Blizzard has jumped into the thorny issue of paid mods with its real-time strategy game StarCraft 2.
As he retires from his position as Blizzard's head writer.
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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.
These days it feels like everyone streams. The explosion of all online video content over the last decade is one thing, but videogame streaming is a more recent and unusual phenomenon - and one overwhelmingly tied to the Justin.tv spin-off Twitch. In June this year Twitch announced it had around 35 million viewers a month and this is important for one big reason; it makes eSports a viable career for a lot more individuals than ever before.
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.
Blizzard has added Spawning to its real-time strategy game StarCraft 2.
Blizzard has unified the increasingly fractured StarCraft 2 eSports scene with its 2013 World Championship Series.
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.
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.
Blizzard is considering ways to implement a free-to-play model in its wildly popular real-time strategy game Starcraft 2.
Samsung has announced that the final UK qualification tournaments for this year's World Cyber Games (WCG) are taking place at the... at the Eurogamer Expo! Whaddya know?
Iran has been blocked from accessing World of Warcraft, Blizzard has confirmed. United States trade restrictions and economic sanctions prohibit it.
Does Steam selling games with DRM in the free and open source environment of GNU/Linux defeat the entire point?
The StarCraft 2 World Championship Series hits London this weekend with the UK Nationals leg of the high-profile e-Sports tournament.
A new Google Easter egg went live earlier today offering a witty, productivity-sapping homage to Blizzard's StarCraft RTS.
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.
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.
RTS mod shaping up nicely.
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.
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.
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.
Blizzard has converted the StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty demo into the StarCraft 2 Starter Edition.
Were you ever a normal gamer?
See what all the buzz is about.
A new update for Blizzard's RTS sequel StarCraft II has just hit Battle.net, featuring a number of tweaks and bug fixes.
All three of the game's races are rebalanced slightly - the Protoss Archon units get a range increase, Zerg Infestors have had their wings clipped and Terran Ghosts have had their cost changed, among other adjustments.
Here are the full patch notes for update 1.3:
Three of the four official StarCraft II custom mods announced by Blizzard last year are now done, dusted and ready to download.
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, perhaps the finest game maker on the planet, has turned 20 years old.
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 launched last year with an editor designed to allow fans to create their own mods. No surprise there. But at BlizzCon, Blizzard announced plans to release StarCraft II mods of its own. Why? Well, just for fun.
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.
Red Dead Redemption was the most prolific winner at this year's AIAS (Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences) Interactive Achievement Awards - gaming's equivalent of the Oscars.
Blizzard-made StarCraft II mods Aiur Chef, Left 2 Die and StarJeweled are now available for beta testing.
A Chinese theme park featuring lavish Warcraft and StarCraft themed areas may be in development.
After offering up bargain basement riffs on Uncharted and Call of Duty in recent months, mobile and budget game specialist Gameloft has unwrapped it's latest 'homage' - an intergalactic iPhone RTS called Starfront: Collision.
Anyone care to take a guess from where it might be drawing inspiration? A quick glimpse at the trailer below should offer up a few oblique clues.
Yes, if you squint hard enough you should be able to spot a few similarities with Blizzard's quite-successful PC strategy title StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.
Blizzard has announced dates for BlizzCon 2011.
The annual fan event will take place in Anaheim, California on Friday, 21st October to Saturday, 22nd October.
Ticket pricing and ticket availability haven't been announced. Tickets sold out in the blink of an eye last year, but Blizzard offered a paid-for internet TV service as consolation for its millions of fans worldwide.
Left 2 Die, StarJeweled and Aiur Chef - the three official StarCraft II mods revealed at Blizzcon last year - are now available for beta testing, developer Blizzard has announced.
Left 2 Die is a cooperative take on StarCraft II's Outbreak mission which sees you trying to fend off wave after wave of undead Terrans.
StarJeweled is a riff on PopCap's puzzle classic Bejeweled that sees you launching attacks against your opponent by matching similarly coloured gems.
