Blizzard has jumped into the thorny issue of paid mods with its real-time strategy game StarCraft 2.
The boss talks pandas, free-to-play and the clash of the DOTAs.
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While EA continues to fight Star Wars: Battlefront 2 fires ahead of launch this Friday, there are others who sniff an opportunity. In this case it's rival mega-publisher Activision Blizzard, whose StarCraft 2 Twitter account had a pop at Battlefront 2 overnight.
Blizzard has announced that its phenomenally popular real-time strategy game StarCraft 2 will go free-to-play from November 14th.
The BlizzCon 2017 opening ceremony - the place for this year's major Blizzard announcements - will take place Friday, 3rd November at 6pm GMT. And as always we'll be both in the audience there and in our office here covering it live.
Blizzard has signalled big changes are coming to StarCraft 2 multiplayer.
For nearly a year Blizzard has been threatening to change the name of its proprietary online multiplayer service Battle.net to the more on-brand Blizzard.net. That is the name of the company, after all, which would theoretically make things less confusing. However, after a scant few months under the new monicker Blizzard rethought this approach because the Battle.net name has been around for over 20 years (since the studio launched Diablo in 1996). Changing it now has led to bewilderment.
Starcraft concept artist Vitaly Bulgarov is collaborating with a Korean technology company to make an actual manned mech that wouldn't look out of place brawling with a xenomorph.
After 23 years at Blizzard, we were all a little surprised to hear that Chris Metzen had actually retired.
Blizzard is bringing Overwatch's mech-riding esports-playing badass D.Va to Starcraft 2 as an announcer.
Available to BlizzCon attendees and Virtual Ticket holders, and going on sale at a later unannounced date for everyone else, this will be the first character outside of the Starcraft canon to appear in-game, even if it's just as an announcer.
This crossover breaks the fourth wall, but in a sensible way as D.Va is a professional gamer. "Although D.Va is known most recently for her activities within the Overwatch organization, her journey began in the StarCraft esports scene, where she became the #1 ranked player in the world at the age of 16," Blizzard explained in its announcement. "Her StarCraft experience makes her uniquely qualified to support you in-game!"
A cool looking mod that turns StarCraft 2 into a cartoon is out now.
Chris Metzen is retiring. He's leaving Blizzard Entertainment after more than 20 years' service. He, the overseer of story at arguably the world's most successful game maker. He, the earring-wearing cool guy on the BlizzCon stage. He, the voice of Thrall. Retiring. And he's only 42.
How would you like Snoop Dogg as the announcer for StarCraft 2? Would be a bit of an odd fit, wouldn't it?
But perhaps not that odd, because the rapper is on a list of possible announcers leaked as part of a Blizzard survey.
The survey popped up on Reddit, with screenshots on Imgur. It reveals that Blizzard is thinking of introducing a number of new purchasable items into its sci-fi real-time strategy game in the future, and asks for an opinion on each type.
Blizzard game servers were overloaded and brought down by a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack overnight that hacker group Lizard Squad appears to have claimed responsibility for.
The first Nova Covert Ops mission pack for StarCraft 2 arrives 30th March and you will be able to play it without owning the main game. All you need is the free Starter Edition installed.
I worried about StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void. I know the series has a legion of faithful fans but launching the same day as Fallout 4 seemed like madness. Blizzard could have picked any other time of year, presumably, but instead it chose 10th November for a real-time strategy swan song.
The day and week came and Fallout 4 arrived like a nuclear warhead, blasting SC2: LOTV to the sidelines along with Steam Hardware and Rise of the Tomb Raider no less. But upon closer inspection, Legacy of the Void emerged relatively unscathed.
Blizzard confirmed to Eurogamer that SC2: LOTV sold more than 1m units in 24 hours, clarifying a vague official tweet that had announced "over 1 million warped in" a few days after launch - whatever that meant. That puts Legacy of the Void exactly in line with how the previous two StarCraft 2 games sold.
Five years ago a cheating scandal rocked professional StarCraft in Korea. Now, it's happening again.
Legacy of the Void, the final instalment in the StarCraft 2 trilogy, will be released on 10th November.
The news was revealed during the StarCraft 2 World Championships Series Season 3 Finals, held in Krakow, Poland yesterday evening. Blizzard also lifted the lid on one of its fancy cinematic trailers too, which you can view below.
