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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Beta Starts

By on September 6th, 2012 8:36 am

Blizzard announced that StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm beta tests have begun. Beta access is limited at the moment to a selected group of pro-gamers and members of the press. “We will soon be inviting other players to participate in the beta” said Blizzard which will be picked from the ranks which for that you need to select your interest in your account under “Beta Profile Settings” although that will not guarantee beta access. “Signing up from a account that’s actively playingStarCraft 2 will help your chances of being selected” added Blizzard.

Heart of the Swarm is part II of the military sci-fi real-time strategy game StarCraft 2. All begun with Wings of Liberty, that focused on the Terrans while Heart of the Swarm now focuses on the insect like Zerg race. Part III of the trilogy will be about the highly advanced and psychic Protoss.

There’s no NDA (non-disclosure agreement), meaning that anyone can talk, post or stream about the beta. As a matter of fact there’s plenty of videos available already. For more information on the beta and how to join go the Blizzard’s Heart of the Warm website.

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  1. t1it says:

    Maybe I’ll buy this for the single player. Doubt I’d make platinum league these days…

  2. Da-Fort says:

    I am a casual SC2 player and sometimes watch casted pro-level games but some of these new units sound frustrating for me to handle.

    The Oracle can stop an entire mineral line from harvesting minerals and the Viper that can pick up and place enemy units underneath it sounds so frustrating to me. Definitely not buying it for the MP if at all.

  3. JohnR says:

    I’m going to avoid this one like the plague (or swarm???) lol But seriously, Starcraft 2 IMHO was the biggest gaming disappointment ever, especially when you consider what a ground-breaking achievement the original Starcraft/Brood Wars was. I mean, we wait over a decade for it, and what did we get for our patience? Gameplay only marginally improved from the original, an awful story that was like some cheesy Hollywood action/adventure movie, and for the coup de grace, they took one of the most interesting and enigmatic game characters ever (Kerrigan: QoB), rendered her impotent by some ‘deus ex machina’ alien device, and left her being carried off in the arms of her man. Can’t get much worse than this. Blizzard has definitely fallen from the great and innovative company they used to be. Oh well, it wouldn’t be the first time someone was spoiled by success, money, and too many accountants.

    • JohnR says:

      BTW, not to be totally negative, I loved the Starcraft Board game released by Fantasy Flight Games a few years ago. Not only does the game do a great job capturing the essence of the Starcraft universe, but it is a rather more grand strategic take on Starcraft. I guess it took someone other than the current Blizzard to do Starcraft right. Highly recommended.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I’m sad to hear that. I confess that although I like many RTS games I was not a fan of the original StarCraft. Too much clickfest for my taste. I prefer more leisured-paced RTS games like Dune 2, Red Alert, Company of Heroes, Homeworld, Red Alert or Age of Empires. Games where you still have time to think. But, I had some hope StarCraft2 could be different. Looks like there’s nothing to see here, at least for me.

      • JohnR says:

        Well-said Adam, I really liked all the games you mentioned, though I must confess I’ve still not played Company of Heroes. Although I hear it was innovative and did much to move the RTS genre forward, I’m just not in the mood for a tactical WW2 game.

        I loved Dune 2, Red Alert 2, and Emperor: Battle for Dune. Those games were the golden age of Westwood studios before EA bought them out.

        Have you done a review of Homeworld on this site? I would love to read it. That game was a work of art, and maybe the best space game ever. I also loved the sequel Cataclysm; the alien nemesis was great. I didn’t care much for Homeworld 2 though. I played the whole thing and hardly remember it.

        BTW, if you’re a Homeworld fan then you should give the Star Wolves series a try. I think it’s the best Homeworld clone ever. Admittedly the series is not perfect (the second game is a bit buggy), but on the whole I’m enjoying the games very much.

        • Adam Solo says:

          Company of Heroes is really great. The best RTS game I’ve played recently. Great atmosphere. I really recommend it for WW2 wargame fans.

