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Idra speaks on his firing photo
Idra speaks on his firing

Fired StarCraft player 'Idra' talks about his release

'I am not going to continue as a competitive player'
May 13
// Patrick Hancock
On "Real Talk" with JP McDaniel, a YouTube show that interviews gaming personalities, Greg "Idra" Fields talked about the events surrounding his recent firing from Evil Geniuses' StarCraft II team. He talks about a ton ...
Idra fired from EG photo
Idra fired from EG

StarCraft's biggest jerk fired for being a jerk

Greg 'Idra' Fields released from team Evil Geniuses
May 10
// Patrick Hancock
Greg Fields, more commonly known as Idra in the StarCraft community, was let go from the Evil Geniuses StarCraft II team yesterday after some comments that were essentially the straw that broke the camel's back...

Meet the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm sound team

May 03 // Jayson Napolitano
Glenn Stafford (Blizzard Entertainment)Role: Audio Lead / ComposerSelected Past Works: WarCraft II, StarCraft, World of Warcraft series, Diablo IIIOn being the “Terran” guy and leading the StarCraft II sound team“Yes, you’re probably right that I’m most known for the StarCraft terran music—but players seem to like it, so I suppose that’s a good thing! It may not be as well known that I do work regularly on other Blizzard series. For example, I composed well over an hour of music for Diablo III, and I contribute to World of Warcraft expansions and patches whenever possible. In fact, Jason Hayes and I collaborated on some tracks for patch 5.2, which came out recently.With that in mind, I’ve always considered the StarCraft team to be my home base here at Blizzard. While I enjoy all our games and franchises immensely, the RTS series of games is what I love and play the most. I previously supervised audio production and composed for Wings of Liberty, and following that narrowed my focus to music. For Heart of the Swarm, it seemed a natural progression for me to continue supervising the music production. It was very refreshing to explore new sonic territory, and I was also grateful to have Derek Duke onboard to help us evolve the zerg sound he first created for the original StarCraft. We worked closely together, discussing musical ideas that seemed unique to the zerg, and we also took advantage of a variety of Derek’s incredible eclectic and vintage gear to record strange new sounds and source material. We then both used these ideas and material as a basis from which to create more music.For the in-mission music in this expansion, our goals were to add as much new music as possible, and to evolve and expand on the zerg sound for use in different settings—primal jungles, ice planets, and so on. The zerg conform to different rules, and it might be tempting to be too musical where it isn’t called for. It’s also a big challenge to address how the music might sound in these various settings. Heart of the Swarm focuses mainly on the zerg, of course, but there are forces at play throughout the missions too. At times, you’ll notice various combinations of different racial influences in the music—maybe something not altogether zerg or terran, but exploring the spaces in between.In terms of what’s changed since Wings of Liberty, beyond the obvious changes in focus and style, we added more music than we’ve ever added to an RTS expansion. In the missions, there are more custom-scored and edited moments than ever before, with plenty of cut scenes and in-game cinematics, as well as some complex music-handling throughout missions. Having more music to work with overall, and by refining our tools and implementation methods, we can greatly extend the possibilities and refine the presentation—offering a more variable and interesting music experience when playing and re-playing missions and multiplayer maps. Even the loading-screen music has more variation now. We were fortunate enough to have Neal Acree on board once again, not only taking on the hard-hitting cinematic scores, but also adding to our in-game arsenal with new themes and variations on cinematic scores. Russell Brower reprised his role from Wings of Liberty, composing new protoss tracks as well as mission music, including some patriotic themes that come into play later in the game. Add to that some edgy tracks by veteran freelance composer Cris Velasco; and with the return of Blizzard composer Jason Hayes late in production, we even have an unexpected collaboration between he and Russell.The sound design team, supervised by industry veteran sound designer Evan Chen, brought some amazing new talent and sound design work to the StarCraft universe. I’m honored to work with such a talented group, and thankful for everyone’s unique skills and perspectives. The result is a diverse blend, and yet and it all stays true to the StarCraft universe.The music for this expansion is unique and moody. You won’t hear many big epic themes and soaring moments—but we believe it represents the essence of this expansion and the zerg well. We sincerely hope everyone enjoys it.”On his exclusive audio sample[embed]251947:48207:0[/embed]“This is a medley of a few different pieces. Up to about 50 seconds, this is a piece for a mission cut-scene involving