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What's New With StarCraft II

New Heart of the Swarm multiplayer stuff, a KeSPA invasion at MLG, and StarCraft fandom in... the Sony booth?

If it had been any other game, I would have politely declined and gotten on an airplane to go home. But if you know me, you know that StarCraft II alone would have the power to snare me for an extra day in southern California directly after a grueling week of E3, so Drew and I made the quick jaunt over to Anaheim last Friday to check out the latest multiplayer build of Heart of the Swarm, being shown at the Major League Gaming event going on over the weekend there.

Honestly, not a lot has changed dramatically with HOTS multiplayer since Brian Leahy gave us an exhaustive look at all the new units from BlizzCon late last year. If you just want the quick info dump on where things currently stand, watch this!

If you remember the BlizzCon report, you'll notice the Terran shredder and Protoss replicant are both gone, the latter because, according to Dustin Browder, it was actually causing opposing players to avoid making units they didn't want turned against them. That's counter to the goal with HOTS of increasing the level of complexity and range of options available to all players of the game, not removing them. In lieu of the shredder, Terrans will still get some area-denial and passive defense capability with the widow mine, which itself sounds heavily subject to change. And although I don't care much about playing Terran myself, I'm happy for the inclusion of the warhound's auto-casting missiles that auto-target other mechanical units such as, oh, I don't know, siege tanks? Blizzard is confident that this one ability will help to break up a lot of the viking-tank stalemates you see in pro play, and I hope they're right; I think TvT is by far the least interesting matchup to watch at the moment.

The least-significant-sounding but probably scariest change in the current version is a late-game hydralisk upgrade to movement speed, which Browder said is actually the single tweak having the most profound effect on the metagame in Blizzard's tests. That one change seems like it might restore the ubiquity of the hydra that you saw in Brood War, though I'm not looking forward to dealing with a big mobile ball of pure DPS flying up and down the creep highway all the time. The swarm host and viper don't seem all that different from a few months ago, but since zerg is such a mechanically complex race I'm not even going to speculate about what broad effects these things will have.

Actually, as a Protoss player who's basically never touched the other races, I can only speak with any sort of authority at all about the changes on the Toss side, and I'm extremely excited about what's going on there. Right now it's very difficult not to make a robotics bay in every single matchup--just for the observer's scouting and detection, if nothing else--so Blizzard is making an obvious push to legitimize the stargate as a viable tech path in its own right, primarily with the oracle. In addition to that thing's unchanged ability to entomb an entire mineral line with a single 75-energy cast--which I can tell you from my brief experience is amazing--the oracle's preordain ability, which gives you a long period of vision on a target building, will now also add detection to that vision. Of course, that will make it about a million times safer to go stargate now, without having to worry as much about cloaked banshee or dark templar rushes. Neither of those would have a very easy time hitting the oracle.

In exchange for the replicant we now get the mothership core, which you can build quickly and cheaply straight out of your nexus in the early game (and then upgrade into a full mothership with a fleet beacon as usual). This thing has amazing potential to change how aggressive you can be early on, since it has the same mass recall as the bigger version. So you can try an initial push and then get the hell out of there if things are going badly, or get your army back to base for defense if necessary. The core can also briefly act as an overly powerful photon cannon, which should make you feel a little more secure about taking a quick expansion. The core can warp between bases for very little energy and seems like an invaluable addition to early-game defense. I'm really bad at using group hotkeys above 5 (that's where my nexus goes) but the mothership core will most certainly occupy a current home on 6 when I play.

Lastly there's the tempest, which is a capital ship that back at BlizzCon was meant as an air-to-air AOE monster suited for dealing with tons of mutalisks. The tempest has now changed roles to some kind of bizarre long-range aerial siege weapon that by default can fire about as far as a siege tank, which has a range of 13. But with the fleet beacon range upgrade, the tempest has a whopping range of 22. Yes, TWENTY-TWO. On the downside, the DPS is pretty low, so you'll need a lot of tempests to do much actual damage, and of course you'll need a spotter for them to fire that far, since their upgraded range far exceeds their sight range. I'm not sure exactly how the tempest will fit into the final game, since it's extremely expensive for the amount of damage it can do, and Browder seemed doubtful the range upgrade will remain in there as-is. It's also worth noting that Blizzard has mostly reversed course on its plan to cut existing units from the game, with the current exception of the carrier. But Browder said the team is having fights every day about the fate of the carrier, so who knows if even that most-disused unit will ultimately exit the roster. I imagine every pro game where a carrier is used effectively moves the minute hand on the carrier doomsday clock back just a little bit.