Legacy of the Void follows on from the vanilla and Heart of the Swarm instalments of StarCraft 2's story, and this time around focuses on the exploits and destiny of the Protoss race.
If you pre-purchase StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void you can play three prequel missions now.
A handful of prologue missions, collectively titled Whispers of Oblivion, are to be released ahead of StarCraft 2's second expansion, Legacy of the Void.
The three missions included with the pack will help connect events from the end of the previous expansion Heart of the Swarm with the beginning of the next, and prepare players for the game's conclusion.
You won't even need to own a copy of StarCraft 2 - or its expansions - to sample Whispers of Oblivion, as the new content will be released completely free of charge. If you want early access to this content, however, you'll need to pre-purchase Legacy of the Void. Expect more details on who gets what and when in the coming month.
The closed StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void beta (for PC and Mac) has begun and invites to it are being sent out today.
That doesn't mean piles of keys being given away - it means certain Battle.net accounts will be selected for participation. There are a variety of things factored into this: system specs, SC2 activity and a bit of luck. You don't need to be an owner of previous SC2 games.
To opt in, go to your Bnet Beta Profile Settings and check the box for StarCraft. If you're a lucky one, you should see a welcome email in your Bnet email address inbox.
A team of modders is remaking Blizzard's real-time strategy game Warcraft 3 using the StarCraft 2 editor.
Blizzard has made all the Warcraft 3 models and assets available to use in the StarCraft 2 editor.
Hardware manufacturer Razer is following in Valve's footstep by producing a documentary about eSports.
Just as Valve made the free-to-watch Dota documentary Free to Play (which our editor Oli Welsh reviewed), Razer is going to follow the trials and tribulations of eSports competitors.
Dubbed Team Razer: Great Games, the documentary will be a three-part series, with each episode focusing on a different game's origin in eSports and its top players.
Legacy of the Void, the third episode of StarCraft 2's story, will introduce a brand-new way to play the game called Archon Mode.
And that's a wrap!
UPDATE 22/05/2014 8.15pm: Blizzard has issued Eurogamer the following statement about this pending litigation:
BlizzCon, Blizzard's gargantuan get together, returns this year, the company has announced.
Blizzard has filed a new trademark for something called Heroes of the Storm. The applications, filed in New Zealand last week and Canada yesterday, were spotted by a fan posting as Darrowshire at the MMO Champion forums.
StarCraft star Day9 is making a browser game.
UPDATE: The Starcraft: Universe Kickstarter campaign has met its goal of $80K with only 32 hours to go.
My fellow Terrans, sunny and glorious was the day that Eurogamer allowed me to write about the greatest race in strategy gaming history. Finally, I can tell it like it is. The release of Heart of the Swarm has put Starcraft 2 in a very happy place. In short, it's a hit with both players and pros, and also manages to be an even more exciting spectacle than Wings of Liberty. Blizzard's ever-evolving design for the game is fascinating to watch, and one of the key changes in HotS - from the perspective of the galaxy's greatest race, anyway - brought an end to the Reaper's long and lonely journey.
Blizzard has added Spawning to its real-time strategy game StarCraft 2.
BlizzCon 2013 tickets will go on sale in two batches later this month.
Blizzard has unified the increasingly fractured StarCraft 2 eSports scene with its 2013 World Championship Series.
StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm may be classed as an expansion, but it's also a couple of games in one. Like Wings of Liberty, the foundation it builds upon, it's a real-time strategy game that has dared to pull its single-player and multiplayer components apart, balancing units differently for each mode and locking out dazzling solo toys when they'd unbalance competitive games.
That's why we've chosen to examine each element separately - and with separate reviewers. First, Christian Donlan turns his attention to Heart of the Swarm's campaign, which shifts the storyline's focus from the Terran forces to a wronged Sarah Kerrigan, the former Queen of Blades, as she starts to rebuild the various wriggling broods of the Zerg. Then our multiplayer man Rich Stanton looks at the refinement and rebalancing of a genuine gaming phenomenon. Part galactic soap opera and part chess match, part game and part sport, StarCraft 2 sounds like a potentially unwieldy beast. As our single score attests, however, there's a unifying principle at work: an attempt to broaden the reach of strategy gaming without sacrificing its deeper pleasures.