Kerrigan and some terrans. There are two versions of this piece in the game—one without any drums and guitars, which completely removes the terran flavor. The next section up through 1:40 features legendary guitarist David Torn, who Derek and I were fortunate enough to have perform on several tracks. Following that, we hear a more strictly zerg-influenced track until about 2:40, where we revive one of the mission themes from Wings of Liberty, now recorded and remixed with a live orchestra. Then at 4:20, we wind down with a small sample of a piece designed for Kaldir, an icy moon where Kerrigan encounters the protoss.”Derek Duke (Blizzard Entertainment)Role: ComposerSelected Past Works: StarCraft series, WarCraft III, World of Warcraft, Diablo IIIOn being the “Zerg” guy and his contributions to Heart of the Swarm“Helping Glenn out with this one was a lot of fun. With so many other composers dipping into zerg territory, it really forced us to clarify a lot of what’s at the heart of zerg music. Glenn wanted to build off of the Queen’s theme, as heard in the zerg rollout trailer and in various incarnations in Liberty. Sharing certain scales and chord voicings that are particular to the zerg was also cool. It’s not always just strange sounds and textures that make zerg music.We spent time each week for a while specifically creating zerg music textures and source at my home studio, using all means of analog and digital music paraphernalia... analog modular synths, vintage synths and hardware effects, alternate controllers, and so on. We got some great 'music design' source material from those sessions. We were also able to expand upon the electric guitar vocabulary. We had the opportunity to involve guitarist and composer David Torn, who has a very unique and extraordinarily musical approach to the guitar. In contrast to the guitar and Dobro stylings used in Wings, David was in our 'infested' guitarist.”On his exclusive audio sample[embed]251947:48208:0[/embed]“This comes from a piece called “Corruptors,” written for the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra and David Torn. You’ll hear the zerg Queen’s theme featured and various nods to the zerg music from the original StarCraft. I was unable to attend the session—always a challenge—so having conductor Eimear Noone there at the podium worked out great for the music. She had also conducted for Wings, and really 'gets' a lot about my musical language.”Russell Brower (Blizzard Entertainment)Role: Composer / Audio Director of Blizzard EntertainmentSelected Past Works: World of Warcraft series, StarCraft II, Diablo IIIOn his contributions to Heart of the Swarm“Since Glenn Stafford founded the Blizzard sound department and, along with Jason Hayes and Derek Duke, defined the sound and musicscape of StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War, my own musical responsibility—as the “new guy,” relatively speaking—continues to focus on staying true to the series’ roots wherever I have influence, and to suggest ways to evolve things where it makes sense in context. As composers, we also strive to cast ourselves into roles that are the best fit for our individual strengths. In the end, every Blizzard game to date contains the art of multiple composers—I believe this is part of the 'secret sauce' that makes Blizzard’s music and games timeless.For instance, on StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, I had the opportunity to write a couple of themes that covered new territory or expanded character development: specifically, melodies for Jim Raynor, Zeratul, and the 'space opera' main title piece, which was a special request from Chris Metzen. I also had a hand in suggesting that we add to the terran music vibe with virtuoso, legendary live players—Tony Levin, Jerry Marotta, Jesse Gress, and others. The terran musical composition, production, and DNA, however, are 100% Glenn, and stay very true to StarCraft tradition. In fact, the majority of the Wings score was written by the original StarCraft composition team; I wrote what made sense for me to write, and wore my administration hat for the rest of that project.This brings us to StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm: With the focus squarely on the zerg, Glenn and Derek built on their established musical vocabulary, as they’ve described, and created a spine-tingling score... and that’s really the heart of this particular musical swarm."[embed]251947:48209:0[/embed]"My musical contributions to Swarm happened in two waves. During the earliest recording sessions, the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra was so good, we realized that we were going to run out of music to record before the sessions were over, and it was too late to cancel the unneeded time. Gasp... ka-ching! This afforded me an awesome opportunity and challenge: I wrote about six minutes of additional music to leverage the remaining session time, with the clock ticking, in the control room—all while Neal Acree’s cinematic scores were booming live over the speakers. With pencil, paper, and an iPad piano sound in headphones, I wrote fast and furious during the sessions. No pressure! I’m proud of those two pieces, affectionately and nonsensically titled 'Zergs in the Banana Patch' and 'The Protoss