It's all smiles for Ryan Winzen, creator of head-turning StarCraft II mod World of StarCraft. After an ominous start to the week when Activision's legal team blocked videos of the mod on YouTube, Winzen now finds himself with a job offer from League of Legends developer Riot Games and an invite to Blizzard HQ by the StarCraft II and World of Warcraft maker itself.
It's been a real bad news/good news week for the modder behind a much-publicised StarCraft II mod. While he was left nursing his wounds yesterday after Blizzard's lawyers stamped on his World of StarCraft confection, today he's popping corks after winning a job offer from Riot Games.
Activision's suited and booted legal team has mobilised against the inventive StarCraft 2 MMO mod maker who provocatively called his creation World of StarCraft.
Via custom level Star Battle.
A demo version of Blizzard's blockbusting PC RTS StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is now available to help coax sceptics off the fence.
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 has suspended or banned more StarCraft II players for cheating or using hack programs to play its game.
StarCraft II is the fastest-selling real-time strategy game of all time – but it's now in the record books for all the wrong reasons.
Ever try watching ants? It's not that fun. All they do is crawl around, trying to hunt for food or whatever, just living their ant lives until they get stomped, eaten, or otherwise slain in some unceremonious fashion. Sounds boring, right?
One day Activision and Blizzard may share; one day Call of Duty may work inherently with Battle.net - but for now the companies remain, in the words of Battle.net overseer Greg Canessa, "two separate entities".
World of Warcraft, Diablo 3 and StarCraft 2 creator Blizzard has rebuffed the suggestion that PC gaming is dead.
Blizzard will not release the second game in the StarCraft II trilogy, Heat of the Swarm, until after 2011 – probably.
Defence is the best form of attack.
Blizzard has announced that it's adding two new high-level leagues to the StarCraft II multiplayer ladder system, introducing seasons, and adding an option to view featured replays of top matches.
Blizzard has shown four internally-developed mods for StarCraft II at BlizzCon, all of which it will be releasing for free download: Blizzard DOTA, StarJeweled, Left 2 Die and Aiur Chef.
Diablo III's final class and PVP plans revealed.
World of Warcraft and StarCraft II creator Blizzard's recent kafuffle with its fans over the use of Real ID in its forums has taught it a valuable lesson: gamers like anonymity because it ties into their desire to suspend reality.
Blizzard isn't stopping at wholesale bans of players using hacks to cheat at StarCraft II. It's going after the authors of the hacks themselves – in the courts.
A new StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty update has gone live, developer Blizzard has announced.
The main focus of the update, as revealed earlier this month, is rebalancing the game's three races, with the unfavoured Zerg in particular getting a little more muscle.
However, Blizzard has announced what else the update brings to its ridiculously successful RTS sequel.
Blizzard has attracted some ire in recent days as it came to light that players cheating in the single-player modes of StarCraft II had been banned alongside multiplayer miscreants in the recent cull.
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.
A new patch for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will tweak the Zerg race to make them a more tempting proposition, developer Blizzard has announced.
The change has been prompted by stats which show the Zerg are far and away the least popular of StarCraft's three species. A posting on Battle.net reveals that they're only used by players 25.3 per cent of the time.
Not only that but the Zerg are on the receiving end of a disproportionate number of beatings at the hands of the Protoss.
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.
The game industry has gone banhammer crazy. This time it's Blizzard's turn: the PC developer has blocked 5000 accounts from playing phenomenal real-time strategy game StarCraft II.
Blizzard has revealed that the second patch for StarCraft II will focus on e-sport features and further balance changes, and should be ready in 2010.
"We'd like ot out by the end of the year," lead producer Chris Sigaty told PC Gamer.
It's "largely our e-sport patch," he said, revealing that a major new feature would be "season rolling", allowing players to track their performance in past seasons. Chat will be added along with editor features and the usual bug fixes and balance changes.
Blizzard has released the first patch for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, predominantly focusing on some changes to the game balance, but also including a few new interface features, nVidia 3D Vision support, and improvements to the game's editor.
The balance changes rein in units in each race which Blizzard felt to be overpowered: the Protoss Zealot, Terran Battlecruiser and Siege Tank and Zerg Ultralisk are all targeted for nerfs. Blizzard explained the changes some time ago in its pre-patch Situation Report.
