StarCraft II themed peripherals from Razer are back once more.
If you missed out on your chance to pick up a StarCraft II-themed gaming mouse, keyboard, or headset, Razer's giving you another chance. The gaming peripheral maker today announced the re-launch of its StarCraft II peripheral lineup in anticipation of Blizzard's StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm expansion that's due to release on March 12, 2013. All three peripherals, now available, are geared for real-time strategy (RTS) games.
Why even make games anymore? After all, if you just release enough information, hyper dedicated modders will do it all for you. Such is sort of the case with modder and Reddit user XenoX101, who has managed to out-zerg-rush Blizzard itself and bring the unreleased Heart of the Swarm expansion's unit selection to vanilla StarCraft II. He plans to keep expanding on the proto-expansion as Blizzard trickles out more details, too, so there's plenty more where this came from. Well, unless he forgets to spawn more Overlords.
A long, long time ago in a galaxy far away... wait, wrong “Star” series. Still though, it's a pretty fitting descriptor of the amount of time Blizzard fans have spent clamoring for a StarCraft MMO, but so far, no good. That, however, is where an old saying comes into play: If you build it, they will come. Here, though, it's more like “if you unknowingly give them the tools to build it, they'll get fed up with waiting and do it themselves.”
Using StarCraft II's suitably beefy editor, an intrepid (and undeniably gutsy) modding team has taken it upon itself to make World of StarCraft from not-quite-scratch. Currently, the mod's still in its infancy, and there's always the chance that Blizzard's waiting in the wings with a nuclear-strike-sized lawsuit to snuff out the whole thing. Granted, the World of StarCraft team has at least presented some pretty strong evidence in its favor.
“You created a tool that allowed us to do anything with your assets. You encouraged us to use your assets and were eager to see what we might come up with. You had to have seen this coming,” wrote Ryan Winzen in a forum post addressed to Blizzard.
We'll get in touch with Blizzard to see if WoS (which – at the very least – is no threat to WoW in a battle of acronyms) is in for a long and fruitful life or an immediate death sentence. In the meantime, why not check out World of StarCraft's first trailer?Edit: Well, that didn't take long. We'll keep you updated on this one, but the prognosis isn't good.
Well folks, looks it's “GG” for humanity, as a StarCraft II player by the name of “Lomilar” has crafted a program called Evolution Chamber, which takes genetic algorithims and translates them into StarCraft II build orders. So basically, it turns you into a cruel, unfeeling robot's meat puppet. Evolution Chamber pulls the strings, and you do the grunt work.
For now, the program's focused on Zerg build orders, although considering its initial success, we wouldn't be surprised to see Terran and 'Toss versions eventually pop up as well. So, how does it work? In a nutshell, it pits build orders – the details of which are entered into Evolution Chamber manually – against each other. After an intense, cheesey one-liner-packed Math Battle, the winner advances and the loser is ruthlessley cast aside. So essentially, it mimicks biological evolution to a tee, and the results thus far have been fairly promising. Or apocalyptically terrifying, depending on how you look at it.
Already, Evolution Chamber's pioneered a build known as the Seven Roach Rush, which gets seven of these bad boys up and running after only 4 minutes and 45 seconds. Protoss players, especially, have had trouble coping with it, so odds are, players will keep it in their rotation.
Impressive, huh? Obviously, the program's not perfect (it's incapable of accounting for scouting, travel time, etc), but it's still quite an accomplishment. Already, computers tend to be better than humans at Chess, and it looks like it won't be long before they have us beat at StarCraft as well. And after that? Well, Korea will be easy prey. From then on, it'll only be a matter of time...
Hey everyone! We’re at BlizzCon, by which we mean we’re playing as much Diablo III as our broken, caffeine-riddled bodies will allow. However, some angry, impressively large-looking Blizzard people just approached us with looks in their eyes that basically said, “remove your hands from that demo station or we’ll remove your hands,” so we decided to graciously allow others to give the game a try.
So now we’re writing, because we suppose that’s our job or something. Anyway, BlizzCon! Stuff happened. Find out about that stuff below. Diablo III “way over half-way done” – Sorry, folks. No release date this year. Fortunately, just as we prepared ourselves to walk away from the convention information-starved and tail between our legs, Blizzard threw us a bone. See, Diablo III’s “close” to launching its friends and family beta. And according to the developer, when that beta churns to life, Diablo III will be “close” to completion. So close, yet so far away.
Razer didn't become arguably the most popular gaming peripheral maker on the planet by accident, the company did it by pandering to its target audience. It started simple enough with the release of the Boomslang gaming mouse over a decade ago, and continues today with the announcement of a line of peripherals intended specifically for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty fans.
"We have been anticipating the moment we could get these gaming peripherals into the hands of gamers and StarCraft players," said Robert 'Razerguy' Krakoff, president, Razer USA. "We could not be more happy with the massive feedback we’ve received over the unique APM (Actions-Per-Minute) Lighting System feature and remarkable design. This new line offers StarCraft II players a great new way to complement and customize their real-time strategy gaming experience."