Take Kiev.' These cues found their way into some of the later missions, and, yes, they’re big and loud... I couldn’t waste a world-class 87-piece orchestra!As the later missions’ gameplay matured, we found some opportunities for additional music, to which I contributed. Jason had rejoined the team by then, and he and I finally got to collaborate in person, on purpose, after all these years. A personal highlight is a piece called “Overdrive,” which was composed and produced by Jason and arranged for orchestra by me from his piano demo—It was such a blast to truly create something together. That experience pretty neatly sums up why I find Blizzard to be such a unique place to work, collaborate, and create."Jason Hayes (Blizzard Entertainment)Role: ComposerSelected Past Works: StarCraft, WarCraft III, World of WarcraftOn his return to Blizzard Entertainment“Being back at Blizzard is like coming home for me—I couldn't be more thrilled! And yes, it was especially exciting to arrive during the final push on Heart of the Swarm. Working on StarCraft again is so cool.” On his exclusive audio sample[embed]251947:48210:0[/embed]“I came up with the idea for 'Overdrive' while thinking of the past between Arcturus Mengsk and Kerrigan—his unquenchable thirst for power, and hers for revenge. As I was coming up with ideas, a musical theme from StarCraft: Brood War occurred to me. This was in the intro cinematic, where Admiral DuGalle abandons a group of confederate colonists to be overrun by the zerg. There seemed to be a symmetry between this and Kerrigan's situation—after all, she was also abandoned to the zerg by Mengsk. I found that by taking this musical idea and punching it up with a militaristic insistence, it could help to frame some important events to come. Collaborating with Russell on the arrangement was a lot of fun—after years of indirect collaboration with him on a number of pieces, it was great to work with him in person.”Neal AcreeRole: ComposerSelected Past Works: World of Warcraft series, StarCraft II, Diablo IIIOn being the king of cinematics and contributing in-game tracks as well“First of all, it was an absolute thrill to be involved in helping tell the continuing story musically through the cinematics. So many talented people put their hearts and souls into making them what they are, and getting to write music to that is a dream come true. What made it even more fun is that the story runs the gamut of emotions and stylistically asked for some very different things from I had done before. I felt a huge responsibility in taking on the cinematics, but it was ultimately a lot of fun and I'm really proud of the final result. Getting to work with the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra and choir was a thrill as always. They are some of the best musicians in the world, and I never get tired of recording there. I wouldn't say we did anything too wild with the orchestra but we did hire an extended low brass section for an absolutely massive sound. See if you can spot those moments in the soundtrack.As for in-game music, I had done a bunch for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria, so I was familiar with the process, which is quite different than writing for the cinematics. Though I very much enjoy the process of writing to picture, writing without it can be a very freeing experience. Writing for the cinematics takes a lot longer because the music tends to evolve as the cinematic evolves due to the collaborative process. This can result in some really cool stuff that none of us had necessarily envisioned when we started out. In the case of Heart of the Swarm, Glenn wanted me to write some in-game music that would incorporate some of the stylistic and thematic DNA of the cinematics, which was a lot of fun. I got to blend a lot of orchestra with synthesizer and get really experimental, which is the most fun part for me—there’s definitely a lot of zerg-specific stuff in there.”On his exclusive audio sample[embed]251947:48211:0[/embed]“This is a standalone version of a theme written for Kerrigan and Raynor that underscores some of the cinematics in Heart of the Swarm. It's a slow-building piece that is somber and tragic with an epically heroic yearning... I hope that's not reading too much into it. It's not your typical love theme, but this isn't your typical love story. My inspiration for it was the story and the characters who have a lot going on beneath the surface. It was really cool to be able to write something like this for a game. It also features vocals by Laurie Ann Haus, who was a big part of the Kerrigan sound on both Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm.”Cris VelascoRole: ComposerSelected Past Works: God of War series, Darksiders, Borderlands series, Soul Calibur VOn being brought on to contribute to Heart of the Swarm and his love for StarCraft“StarCraft is one of my all-time favorite games. I cannot even begin to count the number of hours I put into the original one. A couple of friends and I used to pull all-nighters, just building our units up, and then having a massive 3-way battle that would ultimately crash the computers. So even though I didn't have a huge role this time around, I still consider it one of my favorite projects to work on simply because I couldn't believe how amazing it was to be writing music for this franchise."