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PostSubject: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Wed 11 Jan 2012, 23:21

If you dont play SC2 dont read on, I don't want any fecking whinning later on. :p



I don’t consider myself easily moved. I don’t cry at sad movies. I’m a stoic emotional soldier who can sit through the first ten minutes of Pixar’s Up without the slightest dampening of the face. I’m tough. So I was most perturbed when I found my throat choked and my skin covered in goosebumps as I stood in front of BlizzCon’s StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm stand. For me 2011 has been a time of discovery, as this year I found StarCraft and, by extension, esports. I found a game that captivated me and a community that epitomises both the best and worst of PC gaming. Chances are, a percentage of you reading these words will feel the same.

At this year’s BlizzCon, Blizzard revealed the new multiplayer units for StarCraft II’s next expansion, Heart of the Swarm, and I felt like my chest was going to burst with excitement.

StarCraft II is a toolkit. It’s a game that provides a hammer for this job, a screwdriver for that one. Each unit has strict rules and looser applications, and that means that players familiar with the game can immediately slot new units into mental replays of the matches they’ve played and watched. And those new units turn the battlehoned tactics and strategies, hammered out by professionals and amateurs the world over, on their head.



The Zerg’s new monsters have the most obvious practicality. The Viper replaces the Overseer, usurping that non-threatening gelatinous eyeball blob with a sinuous sky-snake. Like the Overseer, it can detect cloaked and burrowed units, but unlike the Overseer, it doesn’t need to be ported into battle. The Viper can launch a standalone eyeball, gluing it onto another friendly unit. Before, Zerg players had to manoeuvre flimsy gasbags around during tussles so they could get a read on the field: now they can use their combat units as readymade spotters.

But you won’t want to be leaving your Vipers at home all the time. They’re Zerg spell-casters, their magic books rounded out with ‘Blinding Cloud’ – a gaseous mass launched at groups of enemies that reduces their effective combat range to spitting distance – and the intriguing ‘Abduct’. Abduct is built to break powerful siege lines, letting the Viper yank a single unit out of position with a fleshy tendril.

The Zerg’s second new unit is simpler to use. The Swarm Host is essentially a grounded Brood Lord designed to unsettle sufferers of trypophobia – don’t Google it, trust me. (Go on, Google it! -Evil Ed). Waddle one near enemy lines and hit R – it’ll burrow underground, then start pooping out scurrying, clawed Locusts. It’s a siege attack unit that can tear apart enemy defences. Combined with the introduction of the siegebreaking Viper, Terran turtlers in the BlizzCon audience were left making sad little noises.



But Terran players have their own new toys to play with. Last year’s Wings of Liberty focused on the race; this year’s additions feel more like alterations. The Hellion – a speedy ground buggy armed with a straight-line flamethrower – has earned the ability to transform into a spiffy little walker. In battle mode, the Hellion’s napalm range and speed are greatly reduced. Instead they gain a much wider spread of flame, and a buff to their toughness. They’re great for holding ramps and choke points, as I found out when I was able to tempt a host of Zerglings into the front of my base before barbecuing them in a few wide-angle spurts.

The battle Hellion isn’t the Terran’s only new stompy thing. Heart of the Swarm will rarify the bipedal Thor walker, doubling the price and only letting players have one on the field at a time. But there are mitigating factors to the switch: the Thor now kicks out damage at a ridiculous rate, and it has earned an understudy. The Warhound has inherited the Thor’s anti-air attack – making it perfect for dealing with Zerg Mutalisks – and comes with an anti-armour cannon that punishes the opposition’s heavier playthings. They’re also smaller, meaning that players won’t have to play factory Tetris to avoid a conga-line of walkers stuck on scenery.

Terran generals already have perhaps the game’s best territory control options in the Siege Tank and the Bunker – with Heart of the Swarm, they’ll be able to add the Shredder to that list. It’s a tiny robot that, when burrowed, produces a radioactive death field in a radius around its hidey-hole. Any enemy that sets foot/chitinous claw/floaty energy field inside that space is bathed in a horrible nuclear glow that saps their health. It’s ideal for closing off entry routes to your areas of interest, but park one of your own units inside the Shredder’s death field and it’ll shut itself off.



That’s no good if you’re relying on them for the irradiated death of your foes, but clever leaders could lure armies through ‘safe’ areas before allowing their little robo-chums to come back online.