The most natural way to get a sense of how a lot of this stuff works would be to watch this video with Day[9] and Blizzard's Rob Simpson commentating a sample HOTS match in an instructional sort of way. If you're new to watching StarCraft II, note that this is the general format of what a pro match is like, but you're going to find a lot more energetic and dynamic scenarios taking place in actual pro-level play (much of it commentated by Day[9] himself). It gets way better than this!

Well, if you made it through all of that dry, amateur analysis, odds are you care an awful lot about StarCraft and everything going on with it, so let's talk about MLG a bit. I blew out of town Friday afternoon before the tournaments got started, but spectating through the weekend from my couch, this was the best event these guys have put on so far that I've seen. Full disclosure: my employer has a business deal with MLG, but I've been fairly critical in the past about their failures, which have mostly centered on flimsy production values and basic logistical issues like making sure matches don't lag out, and keeping the video stream running. The production and scheduling this weekend was much more professional by comparison, with quality commentary throughout, multiple matches running almost all the time, and not much downtime in between. Hell, the casters even classed things up a bit by wearing coats and ties. I had some issues with the highest-quality HD feed consistently crapping out on me, but otherwise MLG is inching closer to the point where I can wholeheartedly recommend throwing down the cash for a weekend pass.

The big tentpole aspect of MLG this weekend, and the main reason I even bring the event up, was the absurdly hyped KeSPA invitational tournament that featured the all-time biggest names from current Brood War competition. KeSPA is the governing body that essentially made competitive StarCraft what it is in Korea, but it's been notoriously hard to work with and it initially shunned StarCraft II altogether, since the lack of LAN-only play meant it had to do business with Blizzard in order to run SC2 tournaments. Now that the two organizations are playing nice together, KeSPA's top players are starting to transition over, and this weekend was the first public chance for true legends of the game like Bisu, Jaedong, and Flash to show what they can do.

Just as a lot of people predicted, they didn't exhibit a lot of especially creative play--the broad strategies were the same sort of thing you'd see in your average match between existing pro players. But the pure mechanical execution from some of these guys was very exciting to watch. Considering they've only been playing SC2 at all for a few weeks, seeing a guy like Flash keep up a staggering rate of production while also being able to split his marines and otherwise micro his units as well as pros who have been playing for two years... well, that makes me really hopeful that there are levels of skilled play in StarCraft II that we haven't even seen yet. I'm excited to see how well these guys are doing after a few more months of practice.

Around the office and in the games press at large, I feel like I've made little headway in getting other people to care about competitive SC2. And maybe I'm not one to talk, since I sort of feel the same way about competitive fighting games (appreciate them academically, glad they're there, little interest in actually watching them) and MOBAs (don't find the game flow interesting to watch at all) that most people do about StarCraft. But here and there, I keep running into likeminded individuals in unlikely places who secretly harbor the same passion. How about the Sony booth at E3? There, I got a chance to meet Shawn McGrath, the lone developer behind Dyad, an indie action game coming to PSN that seems like it is to Tempest what Geometry Wars was to Asteroids (and I mean that in the best possible way). Shawn seems like an all-around swell guy--you'll see an interview about Dyad hitting the site soon--but I also discovered we share a mutual love of two-rax pressure builds and baneling landmines over the weekend while tweeting feverishly about the competition taking place at MLG.

The idea that pro StarCraft is leading to little stuff like this in the indie scene--the place where the most consistently invigorating game design is happening these days--makes me feel like just a little bit less of a "yeah sure professional video games whatever buddy" pariah. This stuff is great! Just give it a chance! I very earnestly believe there's no purer an expression of complex video game mechanics and the human ability to approach mastery of them than what's going on with pro-level StarCraft these days.

Anyway. It should go without saying that I'm really eager for Heart of the Swarm to come out, mainly because competitive play in Wings of Liberty has largely settled into a repetition of similar builds and strategies, and because I've also kind of hit a wall in my own game that has me sitting around mid-platinum without much hope of advancement unless I quit my job and play full-time. Heart of the Swarm should give a nice boost to both of those problems. We'll have video interviews with Dustin Browder and designer David Kim later in the week to provide some more depth on the new stuff, and reading between the lines a bit while talking to those guys, I'm hopeful that beta may not actually be all that far away.