[embed]251947:48212:0[/embed]"Writing for the zerg let me be really experimental with my music. There was a definite dark slant to it, although not necessarily horror. I did some fun things like taking the sound of an insect, slowing it way down, pitching it down a few octaves, and then using it as a percussion bed. Another fun one was taking the sound of a heartbeat, reversing the sound, then lowering the pitch again and adding a touch of distortion. I used this sparingly as a percussive hit. These kinds of things felt in line with how creepy, weird, and insectoid the zerg are.”Evan T. Chen (Blizzard Entertainment)Role: Sound Design LeadSelected Past Works: Diablo III, Starhawk, Killzone 3, Dawn of the Dead, FuturamaOn the scale of StarCraft II’s sound design and the unsung heroes who undertake it“I'm just one of many sound designers on this project. The other members of the StarCraft audio team did all of the heavy-lifting with the support of the audio department at Blizzard and a myriad of other amazing talent. Here's a sound design montage that offers a glimpse of our collective work, which includes contributions from sound designers Jonas Laster, Ed Cerrato, Pedro Seminario, JP Walton, Paul Menichini, and Alex Ephraim.[embed]251947:48213:0[/embed]I'm relatively new to Blizzard and started on the project fairly late in the game, so a big challenge was acclimating to this new environment in a way that respected the legacy of Blizzard, the StarCraft series, the aesthetic precedence of Wings of Liberty, and what had already been created for Heart of the Swarm... while simultaneously trying to chisel a unique and appropriate sonic thumbprint. Collaborating with the StarCraft development team in creating the soundscape was fantastic because they embraced our ideas and helped us achieve them—there are so many development team members not directly on the audio team that play crucial roles in what the player hears, including producers, programmers, data specialists, technical gurus, and—naturally—all of the artists and animators.One memorable moment involved a request to have a visual for the Medivac's new ability, Ignite Afterburners, added to complement the sound of them turning on. I made the case that the audio by itself was too disconnected and might easily be misunderstood during gameplay without some sort of associated visual. This was extremely late in the development, so every possible addition needed to carefully considered, but I heard back later that my argument helped pushed the case for this late addition through. It just goes to show how everyone's instincts as a player are valued here, and that there are many ways to contribute outside of your immediate responsibilities.We also made lots of under-the-hood improvements in audio. There's better headroom and dynamic range now, meaning things can get louder when needed without distortion. We completely revamped the dialog-processing workflow. We also improved the automatic mixing parameters and did more scripted mixing in-mission, which all translates into being able to hear important things more clearly and distinctly. It used to be when certain objectives were completed in a mission, everything would often happen simultaneously: lots of things would explode, the Objective Complete stinger sound would play, other sounds would be ducked to make room for this stinger, new dialog would announce your next objective, music would change, you'd get an achievement alert. In extreme situations, this can be pretty incoherent. We did a lot more sequencing so things don't happen all at once but rather more serially for the sake of sound, to let the audio breathe and be more informative and emotionally satisfying.There were plenty of other sound-related challenges, too. We had several big boss fights, and we did some epic, bombastic sounds for those. We introduced a new physics system into the game, so designing a tasteful, uncluttered sound system for that was a challenge. There were nearly 100 non-prerendered, in-engine cinematics to edit and mix, and we strived to make them sound as good as the prerendered ones. We also made more use of the audio engine's DSP effects, so you'll hear a wider variety of reverb and real-time filtering in this game. We took more advantage of surround-sound speakers systems too, and those with the equipment will hear some specific spectacular moments in the LFE channel and the surrounds.As far as subtlety goes, some of the world ambient sounds are more detailed, layered, and peppered with perspective and depth, and in general, our philosophy was to make the sounds feel more 'in the world.' Finally, listen carefully to Swarm hordes—I won't give too much away, but suffice it to say, this is just the tip of the iceberg for this tech. There are also some great audio easter eggs to find, but you won't hear them—pun intended—from me!”
StarCraft II Music photo
Over 20 minutes of exclusive audio mixes included
Maybe you played StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. Maybe you enjoyed the soundtrack disc that came packed in with the collector's edition, or perhaps you simply enjoyed it in-game. With this expansion focusing on the Zerg, I ...