If the Terran arsenal changes are all about finetuning, the new Protoss units are about wild experimentation. The mouthless space elves lose their fighter-spewing Carrier unit in multiplayer, but gain a new flyer called the Tempest.

It shoots in both of the game’s planes, firing blobs of blue goo that melt light air units like the Mutalisk, and sending an arc of psi-lightning down towards ground targets. Blizzard want Tempests as massed late-game options, and they’re a direct response to Protoss complaints that they can’t effectively counter large airforces.

Join the battle in the skies, build a Protoss stargate and you’ll have access to the new Oracle. It’s a flying spellcasting unit that specialises in buggering up your enemy’s carefully thought-out timings. ‘Phase Shift’ lets you scrub a unit out of existence for just under a minute – ideal for removing big nasties from army makeups while you rearrange your forces – and ‘Pre- Ordain’ allows you to watch an enemy building’s surroundings and production for two minutes. As if the floaty pixies didn’t have enough scouting options with Observers.

‘Entomb’ rounds out the Oracle’s spell-set, and lets players encase vital mineral patches in weird magic glass, restricting mining from them and halting economies until removed.



That leaves one last new unit, and here’s where things gets a little madder. The final Protoss addition is the Replicant: a glowing ball that can turn into almost anything it’s pointed at. It’s a potentially game-breaking addition: Replicant-heavy Protoss armies have access to three tech trees instead of one, and can create lethal armies of perfectly overlapping units.

But in practice, that’s not so simple. When tinkering with the new units in a skirmish game, I tried to saunter into my Zerg opponent’s base, cast an eye over their worker Drones, and sashay a copied version back into my own base. But without an escort, my ersatz Drone was popped by a minimal force. I elected instead to send an escort force to get my Replicant in and my new Drone out. I lost my task force, but I was able to gain a Drone. After 15 minutes of climbing up both Protoss and Zerg upgrade routes, my mixed force was able to smash through the solo Zerg’s front lines – Zerg Roaches ablating hits as my Protoss High Templars were free to sit back and launch devastating psionic storms.

Heart of the Swarm’s new multiplayer units are focused missiles, all introduced as either replacements or new entities to fix issues in the game’s asymmetrical matchups. It’s the same tactic that Blizzard have used in the singleplayer portions of this game, and in Wings of Liberty before it: units are introduced and shown as fulfilling a specific role.

The key difference is in execution – Heart of the Swarm’s singleplayer walks players through the best way to use a new toy; the multiplayer decides you’re mature enough to handle things yourself, presses the toolbox into your hands, gives you a wink, and says “have fun”. It’s enough to get me all emotional.

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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Thu 12 Jan 2012, 12:05

Fuck all that nonesense, get me a solid release date.

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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Thu 12 Jan 2012, 14:00

should be pretty neat, havnt played sc2 in a good while, and im still waiting on you slaine to play with me and markie its only been a year or so mate Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Sat 14 Jan 2012, 04:46

The only thing that's going to worry me is the stupidly high retail price that it's bound to have. With SWtoR fetching in 45quid from most places for an mmo, theres a dangerously high chance that this'll go the same way. I shudder to think what the collectors box will be like( the SWTOR one cost upto 250quid in some places.....)

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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Sat 14 Jan 2012, 13:55

aye, i refuse to pay over the odds for just an add-on, and to be honest some of the new units sound pretty annoying i.e. trying to go all wacky

See what it retails for

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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Thu 09 Feb 2012, 22:23

Well we knew it was going to be coming in out in three seperate packages, that was one of my main gripes back when we first heard the details of the game.

On the units I am a bit meh about, but new tools in the box is always cool I suppose. Though I can't see me running out and buying this on release, will probably wait until after the price drops.

As for a release date, not even a whisper yet but I am as always keeping my ear to the ground. Wink

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PostSubject: Starcraft 2 Heart of the Swarm video explains unit   Mon 11 Jun 2012, 13:43

Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm is due out by the end of the year, but it’s been a while since we heard anything about its development. Blizzard released a video today of the build that will be playable at MLG Anaheim this weekend. It includes some new and some old information, showcasing the units that are still currently making the cut and as well as a few new ones.



