BlizzCon 2014 – StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Overview Panel Transcript

This is a transcript of the StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Overview panel held at BlizzCon 2014. Among the panelists were: James Waugh (Director of Story development), Allen Dilling (Lead 3D artist), Jason Huck (Lead level designer), Justin Thavirat (Lead 3D artist) and Matt Morris (Lead campaign designer).

Transcript

Waugh: Welcome everybody to the Legacy of the Void Campaign Panel. We hope to answer all your burning questions about the end development final chapter of the StarCraft II trilogy. My name is James Waugh, I’m the lead writer; I’m joined on stage by Jason Huck (lead level designer), Allen Dilling (lead artist), Justin Thavirat (lead artist) and Matthew Morris (lead campaign designer); each of whom will talk about how their discipline helped craft the game.

blizzcon-2014-starcraft-ii-legacy-of-the-void-overview-panel-1

Multiple Community Manager Positions Available at Blizzard Careers

Blizzard Entertainment is energetically seeking for talented and charismatic fans to join the ranks of the Community Manager Team across most game teams. Check them out and good luck! More important, while chances are you might not get the job, keep trying. Don’t give up.

Community Development

StarCraft II Patch 2.1.10 Released

Blizzard Entertainment rolled out a small patch to address two crash bugs and a profile issue in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed an issue where players would receive an “input Limit Reached” error when viewing their profile while having a friend that belongs to a clan.

  • Fixed a crash that would sometimes occur when viewing the Score Screen after a game.

  • Fixed a rare crash affecting Arcade games.

 

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Closed Beta Has Begun

Blizzard Entertainment officially launched closed beta to test StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. However, this is a invite-only first wave and more invitations will be emailed over a period of time. We recommend you to check out your beta opt-in preferences to make sure it is selected. For now read the closed beta FAQ.

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Closed Beta Has Begun

How is access to the Legacy of the Void beta test being granted?

At the start of the beta test, we will be directly flagging Battle.net accounts for access and will not be sending beta keys until later on in the beta cycle. If you’ve been selected to participate, you’ll see a Beta: Legacy of the Void option under StarCraft II’s region selection drop-down menu in the Battle.net desktop app. It will be listed under the “In Development” header where you normally find the PTR. A welcome email should also have been sent to your registered Battle.net email address.

If you received what appears to be a beta key for Legacy of the Void, it’s fake! For more information on scams of this type, see our Phishing support article. If you have already responded or signed up on a website for a key, we recommend you take steps to ensure the security of your Battle.net account. We’ll update this FAQ and let everyone know when we anticipate keys becoming available.

How do I opt-in?

If you’d like to opt in for a chance to participate in the Legacy of the Void beta test, go to your Beta Profile Settings in Battle.net account management and check the box for the StarCraft universe. Then click Update Preferences.

How are beta test participants selected from the opt-in pool?

Beta testers are chosen according to a variety of factors, including their system specs, recent StarCraft II activity, and an element of luck. When selecting individuals during each round of invitations, our goal is to have a wide variety of players and system types.

Will there be any other ways to get into the beta besides the opt-in?

Further down the line we’ll be providing beta entry giveaways through various promotions on our sites, as well as through fansites and community VIPs. We’ll have more information on these promotions as they approach.

How many players do you plan to invite to the beta test?

The number of players we invite will be based on our testing needs. If we determine that we need more players to participate during testing, we’ll invite more.

I bought tickets to last year’s BlizzCon/WCS Global Finals—when can I expect my beta invite?

Beta invites are coming out in waves to ensure the stability of servers, gameplay, and matchmaking. Those who bought tickets to BlizzCon 2014 or the StarCraft II WCS 2014 Global Finals, as well as BlizzCon 2014 Virtual Ticket holders, will be granted priority access to the closed beta before those who opted in for beta access. Note that due to the nature of account flagging, only the registered email used to purchased the tickets online will be able to access the beta test, regardless of how many tickets were purchased.

