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Real Time Strategy (Games) Games

StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm Released 271

Today Blizzard launched its first expansion to StarCraft 2, titled Heart of the Swarm. When initially developing StarCraft 2, Blizzard made the decision to split the game into three parts, each with a campaign as long as the original StarCraft. The initial release in 2010, Wings of Liberty, centered on the story of the Terrans. The newly-released Heart of the Swarm is focused on the Zerg. The final release, Legacy of the Void, will dedicate its campaign to the Protoss (and does not have a projected release timeframe yet). In addition to the new campaign, new units have been introduced for multiplayer and new maps have been added, which ought to shake things up in the competitive landscape. Blizzard has also made long-awaited improvements to the social system, including support for groups and clans.
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StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm Released

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  • by neonv ( 803374 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @06:03PM (#43153623)

    Here I am working, when I could be playing. Thanks Slashdot, now I'm going to have to kill my productivity and go home and kill some zerg!

  • So, does this one, like the previous, require an always-on Internet connection to Blizzard's authentication servers, the ones that are tied to all their games? Because I really don't like the idea of not being able to play a single-player game just because some recent update to WoW is overloading their servers.
    • by Tukz ( 664339 )

      The previous one doesn't require you to be alway-on.
      They removed that in one of the first patches.

      • So, in other words, it did? I mean, how else could they remove it if it wasn't there in the first place?

        AT RELEASE it did. So the question is, since this is another "AT RELEASE" moment, whether this does, too. Just 'cause they realized that they did something wrong doesn't mean they won't repeat it.

        • by ildon ( 413912 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @06:19PM (#43153767)

          "AT RELEASE", SC2: Wings of Liberty had an offline "guest" mode that could play single player and custom maps, but could not play any multiplayer (no LAN support). It continues to behave in exactly this way.

          • You could say that no-LAN is StarCraft 2's Heart of the DRM.

            • by Ironhandx ( 1762146 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @01:14AM (#43156497)

              no lan ability is honestly why I haven't bought Starcraft 2. We still play Starcraft 1 at LANs and for a more modern strategy game it usually falls to Sins of a Solar Empire... Starcraft II doesn't even enter into the list due to the connection requirements. My house connection can't handle the retarded protocols with 8 computers going at it even with a 75mbit connection just due to the latency increases. My internal LAN doesn't even bat an eyelash at it though.

          • by Zalbik ( 308903 )

            Reallly? I'd heard that since patch 1.5, Guest mode went away.

            Many people here [battle.net] seem to agree.

            The system requirements for HOTS indicate that Broadband internet + a Battle.Net account are required.

          • Not quite. Ever since the 2.0.4 update the Guest button has disappeared. The "workaround" is to disconnect from the net (I tend to just disable the network device in Windows), start SC2, log in using your account and when it fails due to a lack of net connection, you just click Play Offline. Previous you only had to click Guest and pick a guest account and off you'd go.

            • by Zalbik ( 308903 )

              Really? Cause they indicate that that problem was resolved [battle.net] in 1.5.4.

              Currently the only outstanding bugs they have listed with regards to offline mode is that you need to go online once after patching, and you must fully download the game prior to going offline.

              Gonna check when I get home. Actually, screw that....gonna kill me some Terrans for a while...then check.

          • by GigaplexNZ ( 1233886 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @10:10PM (#43155519)
            The guest mode disabled certain features that tracked your single player campaign progress. My internet went out during a particularly long mission, no notification popped up, it just silently went to guest mode, and I had to redo the mission. I didn't find the game anywhere near as fun as the original, and with no LAN I ended up just going back to SC:BW. I won't be wasting my money again this time round.
        • by ildon ( 413912 )

          Actually, now that I loaded the client, I think they removed the offline mode in some patch.

          • by Tukz ( 664339 )

            There was a glitch in patch 1.5, you need to delete Battle.net.MPQ and try again.

        • by ildon ( 413912 )

          http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/6679638021?page=2#26 [battle.net]

          Ok, I guess the implication is that offline mode is only available if the game fails to connect to Blizzard's servers? I don't feel like turning off my internet or blocking a port or whatever to check.

          • by Zalbik ( 308903 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @06:39PM (#43153931)

            No...after more research, it was a bug, and it is mostly fixed. See here [battle.net] for details.