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Posted by Brad

If it had been any other game, I would have politely declined and gotten on an airplane to go home. But if you know me, you know that StarCraft II alone would have the power to snare me for an extra day in southern California directly after a grueling week of E3, so Drew and I made the quick jaunt over to Anaheim last Friday to check out the latest multiplayer build of Heart of the Swarm, being shown at the Major League Gaming event going on over the weekend there.

Honestly, not a lot has changed dramatically with HOTS multiplayer since Brian Leahy gave us an exhaustive look at all the new units from BlizzCon late last year. If you just want the quick info dump on where things currently stand, watch this!

If you remember the BlizzCon report, you'll notice the Terran shredder and Protoss replicant are both gone, the latter because, according to Dustin Browder, it was actually causing opposing players to avoid making units they didn't want turned against them. That's counter to the goal with HOTS of increasing the level of complexity and range of options available to all players of the game, not removing them. In lieu of the shredder, Terrans will still get some area-denial and passive defense capability with the widow mine, which itself sounds heavily subject to change. And although I don't care much about playing Terran myself, I'm happy for the inclusion of the warhound's auto-casting missiles that auto-target other mechanical units such as, oh, I don't know, siege tanks? Blizzard is confident that this one ability will help to break up a lot of the viking-tank stalemates you see in pro play, and I hope they're right; I think TvT is by far the least interesting matchup to watch at the moment.

The least-significant-sounding but probably scariest change in the current version is a late-game hydralisk upgrade to movement speed, which Browder said is actually the single tweak having the most profound effect on the metagame in Blizzard's tests. That one change seems like it might restore the ubiquity of the hydra that you saw in Brood War, though I'm not looking forward to dealing with a big mobile ball of pure DPS flying up and down the creep highway all the time. The swarm host and viper don't seem all that different from a few months ago, but since zerg is such a mechanically complex race I'm not even going to speculate about what broad effects these things will have.

Actually, as a Protoss player who's basically never touched the other races, I can only speak with any sort of authority at all about the changes on the Toss side, and I'm extremely excited about what's going on there. Right now it's very difficult not to make a robotics bay in every single matchup--just for the observer's scouting and detection, if nothing else--so Blizzard is making an obvious push to legitimize the stargate as a viable tech path in its own right, primarily with the oracle. In addition to that thing's unchanged ability to entomb an entire mineral line with a single 75-energy cast--which I can tell you from my brief experience is amazing--the oracle's preordain ability, which gives you a long period of vision on a target building, will now also add detection to that vision. Of course, that will make it about a million times safer to go stargate now, without having to worry as much about cloaked banshee or dark templar rushes. Neither of those would have a very easy time hitting the oracle.

In exchange for the replicant we now get the mothership core, which you can build quickly and cheaply straight out of your nexus in the early game (and then upgrade into a full mothership with a fleet beacon as usual). This thing has amazing potential to change how aggressive you can be early on, since it has the same mass recall as the bigger version. So you can try an initial push and then get the hell out of there if things are going badly, or get your army back to base for defense if necessary. The core can also briefly act as an overly powerful photon cannon, which should make you feel a little more secure about taking a quick expansion. The core can warp between bases for very little energy and seems like an invaluable addition to early-game defense. I'm really bad at using group hotkeys above 5 (that's where my nexus goes) but the mothership core will most certainly occupy a current home on 6 when I play.

Lastly there's the tempest, which is a capital ship that back at BlizzCon was meant as an air-to-air AOE monster suited for dealing with tons of mutalisks. The tempest has now changed roles to some kind of bizarre long-range aerial siege weapon that by default can fire about as far as a siege tank, which has a range of 13. But with the fleet beacon range upgrade, the tempest has a whopping range of 22. Yes, TWENTY-TWO. On the downside, the DPS is pretty low, so you'll need a lot of tempests to do much actual damage, and of course you'll need a spotter for them to fire that far, since their upgraded range far exceeds their sight range. I'm not sure exactly how the tempest will fit into the final game, since it's extremely expensive for the amount of damage it can do, and Browder seemed doubtful the range upgrade will remain in there as-is. It's also worth noting that Blizzard has mostly reversed course on its plan to cut existing units from the game, with the current exception of the carrier. But Browder said the team is having fights every day about the fate of the carrier, so who knows if even that most-disused unit will ultimately exit the roster. I imagine every pro game where a carrier is used effectively moves the minute hand on the carrier doomsday clock back just a little bit.