I got a BlizzCon 2014 Virtual Ticket—do I get beta access?

Yes, we’ll be granting beta access to those who purchased a BlizzCon 2014 Virtual Ticket or redeemed one on their Battle.net account. See above.

I got a beta invite! Am I permitted to stream or create content about the beta?

Yes! The only expectation is that your stream or other content must clearly be labeled as Legacy of the Void: Closed Beta. If you are streaming on Twitch, please make sure your channel is correctly set to broadcast under the new “Legacy of the Void” game option.

I have feedback about something I experienced in Legacy of the Void beta. How can share my thoughts or suggestions?

We’ll be opening up beta-specific forums the week following beta launch. Once your Battle.net account is flagged with beta access, you’ll be able to view and post on these boards. Developers, designers, and the community team will be reviewing threads daily, though keep in mind we may not be able to respond to each suggestion directly.

I have a support problem for something I would like to see in Legacy of the Void. Where do I send it?

Use the “Bugs” section of the beta forums, where members from our Quality Assurance team will be able to help provide solutions to technical issues. Please do not contact Customer Service with any technical issues related to beta, as they will not be able to provide support.

I encountered a bug during the beta! How do I report it?

You can report all bugs under the “Bugs” section of our beta-specific forums. This will allow us to see the amount of players that are being impacted and work to get specific system details if necessary.

Can I run a tournament or host show matches using the beta?

We welcome anyone to run online events with less than $10,000 USD or equivalent in prizing. Keep in mind that the purpose of the beta is to test and gather feedback, so we cannot ensure that units, maps, spells, and other features will be fully balanced. We also cannot promise that beta servers will be up and available during the time of your event. Due to the nature of the beta, any organizer that wishes to run an onsite event, or an event with $10,000 USD or more in prizing, will require explicit approval from Blizzard Entertainment. Please contact us at esportsteam@blizzard.com.

Which game content will be available in the beta?

To start off, we will be focusing on the multiplayer experience only. We’ve added an exciting array of new units and abilities to the Terrans, Protoss, and Zerg, and we’d like to have as many eyes on them as possible. This testing will also include the upcoming Archon Mode. We will share information about future plans for the beta as we get closer to new content being released.

How long will the beta test last?

We have not determined an exact end date for the beta test. We will notify participants when the beta test is nearing completion.

Will Mac users be able to participate in the beta?

Yes, Mac users will be able to participate in the beta at the same time as Windows users.

Which regions and languages are supported in the beta?

The Legacy of the Void beta will be accessible in all regions except China, and the languages supported for the beta will reflect this.

Do I need StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty or StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm to participate in the beta?

No, you do not need to have purchased StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty or StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm to participate in the beta. With that said, your level of Heart of the Swarm activity may play a role in your chances of being selected as a beta tester.

 

Activision Blizzard Q1 2015 Financial Conference Call on May 6

Blizzard Entertainment CEO Mike Morhaime is scheduled to report progress on all current and upcoming Blizzard video games and expansions on May 6 during the Activision Blizzard conference call.

activision-blizzard-logo

Activision Blizzard Q1 2015 Financial Conference Call on May 6

SANTA MONICA, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)– Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) intends to release its first quarter 2015 results after the close of the market on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 . In conjunction with this release, Activision Blizzard will host a conference call that will be broadcast over the Internet.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015
1:30 p.m. Pacific Time ( 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time )

 

At the moment of this posting, Blizzard Entertainment hasn’t announced a date for StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void closed beta, but they announced it is drawing near. Unless it is announced earlier, this upcoming conference call might be a good platform to announce an approximate or fully disclosed launch date. Thus, keep a close eye to May 6’s event. We will certainly have a transcript of the conference that evening. Check out our transcripts for past Activision Blizzard conference calls.

