previewed on PC
Hell, it's about time
Last month, Blizzard Entertainment announced to the world the planned release of Starcraft 2. The Starcraft saga, spanning back a full decade, was left off with The Brood Wars expansion before Starcraft disappeared into the chronicles of gaming history. Starcraft 2 will resurrect the epic saga of galactic conflict between the original three factions. In the words of Blizzard and fans alike, it seems to be agreed, hell yes, it's about time.
Protoss, Zerg and Terran, oh my
The original three factions make their return in the developing Starcraft 2. Picking up four years after Brood Wars left off, single player campaigns for each race will provide a deep and immersive playing experience as the player makes his way through the intrigue surrounding each story, which will involve several heroes from the original Starcraft to return in their old roles. Each faction will boast new units and heroes as well as ?veteran? and ?upgraded? units. Blizzard?s developers have re-balanced and re-engineered the three factions to bring new life into some original units while maintaining the game balance that was so critical in the original's success.
As an example, the Protoss Dragoon unit is no longer available due to the continued storyline from Brood Wars where the Zerg invaded the Protoss homeworld of Aiur. Dragoon production was impossible without the sacred shrine with Aiur now under Zerg occupation. This led the remaining Dragoon units to be upgraded into their current unit form called Immortals. All veteran units that have found their way back into the fray of Starcraft 2 have or will undergo a rebalance.
Increased unit cap?
Most of the revealed information has been Protoss in nature but some gameplay videos have shown Zerg and Terran units at work. Some of the demonstrated clashes between these two factions are downright chaotic due to the much larger number of units on-screen. This implies that the unit cap has been increased or even removed but I?ll be the first to admit that this is mere speculation.
Where Starcraft 2 should truly shine, is on the multiplayer battlefield of Blizzard?s very own Battle.net. The popular game matching service itself is receiving an overall update to offer new features for the expected droves of combatants that will participate in online play. The Battle.net overhaul is set to improve the player's online experience as well as putting strict new security precautions in place to prevent cheating. Included will be a new matchmaking mechanism, a new ladder system, and possible broadcasts of online Starcraft 2 matches, much like EA?s Battlecasts for Command and Conquer 3.
The current rumour mill is spreading that Starcraft 2 is going to run natively on Windows Vista. At this time the only confirmation we have is that Starcraft 2 will be able to run on both Windows XP, Vista and Mac. The game will support DirectX 10 but obviously DirectX 9 will be enough to run the game if it runs on Windows XP. It is still much too early to say anything definite about the use of any DirectX 10 exclusive effects for Vista users. The current graphic engine being used for Starcraft 2 will render playing environments in full 3D, supporting Havoc physics and capable of rendering a large number of units at one time allowing the possibility for massive battles.
Slowly but surely
Current availability of information about Starcraft 2 is still rather limited. Blizzard developers have already stated that many facets about the game are still in mid stage development and the direction of certain details has yet to be determined. As the game develops, however, rest assured, new information and tasty tidbits will be made available to the masses to drool over in painful anticipation. The release date for Starcraft 2 is still to be determined.