The most natural way to get a sense of how a lot of this stuff works would be to watch this video with Day[9] and Blizzard's Rob Simpson commentating a sample HOTS match in an instructional sort of way. If you're new to watching StarCraft II, note that this is the general format of what a pro match is like, but you're going to find a lot more energetic and dynamic scenarios taking place in actual pro-level play (much of it commentated by Day[9] himself). It gets way better than this!

Well, if you made it through all of that dry, amateur analysis, odds are you care an awful lot about StarCraft and everything going on with it, so let's talk about MLG a bit. I blew out of town Friday afternoon before the tournaments got started, but spectating through the weekend from my couch, this was the best event these guys have put on so far that I've seen. Full disclosure: my employer has a business deal with MLG, but I've been fairly critical in the past about their failures, which have mostly centered on flimsy production values and basic logistical issues like making sure matches don't lag out, and keeping the video stream running. The production and scheduling this weekend was much more professional by comparison, with quality commentary throughout, multiple matches running almost all the time, and not much downtime in between. Hell, the casters even classed things up a bit by wearing coats and ties. I had some issues with the highest-quality HD feed consistently crapping out on me, but otherwise MLG is inching closer to the point where I can wholeheartedly recommend throwing down the cash for a weekend pass.

The big tentpole aspect of MLG this weekend, and the main reason I even bring the event up, was the absurdly hyped KeSPA invitational tournament that featured the all-time biggest names from current Brood War competition. KeSPA is the governing body that essentially made competitive StarCraft what it is in Korea, but it's been notoriously hard to work with and it initially shunned StarCraft II altogether, since the lack of LAN-only play meant it had to do business with Blizzard in order to run SC2 tournaments. Now that the two organizations are playing nice together, KeSPA's top players are starting to transition over, and this weekend was the first public chance for true legends of the game like Bisu, Jaedong, and Flash to show what they can do.

Just as a lot of people predicted, they didn't exhibit a lot of especially creative play--the broad strategies were the same sort of thing you'd see in your average match between existing pro players. But the pure mechanical execution from some of these guys was very exciting to watch. Considering they've only been playing SC2 at all for a few weeks, seeing a guy like Flash keep up a staggering rate of production while also being able to split his marines and otherwise micro his units as well as pros who have been playing for two years... well, that makes me really hopeful that there are levels of skilled play in StarCraft II that we haven't even seen yet. I'm excited to see how well these guys are doing after a few more months of practice.

Around the office and in the games press at large, I feel like I've made little headway in getting other people to care about competitive SC2. And maybe I'm not one to talk, since I sort of feel the same way about competitive fighting games (appreciate them academically, glad they're there, little interest in actually watching them) and MOBAs (don't find the game flow interesting to watch at all) that most people do about StarCraft. But here and there, I keep running into likeminded individuals in unlikely places who secretly harbor the same passion. How about the Sony booth at E3? There, I got a chance to meet Shawn McGrath, the lone developer behind Dyad, an indie action game coming to PSN that seems like it is to Tempest what Geometry Wars was to Asteroids (and I mean that in the best possible way). Shawn seems like an all-around swell guy--you'll see an interview about Dyad hitting the site soon--but I also discovered we share a mutual love of two-rax pressure builds and baneling landmines over the weekend while tweeting feverishly about the competition taking place at MLG.

The idea that pro StarCraft is leading to little stuff like this in the indie scene--the place where the most consistently invigorating game design is happening these days--makes me feel like just a little bit less of a "yeah sure professional video games whatever buddy" pariah. This stuff is great! Just give it a chance! I very earnestly believe there's no purer an expression of complex video game mechanics and the human ability to approach mastery of them than what's going on with pro-level StarCraft these days.

Anyway. It should go without saying that I'm really eager for Heart of the Swarm to come out, mainly because competitive play in Wings of Liberty has largely settled into a repetition of similar builds and strategies, and because I've also kind of hit a wall in my own game that has me sitting around mid-platinum without much hope of advancement unless I quit my job and play full-time. Heart of the Swarm should give a nice boost to both of those problems. We'll have video interviews with Dustin Browder and designer David Kim later in the week to provide some more depth on the new stuff, and reading between the lines a bit while talking to those guys, I'm hopeful that beta may not actually be all that far away.

Edited by Malarkain

Woo Brad!