Christian Donlan on the campaign
PlayStation 3-exclusive God of War: Ascension has entered the UK all-formats chart in second place. It sold less than half the launch week sales of predecessor God of War 3.
Square Enix's Tomb Raider reboot maintained its hold on the top spot for another week, meanwhile. They're probably having a Lara Lara laughs.
Third in the chart is PC-exclusive StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm. It would likely be higher in the rankings if UK numbers company Chart-Track counted digital sales.
My hero, it transpires, is a man named Grubby.
Blizzard has announced the dates for BlizzCon 2013. They are Friday, 9th November and Saturday, 10th November.
There was no BlizzCon last year, but in 2011 the event took place in October.
This year's event will likely be the time and place for Blizzard to show a Diablo 3 expansion, another World of Warcraft expansion and, hopefully, Blizzard All-Stars, the DOTA game.
The MMO mod.
Remember World of StarCraft, the mod that turned StarCraft 2 into an MMO?
With the emergence of hit video game streaming websites such as Twitch.tv and in-client tournament viewers, eSports is booming. But while hundreds of thousands visit packed venues and millions tune in online to watch their favourite professional StarCraft, League of Legends and Dota players and teams battle it out, eSports is yet to hit the mainstream in the west as it has done in South Korea. Some believe it can. Some believe it can't. Some believe it shouldn't even try.
For hundreds of thousands of people StarCraft 2 is an ultra hardcore competitive multiplayer game built for eSports and little else. For them playing and hopefully winning ranked matches is all that matters.
As the wait for Warcraft 4 goes on, modders have released a new video showing off an in-development Warcraft RTS built using the StarCraft 2 engine.
Blizzard wants the Heroes of Warcraft domain but someone else owns it.
UPDATE: Blizzard has made official the StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm release date Eurogamer reported on earlier today.
As revealed, the expansion releases on 12th March 2013. It features a new campaign that revolves around Sarah Kerrigan, Queen of Blades, who leads the zerg Swarm against dictator Arcturus Mengsk, new multiplayer units and new features.
It is available for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Mac, and digitally from the StarCraft 2 website.
Blizzard has hit out at a law suit that calls into question the way the company protects player information.
A Diablo 3 expansion is in development, Blizzard has confirmed.
During an investor call last night Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime revealed an expansion to the 10 million-selling action role-playing game is in the works, but stopped short of saying when it will release.
So we do have a plan, he said. An expansion planned for Diablo. I don't have any timeline to talk about. I think that the most important thing for us always comes down to the quality of the expansion and the gameplay, and so that will be a big factor in terms of driving our schedule.
League of Legends is bigger.
If there's one thing a beta never lacks, it's disclaimers. Everything's subject to change! This is not indicative of the finished product! Everyone plays along, rightly acknowledging that there is the scope for big changes, but we know that this is fundamentally it: in Heart of the Swarm's case, the next iteration of Starcraft 2 multiplayer nestling comfortably into your PC. Things will change, but more will stay the same.
Heart of the Swarm is the second Starcraft 2 game, themed around the Zerg race, and following on from the Terran love-in that was 2010's Wings of Liberty. Despite being largely the same game as Wings of Liberty, HotS comes with its own full single-player campaign (which we've already previewed), and the big selling point is the new multiplayer units, additions to one of the biggest competitive games on the planet. These have been trailed at Blizzcon and the like, but the beta's the first chance we've had to get hands on them.
The biggest impression is made by the Zerg's Swarm Host, a burrowing monster that can be built by the midgame. They're effectively a siege unit - get them into position, dig them in, and they'll constantly spew out vicious little Locusts in whichever direction you please. These locusts don't have much range, but move fast and do devastating damage, as well as taking much punishment and being constantly replenished. Fighting against Swarm Hosts, especially when they're sunk-in and protected by other Zerg units, is the organic equivalent of rushing into a line of Siege Tanks - you lose everything, they lose almost nothing.
Blizzard is considering ways to implement a free-to-play model in its wildly popular real-time strategy game Starcraft 2.
Does Steam selling games with DRM in the free and open source environment of GNU/Linux defeat the entire point?