          Don’t even get me started on Homeworld. I’m dying for a new RTS like Homeworld to appear, but nothing like that was ever produced since unfortunately. Great music, terrific atmosphere, full immersion. I just love that game. I played the expansion, which I also liked and Homeworld 2 which I find good also.

          I don’t have a Homeworld review. I started the site on 2009 and basically have been covering games since then, apart from a MoO2 review. But I may do that one day.

    • Smelly Space Lizards says:

      Not going to defend Blizzard’s lack of innovation too much here because it is disappointing , but Starcraft is at least a prime example of if it aint broke, don’t fix it. Their safe route of incremental improvements like fixing the unit AI and pathing and reducing the amount of unnecessary micro you have to do is pretty boring, but it does make the game far more pleasant to play than Broodwar, and the classic gameplay is still in full effext.

      About the single player, the missions themselves and the structure behind them are actually really well done, but the story…. DEAR GOD. Adam all I can say is I hope you like angst. And prophecies. Lots of prophecies.

      • Adam Solo says:

        Doesn’t seem to be so bad for single player by your description, if you take aside the story element that is (which is saying a lot).

        I like the angst element in a game as long as it’s not constant. X-COM games are such an example. You feel afraid and even anxious in X-COM games sometimes. You’re afraid to get inside a house or to cross the street with the horrors and life-threatening feelings you get (warfare angst). But it’s more from a suspense kind of angst, not a “they’re too many, I’m doomed, need to produce more troops fast” kind of thing. I like to feel the adrenaline but not for too long as to feel you’re tired and feel depressed after playing a game.

  4. JohnR says:

    Adam, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, if you like Homeworld then you owe it to yourself to try Star Wolves. The Russian developers taking the basic Homeworld system and replacing the RTS elements (researching and the cranking out of units) with RPG elements was a stroke of brilliance. I honestly think the RPG elements work better than the RTS analogs within the framework of the Homeworld system. This is not to say the series is perfect (what game is?), but the good far outweighs the bad IMHO.

    Yes, I have a copy of Company of Heroes gathering dust on my shelf. I will definitely try it though the next time I’m in the mood for a WW2 tactical game.

    As far as the Starcraft 2 story being angst-ridden, I would say that if you like cardboard and cliched characters and writing that would insult the intelligence of a 12 year old, then you will love the Starcraft 2 story. ;o)

    I still think Homeworld 2 was lame compared to the first two. A very boring nemesis as I recall.

  5. Stian says:

    Company of heroes still stand as one of the best RTS i ever played.. Also loved homeworld..but if i remember right, i had a though time orienting myself :) with all the good “talkups” of starwolf..I probably should try that…But NOT before X-com..X-com is one of the few games i really have high hopes about, luckily i am not a demanding player so any bugs or other unpleasent dev suprises im sure Firaxis will fix :)

    • Adam Solo says:

      I’m also excited about XCOM, and we’re only 1 month from playing! Can’t wait to try it out in my new 24” monitor. If I get at least 50-75% of the fun I had with X-COM: UFO Defense and X-COM: Terror from the Deep I will be a happy man. But, I’ll play it thoroughly and dispassionate for my review of course.

    • JohnR says:

      Yeah, Sitan, I’ll get to Company of Heroes eventually, though I’d rather play the Germans on the Eastern front rather than the old and tired American GI’s in France 44. ;o)

      Just finished Star Wolves 3 last night and it left me with a warm feeling, always a good sign when playing a game. In fact now that I’ve finished all three games I’m kind of bummed. A couple of the missions were over-the-top difficult, though completing them was satisfying. I think my biggest complaint about SW3 though was too much text. I hate doing a lot of reading in games. Still in all Homeworld fans should definitely check out the series, there is much to like. I love doing the ‘follow’ view on one of my fighters, then kind of sitting back and enjoying the show. ;o)

      Speaking of XCOM, I’m now playing an XCOM clone called UFO: Afterlight, and am enjoying it very much. It is one of the more unusual and innovative games I’ve played in a while, though to be fair I’ve never played any of the XCOM games.

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