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Starcraft 2

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Information relating to Starcraft 2.

StarCraft 2 Beta Open!

By hagrin - Posted on 18 February 2010

Finally, finally, finally. Blizzard has opened the StarCraft 2 Beta! I was lucky enough to win a beta key through Twitter and following the SC2 Team via their updates there. Promptly after the beta opened, I received my email with download instructions and beta key.

The download was 1.64 GBs and went pretty quickly considering I am sure the beta servers were being hammered by downloads from all over. Once the download was complete, you are presented with a well-done installation screen and installation is remarkably painless for a beta product. On my 64-bit system, it defaulted to the Program Files (x86) directory.

Starcraft 2 Beta Download     Starcraft 2 Beta Install

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

Upon setting up your StarCraft 2 user ID, you actually have to pick two names separated by a period which is definitely a little confusing. This is supposed to prevent naming collisions, but I think the entire system is too confusing and could definitely be simplified. After setting up my account, I immediately created a 1v1 game against a computer AI. Currently, the computer AI is locked into "Very Easy" mode which basically means you can build uninterrupted with no aggression from the computer. Immediately, there are some pretty noticeable differences from the original StarCraft - mainly, old buildings have some new key shortcuts and some buildings have new add-on options and research capabilities which I will hopefully address in future, separate posts.

Tech Trees
Currently, the only way to really see the tech trees, since there is no manual, is from within the game itself. Therefore, I decided to use the game's screenshot function to capture the tech trees for each of the races.

StarCraft 2 Protoss Tech Tree     StarCraft 2 Terran Tech Tree     StarCraft 2 Zerg Tech Tree

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

One of the biggest omissions from the Zerg tech tree that I noticed is that the Lurker unit has been removed from the beta. The Lurker was a powerful, burrowed attack unit that did range damage to everything in its path in the original StarCraft and I believe was originally in the plans for StarCraft 2, but is currently unavailable.

Original StarCraft vs. StarCraft 2 Beta
Wow, there are so many differences it's almost nothing like the original, but similar enough that outsiders may just see "only new pretty graphics". I will try to address the differences race by race as I find them.

Terran

  • Command Center - Mostly the Command Center is the same - builds SUVs, can take off, has a scan add-on just like the original. However, there is an additional add-on that allows for the Command Center to become a powerful defensive turret, but anchors the CC to the ground. This "replaces" the nuclear silo add-on from the original.
  • Refinery - no real change from the original.
  • Barracks - Almost completely different. The only thing the same from the original is that it can produce marines and that's it. Barracks now have two possible add-ons - one that allows you to produce 2 marines at a time, but you can't build any advanced units and an add-on that allows you to build more advanced units like Reapers and Marauders. There are no medics at the barracks anymore and have been replaced by a Medivac airship.
  • Engineering Bay - Mostly the same with your infantry upgrades done here with a few new additions. The biggest mechanic here is the queuing of research which wasn't available in the original.
  • Bunkers - Very similar to the original.
  • Factory - Similar to the original in purpose; however, the units you can create, outside of the siege tank, are different. However, the same game mechanics apply.
  • Ghost Academy - Brand new building from the original. As the name implies, allow for Ghosts and nukes to be built.
  • Armory - Very similar to the original.
  • Starport - Very similar to the original in terms of game mechanics. The main difference with Starports in SC2 are that all of the ships available, except the Battlecruiser, are different than the original. Medivacs replace ground unit medics and also act as cargo ships as cargo ships have been removed from SC2.
  • Fusion Core - A new building specifically used for being able to create Battlecruisers.

Possible Starcraft 2 Beta Key?

By hagrin - Posted on 05 June 2007

Speculation is running rampant as Blizzard announced that they will be giving away a beta key to BlizzCon attendees for "an upcoming Blizzard game". Now, while Blizzard probably has several games in development, I almost guarantee that the beta key will be for Starcraft 2. Why? Most likely because there were early beliefs mentioned by Blizzard that they could get the game out by Christmas 2007 which would meant that they would have to be in beta by August which is exactly when BlizzCon takes place (BlizzCon takes place in early August).

In other Starcraft 2 news, there was an interview with Blizzard's Cinematic Creative Director, Nick Carpenter, where he talks about making cinematic tools used to make certain images available to users with the Starcraft 2 release. I find this pretty interesting and should allow for users to create some pretty nice fan content.

Starcraft 2 Release Date - "Not in 2007"

By hagrin - Posted on 31 May 2007

In an interview with MSNBC, Blizzard's Vice President Rob Pardo announced that Starcraft 2 would not be released in 2007. At first, he stated that some inside Blizzard thought that they could have Starcraft 2 released by Christmas 2007 so I have to imagine that they are pretty deep in the development cycle. When you think about Starcraft 2 and the fact that much of the gameplay and how a unit works, etc. has already been done, most of the work that needed to be done was with the 3D engine and the Battle.Net enhancements.

I admit - I'm crying a little inside right now.

Starcraft 2 Announced

By hagrin - Posted on 20 May 2007

Blizzard announced an early Christmas gift for gamers around the world when they confirmed the existence of Starcraft 2. The Official Starcraft 2 website has launched and actually holds a lot of important information concerning the sequel. Starcraft enthusiasts learned the following pieces of info:

  1. There will be no new 4th race and we will still have the Zerg, Protoss and Terran as the 3 races implemented in Starcraft 2. For years people speculated that there would be a 4th race, but Blizzard has kept the original's integrity and kept the racial balance simple.
  2. While there will be a new 3D engine powering the game's graphics, if one was to look at the screenshots you will see that while units have much greater detail, the engine still remains somewhat simplistic probably to not sacrifice network performance.
  3. Many of the unit names will stay the same; however, from the screenshots, you can see such units as battleships and other air units have been dramatically redesigned.
  4. At this time, I don't see any Brood Wars related units mentioned on the site.
  5. While only the Protoss profile has been completed by Blizzard, you can see the inclusion of new units such as the Immortal, Stalker, Phase Prism and Gateway/Warp Gate.

One note from their site that is slightly disappointing is that Blizzard will be selling a limited edition statue for the whopping price tag of $250 USD. I mean, does Blizzard think that Tychus Findlay is going to be the next ceramic hummel?

Most importantly - there is no scheduled release date for Starcraft 2 at this time. Blizzard has always released quality games and they take their time during the game creation process. Now, from a business perspective, I would guess that Blizzard is going to hold onto Starcraft 2 and release he game as they start to witness the downward decline of World of Warcraft subscriptions. There would be no feasible business reason to encroach on their WoW franchise until absolutely necessary. Therefore, if you're a Starcraft and Blizzard fan, you can put money on the fact that you won't hear anything about a Starcraft 2 release date until WoW has run its finanically successful course.

Starcraft 2 will be the only game I will play in the near future.