The next installment in Blizzard's StarCraft 2 RTS saga is very nearly done, says the developer, but final polishing is holding things up.
A new Google Easter egg went live earlier today offering a witty, productivity-sapping homage to Blizzard's StarCraft RTS.
World of Warcraft developer Blizzard has announced a major round of lay-offs, with around 600 employees now out of a job.
It added that 90 per cent of those affected are "not related to game development" and that the World of Warcraft development team is not affected at all.
CEO Mike Morhaime attributed the cuts to wider changes in the way the games industry operates.
Indirect DOTA co-creator Blizzard has legally opposed the Dota trademark Valve is trying to register for new game Dota 2.
Annual fan convention BlizzCon will not happen in 2012, Blizzard has announced.
Blizzard has announced BattleTags - unified nicknames that identify players across all of Battle.net.
Your BattleTag is used in Blizzard games, on Blizzard websites and in Blizzard forums.
BattleTags are similar to the controversial Real ID system (but will not replace it), and gives players a new way to manage public profiles, find and chat with friends they've met while playing, form groups and stay connected across Blizzard games, the company said.
This interview appears simultaneously on Eurogamer and on our sister trade site, GamesIndustry.biz.
In a Eurogamer interview at BlizzCon, Blizzard president Mike Morhaime has reiterated the company's opinion that Valve should not trademark the term DOTA.
Production director Chris Sigaty has explained to Eurogamer that Blizzard is aiming for a more accessible take on the popular DOTA gametype with its official StarCraft 2 mod, Blizzard DOTA.
StarCraft 2 mod Blizzard DOTA will be playable for free without buying a copy of the main game - but the company does have plans to monetise it.
The new units and major changes for the three races in StarCraft 2 have been revealed at a BlizzCon panel discussing how multiplayer will pan out in first expansion Heart of the Swarm.
The Zerg take centre stage.
RTS mod shaping up nicely.
The new multiplayer content of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm will be shown for the first time at BlizzCon this weekend, it's been revealed.
Blizzard's head writer and lore guru - or senior vice president of story and franchise development to his friends - Chris Metzen has just announced his retirement. To mark the moment, here's a profile of the man we originally published on 20th October 2011.
Alt rock veterans Foo Fighters close out this year's BlizzCon event, Blizzard has announced.
Blizzard goes big at GamesCom, and this year was no exception. Gargantuan queues wrapped around its Diablo 3 booth on the show floor, and its 20th anniversary press conference was packed to the rafters. With Diablo 3, StarCraft 2 expansion Heart of the Swarm, an unnamed World of Warcraft expansion and Project Titan all in the works, these are exciting times for the company.
Blizzard has vowed not to let Valve's trademark of the name Dota hold up the launch of its own DOTA mod for StarCraft 2.
Blizzard has completely rebooted its StarCraft 2 mod Blizzard DOTA.
Footage of Blizzard's upcoming expansion.
Blizzard is aiming to release its StarCraft 2 DOTA mod at around the same time as Heart of the Swarm, the developer has revealed.
Speaking at a press conference at Gamescom earlier today, senior game designer Jonny Ebbert said that Blizzard DOTA will be out "near the launch" of the next chapter in the StarCraft 2 saga.
Heart of the Swarm is still without a firm date, though earlier this year a 2011 launch was deemed unlikely.
Blizzard currently has no plans to develop a StarCraft MMO, the developer has announced.
Were you ever a normal gamer?
Think of the StarCraft series, and you think of multiplayer. Its single-player campaigns are unavoidably overshadowed by the competitive scene, and news that Heart of the Swarm's reveal would be exclusively single-player leads to an irresistible question. Just how important is StarCraft's lore and single-player to StarCraft's fans?
See what all the buzz is about.
UK professional gaming group Team Dignitas has found its final StarCraft II player.
Professional gamer crowned.
Professional UK gamer group Team Dignitas is after a new member to play Blizzard's science fiction real-time strategy game StarCraft II.
Blizzard is having a tough time creating its promised Marketplace for Battle.net – so much so that it's not sure it'll ever launch.
Blizzard is currently hard at work trying to implement the feature, but admitted to Eurogamer that it's "struggling".