Dreamhack Pikachu photo
Dreamhack Pikachu

Why you need to be watching the Dreamhack Open right now

Has Joe Buck ever dressed as a pink Pikachu?
Apr 26
// Patrick Hancock
The Dreamhack Open Stockholm is only two days and has already begun! As you can tell, the insanity is already in full swing, as commentators Apollo and Artosis are looking super professional. Ninety-six StarCraft II: Hea...
IPL photo

IGN Pro League tech and assets sold to Blizzard

So long, IPL
Apr 08
// Jordan Devore
Following the cancellation of the IGN Pro League 6 due to an inability "to commit the resources required to run another major independent event," a statement was released that read "You should also know th...
StarCraft II photo
StarCraft II

StarCraft II Kerrigan cosplay is out of this world

For the swarm!
Apr 04
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Pro cosplayer Tasha is at it again with another mind-blowing cosplay depicting the Queen of Blades from StarCraft II. I can't imagine how much work it took to make the whole costume, let alone the process even involved in trying to put it on. Tasha has a few more pictures of the outfit over on her Facebook. Check out our cosplay page for more amazing cosplay photos.
StarCraft April Fools photo
StarCraft April Fools

[April Fool's] The Warhound is back in StarCraft II!

All your workers are now Warhounds
Apr 01
// Patrick Hancock
Remember the Warhound unit from the beta of Heart of the Swarm? Originally planned as a replacement for the Thor, the Warhound was removed because they became a very strong focus of the competitive scene and were simply...
StarCraft turns 15 photo
StarCraft turns 15

StarCraft celebrates its 15th birthday today

Happy Quincea˝era!
Mar 31
// Patrick Hancock
Fifteen years ago today, on March 31, 1998, the original StarCraft launched on PC, setting in place a series of events that would lead up to the powerhouse it is now: gigantic competitive tournaments, gorgeous singleplay...
Heart of the Swarm photo
Heart of the Swarm

Heart of the Swarm sells more than 1.1M in two days

Another successful Blizzard expansion
Mar 21
// Brett Makedonski
Heart of the Swarm, the newest StarCraft II expansion, is capitalizing on the buzz surrounding its release. Blizzard announced that it sold more than 1.1 million copies in its first two days at retail. "We want to thank ...

Review: StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Mar 19 // Aerox
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (PC)Developer: Blizzard EntertainmentPublisher: Blizzard EntertainmentRelease: March 12, 2013MSRP: $39.99 Heart of the Swarm picks up right where Wings of Liberty left off -- Kerrigan has been saved and returned to a mostly-human form (shame about the hair), the Zerg threat has been diminished, and she and Raynor are free to run about curbstomping the Dominion. Or, that's the initial plan. Since Heart of the Swarm is, of course, about the Zerg, within an hour of starting the game Raynor promptly finds himself in trouble and Kerrigan once again takes control of the Swarm. This time around, the story focuses much more on Kerrigan herself -- while Raynor was the hero of Wings of Liberty, that game's story tended to focus more on the Terran army as a whole and the various mercenaries you dealt with. Heart of the Swarm shines the spotlight directly on Kerrigan. While Kerrigan can still control the Zerg, Raynor's artifact essentially restored her soul. The antagonism between Kerrigan and Arcturus Mengsk may seem like the central plot line, but in my opinion Heart of the Swarm is really about how Kerrigan comes to terms with what she did as the Queen of Blades, and the internal struggle she faces to cling to her newfound humanity as she slips deeper and deeper into the power of the Zerg. I found the story this time around to be far more engaging than the fairly standard war story of Wings of Liberty, and a huge part of that is because Heart of the Swarm feels more personal and intimate than the previous installment. When it comes to gameplay, the new missions in Heart of the Swarm don't deviate too much from the style seen in Wings of Liberty, but are unique enough that they don't come across as a simple rehash of Wings, just with the Zerg. The only real notable difference is the introduction of Kerrigan as a persistent hero unit, reminiscent of Warcraft III. In most missions Kerrigan is present on the battlefield and directly controllable, and she gets stronger and develops more powers as you level her up by completing mission objectives. Base building is still the focus of the game, but Kerrigan usually plays a major role in fights as her abilities tend to be profoundly useful. Much like Wings of Liberty, a majority of the missions generally focus on one or two types of units, and the mission is designed to teach you how to use that unit and its abilities. Sprinkled throughout the game, however, are missions that tend to focus on Kerrigan and her abilities, much like the first Zeratul mission back in Wings. I actually found these to be the most interesting, simply because of the variety they provided. My favorite mission involves Kerrigan essentially fighting three "boss monsters" as she moves through the map, with the fights feeling like a combination between playing a MOBA and battling a World of Warcraft raid boss. I like base building as much as the next StarCraft fan, but it's always nice to mix things up. As you progress through the single-player campaign, you have the opportunity to select minor and major evolutions for your units. Minor evolutions unlock as soon as you acquire the unit, and tend to be small stat boosts or a passive ability. Major evolutions see you decide between one of two new forms, and require you to complete a short "Evolution Mission" that shows you the abilities of each new form before making your selection. These missions naturally unlock as you progress through the story -- you no longer have to find out-of-the-way collectables scattered around the maps like you did in Wings. Instead,  optional mission objectives provide additional levels to Kerrigan. Multiplayer has remained essentially unchanged outside of balance tweaks and the introduction of a few new units, and it's still great if you're into competitive real time strategy games. Players who haven't hopped online since Wings of Liberty may be surprised to see how much the general skill level has risen, and can expect quite a few frustrating games if they jump into ranked, especially since this season just began and the matchmaking system is still sorting people where they belong. Don't be surprised if you run into highly skilled players in the lower tiers of play during these first few weeks. The multiplayer replay system has a couple new fun additions. You can now watch replays with your friends and, even better, pause a replay at any time and have you and your friends take control of the game at the point you paused. It's a solid tool for practicing matchups if you have friends willing to work with you, but I think the most interesting aspect will be the ability to download and mess around with pro-level tournament games, assuming they put replays up. Heart of the Swarm is a fantastic addition to the StarCraft series, and quite frankly feels on par with a $60 game. It brings almost nothing new to the table, but there's nothing wrong with sticking to a formula you know works well. If you enjoyed Wings of Liberty, or just like RTS games in general, there's no reason not to pick this one up.
StarCraft II: HOTS review photo
A solid middle entry for the series
It appears Blizzard's learned quite a bit from Diablo III's launch, as Heart of the Swarm was instantly playable on release with virtually no server problems -- a bit of a rarity, it seems, with recent PC releases. It's a goo...