Also, I hate to be that guy...but I wanna see more campaign stuff. I may suck at the actual game but I still managed to get slightly invested in the story.

Posted by BeachThunder

Hmm, how did I know this article was going to be written by Brad...

Posted by sissylion

I will never understand these games and they make me feel bad in my brain! You guys are weird!

Posted by Spoonman671

I only care about campaign stuff.  How unpopular is that perspective?

Posted by Crono

I will buy this game out of pure excitement and then never play it due to being too busy watching top-tier matches.

Posted by Pr1mus

Did Blizzard give any sort of hint about when is the game coming out?

Edited by hussatron

Is it strange that I would rather watch people play video games non-competitively?

Anyway, good to hear that Blizzard seems to be making smart changes to the game.

Posted by DexterKid

I made it half way through the 3rd paragraph before my eyes started rolling into the back of my head. I'll play the new campaign, but multiplayer RTS remains a step way too far for me.

Posted by AlwaysBeClothing

Ah, now I see why Drew left from SNA rather than LAX. I would take SNA any day of the week over LAX.

Posted by Animasta

Sorry brad, pro level starcraft will always be boring to me, and I'm sure it's complicated and very rewarding for people who invest in it, but it's honestly super dull unless Ryan is drunk and raving about pleasure domes and the hand of Nod.

Posted by WMWA

Holy fuck this is a hell of a feature. Good stuff

Posted by Clockwk

As someone who plays zerg in multiplayer player, I was really excited about the changes they are proposing to all three races. The stuff looks really interesting and will make the game even more exciting to watch when the pro's get a hold of these new units. Can't Wait!!!!

Edited by FluxWaveZ

Oracle's "Entombed" ability is some bullshit. Like in that mock HotS cast, for example: the Zerg's entire mineral line was halted for several seconds multiple times. That's freakin' crazy. Spider mines didn't seem too harmless to me at first, until a Zerg player's entire army was destroyed during an MLG game. That stuff's scary.

I like the fact that Hydralisks will finally be used more, but that speed upgrade does require a Hive, so it's not as if Zerg players will be able to bust them out real early in the game.

I'm really excited for HotS; can't wait to play it.

Edited by wrathofconn

Brad, the Hydra speed upgrade actually just makes them move at the same speed on and off creep, which is either more or less scary than you made it sound. =)

Also, as someone who plays Protoss, the Tempest seems completely useless in its current form. And the Viper's Abduct seems absurdly overpowered.

Posted by CustomOtto

@BeachThunder said:

Hmm, how did I know this article was going to be written by Brad...

because it's about starcraft 2? is that how?

Edited by Turambar
@Animasta said:

Sorry brad, pro level starcraft will always be boring to me, and I'm sure it's complicated and very rewarding for people who invest in it, but it's honestly super dull unless Ryan is drunk and raving about pleasure domes and the hand of Nod.

Search for day[9]'s Funday Monday episodes.  If you want a comedic take on SC2 multiplayer, that's about as good as it gets.   The youtube videos sometimes have serious audio desynching issues, so http://blip.tv/day9tv is a better alternative.
  
Edited by FluxWaveZ

@wrathofconn said:

Also, as someone who also plays Protoss, the Tempest seems completely useless in its current form.

I'm speaking out of my ass as a Zerg player and only as a Diamond player, but yeah, it does seem that Tempests can be taken out quite easily with any other AA flying unit. Plus, they're so expensive to make.

The Swarm Host is a bit weird, I think. An endless amount of free units is nice, but I don't know if Locusts seemed all that effective from watching the gameplay videos.

Vipers are the best thing ever. Just grabbing a Colossus, a siege tank or whatever and saying "Get over here!" while your lings surround the unit looks so great.

Posted by Spellbot5000

Good god, I had a bet going with a friend that Brad was going to bring fucking SC2 up again right after E3. Where are the articles about chess championships or Boggle Tournaments? You know, stupid things like SC2 that no one gives a shit about except their core base of nutter fans.

Posted by jvalenti57

Great article Brad. I've been watching a lit of pro level SC2 and Fighting Games as of late and once you get into it, it's very exciting. Hope to get more of your impressions on other events.

Posted by GPink

I'm really pleased to see how much you're keeping in tune with the Starcraft community Brad, and I'm even more pleased to see the dividends it's paying with regards to the depth of coverage we get. It's good to get that next level of analysis on a piece of news that would just warrant a bullet point list on any other site.

