events from the “majors”, highlights from the other competitions, plus news, interviews, analysis etc.
Granted this would be a massive undertaking to get going and I know the majority of the tournaments are on Twitch but think about everything that has been said in the above two points. With a central governing body that brings the Starcraft scene into some sort of order and a dedicated station backing it up, surely this would improve the scene without affecting the players? “Hmm according to the schedule, ASUS ROG is on this weekend at x time. I’ll tune into eSports Central and watch it” “Oh what’s that? There’s an interview with Stefano going out at 9pm? I’ll be home for that” How could this not benefit not just Starcraft but eSports itself?
Personally I don’t think that the Starcraft scene or eSport scene is as over saturated as some make out, but that doesn’t mean improvements can’t be considered, right?

GKick Episode 51: The One With No Talent

On this episode of GKick, we dive into the world of WoW patch 5.0.4 and have a friendly debate on the new talent system and the evolution of WoW into a more and more casual-friendly game. We also premiere a new Greyfoo song and give our thoughts (spoiler-free!) on the new Tears of War book!

CLICK HERE TO GET TALENTED

 

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Closed Beta Begins

The invites are beginning to roll out for the upcoming StarCraft II expansion, Heart of the Swarm, as Blizzard has begun the closed beta session for the upcoming RTS title.

Players should be receiving notification in their Battle.net emails or will find the beta already added to their Battle.net Account Management page. In order to be entered into the beta, players should make sure their Beta Profile is up-to-date on their account page and some players who participated in the StarCraft II Arcade Beta will also receive early access.

This new expansion to StarCraft II adds a handful of new units to all three races as well as general gameplay and UI changes to improve the overall experience.

Stay tuned to GKick.net for more information on the Heart of the Swarm beta as it develops.

Magic: The Gathering Meets Starcraft in BitFlip Games Minion Master

Ever wondered what it would be like to play Magic: The Gathering and Starcraft at the same time? I haven’t. But now that I think of it, that might just be a super cool idea.

Here’s a press release that plans to do that:

Magic: The Gathering meets Starcraft in BitFlip Games Minion Master   

Micro Studio Reveals PAX 2012 Plans, Launches New Trailer and Releases July Update to Alpha Community

Berkeley, CA – July 17th, 2012. – Independent micro studio BitFlip Games today announced that Minion Master, its debut strategy release that seamlessly combines elements of tabletop gaming, turn based and  real-time strategy, and collectible card building games, will be unveiled for the first time at Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) in Seattle, WA from August 31st to September 2nd. All attendees who visit the BitFlip booth will be given limited edition playing cards from the Minion Master universe and anyone who chooses to pre-order  
Minion Master between now and the end of PAX will receive a special in-game character.
Additionally the BitFlip Games team has released the latest iteration to Minion Master, building the universe for its dedicated alpha community. The latest update throws four new Minions into the mix with the introduction of the Werewolf, Slasher, Spider and Peasant and introduces 11 new cards to the game. Finally the July update sees the introduction of the Online Deck Builder that has now launched through the cloud, as players can now create and play with or against their own customized decks anywhere in the world. Players will only be given a few short months to build decks and test strategies against the AI before multiplayer is added later this summer. To purchase Minion Master for $15 and qualify for 25% off the retail price of $20, players will need to pre-order Minion Master before July 31st, 2012.
“Our mission with Minion Master has been to bring together the worlds of tabletop and video games in a fun, approachable way”, said David Steinwedel, Executive Producer of BitFlip Games, “We’ve been heavily influenced by classics such as Magic: The Gathering and Starcraft. With the help of a dedicated community (whose feedback we rely on in shaping the future of the universe), we look forward to showcasing the latest build at PAX Prime 2012”
Honestly, I have never been this excited for a card game, ever.