When StarCraft II releases to a rabid fan base who have helped make the original one of the most popular games of all time, Razer will be ready and waiting with a handful of StarCraft II themed peripherals, including a mouse (Spectre), keyboard (Marauder), and headset (Banshee).
"We are all huge StarCraft players here at Razer, so we are really excited to give gamers a first glimpse at the StarCraft II gaming peripherals," said Robert 'Razerguy' Krakoff, president, Razer USA. "The peripherals were created with our newly developed APM (Actions-Per-Minute) Lighting System™ and feature a gaming-optimized design inspired by the StarCraft universe to complement the on-screen action."
Hit the jump to see what each one brings to the StarCraft universe.
Asking for realism in a game about intergalactic space-wars is a bit of a stretch, considering that we’ve yet to take our lethal bickering beyond earth’s gravitational pull. Still though, we have a pretty decent hunch that real star wars will still involve some amount of blood, swearing, and maybe even a bit of smoking. This seems like a safe assumption.
Ask someone from South Korea, though, and they might not be so sure. Granted, they may also be 12 years-old, as that’s the audience Blizzard is aiming for with its censored release of StarCraft II.
”Since StarCraft 2 was originally developed to be a game adolescents could enjoy, we're very pleased with the Game Rating Board's decision [to award the game an Age 12 rating]," said Blizzard, via a translation. "In the remaining time until StarCraft 2 goes on sale, we'll do our best to continue to perfect the game so that even more fans can enjoy it."
That decision comes after Blizzard set its censorship phaser to kill destroy, coloring in-game blood black, and removing all signs of smoking and “vulgar” language. Originally, the game would have been given the dreaded, “cover your eyes, honey” Adults Only rating, which – reading between the lines – probably would’ve done a nuclear strike-sized number on its sales. However, Blizzard is still considering releasing an uncensored version as well.
But hey, since we’ve already got the 12 year-olds’ attention, can we also throw an anti-cheating PSA in there? Certainly couldn’t hurt.
Enjoying the StarCraft II beta? Well, you’d better get your fill while you still can, because come May 31, you’ll have to get your spacefaring RTS fix elsewhere. That’s right: beginning in less than two weeks, you’ll have to go without StarCraft II for nearly two months.
“We’d like to thank all of our beta-test participants for your enthusiasm, dedication, and valuable feedback during the beta test, and we look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on the StarCraft II beta test as the game’s July 27 launch approaches,” Blizzard said.
The beta will, however, have one last hurrah in July, a couple weeks before StarCraft II officially launches. In the meantime, Blizzard will be making “some hardware and software configuration changes in preparation for the final phase of the beta test and the release of the game.”
Dumb Blizzard and your obsessive perfectionism. Maybe, if your games weren’t so polished and fun to play, we wouldn’t forget we were playing a beta and end up disappointed when it comes to an end. Seriously, did you ever think of our feelings?
Pinch yourself. Now look around the room and make sure there aren’t any random celebrities embroiled in madcap mud-wrestling battles. Done? Ok, now that we’ve proven you’re not dreaming, feel free to starting hooting, hollering, and dancing embarrassing little jigs, because StarCraft II is coming. Better still, it’s only a few months away. Mark your calendars and cancel your summer vacation plans, folks, because StarCraft II’s launching worldwide on July 27, 2010.
“We’ve been looking forward to revisiting the StarCraft universe for many years, and we’re excited that the time for that is almost here,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “Thanks to our beta testers, we’re making great progress on the final stages of development, and we’ll be ready to welcome players all over the world to StarCraft II and the new Battle.net in just a few months.”
There is, however, a bit of a catch: you won’t be downloading the game online. At least, not initially. If you’re hoping to join the fray on day one, you’ll be forced to jump through whatever hoops your local game retailer has decided to set up. Fortunately, StarCraft II will invade Blizzard’s online store “shortly after” its retail release.
However, as StarCraft geeks, we’re actually looking forward to braving the day-one retail riot. Why? Because it’s probably the closest thing we’ll ever see to a real-life Zerg rush.
Hey you. Yeah, you. The one who has “I love StarCraft II so much that I’d do anything to get a beta key” written all over your features. We’ve got a proposition for you. Now, we’re not gonna lie: it’s not glamorous. For instance, if you’ve taken to rampant prostitution in order to scrounge up enough dough to afford a beta key off eBay, you probably oughta just keep doing that. But if you’re truly willing to sink to the absolute depths of depravity, you could always grab your keys and head over to GameStop. You poor soul.