StarCraft II launch times photo
StarCraft II launch times

Here are the international launch times for StarCraft II

Heart of the Swarm is nearly here
Mar 11
// Chris Carter
Blizzard is ready to launch the newest addition to the StarCraft II family, Heart of the Swarm, and of course millions of people will be itching to get on at the earliest possible moment. Look no further than Blizzard's offic...
New releases photo
New releases

New releases: God of War: Ascension keeps the faith

Plus Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Darkstalkers Resurrection, and more
Mar 11
// Fraser Brown
Another Monday rolls up, acting like it's the boss of the week, so that can only mean one thing: a week of new releases. I'll be saving my cash this week, not really seeing anything to interest me, but I may grab God of War:...
Starcraft II for $17.99 photo
Starcraft II for $17.99

Get Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty for $17.99 on Newegg

One last chance before Heart of the Swarm launches
Mar 11
// Chris Carter
Was Blizzard's recent sale not enough? Well, now Newegg has joined the fun, as they've started offering Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty for $17.99. All you have to do is go to the product page and enter the following code: STW311. Pretty soon, you'll be able to buy the new kinda sorta expansion Heart of the Swarm to augment your shiny new copy of Wings of Liberty. Starcraft II [Gamer Deals]
MLG Winter Championship photo
MLG Winter Championship

First MLG competition of the year begins next week

StarCraft II, League of Legends, and....Black Ops II?
Mar 06
// Patrick Hancock
MLG's Winter Championship will begin on March 15 and run until the 17, with $170,000 worth of prize money up for grabs. The featured games are StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, League of Legends, and Black Ops II. MLG sure is...
Starcraft II 50% off sale photo
Starcraft II 50% off sale

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is 50% off until March 12

Grab it now before Heart of the Swarm
Mar 04
// Chris Carter
While Blizzard gears up to launch StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm in about a week, you can gear up for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty now for 50% off on Blizzard's Store. Originally the game was dropped down to $39.99, and now, you can grab it for $19.99. As of this moment, this is only at the Blizzard Store. Save 50% []
StarCraft II photo
StarCraft II

Vengeance will be had in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

With a side of betrayal, and a glass of blood
Feb 26
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Yeah, okay Blizzard. We get it. You rule at making cinematic trailers, and this launch trailer for Heart of the Swarm reinforces that fact. This trailer also reminds me that StarCraft has an actual story, and continues ...
StarCraft II photo
StarCraft II

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm's eSports tools detailed

Replays, recover matches, and more
Feb 21
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Blizzard's Community Manager Kevin Johnson detailed some of the new eSports and multiplayer features fans can expect in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. New tools include the ability to watch match replays in groups, and a ...
StarCraft Universe photo
This StarCraft II mod is a whole new game
The ambitious mod project formally known as World of StarCraft is now being released on as StarCraft Universe. This giant mod is really a whole new game built with StarCraft II's tool set. It's a masivel...