"As you can imagine there is an immense number of challenges for us to overcome," StarCraft II design lead Dustin Browder told Eurogamer in a new interview.
StarCraft II modder Ryan Winzen's life may be about to turn upside down: Blizzard has told Eurogamer it will consider offering him a job – if he's good enough.
Blizzard hopes action RPG Diablo III will launch this year, but when it comes to RTS StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, it's less enthusiastic.
Blizzard plans to release at least two games by the end of 2012, the publisher has announced.
Via custom level Star Battle.
Leaked footage shows finale vid.
What looks like an early cut of the ending of the second chapter of Blizzard's real-time strategy game StarCraft II has leaked onto the internet.
Blizzard will not release the second game in the StarCraft II trilogy, Heat of the Swarm, until after 2011 – probably.
Diablo III's final class and PVP plans revealed.
Blizzard's Battle.net project director Greg Canessa has hinted that the next StarCraft II episode, Heart of the Swarm, is currently scheduled for release in early 2012.
Blizzard has published the schedule and panel descriptions for this year's BlizzCon fan convention, which takes place on 22nd and 23rd October in its usual venue of the Anaheim Convention Center south of Los Angeles.
Blizzard exec Rob Pardo has said the company would consider doing a movie based on StarCraft - providing the right caliber of talent was involved.
Blizzard's plan to force gamers to use their real names when posting in its forum - and its subsequent backtrack - was a "process" that "worked", the US game creator has said.
Last night, outside GAME's flagship store on Oxford Street, London, hundreds of PC gamers queued to buy Blizzard's real-time strategy sequel StarCraft II. It wasn't exactly chaos - more like orderly enthusiasm - but it was fun nonetheless.
On the eve of the release of Blizzard's StarCraft II, Warhammer Online developer BioWare Mythic has told its fans that it will "never" force gamers to use their real names when posting in forums.
GAME on Oxford Street, London, will open at midnight on 26th July for the release of Blizzard's science fiction real-time strategy game StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.
Blizzard has unleashed a hurricane of internet rage by announcing that it will require users to post under their real names on its forums, in a move intended to create a more "positive", "constructive" community.
Everybody will have a chance of winning in every game of StarCraft II they play, Blizzard has promised.
Blizzard's national sport on its way.
Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce believes that everyone who has a crack at StarCraft II should be able to get into it because the game accommodates players on a number of levels.
Blizzard still has "a lot of work to do" in order to come to terms with its enormous growth since World of Warcraft launched.
Blizzard has announced that Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty will be available in stores worldwide on 27th July.
Those who want to download the game from Blizzard's digital download store will have to wait until "shortly after" the retail launch, according to the announcement.
The game's release will also see the launch of the new battle.net, announced early last year. A battle.net account and a live Internet connection will be required to play the game, even in single-player campaign mode.
The beta test for strategy super-sequel StarCraft II will extend to Apple Macs next week, Shacknews reports.
Before that happens, though, PC beta testers will get to play with the Galaxy Editor, which will allow them to create maps, mods and scenario scripts. The editor will be included in a major new patch that should be released by the end of this week, according to producer Chris Sigaty.
You won't be able to publish your creations yet, however. This feature is planned for the retail release of the game and new Battle.net platform, with the possibility of even charging money for your mods - with a cut going to Blizzard, naturally.
A series of three South Korean teaser adverts has emerged, hinting at pre-launch hype for the release of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.
The world's biggest e-sports scene - competitive StarCraft in South Korea - has been rocked by a betting scandal.
Blizzard senior engineer Dominic Fillion revealed the extent of the developer's perfectionism at GDC today. During a presentation on programming StarCraft II, he quipped that the vast majority of the developer's effort goes into the final polishing stages of the game.
Kotaku has secured an actual photograph of the rarest beast in gaming - a Blizzard release schedule.
BlizzCon could be moving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas next year, if the Las Vegas Convention Centre is to be believed.
StarCraft II producer Chris Sigaty has confirmed that the game's beta test, promised for late 2009, has been pushed back to 2010.
Sigaty made the announcement during a presentation at Russian games expo IgroMir, according to Goha.ru and fansite StarCraft Legacy.
The latest word from Blizzard is that the game - or rather, first chapter Wings of Liberty - is due to be released in the second quarter of next year. Spring, in other words, between April and June.