            Blizzard screwed up offline mode at one point.

            Currently to go offline, you must have:
            1) The game fully downloaded (makes sense)
            2) Go online once after patching (they are working on fixing this).

            So right now if you are a hermit in a cave with no online connectivity, but you happened to pick up the open wi-fi of a passing hiker and patch SC2, but then did not go online after the patch....then you are screwed.

            Otherwise, yes, you can apparently play the campaign offline.

    • Long Answer: There's an offline mode that you can use to play campaign & custom maps. The caveat is that you need to log in using your battle.net account once every 30 days for it to work.
      My internet's been down for the last hour or so and I've been playing the campaign without a problem.
  • I just wish ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jxander ( 2605655 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @06:05PM (#43153647)

    I just wish blizz would split Starcraft into the two games it clearly is : Single- and Multi-player.

    I thoroughly enough the campaign missions, the overarching story, and everything else associated with the single player mode, but have zero interest in multiplayer. I've got plenty of other PvP games. I'd wager that there are plenty of people in my camp, as well as people who never touch the campaign, instead favoring multiplayer.

    • If you don't want to play the multiplayer you can play the campaign. Actually there are a lot of stuff in the campaigns that are not available in MP.

      The only bad thing about this game is the ridiculous always online DRM Blizzard decided to implement even for single player mode.
      • by malkavian ( 9512 )

        It doesn't require always on. If the net cuts off, you don't get the 'awards' function, but hey.. The game works and saves just fine.

    • Re:I just wish ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tukz ( 664339 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @06:09PM (#43153681) Journal

      Don't play multiplayer then?
      I really don't see the issue here, the campaign is standalone singleplayer missions.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by jxander ( 2605655 )

        The issue here is cost

        I'm cheap and I'd rather not pay for content I have no interest in using. Especially in this instance, where that extra content is virtually identical to the extra content I already purchased two years ago.

        Probably a losing battle though, in the age of full-retail-price map packs for Call of Modern Battlefield, and full-retail-price roster updates for Madden n+1

        • I'm cheap and I'd rather not pay for content I have no interest in using.

          Why would you be?

          All of the content (like art assets) is used by both multi and single player modes.

          The only thing you are in theory paying for and not using, is the code that allows a human to control the opposing forces instead of the computer, and some additional map design.

          But the large bulk of effort that you paid for goes for the game you can play single player.

          • Doesn't Blizzard go to great lengths to ensure competitive balance between the three races? I would imagine that a substantial portion of the time and money invested in multi-player goes toward balance-testing and re-calibration; balancing single-player only seems inherently less complicated.
            • Doesn't Blizzard go to great lengths to ensure competitive balance between the three races?

              Yes but you have to do that anyway, so that a player playing any given race doesn't swamp the AI with some overly cheap move. Game balance is just as important for single player only games as it is for multiplayer to make the game enjoyable.

              balancing single-player only seems inherently less complicated.

              Actually it's way more complicated because you are testing all facets of the AI that controls other races and units.

        • Re:I just wish ... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by yurtinus ( 1590157 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @08:08PM (#43154625)
          While I think you're justified to have your gripes, in this case I feel it's a bit excessive. RTS games have had single player and multiplayer components almost since the very beginning. Granted, the multiplayer aspect has been far more significant lately, but I don't think it's been at a cost of a weaker single player. I kind of feel like your complaints are like griping about the passenger seat you had to buy in your car even though you'll never sit in it.

          HOTS is at least priced as an expansion rather than a "full price game," unlike CoD and the sports games.
          • by Zalbik ( 308903 )

            RTS games have had single player and multiplayer components almost since the very beginning

            I'm not so sure about that...I don't remember a multiplayer component for Dune 2.

            Now you kids....get off my lawn!

        • by geekoid ( 135745 )

          What? It would cost more to do it your way.
          You wold need to make a complete game out of both, instead of one game with 2 features. In the end it would cost exactly the same.

          It's a features I don't use in know way means it would cost less without the feature.

          If you are going to be cheapo, then also be knowledgeable, else you will just bite yourself in the ass in an effort to save a penny.

        • There is more content in the campaign than in multiplayer. There are no cut scenes and a lot less voice acting in multiplayer. No one had to write a story line either.

