Amidst blizzard-like conditions here in the UK, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm launched last night. Could the weather have been any more appropriate?
Heart of the Swarm picks up the story where StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty left off, focusing on Kerrigan’s quest to reunite the Swarm and exact revenge on Arcturus Mengsk. Over the course of 20 campaign missions, players will follow Kerrigan as she sweeps across the galaxy, incorporating a variety of distinctive zerg species into her brood. Kerrigan will grow in strength from mission to mission, and players will be able to customize her with powerful new abilities, as well as evolve various zerg strains into fearsome new subspecies to suit their play style.
New weapons of war also debut in Heart of the Swarm’s multiplayer, including new units such as Terran Hellbats, Zerg Swarm Hosts, and Protoss Tempests, while certain existing units from Wings of Liberty will be updated with new capabilities. In addition, several new features will enhance the game experience, including group and clan systems; training and versus-A.I. modes, to help new players transition from the campaign into multiplayer; unranked matchmaking; Global Play, enabling players to battle others in different regions around the world; additional stat tracking ; user interface improvements; an enhanced physics system, for more visceral-looking battles; “Watch With Others” and “Take Command,” to watch replays with friends as well as jump in and assume control at any point; a leveling system that gives Heart of the Swarm players a new way to earn customization options for their online profiles; and much more.
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm can be picked up now in a variety of different flavours, including a Collector’s Edition containing the following:
- Behind-the-Scenes DVD and Blu-ray: Immerse yourself in the StarCraft universe with developer commentary, interviews with voice actors, and an in-depth historical retrospective on StarCraft’s eSports legacy narrated by key members of the community.
- Collector’s Edition Soundtrack CD: Enhance your Heart of the Swarm musical experience with this collection of 11 tracks from the game.
- Heart of the Swarm Hardcover Art Book: This 144-page tome features never-before-seen art from the expansion, including early concept sketches and meticulous 3D renderings.
- Zerg Rush Mousepad: This Collector’s Edition mousepad depicts the Terran Dominion holding out desperately under the onslaught of the Swarm.
The Collector’s Edition also contains the following digital items, which can be found in the Digital Deluxe Edition -
- StarCraft II Torrasque: Crush the enemies of the Swarm with the indomitable Torrasque, a fearsome new look for your zerg Ultralisks.
- StarCraft II Portraits and Decals: New Swarm-infested portraits and decals help you customize the look of your online profile and in-game army.
- World of Warcraft In-Game Pet: The Baneling companion pet is bursting with enthusiasm and ready to explode onto the Pet Battles scene.
- Diablo III Blade Wings and Banner Sigil: Grow zerg-like wings in honor of the Queen of Blades, and unfurl an exclusive banner sigil to mark your allegiance to the Swarm in Sanctuary.
“Heart of the Swarm enhances every aspect of StarCraft II,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “In addition to Kerrigan’s campaign and the new multiplayer units and maps, we think players will really enjoy the new online elements and new features that make StarCraft II more fun and easier to learn than ever before.”