As well as support for nVidia's 3D standard, Blizzard has added a quick save option, a game clock and a system panel (which shows local time, FPS, battery and wi-fi signal strength) to the game's UI.
Activision plans to distribute feature-length videogame cinematics.
Blizzard is getting ready to swing the banhammer at any StarCraft II users exploiting mods or hacks to get ahead.
Blizzard has announced that pristine PC and Mac game StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty sold three million copies worldwide during its first month on sale.
That accolade adds to those already announced: that SCII is the fastest-selling real-time strategy game ever, and the best-selling PC game so far this year.
To achieve this, Blizzard launched simultaneously in North America, Europe, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.
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 science fiction real-time strategy game StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty obliterated sales of all other games released in the US in July, NPD said.
It sold an eye-watering 721,000 units at retail. StarCraft II was released on 27th July, so those sales were achieved in just five days.
StarCraft II is the fastest-selling strategy game ever.
Blizzard executive Michael Ryder has been bigging up the company's online network, Battle.net, saying it's helping them win the fight against pirates.
StarCraft II has become the fastest-selling strategy game ever.
"StarCraft II is fast." The first words I wrote about Blizzard's real-time strategy sequel, almost two and a half years ago, may well have been an exercise in stating the profoundly obvious - but they bear repeating all the same. It still comes as something of a shock: the urgent, breathless acceleration playing this game requires of your fingers and your brain, darting around the map, micro-managing, multitasking, watching your hastily-improvised tactics blossom or collapse in busy, laser-scattered chaos that always seems a beat ahead of you.
But there's another rhythm building in the background, behind every mission and skirmish, and this one is very, very slow. Conscious of its intimidating complexity and speed - of the yawning gulf between the curious, casual World of Warcraft player who will pick it up on a whim and the 300-clicks-a-minute eSports pro who's been training for it since childhood - Blizzard has built StarCraft II as an epic crescendo: a parabolic ascent through multi-layered campaign, challenge, skirmish and co-operative modes and then multiplayer ladder competition that stretches off into the vanishing-point distance.
One week in, and I'm barely in the foothills of that climb. It is an immense game - and this is just Wings of Liberty, the first part of the StarCraft II trilogy. Not to be outdone in thinking big by the guys across the hall, Blizzard's strategy team has delivered an RTS on an MMO scale.
StarCraft II fans beware: there are fraudsters pretending to be Blizzard that want to steal your Battle.net account.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty has been melting graphics cards.
Blizzard's whopping new strategy game StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty has zerged to the top of the UK all-formats chart.
Along with yesterday's launch of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty came the opening of the game's official forums on Battle.net. Rooting around in the technical support folders has revealed the current state of play with the game's launch bugs and detailed advice on its system requirements and compatibility.
Jagex chief Mark Gerhard believes success has brought arrogance to Blizzard. He told Eurogamer that the World of Warcraft and StarCraft II maker now appears to be giving "two fingers up" to a democratised community.
Meet the Terran commander and his troops.
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.
There will be no reviews of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty before its launch on Tuesday next week, Eurogamer can reveal. All press will be experiencing it for the first time alongside the rest of you.
Blizzard was unable to offer an official comment at time of writing. However, we understand from our conversations with the developer-publisher that the new Battle.net service and its online features are so integral to the game that it would be both impractical and undesirable for press to review it before servers go live.
That, and designer Dustin Browder has previously confirmed to VG247 that the game will require a day one patch in order to give the famously perfectionist developer "a little bit more time to sort of get their ducks in a row."
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 may have about-turned on the decision to require and use people's real names for the StarCraft II and World of Warcraft forums, but the social gaming platform goals of the Real ID feature remain.
Blizzard published the recommended system requirements for StarCraft II, and the good news is they're not astronomical.
After a week of angry online protests Blizzard Entertainment has scrapped its controversial plan to force gamers to use their real names when posting on its official forums.
A new patch for the StarCraft II beta is available to download in Europe, suggesting that the second phase of the game's beta test is just around the corner.