    • by Zalbik ( 308903 )

      Maybe. But I'd worry that the multiplayer would sell well enough that Blizzard would realize there is no point in developing a single player game.

      I'm guessing that the Single player version development costs are 4-5 times those of the multiplayer, but the single-player only people likely do not represent 80-90% of the users....

      • by ADRA ( 37398 )

        Everyone I know who bought SCII bought it for single player, and could count their multi-player games on one hand (including me). Obviously this isn't a perfect representation of the community, but I'm sure you'll find that there's far more single-player only gamers than you'd like to believe. Plus, without the single player mode, you'd have a substantially large number of very weak introductory players that would need some sort of introduction to the game. This is one of the biggest weaknesses of on-line o

        • by Zalbik ( 308903 )

          Agreed...and everyone I know bought it for the single player campaign as well (although a handful of us have wasted a lot of time on cooperative online games).

          That being said, the sheer popularity of multiplayer in Asia makes me wonder if Campaign-only players aren't in the minority.

          The later SC2 patches included a very reasonable multiplayer tutorial and AI bot "ranking" matches to ease you into the game.

          I'd also argue that the Campaign is a terrible way to learn to play multiplayer. Many of the maps in

    • by Punto ( 100573 )

      It is split, the multiplayer game is vastly different from the single player (different units, stats, mecanics, etc). They design each mode separately.

      • All multiplayer units and abilities are in single player. There is simply less units and abilities in multiplayer. You are correct that the stats are different but that is probably due to the constant race balancing updates they do.
    • Re:I just wish ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @06:31PM (#43153857) Journal

      I just wish blizz would split Starcraft into the two games it clearly is : Single- and Multi-player.

      Or, they could just release the game people want.

      Remember Starcraft? The one that was such a big success? The one with local LAN games and dedicated servers?

      It made plenty money.

      But the days of companies giving customers what they want are gone forever. Now, you get what you get and STFU.

      • Re:I just wish ... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Omestes ( 471991 ) <omestesNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @07:54PM (#43154533) Homepage Journal

        Remember Starcraft? The one that was such a big success? The one with local LAN games and dedicated servers?

        Fun facts; SCII is a big success as well, at least in terms of amount of players and amount of profit made. Further, I remember Starcraft, I enjoyed it (not as much as TA, but still), and never once played it on a LAN. I did play on Battle.net, though, even with my friends in same city. So, really, Blizzard game me what I wanted. Sure, not you, but perhaps its time to realize that you're a minority, and companies have no reason whatsoever to cater to your wishes.

        LAN is irrelevant these days. There is no real reason for a majority of people to want it anymore. If it has a LAN feature, a miniscule fraction of people would use it, so why bother? Sure, I could lug my giant computer to a friends house, and futz with networks... or I could just hop into a game with them, over my more than adequate internet connection. Which would I rather do? The quick and easy one. I can still lug my computer to their house and play, by the way. LAN gives no real benefit over the internet these days. When the original Starcraft came out, my internet sucked, this isn't true for the majority of people (or at least people who can blow $60 on a game, and $600+ on a rig that can play it) anymore.

        Sure, I'd prefer it, more options and more features are always good. But in this day and age constant internet access is pretty much a given.

        • Re:I just wish ... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Githaron ( 2462596 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @08:05PM (#43154601)
          I guess you have never been to a LAN party without internet.
          • Re:I just wish ... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Omestes ( 471991 ) <omestesNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @09:11PM (#43155143) Homepage Journal

            Not since the early 2000s, and even then it was there, but only in the form of dial-up. Later they were all in college, with a very decent university connection. Oddly, then we'd all play mostly online, but in the same set of rooms (two dorm rooms with a shared bathroom, one room for one team, the other for the other). Though this devolved into doing WoW crap together, but in the same vicinity.

            Generally if I'm somewhere without internet I've got better things to do than play games. And if internet isn't available I have board games and a well stocked cooler of beer.

          • In my experience, most LAN parties (both small and large LANs) have had net access for several years. The reason? Steam.