Activision Blizzard Q1 2015 Financial Conference Call on May 6

Sideshow Collectibles StarCraft II Tychus Sixth Scale Figure

The Sideshow Collectibles StarCraft II Tychus Sixth Scale Figure is now available for pre-order, so make absolute all preparations to reserve a limited copy. It is the most complex piece of work ever done for a Blizzard Licensed Product with a whooping 525 individually engineered components.

The Sideshow Collectibles StarCraft II Tychus Sixth Scale Figure is slated to ship around Q4 2015.

Product Summary

”Hell… it’s about time!”

From Blizzard Entertainment’s best-selling strategy game, StarCraft II, Sideshow Collectibles is proud to introduce the Tychus Sixth Scale Figure.

While not even Jim Raynor can be certain of the truth behind his past, or just where his loyalties lie, one thing is for sure: Tychus Findlay always goes big. Always. Assembled from over 525 individually engineered components, Findlay gears up in Sideshow’s Sixth Scale Terran Space Marine armor with an incredible range of articulation, multiple light-up features, and a colorful array of unique decals that suit him just fine – including snarky quips, tally marks and a pin-up of Kyla Velassi. Known for his big ego and even bigger guns, there’s no job in the whole universe too dangerous for this outlaw when he’s got a couple of flash grenades and a light-up C-14 Impaler Gauss rifle with bayonet attachment and removable clip. A born survivor, Tychus bears his ‘New Folsom Prison blues’ with true grit thanks to two interchangeable portraits: one with a scathing scowl, and one simply enjoying one of the best cigars in the Koprulu sector.

 

StarCraft Tech Manual by Insight Editions

StarCraft Tech Manual by Insight Editions is a new book slated to launch to bookstores on June 2015. This book, based on the StarCraft universe, may be compared with Diablo III: Book of Cain in terms of content and motiff.

It’s about time we see new books in development after the long hiatus since War Crimes. The StarCraft Tech Manual preview hints at new units never seen before, some even from StarCraft: Ghost. But what does that mean?

StarCraft Tech Manual by Insight Editions

Specifications

Release Date: June 2015
Price: $45.00
ISBN: 9781608874507
Pages: 160

eBook: $32.99
ISBN: 9781608876341

About the Author: RICK BARBA is the author of several titles in the gaming genre, including StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Strategy Guide.

Selling Points

StarCraft Tech Manual joins Diablo III: Book of Cain and Diablo III: Book of Tyrael in our best-selling series of Blizzard lore books.

This unique book will take an in-world look at the StarCraft universe, with inserts lending the book an interactive element that fans will cherish.

StarCraft is a genre-defining science fiction military strategy game that boasts legions of fans worldwide. The latest installment, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, was the top-selling PC game of 2013.

insight-editions-starcraft-tech-manual-2

Additionally, the StarCraft series itself has sold more than 15 million copies.

Will include units that have not been seen in the game and have only been introduced into the IP through the fiction or the StarCraft: Ghost game, which has been placed on indefinite hold.

In addition to game assets, the book will feature epic original art comparable to our Diablo III books.

Building on the success of Diablo III: Book of Cain and The Dark Knight Manual, this immersive book will be designed to function as an in-world artifact within the StarCraft universe. Fully illustrated, the book will be narrated from the perspective of Dominion and will reveal the secrets of all the tech and science in the StarCraft world, including information on Zerg and Protoss units. Complete with diagrams, classified field notes by Terran researchers, technical breakdowns, and more, the StarCraft Tech Manual will form the ultimate companion to the best-selling franchise.

insight-editions-starcraft-tech-manual-3

 

StarCraft Raynor Sixth Scale Figure Pre-Orders Begin

Sideshow Collectibles opened pre-orders for the Raynor Starcraft Sixth Scale Figure. The figure is slated to ship on February 2015*. There is a limited production of this figure, so grab it while you can.

