3 things we love about the Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm beta (and 3 we hate)
The recent release of the Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm beta brings some changes to a game that developers have been tweaking since the Wings of Liberty release in July 2010. So what works and what doesn’t?PC World Staff | Friday, September 21 2012 | 5 Comments
The recent release of the Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm beta brings some changes to a game that developers have been tweaking since the Wings of Liberty release in July 2010. So what works and what doesn’t?
We got a chance to find out.
What we like
1. Interesting new units.
The biggest change is the removal of some old units, such as the Protoss Carrier, and the introduction of new units – at least two for each race. Their new abilities will give players new and exciting means to wreak havoc on their foes. Some of the new units seem quite weak and highly situational, while some immediately strike you as “ZOMG that’s awesome!” That was my response to the new Zerg unit Swarm Host, which burrows and spawns little locusts that do really good damage to land units and buildings.
Some units have had their skills tweaked to make them more useful. The ability for Terran Reapers to regenerate their health once out of combat is great but they do a lot less damage to buildings now. It remains to be seen how players will adapt to these changes and what strategies they will develop as a result.
2. Tweaked graphics.
The graphics for Heart of the Swarm have undergone an upgrade from those in Wings of Liberty. With a new, rebuilt physics engine the edges are sharper and movements smoother. It’s much prettier to look at.
3. Resource collectors mine without being told to at game opening.
Although a little thing, you don’t have to instruct your probes or drones to collect minerals when the game starts. It does it automatically. The rally point for your command centre or nexus is automatically set to the nearest mineral line. A small thing, but welcome for the novice player.
What we don’t like
These complaints are purley about the beta in its current form:
1. No campaign. At all.
Staggeringly, not everyone plays multi-player games in Starcraft II.
There are a large cohort of players in it for the single-player game and (to date) fantastic storyline. If you are one of those players then this beta rapidly turns from exciting to disappointing.
If you want to play without competing against a human opponent (see point 2 below) then you have to create a co-op vs A.I. game. You can't set the difficulty level above 'Very Easy', so it rapidly gets boring.
The final release will have a single-player campaign. You'll just have to wait until then.
2. Your opponents are good.
If you are not a hardened ladder player, you will get your arse handed to you repeatedly as a lot of beta invitees are seasoned players. This repeated beating is a little demoralising if you just want to see what changes have occurred and play against people of a similar calibre.
Easy to do if you have friends with invites, but as invites are still limited this isn’t really an option.
3. Long wait times for games.
Sometimes the wait for games can take many boring minutes. General chat can have people complaining about waits of up to five or more minutes. This could be due to a number of factors (small number of beta participants, which league you are placed in, etc.) and should get better as more invites are sent out.
Please edit, and fix the mistakes.
Posted by Jack at 0:00:06 on September 28, 2012
Also most of your complaints are not really the betas fault. It's probably taking a while for you to find games because its hard for bnet to find opponents to match your skill level. A lot of invitees were seasoned ladder players for a reason - they play and understand the multiplayer part of the game well, and can give meaningful feedback back to Blizzard on the state of balance.
The beta is not meant for bronze level players. It's to TUNE the balance of the game, which requires people who can play the game beyond a novice level.
This article would have been better if had been written by someone who wasn't a novice.
Posted by Anonymous at 17:08:31 on September 21, 2012
- the beta exists in order to balance the multiplayer aspect of the game, as well as find bugs
- if the single player was released in the beta, then maybe people wouldn't actually buy it later
The wait times are long because it's a closed beta. I read this article because I wanted to know about game play, not listen to you whine about having to wait a minute to play a game.
Maybe you should have given your key to someone at pcworld who was actually knew something about starcraft and gotten them to write something more insightful than this.
Posted by Youjust wastedmytime at 16:35:45 on September 21, 2012
Developer: Why would you do that? That's not in the specs.
User: Uhm, because I can.
Developer: Oh ok, cool I need to fix that.
You completely missed the reason for a beta and it's not "just" to "develop units". What a horrible fail at a rant.
Posted by You really aren't thinking are you? at 7:25:06 on September 26, 2012
I mentioned that the beta exists for two reasons: balance the multiplayer, find bugs. I never said it was only for balance. Sure, finding bugs is important, but the only interesting thing to write about is the state of the multiplayer balance. Writing about how the quality of online competition in a closed beta is difficult is both obvious and uninteresting. Also, you're suggesting, I think, that Blizzard is making a mistake by not testing the single player in the beta. Well at least after reading your comment five times that's what I think you're trying to say. Of course Blizzard is massively successful, and they've been doing beta tests this way for ages...
Excellent point, whatever it was.
Posted by Anonymous at 8:23:00 on September 29, 2012
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