            It was easier once - just have a shared drive with the latest patches for popular games so everyone who was out of date could just grab what they needed. No Internet required. Nowadays you cannot ensure people are fully updated to the latest version of something, or that Steam's offline mode would work properly for everyone (which it often doesn't). So having net access ended up becoming a

        • Re:I just wish ... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @08:35PM (#43154867) Homepage Journal

          "LAN is irrelevant these days. "
          not really.
          For example. this weekend I will be renting a house at the coast for 4 days with 15 other gamers. we do it 4 times a year, or so.
          Internet connection at these rentals run the gambit from shit, to crap.

          The fact that you don't understand the difference between being online with someone and being in the same room is pretty damn sad.
          I would also add, when doing team play, being in the same room as your team is a hell of a lot easier to communicate then a headset. Not that it applies to many people.

          • by Omestes ( 471991 )

            not really.

            Yes, it really is. Just because some people do it, doesn't mean that the majority (or even sizable minority) do it. You have a fringe case there, probably. It sounds fun, though.

            The fact that you don't understand the difference between being online with someone and being in the same room is pretty damn sad.

            I don't? Could you please point to where I said that. I didn't. I play games with people in the room, though these are generally console or board games. I haven't really done that LAN thing since back when FPS didn't suck (Q3A, and UT were mainstays) I could, if I wanted to, play Starcraft II with someone in the room as well,

    • Re:I just wish ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @07:28PM (#43154369) Journal

      Not *exactly* the same thing, but...

      A huge number of WoW players wish that Blizzard would split WoW into two games... PvE and PvP.

      One of the biggest factors behind PvE players quitting the game is Blizzard's complete inability to stop tweaking and sometimes fundamentally redesigning classes. This is only very rarely driven by PvE or quality-of-game issues. More normally, it's because the changes were needed to correct a PvP imbalance. Having to relearn your class because some people you never talk to playing a version of the game you have no interest in have found an interesting way to exploit the game-rules is no fun. But it happens all the time.

      There's a real tension in Blizzard between the people who know how to make a fun game and the people who spend years worrying about multiplayer balance. They both have a role, but they both need to be kept completely separate.

      • I haven't played for eons, but I started after it first came out and the Hunter class was so weak people would advertise quests and say "no hunters" like people said "no Irish" in the 19th century. Then a year or so later when I returned, the Hunter's specs were completely redone and they were boss. I think the tweaks are an attempt to fix bugs and balance the classes

        • In vanilla WoW you had lots of amateurs starting as hunters and not knowing how to play the class. In higher level raids in vanilla, there were dungeons that favored hunters especially good ones. They could get out of combat and replenish their mana which no other mana class could. This came in handy for long fights. Also a good hunter could kite mobs one at a time so that the raid didn't have to engage multiple enemies at once. Also hunters had a special quest line that if completed showed that they k

  • by DavidClarkeHR ( 2769805 ) <(david.clarke) (at) (hrgeneralist.ca)> on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @06:09PM (#43153683)
    If we really want to deter North Korea from developing nuclear weapons, we need to preemptively deploy SC2.
  • by DaemonDan ( 2773445 ) <dan@demonarchives.com> on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @06:12PM (#43153701) Homepage
    I started playing the campaign for Heart of the Swarm today, and am very pleased with it so far. The cinematic sequences are really well done, and it has a great storyline so far.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by DaemonDan ( 2773445 )
      Ouch....two overrated downvotes. I shan't share my personal experiences that relate to the topic at hand anymore.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You're only allowed to bitch about it. Slashnerds are incapable of appreciation. It's a bizarre phenomenon.

  • I only ask because in this day simply being able to play the game on release day is reason for joy

    • by naroom ( 1560139 )
      Been playing since the 3AM release. It's worked *nearly* perfect. The achievement server has been up and down, but that does not impact any aspect of gameplay.
  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @08:25PM (#43154771)

    I paid for that game and now I can't play anymore. What the hell?

  • I'm not a Starcraft fan, but my bro is, and they ruined it for anyone that doesn't play online. The entire single player campaign was one long tutorial mission to get you ready to play online, My bro spent 4 hours on a level because he kept trying to play it with different tactics than what the designers wanted him to learn. Not do, learn. Plus it was buggy out the door, but since this is an expansion I can't imagine it's busted. Still, come on. With so much money couldn't they have made a good freakin' sin

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