*Correction: Earlier I posted it was shipping now. The affiliate page said Q4 2014 (as shown in the image below), but the landing sale page says February 2015. Blizzard Global Licensing Jason Bischoff confirmed it ships February 2015.

raynor-q4-2014

From the hit Blizzard Entertainment title, Starcraft II, Sideshow Collectibles is proud to introduce Jim Raynor -Terran Space Marine. Confederate marshal turned outlaw rebel, Jim Raynor does not back down from a fight. Equipped with technologically advanced armor and weaponry, the Raynor – Terran Space Marine was assembled from over 525 individually engineered components, making it one of Sideshow’s most ambitious Sixth Scale projects to date. The detailed armor features light up elements in the chest and engine vents, an impressive cache of weapons includes a C-14 Impaler Gauss rifle, a massive sniper rifle, and Jim’s signature revolver.

Product Details

License: StarCraft
Scale: Sixth Scale Figure
Manufacturer: Sideshow Collectibles

Product Size: 15.5″ H (393.7mm) x 9.5″ W (241.3mm) x 6.75″ L (171.45mm)*
Dimensional Weight: TBD

Product Sku: 100181
UPC: 747720222380

Artists

Anthony Mestas (Paint), Michael Fictenmayer (Paint), Wan Lee (Paint), Big Shot Toyworks (Sculpt and Development), Trevor Grove (Sculpt), Kevin Ellis (Costume Fabrication), The Sideshow Collectibles Design and Development Team

© Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

What’s in the Box?

  • Fully Articulated Figure Body with highly detailed, fully articulated armor
  • Removable Helmet with retractble visor
  • C-14 Impaler Gauss Rifle
  • Pistol with fabric holster
  • Sniper Rifle
  • Light up effects in chest, engine vents, and rifle

 

Legacy of the Void: Multiplayer Development Update # 1

Blizzard Entertainment plans to launch StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void beta in 2015. Today we got the first Legacy of the Void Multiplayer Development Update.

We wanted to give everyone an update on the current state of Legacy of the Void in order to gather more feedback and work together with everyone in order to prepare better for the upcoming beta next year. Obviously, nothing is final (even for the beta) and as you’ll see below, we’re still in a phase of exploration and testing, so please keep this in mind.


General Gameplay Changes

Resource changes

First, we’d like to give an update on the resource changes we showed at Blizzcon. In that build, resources were reduced to 70% of what they currently are in Heart of the Swarm. From our playtesting, we really liked that this set-up encouraged players to move out more and take expansions more aggressively which led to action packed games. One element we were still concerned about was the potential diminished importance of harassment since workers were being transferred much earlier. Since Blizzcon, we’ve looked at changes that keep the positive aspect of encouraging players to take more bases, while still providing incentives to harass bases in various locations. The change we are currently testing is as follows:

  • Half of the mineral patches have 1500 (same as HotS), and the other half has 750.
  • Gas is at 75% of total.

The main things we like with this change so far are:

  • Players are still encouraged to move out and take bases aggressively.
  • There are still reasons to harass most of the bases since they remain operational at half efficiency.
  • Macro on bases and transferring workers throughout the game becomes more meaningful and more rewarding to players who do this better.

We currently feel like this solution help resolve the main negative side of the change we proposed at Blizzcon, but we’ve only been testing this for a few weeks, so we can’t say with 100% certainty. We’d definitely like to hear your thoughts in this area.

Worker count change

We’ve heard a lot of thoughts and suggestions on different starting worker counts for Legacy of the Void, so we’ve tested alternate starting counts internally. Currently, we feel 12 is the correct number because that number feels like the point right before decisions start diverging. However, we feel that since this is a simple change from a development standpoint, we could explore alternate worker counts in the beta without any issue. Looking at our data, we believe this is the correct starting worker count, but it’s still something we are willing to test further in beta.

Upgrades

We’re exploring a couple things in this area. The first is to have more meaningful upgrades in the game. Here is what we’re thinking in this area.