Blizzard has reassured investors that StarCraft II is on track to launch in the first half of 2010 - or, to be more specific, the second quarter. That means we should get our hands on it some time between the start of March and end of June.
Activision Blizzard chief Bobby Kotick has said that Blizzard's next, in-development MMO will have a "more broad appeal". Presumably he means broader that World of Warcraft's.
Blizzard design chief Rob Pardo explained the features of the new Battle.net that would ship with StarCraft II at a BlizzCon panel today. The Xbox Live-style service features unified friends lists, chat, achievements and identities across Blizzard games, "cloud" play so you can access your StarCraft II save from any computer, and a league and tournament matchmaking system for players of all skill levels.
As part of Blizzard's ambitious plans for the new version of the Battle.net online platform to launch alongside StarCraft II, the company's design chief Rob Pardo revealed plans to allow the mod community to sell content on a StarCraft II Marketplace after launch.
More than 100,000 people have signed a petition campaigning for a LAN option to be included in StarCraft II.
Here's a snippet we missed from the Activision Blizzard conference call earlier in the week. This year's BlizzCon Blizzard fan convention sold out in just eight minutes, according to Big Download.
Perhaps feeling the need to explain to shareholders why it was delaying StarCraft II, Activision Blizzard has given a broad explanation of the features we can expect from its new Battle.net online gaming service.
Blizzard has admitted what everyone else had started to suspect - that its RTS sequel StarCraft II won't make it into shops this year. The first of its trilogy of releases, the Wings of Liberty campaign, will now see the light of day in the first half of 2010.
Sitting in an office in the memorabilia-filled halls of Blizzard's nerve-centre in southern California, Rob Pardo is unassuming, chirpy and sincere - a manner which belies the fact that this is unquestionably one of the most influential men in the games business.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Blizzard's game design chief Rob Pardo has argued that it makes more sense to build a game with the hardcore gamer in mind first, and then improve its accessibility later.
Following yesterday's news that StarCraft II would not support LAN play, requiring all multiplayer to be played through an internet connection and Battle.net, fans have set up a petition asking Blizzard to reconsider.
Blizzard chief game designer Rob Pardo has said that there will be no LAN support in StarCraft II, as all multiplayer will go through online portal Battle.net.
Blizzard's vice president of game design, Rob Pardo, has revealed to Eurogamer that early delays to StarCraft II's development were a result of staff being called off to work on World of Warcraft for a year.
Beta path to Blizzard's door.
It's probably not deliberate, but Blizzard seems determined to drive home just how inadequate I am as a gamer. Within minutes of arriving at the company's imposing Southern California base - the giant statue of an orc riding a wolf in the courtyard is under renovation by a team of builders, it transpires - I'm seated in a private cinema to watch some StarCraft II matches in progress.
Blizzard's Mike Morhaime has said that Starcraft II will be released this year as long as it "meets our standards and the expectations of our players".
The first batch of tickets for Blizzard's BlizzCon fan convention went on sale on Saturday and sold out within "minutes", according to VG247.
As originally announced, a second batch of the USD 125 tickets will be made available on Saturday 30th May for those who missed this first round.
BlizzCon runs from August 21st to 22nd at the Anaheim Convention Center near Los Angeles. If previous years are anything to go by it will have a five-figure attendance, and offer hands-on opportunities with StarCraft II and Diablo III, some surprisingly frank developer panels, and the heart-warming spectacle (yes, really) of the fan costume and dance contests.
In an uncharacteristically specific statement when it comes to putting dates on things, Blizzard chief Mike Morhaime has revealed that the public StarCraft II beta test will begin this "summer".
Morhaime was speaking during yesterday's Activision Blizzard investor conference.
Registration for the beta test has just opened. It's available to Blizzard game owners only, through the new Battle.net account system.
Blizzard has opened the opt-in process for the beta test for its RTS sequel, StarCraft II.
You'll need a new Battle.net account with at least one Blizzard game registered to it in order to sign up. You can do so at Battle.net's beta profile settings page.
There's a hitch for European players, though. It's not yet possible to associate European World of Warcraft accounts with Battle.net accounts, meaning you'll need to own a copy of one of Blizzard's other games in order to register for the beta now.
