BlizzCon 2017 StarCraft II: What’s Next Panel Transcript

Announcer: Welcome to The StarCraft II: What’s Next Panel.

Day9: Ladies and gentlemen. BlizzCon, how are you? Yes. You’re doing “woo!” as all crowds always are. Welcome to StarCraft II: Beyond The Void which is a very fancy way of saying StarCraft II: What’s Next? Here to talk about it are the absolute best human beings you’ll ever meet on the planet Earth: the members of StarCraft I team we have Christopher Reed (the lead UI designer) who goes by Crash.

 

Day9: We have David Sum the lead co-op designer. We have Michael Scipione who is “David Kim 2.0 Versus Design.” If any of you have any issues with balance at all please come to Michael all weekend long. He’ll be thrilled to hear your thoughts on how to fix the units. We also have the lead writer Valerie Watrous joining us today. And last but certainly not least, the lead artist Travis Castillo.

Now typically as a host it’s my duty to guide and moderate the panel, but in this instance I have the easiest job in the world as they have brought a full Power Point with visual aids and videos. So Crash, please, begin the panel StarCraft II: Beyond the Void.

Christopher: Absolutely, but before I get started I just want to take a moment to thank everyone on the team who has spent hours and hours, blood, sweat, and tears to make some of these wonderful things for all of you. It’s great content, but I also want to thank the fans and all the feedback that you guys give. It’s wonderful. It comes in. It really helped us make that new stuff. So please keep it coming. It’s amazing.

 

FREE-TO-PLAY

All right. So let’s do it. StarCraft II is evolving. As you heard from Mike, that there’s a lot of things coming, a lot of things changing — with the evolution of StarCraft II, one of the things that we really, really wanted to accomplish was clarity. Right now there’s a lot of ways to join the game, to come into the game, to play the game; but not everyone understands.

 

I’m sure many of you have seen a guide just like this; and hats off to the community for making a guide like this. That keeps us developers to be honest. We have to adhere to this, but our goal with this is to make sure that we lessen or even completely remove the need for this type of guide. We want players who are coming in for this free to play moment to just understand how to play the game.

Day9: Even though I know in the StarCraft II summit you’re talking a lot about how many different vectors people have coming in, and people like Artosis didn’t even know what co-op was. Yeah, please let him know all weekend long.

Christopher: So with that in mind, one of the things we will be changing… like I said, there’s many ways to understand StarCraft. We have Legacy Of The Void, we have the Covert Ops, but we like to make it understandable so that when you’re talking about StarCraft II… it’s just StarCraft II. So we’re going to do that even with just the name. We are changing the name to strictly StarCraft II.

So when you’re talking about it with your buddies… they understand.

 

Day9: It reminds me a lot of Hearthstone. First known not necessarily by the expansion. It’s just Heartstone, and then there’s different content among that.

Christopher: Exactly. I think it just clarifies it really, really clear for everybody. More in that vein, we will be changing “Multiplayer”… and this might be dramatic for some of you, but we’re changing “Multiplayer” to “Versus” — and the reason for that is, It is that as players are coming in, there’s confusion around the difference between co-op and multiplayer.

 

They do kind of mean the same thing. So we’re going to be changing multiplayer to Versus. That has a more visceral– and when you click on that button you kind of know what you’re getting yourself into.

Day9: Right. Now I want to ask about Free-to-Play, because that was the thing that had me really hyped. I only found about this during the rehearsal for this yesterday. Talk to me about the Free-to-Play switch.

 

Christopher: So Free-to-Play. This is one of the most exciting things that we’ve been working on, and again one of our goals as I said before was clarity; but with Free-to-Play there was another goal that we had which was again… just giving you more stuff.

So with the introduction of this, we kind of took a look at the Starter Edition and saw what was already there. There is a lot of free content already available, but we wanted to make sure that you understand what’s free and how to get it, as well as just throw more at you. So let’s kick it off with campaign.

 

In campaign (and just as Mike said), Wings of Liberty will be completely free. So if you’ve been waiting to try the game for any reason, dive in, then you get the entire campaign. That’s end to end all the missions, all the achievements, all the rewards, and you get to meet Tychus — which is my favorite character in StarCraft. So I’m really excited about this.

 

Day9: You know, I want to ask about Ranked, because Mike mentioned that during the opening ceremony. That all of Ranked is completely free, all the units from all the expansions. Regular old Ranked mode.

Christopher: Yes. Ranked is free, and it’s a unique way to kind of dive into it. So how we are offering Ranked for free is that you have to earn your way into it. We’re trying not to put a barrier that’s too high or too hard for someone to climb to. But also has a deterrent for people who have bad behaviour.

 

So Unranked and Versus AI will be now completely free. As soon as you come in, you’ll be able to play those immediately; and then, the first 10 wins of the day will unlock Ranked ladder for you. So of course, that might be too high or too low. We will be listening to your feedback. If you think that’s too low or too high, we will definitely make alterations based on what you guys say.

 

Day9: And I want to bring this up because this came up with the StarCraft II Summit. It’s obviously not just as easy as we just flip the switch to Free, and we’re done. There is a lot of planning that comes into how do you organize all of this content, but the theme that keeps coming up is that things that used to be free are still free. Things that used to cost money… some of those are now free.

In fact, it’s not that it’s being completely restructured. It’s just that more of the game is accessible if you’ve never played before. Is that right?

Christopher: Absolutely, absolutely. So instead of doing something really putting it on a currency you have to earn currency to unlock things, we don’t want to do that. We want to just give more away for free. Just play the game. Enjoy the game.

BlizzCon 2017 StarCraft II: What's Next Panel Transcript
1. Free-to-Play2. Co-op3. Design Patch
4. Shadow Wars Comics5. War Chests6. Community Q&A

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Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.

I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com)

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