Published on March 30th, 2013 | by Swaine Dillinger0
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm – Preview
Multiplayer arenas don’t get harder or more impenetrable than StarCraft II. Even though the RTS series’ e-sports angle has always attracted a lot of coverage, Blizzard knows this hyper-competitive arena centered around clicks-per-second and optimum build queues means that a lot of casual fans are put off immediately by the thought of playing against others online. And we should know, as frankly we were one of them.
We would happily admit that we loved every single second of Wings of Liberty’s campaign, especially the gorgeous cut-scenes, but with regards to preparing us for actual competitive play, the mission design and gameplay challenge fell short. We could hold our own with the campaign’s Terran faction understandably, but switching to either the Protess or Zerg often led to confusion and quick defeat against fellow humans.
Thankfully Blizzard recognizes this is a problem and they’re looking to address it in the new StarCraft II expansion Heart of the Swarm, care of a litany of new multiplayer options which are designed to engage and welcome new players. It’s a bit of an odd time to welcome newbies though, especially as to play this new expansion you’ll need a copy of Wings of Liberty, but at least steps are being made in the right direction. Steps like a multi-stage tutorial mode which allows players to train in the ways of the Terran, Zerg and Protess, and the ability to take part in unranked matches against randoms without affecting your league ranking.
Furthermore, there’s also the ability to skirmish against the AI in 1vs1, 2vs1, and 3vs1, allowing more time to experiment if a player chooses to, with multiplayer difficulty toggles to choose from. Blizzard has even implemented an evaluation mechanism into specific matches against the AI, so you know exactly where you stand when it comes to personal ability.
Will all these new inclusions help newcomers get accustomed to StarCraft II? Who knows, but good on Blizzard for trying.