There are three StarCraft themed peripherals in all, including the Spectre gaming mouse ($80), Marauder keyboard ($120), and Banshee headset ($120). Each one sports the StarCraft II logo and multi-colored LEDs.
Look for these devices to start shipping in November.
Prior to StarCraft II’s release, there was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over Blizzard’s decision to split StarCraft II across three games. “Why pay full price for a third of a game?” was the not-unreasonable question. Fortunately, after playing a lot of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, we can tell you that this is emphatically not a third of a game. In fact, it’s the most polished, full-featured single- and multiplayer RTS we’ve ever played.
The action in the single-player game takes place across 29 missions, all but four of which see you leading space cowboy Jim Rayner’s band of mercenaries into combat. Though you’re limited largely to the Terran race, StarCraft II’s incredibly polished level design makes every mission feel like a completely different experience, from a zombie invasion to a mission where you must build up a force while on the move, always keeping one step ahead of a steadily advancing firestorm.
We suppose if Blizzard was hoping to be precise with its forced removals, it would’ve used – we don’t know – a ban rapier or something. Anything other than a banhammer. See, we already knew that gaming’s favorite blue giant was lumbering about, shouting “Fee-fi-fo-fum” as it sniffed around for multiplayer cheaters, but players who cheat during single-player matches? That’s new ground. And perhaps – depending on who you talk to – ground that should be left undisturbed.
After Blizzard followed through on its promise to ban the living daylights of StarCraft II multiplayer cheaters last week, players who only used hacks in the single-player portion of the game found that they too were facing everything from suspensions to outright perma-bans. Which is more or less like the NFL storming into your backyard because you and your five-year-old son are tossing around a Nerf ball instead of complying with official regulations. So, why all the fuss over something that’s not actually hurting anyone else’s experience? Well, depending on your point of view, you’re either going to nod in agreement now, or fling something out a window. So shoe your cat away from your Rage Zone and then read this:
“While single player games only appear to be you and a computer at first, your achievements and gamer score also carries weight and prestige for your online play,” Blizzard replied to incensed players.
Yep. Achievements – which affect your actual performance about as much as those pills you see ads for while watching late-night TV – are the reason you can’t hack or modify your single-player experience. Surely, though, Blizzard can’t actually get away with launching this nuclear strike on your rights, right? Actually, yes it can. Turns out, you agreed to this.
“If a StarCraft II player is found to be cheating or using hacks or modifications in any form, then as outlined in our end user license agreement, that player can be permanently banned from the game. This means that the player will be permanently unable to log in to Battle.net to play StarCraft II with his or her account,” the developer explained.
We have nothing against achievements – especially when they coax us into exploring content we otherwise wouldn’t – but this might be taking things a bit too far. Sure, we’ve seen what hacks and other third-party cheats can do to games like Modern Warfare 2 (Logged-on lately? It ain’t pretty), but an iron-fisted rule where one foot out of line means six feet under can’t be the only solution, can it? Most of us are functional adults, right? We’d really like to think people who can beat us at StarCraft (read: everyone) are past the point in their lives where they need a babysitter.
I rank the patience of Blizzard fans right up there with the Duke Nukem Forever crowd. Perfection takes time, we get that, but those who believed that the episodic design of Starcraft II would enable quick releases might be disappointed to learn that the next installment is likely still at least another 18 months off.
Speaking at GDC 2010 in Austin Texas, Battle.net project director Greg Canessa mapped out the timeline for new online features, but accidentally hinted at the release date for Starcraft II Heart of the Swarm during question period. Based on the timelines Canessa discussed, it appears as though we could be looking at an April 2012 ship date for the second chapter in the Starcraft trilogy.
This is bad news for single player fans, but Canessa tried to raise spirits by detailing several improvements planned for Battle.net between now and the release of the sequel. Blizzard plans to patch in support for replay trading, broadcasting, and even a full overhaul to the profile configurator. If we use 18 months as our benchmark for each episode, then gamers should expect to see the Starcraft II story wrapping up sometime in the 2014/2015 timeframe. By then I fully expect to have a CPU core for each and every Zergling. The race is on Blizzard!
You know, Activison CEO Bobby Kotick, maybe we were wrong about you. You've said some pretty ridiculous things in the past, but now you've gone and mentioned a StarCraft movie. Perhaps its time we learn to forgive and forge... wait. What did you just say? Sorry, what?!
"If we were to take that hour, or hour and a half [of StarCraft II cut-scenes], take it out of the game, and we were to go to our audiences for whom we have their credit card information as well as a direct relationship and ask, 'Would you like to have the StarCraft movie?', my guess is that ... you'd have the biggest opening weekend of any film ever," he said during Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference (via Gamasutra).
"Within the next five years, you are likely to see us do that. That may be in partnership with somebody, it may be alone," he added.
Oh, but that's not all. Instead of hitting the big screen, Kotick plans to put these suckers online, where he hopes the other kind of sucker – you know, the kind far richer in wallet than common sense – will spend up to $20 or $30 to watch them. So basically, he wants to charge more for less.
We could fill an entire book with ways this idea could go horribly wrong, but instead, we'll sum it up with one word: Youtube.