Posted by Lothars

@Spellbot5000:lol I am not surprised at how clueless you are.

Posted by Brad

@Spellbot5000: For someone who clearly cares so little about the game, you really spent a disproportionate amount of your life clicking through to this article and writing a comment on it. Why?

Posted by ChrisTaran

I have got to pick that game up again. Been too long!

Posted by DoctorWelch

Thanks Brad, I wish you guys would write more features like this, even though I know you're swamped as it is.

Edited by csl316

I've barely even touched Zerg in WoL because I didn't have any success with hydras (one of my favorite classic units). Plus the complete lack of lurkers :(

From what I can tell so far, the Protoss are getting some pretty neat and creative upgrades, while the Zerg seem to get all sorts of potential new strategies. The unit composition in the battle report completely changes their feel. Rather than overrunning you with banelings or poking at you with mutas, there was this slow, methodical offensive going on. Setting up with swarm hosts, careful positioning of the hydras, etc. It was interesting to watch, and the viper has some cool possibilities as a caster. Plus I like that ultralisks may start popping up more late game. Brood lords can get stale. Respect the ultra, man.

As a terran (that admittedly doesn't really play anymore), our additions seem boring but useful. The mine can be devastating, and the other pieces make factory play way more useful on the ground. Siege tanks are still siege tanks, but having a firebat hellion and warhound to buffer damage should make terran more beastly in a head to head fight. Could change TvT from a pure position battle with siege lines. Though if the warhound doesn't have an air attack, marines will still have their role.

Anyway, too bad I missed the Kespa tourney. I only watched the regular finals, which wasn't exactly a shocking result. Time to track down some more HotS gameplay.

Online
Posted by StupidGamer
@Spellbot5000 then don't read the article. How about that?

I'm a bit worried about Terran going into HoTS. From what I've heard from people who've played it, Terran sounds a bit weak.
Posted by darksagus

I watched MLG this weekend and the hype the Kespa players got was rather insane. I barely touch SCII at all these days, but I watch quite a bit of it through player streams and tournaments.

Posted by bunnymud

Feel good moment of the day :Not being the guy holding up a Reddit sign

Posted by Deathpooky

I was nervous about them completely changing the game up, but much less so now after seeing the units and the thought that went in behind them. Really looking forward to seeing pros get ahold of the new units in beta and trying out strategies with them.

And I completely agree with the assessment of MLG - the improvements in production have made it much easier to watch. The format of an entire tournament in one weekend doesn't usually allow me to keep up with everything, but at the least sitting down Sunday to watch the championship rounds is pretty great.

Online
Posted by SpiritWolfau

Lots of negative comments here, so here's a positive one! Loved the article Brad, and I really enjoy watching pro SC2 myself. I tried playing it, but quickly discovered I'm terrible at RTSes. So I'm really excited for Heart of the Swarm not for the campaign, but for all the fantastic new pro matches that will result. I'm especially excited at the idea of TvT being interesting to watch again.

Edited by EthanielRain

I really got into watching pro players back in the day, like the epic Yellow/Boxer rivalry. I haven't found the same enthusiasm for watching SC2 yet. I think someone needs to come along and do some really insane shit, like Boxer did for BW. I didn't know about the whole Kespa thing, so with that dissolving...maybe it will happen? I hope so :D

Edited by Xeirus

@Brad said:

@Spellbot5000: For someone who clearly cares so little about the game, you really spent a disproportionate amount of your life clicking through to this article and writing a comment on it. Why?

Ignore the peons Bradley! You know better!

Edit: Also, very bice write up. While I -suck- something fierce at SC I enjoy the story and world and screwing around with friends. The custom games also are just amazing.

Edit2:

@EthanielRain said:

I wish my hands could match the agility of my brain.

So does your girlfriend, OHHHHHHHHHHH

Posted by adamfedoruk

Awesome piece, Brad! Keep 'em coming!

Edited by Otzlowe

I always get super bummed when I think about the theoretical potential of things in games and then realize that their usefulness in competitive gaming is ruled out by math-hammering and degrees of conformity. I truly dislike that it often comes down to mathematics deciding the usefulness of something, regardless of the way in which it affects the game experience. (Especially since math-hammering, in many cases, ends up not being as definitive as it gets treated).