Blizzard has announced that tickets for the fourth BlizzCon fan convention will go on sale on Saturday 16th May. The event runs from August 21st to 22nd in Anaheim, California.
Blizzard has put a website form live allowing attendees of last year's BlizzCon event to register the beta keys they received.
There's no official confirmation of what game the beta keys are for. However, it's a dead cert to be StarCraft II, since Blizzard mentioned a beta test for its RTS sequel was imminent back in February.
StarCraft II has been split into a trilogy of compatible but standalone releases, in the style of NCsoft's online RPG Guild Wars. The first part of the StarCraft II Trilogy - Terrans: Wings of Liberty - is expected to launch towards the end of this year (though Blizzard hasn't made the date official yet).
Blizzard has released an iPhone and iPod Touch application that works as an authenticator to help keep your World of Warcraft and Battle.net accounts secure.
Blizzard has launched its new Battle.net online gaming and account management service. At present, it's simply a unified login that will work for up to eight World of Warcraft accounts and all future Blizzard games such as StarCraft II and Diablo III, as well as Blizzard's online store.
Players who've already created one of the stop-gap Blizzard Accounts have had that login automatically transferred to the new Battle.net.
Merging World of Warcraft accounts with Battle.net accounts is currently only available in the Americas. Europe and Korea will get this service at a later date. It's currently optional, but "we will eventually require all active World of Warcraft accounts to migrate over to Battle.net Accounts in order to continue playing," according to the FAQ.
Blizzard has confirmed dates for the fourth BlizzCon fan convention. This year's event will return to its usual home of the Anaheim Convention Center near Los Angeles on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd August.
In reponse to the five-figure crowds drawn by the last two BlizzCons, this year's event is being expanded from three convention halls to four. No specific details of the convention's line-up were given, but the outline indicates business as usual: hands-on with upcoming Blizzard games, panels with developers, tournaments, community contests and more.
Previous BlizzCons have seen the announcement of the Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King expansions to World of Warcraft, and we'd lay money on a third add-on being revealed at this year's event.
Speaking in yesterday's Activision Blizzard conference call, Blizzard operations chief Paul Sams mentioned that the beta test for StarCraft II will begin "in the months ahead".
That's hardly specific, but it sounds promising - and when it comes to Blizzard and release dates, you take what you can get. More interestingly perhaps, Sams mentioned that the beta would also see the introduction of the new version of Blizzard's Battle.net online gaming service.
"Also coming up in the months ahead will be the StarCraft II beta test," Sams Said. "The beta will be played on a basic version of our new Battle.net architecture, which will give us the opportunity to test the game and the service in a live environment. Over time, we will be adding features to deliver a second-generation Battle.net experience."
The University of California, Berkeley has begun offering a StarCraft course that rewards students with college credits they can put towards graduating.
Peculiar bedfellows, perhaps? There was always going to be a clash somewhere in this year's Coming Attractions as we sorted our way through 12 categories, but you could argue there's more that unites fighting and strategy than divides them. Both are about trying to take maximum of advantage of your opposition's weaknesses, both reward patience, concentration and consideration, and as of Red Alert 3 both have a thing for impractical women's clothing.
Blizzard plans to break StarCraft II into a trilogy of games focusing on the three factions and their stories: Terrans: Wings of Liberty, Zerg: Heart of the Swarm, and Protoss: Legacy of the Void.
Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce has described the staggering success of World of Warcraft as "exhausting".
Blizzard has posted a preliminary line-up of the developer panels it will be running at this year's sold out BlizzCon fan convention in Los Angeles in October.
As attendees of previous BlizzCons and June's Paris Worldwide Invitational will know, the developer panels are when the secretive developer opens up and showers its fans in new information, as well as insights into its game design processes.
A panel on Diablo III class design hints that classes beyond the Witch Doctor and Barbarian will be revealed with an invitation to "see if any other champions emerge to defend the mortal world".
There are no more tickets for BlizzCon 2008, after waves of adoring fans pecked them up like frenzied pigeons.
BlizzCon 2008 ticket sales have been temporarily taken offline while Blizzard alters the website to handle outrageous consumer demand for the event.
World of Warcraft lead designer Jeff Kaplan has let slip the first details of a Blizzard Account system that will track Achievements across all the publisher's games.
