I feel a little guilty for not mentioning any of this is in my previous article, so here is the BlizzCon 2013 news for StarCraft 2, including things that are being added in Patch 2.1 and future updates.
Spawning is a feature that takes your Starter edition friends and upgrades their game to Heart of the Swarm, if you own that version and initiate the game. There will be new Custom UI for Observing which makes it easier to watch games for eSports coverage and How-To videos. StarCraft seems to have one of the largest player communities out there and the development team is really embracing that. A lot of the features being talked about are focused on making an easier experience for new players to get into the game and have fun.
2.1 should be out by end of year and most features will be available on the Public Test Realms later this month. The new Events system is an easier way to organize with friends and plan a future game. A feature that almost feels Apple-like.
Some other features coming soon:
- Clans will have custom logos that users can upload.
- Extension Mods will allow you to play custom games on different maps if supported.
- Monobattles use the Extension Mods feature to make it easier to play custom maps.
- XP level capped raised from 30 to 35.
- No more AFK game hosts. If a game host goes AFK before the game starts, they will time out and someone will be automatically promoted to host.
- More soundtracks. Original music from StarCraft and Brood War has been added.
Other, more impressive, BlizzCon 2013 news for StarCraft 2 included a feature for custom map builders, and developers, and a move for Starter edition players that just makes sense.
Horde heroes from the World of Warcraft are being updated and added to the map editor. This should open up a new realm of possibilities for Arcade games. The team said they were interested in adding heroes from all four of the WarCraft 3 factions. I think a lot of this may be a by-product of the Heroes of the Storm project development. Either way, I like it.
Starter edition will soon open up all three races as playable. This is a great way for new players to actually experience the variable game mechanics of StarCraft. As a long time player I could not imagine not getting to experience the Protoss, but Starter edition players will have that opportunity soon enough. In a surprising move, the Arcade games sections will also be opened to players of the Starter edition. A company that a lot of people accuse of being a greed machine sure is embracing a lot of free-to-play features. It’s really starting to look like Blizzard’s best years are the ones to come.