  • Locate units that are used in the game that could potentially bring an impactful change at a much later stage of the game.
    • We’re currently looking at upgrades that bring a meaningful change to how existing units on the battlefield are used in later stages of the game. The upgrades for Zergling speed and Ghost cloaking are good examples of this. These units are already used in gameplay, but the upgrades provide visible changes to the interactions with that unit.
  • Don’t add upgrades on for unit late-game units.
    • Units like Battlecruisers, Carriers, or Thors come out so late that additional upgrades aren’t as interesting. Generally speaking, the late tier units are used only after the upgrades are purchased anyways, so we don’t see a huge value in adding more upgrades to them. For example, Ultralisks wait until their armor upgrade is done because both building Ultralisks and researching the upgrade start at the same time. So this upgrade is clearly not as interesting as say like Zergling speed or Marine stim pack that really change up how the units already on the battlefield are used.

We’re also considering splitting-up mech and air upgrades once again for Legacy of the Void. Currently, the unit lineup for the Factory and Starport are both very solid, and so we wonder if bringing back the choice of which tech to upgrade will make those upgrade decisions more interesting. For example, our internal playtests are seeing multiple builds that involve mixing bio with mech or air independently. Therefore, we believe splitting the upgrades might add to the strategy. It’s important to remember however, that we’ve made a lot of changes in order to make mech viable, so we need to be careful and see if this change would make mech less of a strategic option.


Terran Changes

We’ve gone through lots of iterations on various units and abilities, and this is just a snapshot of where we are at right now.

Changes to the HERC

The main things we didn’t like about the HERC were:

  • Too much overlap with Hellbats
  • Grapple ability isn’t really needed for the unit to function well.

Changes:

  • Tech level changed to Armory requirement
  • No longer deals splash damage
  • No longer effective for cost
  • Grapple is to target ground
  • When landing from grapple, knocks enemy units in that area back

One of our goals with the HERC is to help give Terran an advantage vs Zerglings and Banelings and encourage the Zerg player to tech switch. By adding a knockback to Grapple, the HERC can counter Banelings in a way that makes the ability more core. And while these changes clearly fixed the two main issues we had with the HERC, it also brings in new challenges with the unit. If Grapple is too spammable, it takes too much control away from the opponent. We’re seeing that it feels silly because players using HERCs can shut down the ability for micro on the opposing side by timing the knockbacks correctly. In general, what we want is the potential for micro on both sides, and this new HERC was going against that philosophy. Therefore, we’re currently not in a good place on the HERC, and we’re working towards a better solution.

Banshee attack range decreased back to 6

With the Banshee speed upgrade alone, Banshees were doing many cool things to the game. However, we felt the range increase didn’t really impact the late game but hurt the early game vs. Zerg. The number of Spore Crawlers needed to counter just normal banshees became high enough that it felt cost effective to just build a Banshee and show it to the opponent. Because we already get the effect we want with the Banshee speed upgrade, we felt we didn’t have to also increase the Banshee’s attack range.

Cyclone ability is autocast, and the unit is rebalanced accordingly

In Legacy of the Void, we’ve added a lot of units that are more active or difficult to use. So we’ve been exploring various ways to keep the high-level, intensive micro play while allowing the game to be a bit more casual for average-level players. We believe the Cyclone’s ability being autocast is a good step in that direction. We wanted to push the importance of the positioning of the Cyclone more so than the click micro and because they’re autocast now, where they stand when engaging the army will be a lot more important. Prior to this change, whoever clicked faster was the more effective player using this unit. And players who want to make 100% sure that their Cyclones hit the right targets to turn off autocast and use it manually still.


Zerg Changes

Lurker siege range upgrade no longer has a Hive requirement

The Lurker is still working out well for us, but we felt the siege range upgrade comes in a bit too late. Seige range will still be at a very late Teir 2 tech level because it’s still gated by not only the Lurker Den, but also an upgrade on top of that. This isn’t set in stone, but we currently believe this is a better place for it.

Infestor ability removal + add?