Blizzard has signed a deal with pay-per-view channel DIRECTV to televise the third annual BlizzCon gathering, where real humans dress like elves.
Blizzard has announced that tickets for its third US fan convention, BlizzCon 2008, will go on sale on 11th August.
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Mike Morhaime is the chief executive of Blizzard Entertainment, co-founded with his college buddies Allen Adham and Frank Pearce under the name Silicon & Synapse in 1991. Over the next 17 years it built a formidable name for itself in real-time strategy (Warcraft and StarCraft), action RPG (Diablo), and more recently massively multiplayer gaming, with World of Warcraft, the proverbial golden egg that has brought in 10 million subscribers. Blizzard is known for its perfectionism, its lengthy, iterative development process, its early embrace of online multiplayer gaming, and its staunch support of the PC and even Mac as gaming platforms.
Fallout 3 production director Ashley Cheng has asked for forgiveness from Blizzard for calling its StarCraft and Diablo updates "conservative".
If you went outside this weekend you may have missed the exciting unveiling of Diablo III at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational event. It hit headlines with a meaty gameplay trailer, screenshots and a cinematic movie.
With Battle.net, Diablo and WOW behind them, it's probably fair to suggest that PC gamers have spent more millions of hours on Blizzard's games than any other company's. Which is mental. With that in mind, we recently spent an hour chatting to three team leads on the original, now all working inside Blizzard on StarCraft II.
Blizzard has announced it will be hosting a third BlizzCon fan meet on 10th and 11th October this year, in its regular venue of Anaheim, California (that's south of LA, next door to Disneyland).
The 2008 celebration of all things Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo will expand from two halls of the Anaheim Convention Centre to three, in response to public demand. That may not sound like much, but having attended the second BlizzCon in August last year, we can assure you it's massive. Some 13,000 Blizzard and World of Warcraft fans attended BlizzCon 07.
This year's event will follow the World Wide Invitational in Paris at the end of June - BlizzCon Europe in all but name.
There isn't much in the way of fresh MMO news this morning, because the world of massively multiplayer gaming spent most of yesterday trying to outdo itself - and every other section of the gaming industry - in an orgy of funny fakery. And we have to say it did rather well.
Art is important to Blizzard. The offices of the World of Warcraft developer, currently working on RTS sequel StarCraft II, are plastered with it. Vivid, colourful and extravagant concept art is hung everywhere. The offices even have a curator, part of whose job description is to ensure that huge floor-to-ceiling pieces are displayed around the campus. One such piece is in the canteen - a jolly painting of drinking dwarves by Samwise Didier.
Blizzard has announced that tickets for its Worldwide Invititational event in Paris in late June will go on sale this Thursday, 20th March.
StarCraft II is fast. Really, really fast. But lead designer Dustin Browder talks faster. The bald-headed, sharp-eyed veteran of Command & Conquer titles, hired in by Blizzard to take command of this sequel to its decade-old real-time strategy warhorse, jumps into questions halfway through and peppers you with rattling bursts of ideas and arguments. It's like he's involved in a constant game of StarCraft II in his head, where precision, pre-emption, and speed of execution are absolutely everything.
At a press event at its headquarters near Los Angeles on Monday, Blizzard revealed the first details of the Zerg race in its forthcoming real-time strategy sequel, StarCraft II. We also have some pretty screenshots, if you're into that.
Blizzard has denied that StarCraft II will have in-game advertising, despite what Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference.
In the second of Blizzard's podcasts, or BlizzCasts, vice president of creative development Chris Metzen says that the company's forthcoming RTS sequel StarCraft II "feels like the best work we've ever done".
Blizzard has said that World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King and StarCraft II will be playable at its Worldwide Invitational event this summer.
A new report on TradingMarkets.com suggests Blizzard is indeed developing StarCraft Online.
Blizzard has decided to use some of its gold reserves to create a monthly podcast for you.
Blizzard has issued a statement reassuring anxious fans over the future of its games in light of Vivendi's merger with Activision.
And run at us very quickly.
Terran up the place.
Blizzard unveiled StarCraft II on Saturday in Korea, revealing that the long-awaited PC real-time strategy sequel has been in development since 2003.