The big changes

Among the units removed since the Blizzcon build is the Terran Shredder, a unit that dealt AoE damage to any enemies near it as long as there were no friendly units in the same radius. It has been replaced with the Widow Mine. Built from the Factory, these mines move on their own and, once planted, will stick to the first unit to walk over them and detonate after a few seconds. They have a large splash damage radius, but give a skilled micro player time to move a mined unit away from the rest of their army before it explodes to minimize the damage.

The Terran Warhound seems to have been modified from a light anti-air unit to an “anti-mech” unit, doing relatively little damage to biological foes, but having a very powerful, long-ranged missile attack that can quickly deal with mech units like Thors and Siege Tanks. We’re not sure yet whether it will target zerg massive units like the Ultralisk.

Speaking of the Ultralisk, his researchable burrowed charge ability is still intact. The Zerg seem to have changed the least, with their new caster unit, the Viper, remaining more or less the same. The Swarm Host, a new unit that spawns infinite, free, weak minions called Locusts is the only piece that has seen noticeable alteration, in that its Locusts can now attack air units.

The Protoss Replicant, which could transform into any enemy unit on the battlefield, has been removed. The Tempest, which was originally an Air vs Air splash damage specialist has been re-purposed to have longer range and attack air and ground.

The Oracle, a support unit that can lock down enemy mineral patches with a force field, has been given additional utility with a short-ranged cloak similar to the Arbiter from the original Starcraft. It takes over this role from the Mothership, which is now upgraded from a Mothership Core. Rather than being an offensive unit, the Mothership Core can be cost-effective in the early game, and must attach to a Nexus to use its abilities- turning into a super-powerful Photon Cannon, refilling another caster’s energy and mass-recalling units to the attached Nexus.


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And sorry guys but still nothing on a release date yet. Neutral

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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Tue 20 Nov 2012, 19:22

I'm performing a bit of necromancy on this thread, but SC2 - heart of the swarm is up for preorder , collectors edition 2 here i come.

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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Tue 20 Nov 2012, 22:09

Yup got the email offering me the pre-purchase too, just been to busy to post. Neutral

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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Tue 20 Nov 2012, 22:45

looks good, stil havnt played the bloody game with either of you two though O_o
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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Wed 21 Nov 2012, 13:13

Odds are you'll never play it with me, i tend not to play RTS games online. I think the last one i did, was the original C&C lol

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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Wed 21 Nov 2012, 19:03

bout time you got into it then aye? Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Tue 27 Nov 2012, 22:15

DeadFishy~DS~ wrote:
looks good, stil havnt played the bloody game with either of you two though O_o

There might be a reason for that Fisty, and to be honest its probably not your deodorant or lack thereof! pirat

Could be the horsey smell you give off, no offence obviously. Twisted Evil

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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Mon 11 Mar 2013, 23:47

Released tomorrow, any one picking up a copy?

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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Tue 12 Mar 2013, 12:04

If I had the cash mate aye but I don't so I'm afraid its on the back burner for now. Neutral

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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Tue 12 Mar 2013, 18:47

Same here bro, was just being nosy and seeing who else was snagging this puppy.
Gives me more time to finish the previous episode though so that's a plus.



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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Tue 12 Mar 2013, 22:36

yea, want it, but no money and all funds are going towards bikes atm
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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Wed 13 Mar 2013, 01:52

Calling your sister a bike is uncalled for, so is you actually having to pay her. She should at least be giving you a family rate ffs.

On a side note, I will probably be picking up End Game for BF3 before I get this (something you already have access to Fisty) as I'm expecting another discount code in the mail same as all the other expansions. :p

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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Sat 16 Mar 2013, 21:00

§làiñê ~Ч~ wrote:
Calling your sister a bike is uncalled for, so is you actually having to pay her. She should at least be giving you a family rate ffs.

Laughing it funny because its true fapfapfapfap
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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Tue 16 Apr 2013, 23:50



So anyone playing it, we all know who the RTS heads are and we know we have them here!

PS.

I know the vid is huge size wise, bit I figured it did it justice to be that big. :p

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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Wed 17 Apr 2013, 14:12

Not had a chance to pick it up yet or game much in general. My steam account is seeing more use by my nephew than me! ( i don't mind, he's added a few games i was eyeing up anyway lol)

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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Wed 24 Apr 2013, 23:57

WELL FUCK! Looks epic
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PostSubject: Re: Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm preview   Wed 01 May 2013, 20:27

Epic is the word I would choose bro. Cool

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