Aggressive Mutation was only really effective when combined with Zerglings, due to the fact that ability provides a flat damage buff. At the same time, we also didn’t want to make a general upgrade that just generally buffs all Zerg ground units. If we feel that the buff its providing Zergling damage is needed and is good for the late game, we can just buff their Tier 3 attack speed upgrade. Therefore, we’re looking for other areas where the Infestor can be utilized.

Zerg AA vs. mass air strategies

We’re currently trying out an ability on the Viper to help deal with large numbers of air units (but not small numbers of them). This new ability deals an AoE dot to enemy air units. If only a few air units are in play, it’ll be easy for the opponent to micro against this ability, whereas when the air unit count gets really high, dealing with this ability will be exponentially more difficult.

We’ve tried out abilities like this in the past and we’ve experienced a couple problems. Counter micro on the opposing side is to just kill the unit that has the DoT on it. This is problematic, because it’s not difficult to just select everything you have and kill the one afflicted unit. Design wise, this type of enemy reaction is also problematic because it just becomes a doom type spell, and not the spell we’re going for. To solve this, we’ve tried versions in the past where burst damage goes through if the unit is killed. The problem in this case is that I can then cast this spell on the enemy unit and quickly focus fire it down.

In order to solve both of these issues, we’re trying a version where if you use the ability, the effect is applied to the enemy air unit, but if the unit is killed before the DoT damage expires, the DoT damaging effect still remains flying in the air at the location where the unit died. This way, the optimal move for the opposing player is to move the affected unit away from the other units rather than just killing it. On the user’s side, it’s slightly more effective to have the affected unit move around with the DoT damage, than to have the DoT damage remain stationary, so there’s little incentive to quickly focus fire the affected unit down.

We haven’t had as much testing with this ability yet, and we’re not even sure if the Viper is the correct unit for this ability, but the general idea of exploring a late game Zerg AA vs. mass air armies is something we’re focusing on.


Protoss Changes

Additional new Protoss unit

We haven’t finalized design on a new Protoss unit, but it’s something we’re heavily focused on these days. We have general concepts and ideas we’re trying, but haven’t nailed down something solid yet. Generally speaking, we’re experimenting with allowing Protoss to play a more aggressive containment game in the early game by utilizing a new unit. We feel this will give some more variety to Protoss openings, since Protoss generally tends to play defensively. If you have good ideas or feedback in this area, it would be appreciated.

We’re currently exploring a very different type of harassing unit. We don’t yet have the specific details yet but these are the things we’re thinking right now:

  • Early game unit
  • Slow movement speed (to differentiate from other early game harassers)
  • Phase shift ability. Unit goes completely invulnerable for X seconds on a short cooldown (to be able to move in and harass and to get out in a different way compared to say like Blink harass)
  • Doesn’t counter core units for cost (idea of having a core unit that goes invulnerable just sounds like it would be too much. Plus with this effective ability, this unit could still be a great harasser even if it’s not effective for cost).

But like we said, we’re still in the concept/discussion phase of this unit so additional feedback is welcome. It could even be suggestions on a completely different unit that the Protoss can use to make the game more exciting for everyone.

Mothership Core’s Photon Overcharge ability now hits both ground and air again.

Because of the resource changes we’re currently testing, Protoss is most impacted as they’re the ones that struggle the most with taking additional bases. We felt this nerf was no longer needed because to this.

Immortal Barrier ability is an upgrade

The Barrier ability combined with the new ranged pick up from Warp Prisms has been too difficult to defend against without having air units. We’re currently testing having the ability as an upgrade. We may need to make tweaks to improve the ability if needed, but this is something we’ll look at going forward.

 

StarCraft Raynor Premium Zip-up Hoodie Available Now

This is my StarCraft Raynor Premium Zip-up Hoodie. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My hoodie is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

Get yours now to wear the colors of General Commander Jim Raynor. Now you can play StarCraft in real life with the all new Raynor hoodie! It may not help your APM, but who cares? You have space armor!

  • Sublimated imprinted hoodie.
  • 100% Polyester with ultra-soft interior.
  • Machine Wash.