Just stroll into the store, hope your body doesn’t spontaneously burst into flames or – worse – get accosted by an employee who wants you to trade your entire videogame collection for a used toothpick, and then reserve StarCraft II. With that harrowing experience out of the way, you’ll have yourself a beta key. But at what cost?
In February, Blizzard opened the Starcraft II battlenet for beta-testing. Hooray for Blizzard!
There are many good reasons for beta-testing. It’s not always about bug-stomping. In this case, it’s just as important to have the playability of the game tested under actual user conditions. This is the same kind of beta-testing Blizzard did with Warcraft III before it was released. Throughout the beta-test, they continued to tweak the balance of Warcraft III units. At the time of this writing, Blizzard has already made several changes in Starcraft II unit abilities, build times, and strength.
Starcraft II looks spectacular, of course. It has marvelous 3D graphics, terrific sound effects, great music, and the game-play is very exciting. (If I have a complaint, it’s not about the game, but about the tactics of some players — the ones who are so eager to annihilate the other guy right from the git-go that neither side gets a chance to experience some of the advanced tactical possibilities. The game is over before you’ve built your first Thor. I had this same complaint about some players in Warcraft III.)
But this isn’t a review, it can’t be because the game isn’t officially released yet, and when it is officially released, there will be so many other people writing reviews that anything I might say here would be redundant. That disclaimer aside, I will say that so far Starcraft II is everything I hoped it would be. I’m sure that one of the benefits Blizzard enjoys from an open-beta like this is that it gets the fan-base so excited and enthusiastic that they’ll be lining up at the stores the day the boxes hit the shelves.
Wait. You read that headline and still chose – of your own volition – to read this article? Either you really love us or your fun radar needs a good tune-up, but either way, we like you more than we like all of our other readers.
With that said, the StarCraft II Beta is live. That is, playable. Right now. Here’s your complimentary link to the Battle.net site where you can download the full 1.64 GB beta client and jump right into the action. Well, ok, the file’s pretty big, so you might not be jumping right into the action so much as you’ll be queuing up the action so you can maybe dive into it tomorrow after work.
Aw, who are we kidding? You're skipping work tomorrow. In fact, something tells us a large portion of the world is about to come down with "a headache... er, a cough... and I think I might have a fever too."
With StarCraft II Betawatch levels recently being upped to code red, Blizzard’s emerged from its cone of silence. But this is Blizzard we’re talking about, so obviously, baby steps. No actual release date just yet, but here are some gameplay details to hold you over.
“StarCraft II beta testers will be able to play a number of ranked multiplayer modes, include multiplayer ladder quick match, which has 1v1, 2v2, and free-for-all (FFA) modes. In addition, testers will be able to play unranked custom matches. We are not testing the single-player campaign of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty during the beta period,” reads the FAQ.
Note, however, that – for those of you who aren’t so confident in your ability to not be torn to shreds by people who’ve been playing StarCraft since before you were born – CPU opponents are an option.
Also of note: Blizzard plans to bring more testers aboard the SS StarCraft II based on its “testing needs,” so just because you don’t nab a golden ticket right away doesn’t mean you won’t get in eventually.
Click through the link for the rest of the FAQ. It is, in fact, handy. And really, that’s all you can ask for. Aside from a release date (*hint, hint*).
You’ve watched. You’ve waited. More than once, you’ve probably lost all hope, given in to despair, and cursed Blizzard’s name while holding your beta key inches away from an open flame. Well, watch, wait, and get all melodramatic no more, because the StarCraft II beta’s been cleared for take-off, and it’s launching “this month,” according to Blizzard.
The news came during a conference call today, straight from Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, meanwhile, is still on track to release in “mid 2010.”
Is there anything more to say? You will be playing StarCraft II in less than 30 days. If you’re not leaping up-and-down while squealing like a big man imitating a little girl, you might want to check yourself into a morgue, because you’re dead.
The elevator up from hell sure is taking its time. We imagine that Mass Effect’s Shepard -- even with his eternal patience for cramped spaces, boring music, and upward mobility -- would be cursing up a storm by now if he were aboard that infernal machine. So just imagine how poor old Diablo must feel – especially now the not-so-loveable lug may have a “few years” left before he finally surfaces.
A recent Blizzard presentation listed Diablo III as arriving in the “next few years,” along with StarCraft II’s expansions and Blizzard’s next massively multiplayer cash cow. In store for “next year,” meanwhile, are StarCraft II and WoW: Cataclysm. The bottom line? No loot-grabbing and Satan-stabbing until – at the earliest – 2011. Unless, of course, Diablo III goes into full-on beta mode next year, but we’re not getting our hopes up.
Honestly Diablo, at this point, we’re thinking you should’ve taken the stairs.