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.
Last night Blizzard made StarCraft and its expansion Brood War free to download, but it also released the game's first patch in over eight years.
Part of the update included a curious line about fixing graphical glitches that reference long-standing visual bugs.
Here's the relevant line from the patch notes:
The original StarCraft and its expansion Brood War have been made free by developer Blizzard Entertainment in preparation for the real-time strategy game's remaster due this summer.
There's no catch. It's just free on both PC and Mac.
Along with making the games free, Blizzard updated these perennial classics with a new 1.18 patch adding a few key features like the ability to toggle between fullscreen and windowed modes (Alt+Enter), an Observer mode, autosaves, improved UI layouts in Battle.net, improved compatibility with Windows 7, 8.1 and 10, and more. You can read the full patch notes here.
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.
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.
Blizzard exec Rob Pardo has said the company would consider doing a movie based on StarCraft - providing the right caliber of talent was involved.
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.
The University of California, Berkeley has begun offering a StarCraft course that rewards students with college credits they can put towards graduating.
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.