The first phase of beta ended last month, with this second phase due to last "a couple of weeks" before the game launches at the end of this month.
We're patching our client right now, and the patch notes tell us to expect all Quick Match modes (1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4 and Free For All); all AI difficulties; co-operative matchmaking versus AI; and cross-game social features between StarCraft II and World of Warcraft.
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.
As you can read on the StarCraft II website, Blizzard has extended the first phase of beta testing of the real-time strategy game.
Due to end yesterday, 31st May, the beta will now run in all regions until next Monday, 7th June.
At that point the beta will close "for several weeks while we make some hardware and software configuration changes" before the final phase of testing and release.
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 high warlord Frank Pearce has revealed that micro-transactions are not yet part of the StarCraft II plan.
Close your eyes in a room full of StarCraft II players and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the presence of a giant space cockroach, or a vast interstellar weevil, or something else with nasty chattering mandibles.
StarCraft II is to be released in an edited version in South Korea to avoid an adults-only rating.
Activision Blizzard has announced BlizzCon 2010 tickets will go on sale in two batches.
The first batch will sell on Wednesday, 2nd June at 7pm Pacific Time. The second batch will sell on Saturday, 5th June at 10am Pacific Time.
Tickets will be $150 each and available to buy from the BlizzCon website. To make things easier, Blizzard suggests registering a Battle.net account in the lead-up.
The first phase of the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty beta will come to an end on Monday, 31st May.
Several weeks will pass while Blizzard makes hardware and software changes. The beta will then be resurrected a couple of weeks prior to the game's full release on 27th July.
"We'd like to thank all of our beta-test participants for your enthusiasm, dedication, and valuable feedback during the beta test," wrote Blizzard on the game's forum.
Blizzard has announced that online platform Battle.net will integrate with enormous social networking site Facebook.
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 has announced that it will release a lavish Collector's Edition of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty when the hotly anticipated real-time strategy sequel launches later this year.
Blizzard's fifth annual fan convention BlizzCon 2010 will take place on 22nd and 23rd October.
Blizzard hopes to have a Mac version of the StarCraft II beta up and running in April.
The developer said on the Battle.net forum this was being worked on "currently" and for us to "hang in there".
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty - the first of three StarCraft II games - will be be released in the first half of 2010.
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.
So there, right at the top of this invisible pyramid I'm gesturing at, are the guys who play StarCraft competitively. Then there are the guys who are really, amazingly, incredibly good at it. Then there are those who are very, very good at it. Then the ones who are good at it. Then there are the ones who are competent at it.
Blizzard has started sending out invitations to the StarCraft II closed multiplayer beta.
"Thousands of gamers" have received them, according to the publisher (and according to my inbox - woo!), with recipients being sent codes and then invited to log in via eu.battle.net to activate them.
"Gathering concentrated feedback from our players is an important step for us as we head into the final stretch of development for StarCraft II and the new Battle.net service," said Mike Morhaime, Blizzard's CEO and co-founder.
A Blizzard staffer has confirmed in a forum post (spotted by Big Download) that StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty's campaign won't focus exclusively on the Terrans. A short section will also offer players control of Protoss units.
Blizzard has let its StarCraft II community know that there is a ton of new content on first release Wings of Liberty on the official website to distract you from the fact you're not even in the beta yet.
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.
Can you have a sleeper hit at a convention where there are only three games? Can you be taken unawares by a monster sequel to an RTS classic, six years in development, of which expectations are already sky-high and for which the delayed wait until next year seems unbearable? Is it possible to underestimate the importance of Blizzard's first non-World of Warcraft release since 2003? Going by last weekend's BlizzCon - yes, absolutely. We knew StarCraft II was big. We didn't know - we had no idea, actually - it was this big.
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.
Published as part of our sister-site GamesIndustry.biz' widely-read weekly newsletter, the GamesIndustry.biz Editorial is a weekly dissection of one of the issues weighing on the minds of the people at the top of the games business. It appears on Eurogamer after it goes out to GI.biz newsletter subscribers.
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.