StarCraft II update photo
StarCraft II update

StarCraft II gets a new patch to support in-game Clans

Plus, an all new UI
Feb 18
// Chris Carter
Blizzard is pushing a new patch through for StarCraft II with a decent amount of updates -- most notably, a UI overhaul and the launch of in-game Clans and Groups.  But there's a heap of other upgrades, like new replay t...

Trends of this Generation: The Rise of eSports

Feb 14 // Daniel Starkey
Competitive, head-to-head gaming has been around for quite some time. Since the invention of arcade culture and games like Wolfenstein in the early '90s, it has seen a steady increase in popularity among core gamers. In the past couple of years though, especially since the introduction of massive online battle arena, or MOBA games, the sheer number of players taking part has increased dramatically. According to some statistics that are only a few months old, League of Legends, a free-to-play MOBA, is now the most popular online game. Each day there are over 12 million people logging in to play LoL, and with nearly 30 million monthly active players, the game eclipses other industry juggernauts like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. Each month, there are over one billion hours of play put into LoL -- that's roughly equivalent to half the hours logged in the entire history of the Halo franchise. It is entirely possible that at any given point, LoL is the most played game in the world. These numbers alone are certainly impressive, but when viewed within the trend among the rest of the gaming industry, it becomes pretty clear that competitive gaming in general, and eSports specifically, is definitely on the rise.  The real power of sports is in the dynamic narrative, the creation of new stories, conflicts between countries or cities that inspire audiences and give them a stake in the outcome. eSports has traditionally had a hard time garnering the same following, and the same sense of intrinsic drama. Twitch.TV and the proliferation of easy-to-use streaming software and platforms have been a boon for accessibility, however. Personalities like Day9 have given eSports that sense of dramatic tension, and helped bring an understanding and a fluency to the games these people play that we simply haven't seen before. By making the games easier to understand, more and more players and audiences have been able to learn about the history of different teams, their rivalries, their conflicts, and what they've had to do to succeed; though that doesn't even tap the sheer ease of learning the rules of these games, or the intricacies of higher-level play. Competitive games still have a long way to go before they see the kind of mainstream adoption as something like American football, tennis, or soccer, but their rapid expansion has led to something of a revolution in gaming. These days, unless your game's on a console, there's an excellent chance that it's free-to-play and built from the ground up to fit into the growing niche of eSports players. At the very least, this new system directly challenges the current understanding of what makes a top-selling game. When grizzled heavyweights like Call of Duty and Halo don't see the same audience that a comparatively cheaply produced and freely accessible game does, then we can safely assume that something has changed, and chances are good that many of the things we've taken as given in the past can and should be re-examined. I can't say I've ever been too big of a fan of eSports. Competitive gaming generally fills me with an unholy rage and the absolute necessity to begin questioning the matrilineality of those around me. I like playing games, I even like playing games competitively, but as my roommates will tell you, when we get into it in Halo 4, it gets BAD. I learned long ago that spewing hate-filled diatribes at my best friends wasn't too conducive to actually keeping those people as friends. All that said, there is something special about eSports which I've neglected until relatively recently. It's the pageantry, the narrative that really draws people in. I, for example, have been a pretty dedicated Super Smash Bros. Melee player for the past few years. One of my friends is the best in my state, and we used to play quite often, especially when we were still in the dorms at university.  My favorite character for the 12-year-old fighting game/Nintendo circlejerk is Young Link, protagonist of my favorite game, Majora's Mask. But he's a low-tier. Generally considered to pretty damned awful. Then, I saw a match between two of the players in the world -- Armada and Hungrybox -- at a tournament.  Armada is generally a Peach player and Hungrybox exclusively plays Jigglypuff. Both of those characters are in the top tiers for Melee. In quarter-finals, the two squared off and Armada switched from his tried-and-true character to... Young Link. That little kid sitting 11 spots down on the tier list from Peach. It was huge. Stunning. And it gave me an odd sense of connection to the player.  That kind of connection, that narrative is vital for sports to carry any kind of weight with its audience. The struggle of people in some tenuous way connected to you through, typically, geography, is what helps pull audiences in. When two teams square off at the Super Bowl or the World Series, there is so much more there than a few dozen people running around and passing a ball. It's the collective effort of a city and its fans to produce the best team they can and show them off for all the country to see.  Last year, shortly after E3, I was invited by Blizzard to go check out StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm at the MLG Spring Championship. Besides getting to check out HotS, I was expecting a day of annoying eSports fans getting way too excited about things that don't matter. I'm glad to admit that I was wrong. Geography doesn't really lend itself as the primary driver of the all-important narrative of eSports. Instead, who you play matters. Like I mentioned before, seeing Armada win tournaments with Young Link was really inspiring to me. It felt like a validation of my choice, of my character. Similarly with games like StarCraft and LoL, race or champion selection is something that connects players. In time, you'll learn the intricacies and idiosyncratic of your character or faction. It's not something that can be explained to someone who doesn't play, and it's something that outsiders will never really understand. I think, ultimately, that's what separates the modern era of eSports from those that came before. If you play Halo, who can you really get behind? If you watch a competitive match, how are you connecting to the players at the tournament?  With StarCraft, I will always have the back of any Terran player out there. I may not be that great a player, but I can at least understand those who are competing, in a sense, on my behalf because of it. 
Rise of eSports photo
These games are serious business
Leading up the possible PlayStation 4 announcement on February 20, I've been looking into some paradigm shifts we've seen over the past generation. This is stuff that will likely be with us for a while; these are things that ...