So, I'll probably be a carebear forever. =/

Posted by Rox360

@Spellbot5000 said:

Good god, I had a bet going with a friend that Brad was going to bring fucking SC2 up again right after E3. Where are the articles about chess championships or Boggle Tournaments? You know, stupid things like SC2 that no one gives a shit about except their core base of nutter fans.

"Stupid things that no one gives a shit about except the core base of nutter fans"? You mean like TrackMania? Or ancient, way out of fashion Sega/Atari/Intellivision/Dreamcast games? Or insane indie titles like Minecraft or Dungeons of Dredmor? Yeah, thank god this site only covers new games that people care about.

Posted by GunslingerPanda

@Spellbot5000 said:

Good god, I had a bet going with a friend that Brad was going to bring fucking SC2 up again right after E3. Where are the articles about chess championships or Boggle Tournaments? You know, stupid things like SC2 that no one gives a shit about except their core base of nutter fans.

Kill yourself.

Edited by Lively

I find Starcraft 2 to be by far the most entertaining e-sports game to watch, and personally I find it a lot more interesting than most real sports.

There is just something about how quickly the player is asked to make creative tactical descisions that is unmatched anywhere else. Once you get into the top rungs of a tournament with real money and pride on the line, you'll witness probably the single most taxing mental competition on earth. When paired with the right presentation and production values, it's a thrilling thing to see.

Posted by EthanML

Nice article Brad, love the coverage, hope to see more. It was a truly awesome MLG weekend, the more people we can convert the better, there's really nothing like it.

Posted by evanbower

@Spellbot5000 said:

Good god, I had a bet going with a friend that Brad was going to bring fucking SC2 up again right after E3. Where are the articles about chess championships or Boggle Tournaments? You know, stupid things like SC2 that no one gives a shit about except their core base of nutter fans.

I'm so sick of people not writing articles on what YOU care about.

Posted by august
@Spellbot5000 said:

Good god, I had a bet going with a friend that Brad was going to bring fucking SC2 up again right after E3. Where are the articles about chess championships or Boggle Tournaments? You know, stupid things like SC2 that no one gives a shit about except their core base of nutter fans.

You have friends?
Edited by Scrumdidlyumptious

Terran bio is going to be an even bigger nightmare to micro in HotS. As if dodging storms, zealot charge, banelings, fungals, archons and collosi wasn't enough now there's the added threat of ultralisk burrow, blinding cloud, abduct removing cover fire and the tempest chipping away at the Terran to make them attack into their deathball in a bad position. The warhound is probably going to be a staple of Terran armies to cover for that but it just seems so boring (and ugly). Zerg and Protoss got a lot of fun units, but Terran's additions just seem dull overall and so many things make tanks useless removing the whole positional element that defines Terran. I actually play Zerg, but making one race duller than the others makes any games with that race in it seem dull. Obviously a LOT of things will change before release, so hopefully they make Terran seem less weak.

Other than that, I'm really excited for HotS. It seems way crazier than WoL just like BW was to original SC1. Can't wait for more of the campaign as well.

Posted by ch3burashka

I'm pretty sure this is the longest article on Giant Bomb's history, and it's on the multiplayer update for Starcraft 2.

Just sayin'.

Posted by Doppelgamer

@Spoonman671 said:

I only care about campaign stuff. How unpopular is that perspective?

I'm the same way. I'm all multiplayered out from the old days in SC1, and find the story more interesting.

Posted by Phatmac

Brad, Giant Bomb Starcraft Editor!

Posted by Simio

Agreed. I do not even play SC2 anymore, but can't miss the pro action as a spectator. It is very entertaining, specially if you keep up with the metagame and little details (which are well pointed out by good casters in general anyway). Just like tennis or F1...

Posted by CJduke

Awesome write up Brad! HOTS looks amazing, can't wait to play it

Posted by GaZZuM

More Starcraft coverage! ^^

Posted by roguehallow

Wait, Brad is leaving Giant Bomb to play StarCraft II full time?!

Posted by jakob187

I am beyond pleased to see something like this being posted on the front page. Moreover, reading all of that in my head in Brad's voice was sexy as hell.

I haven't played much SC2 since it was launched, but I still love watching matches. Funny enough, I understood every single thing you said in your article! LOL Sadly, the MOBA bug hit me, and that's where my heart truly lies. I really wish you would give League a bit more of a chance, Brad. My buddies and I would even be willing to give you some pointers, as it's an incredibly deep game.

Regardless, as a Zerg player, I'm excited about Heart of the Swarm, both from a story AND multiplayer point of view.

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