One of the games that defines an entire genre is the Starcraft series. The first game was mostly responsible for the mainstream appearance of strategy games in eSports. In 2010, Blizzard had released the first part of the sequel to the Starcraft games, titled Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. Wings of Liberty deals with the story of the Terrans (humans in space). The game is very popular in both casual and competitive multiplayer scenes. Now, according to a post on the Battle.net blog, the beta for the second part of the game, titled Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm, has started.
The beta for Heart of the Swarm is set to be multiplayer-only and will mostly help Blizzard in ironing out the bugs and balance issues in the game. The good news is that the beta testers for the game are not under any NDA, so we will soon start seeing screenshots and videos of the Heart of the Swarm come up all over the internet. According to Blizzard, only the multiplayer and some of the units are playable in the beta right now, but “Additional Heart of the Swarm features will also become available in future phases of the beta test. More details will be announced at a later date.”
The beta for Heart of the Swarm has kicked off!
Starcraft II was originally planned to be one game, but was split into three separate games, each dealing with the story of one race due to the scale of the game. The game was split into three complete games, titled Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm and Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void. Wings of Liberty deals with the story of the Terran Marine – Jim Raynor, Heart of the Swarm deals with the story of the leader of the Zerg – Sarah Kerrigan and Legacy of the Void deals with the story of the Protoss Dark Templar - Zeratul.
Blizzard had recently rolled out a big update for Wings of Liberty called The Arcade. The update contains the new community forum, dubbed The Arcade, which was shown back in June. The major feature of The Arcade is that it provides a new platform for sharing the content created in Starcraft II’s powerful map editor. The patch also allows easier tracking of custom maps and game.
The Arcade seems very similar to what Valve did with Steam Workshop, a place that allows players to share and download mods for their games very easily. The platform could also very easily be used for selling Downloadable Content (DLC) and other stuff created by users.
Here is some information on StarCraft II: “StarCraft 2 continues the epic saga of the Protoss, Terran, and Zerg. These three distinct and powerful races will clash once again in the fast-paced real-time strategy sequel to the legendary original, StarCraft. Legions of veteran, upgraded, and brand-new unit types will do battle across the galaxy, as each faction struggles for survival. Featuring a unique single-player campaign that picks up where StarCraft: Brood War left off, StarCraft II will present a cast of new heroes and familiar faces in an edgy sci-fi story filled with adventure and intrigue. In addition, Blizzard will again offer unparalleled online play through Battle.net, the company's world-renowned gaming service, with several enhancements and new features to make StarCraft II the ultimate competitive real-time strategy game.”