StarCraft II mod 'Night of the Dead' designer speaks

Also, zombie-infested mining colonies are in!
Feb 11
// Jason Cabral
I haven't picked up StarCraft II in a long time, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one. But with StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm coming soon, I caught the real-time-strategy bug again and need some sweet resource manageme...
HotS video photo
HotS video

Heart of the Swarm introduces global play, groups & clans

Destructoid StarCraft II group imminent
Jan 31
// Patrick Hancock
In a new video on the social features of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, community manager Kevin Johnson goes over many of the anticipated features included in the new expansion. Perhaps the most anticipated addition is th...
HotS tournament photo
HotS tournament

Heart of the Swarm to be featured in MLG winter season

New StarCraft II expansion in action
Jan 31
// Patrick Hancock
Though the Heart of the Swarm expansion for StarCraft II is still over a month away, MLG will be featuring the game in its Online Winter Season Showdown beginning on February 4, 2013. Broadcasts will take place eac...

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm opening

Look upon this
Jan 22
// Dale North
You can watch the shiny new opening cinematic for StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm above, but it would be best watched in HD on YouTube. It's more than meets the eye (you'll see). The expansion arrives on March 12. You ready? This will be like Christmas 2.0 in South Korea.

A Warcraft mod for StarCraft II is in progress

He needs more farms
Jan 18
// Chris Carter
Warcraft III is one of my favorite RTS games of all time -- and I've been playing the genre since before the original Command and Conquer in 1995. There's just something about how it perfectly blends all of the best elements...

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm beta adds pre-purchasers

Download the beta client if you ordered before Dec. 18
Dec 21
// Jordan Devore
Ahead of the full release this March, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm has expanded its beta to include people who pre-purchased a digital copy of the expansion on on or before December 18. If that describes you, b...

The DTOID Show: Blops II, GTA V & SC2: Heart of the Swarm

More like, Grand Theft DOGS, am I right?
Nov 14
// Max Scoville
Hey gang! Here's today's Destructoid Show!Jim reviewed Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and we run down the pros and cons, including the slight possibility that if you buy the PC version, you might get a copy of Mass Effect 2 by a...
StarCraft II update photo
Blizzard has finally set a date
Kerrigan is back, baby! Come this March 12th, you'll be able to rip apart your enemies and spread the swarm: StarCraft II: Heart of Swarm finally has a release date. This kinda-sorta expansion comes with an all new Zerg singl...


Impressions: StarCraft Collector's Edition Risk

It's Risk, but with StarCraft pieces
Nov 06
// Aerox
[Destructoid is considering adding board games (videogame-themed or not) to what we cover. Think it's a good idea? Want us to stick to videogames only? Let us know in the comments.] Themed variants of popular games like Monop...

Blizzard reveals new race leveling in Heart of the Swarm

Get 'dem levels in ya!
Oct 25
// Alasdair Duncan
With an upcoming patch for the Heart of the Swarm beta, Blizzard is going to introduce a new race leveling mechanic in StarCraft II. Mastering a race will give reward players with new decals and portraits to show off just how...

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