StarCraft II Beta Key Opportunities

Many people have been asking where they can get beta keys for StarCraft II. Here are a few of the opportunities out there right now, and more will come as we approach closer to beta.

“Vespene Laughs” StarCraft II Comic Contest (reoccurring monthly)

Blizzard Theme Park Contest (Ends for North America March 30th, end dates differ for each region, check with the regional site)

Warcraft III The Frozen Throne Tournament Season Winners 2009

Video Games Live 2009 March Schedule

Video Games Live played various music pieces from Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft games at the end of Blizzcon 2008, last year. It is very probable they might do so again this upcoming August at Blizzcon 2009.

Video Games Live will have a few concerts throughout the month of March. So if you love video games music played by a live symphony orchestra, and live in Kitchener, Ontario; Kalamazoo, Michigan; and Austin, Texas—then check out the schedule and where to get the tickets.

ONTARIO
The music of video games will be performed by the world-class Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony led by industry veterans and world famous video game composers Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall on March 13 and March 14 at 8:00pm.  The Video Games Live concert will take place at:

The Centre In The Square
101 Queen Street N.
Kitchener, Ontario
Canada

The concert tickets for March 13 are sold out, but if you would love to be there—Saturday, March 14 tickets are still open while they last. Adult seating ticket prices range between $30-80. And can be ordered here.

There will be a pre-show festival starting at 6:30pm.  You can watch some Video Game Live video clips here.

MICHIGAN
On March 20, 2009, Video Games Live will perform at the Miller Auditorium at 8:00pm on the campus of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Tickets are available here—ranging from $25-52 for adult seating.

TEXAS
On March 28, 2009—Video Games Live will perform at the Long Center in Austin, TX at 8:00 PM.

Maps here. Ticket info here. Ticket prices range from $32-49.

Michael & Susan Dell Hall
701 W Riverside Dr
Austin, TX
(512) 474-5664

Warcraft Legends 33% Off Special Offer Until March 16

We have been covering the Warcraft Legends Marathon in the past days, and hope you have loved the free stories TOKYOPOP has allowed fans to read.  For that matter, I wish to share with you a special offer announced today by TOKYOPOP at one of their affiliate bookstores that knocks 33% off the retail price on all graphic novel mangas including Warcraft and Starcraft.  And that includes Pre-orders.  If you would love to start collecting the Warcraft mangas, this is the right time to do so. Let me tell you how to. Note: I created and account, and tested the coupon code and without. It does work.

1. Register an account at RightStuf.com—and login.
2. Click on the Purchase links at each manga page (below) to keep adding books to your shopping cart.
3. When you are done with your purchases, click the shopping cart button at the bottom of the page. (You have the option to pay through a secure server or via Fax/Mailed Order.)
4. Press the Ready to Check Out button on the top right and enter the following coupon code:

Coupon Code: infusion
Expires: Monday, March 16, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. CST

You will find the Coupon Code option textbox at Step 3: Shipping and Tax page.

The links below will take you straight into each Manga page for convenience.

WARCRAFT

STARCRAFT

These are the shipping options:
Canada – $7.00
Economy – $3.00
International – $10.00
Priority Mail – $5.00
UPS 2nd Day Air – $11.00
UPS Ground – $7.00

DeCandido And Rosenberg At Lunacon 2009

Keith R.A. DeCandido and Aaron Rosenberg are attending the 2009 Lunacon to take place at Rye Brook, New York.  The event will be held through March 20-22. Keith R.A. DeCandido is author of World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred.  Aaron Rosenberg is author of World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness and co-writer of World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal.

Their scheduled programming doesn’t involve any Blizzard product discussion, but if you are planning to attend Lunacon, they would be glad to meeting you and signing your Warcraft and Starcraft books.  One of Aaron’s scheduled panels is Tribute to Gygax.
Description: The biggest name in the development of roleplaying games, and one of the few recognizable names in a low-profile field, Gygax was always a lightning rod for many people’s views about gaming, both from inside and outside the field. A look back at Gygax’s life and influence on the field..

Keith has an interesting panel titled From Book to Film:
Description: Why do some books make great movie adaptations, while others fail utterly? What are the problems inherent on moving between the two media? How do you make a book into a great film?

Send us your photos with Keith and Aaron taken at this event if you are attending. Below is my photo with Keith at the 2009 New York Comic Con.

 

CrossOver Games Support For DirectX 10 Linux and Mac Soon

I rarely post news outside the Blizzard games scope, but I thought this one was very interesting to share with Mac and Linux Blizzard gamers. Codeweaver—developer of the CrossOver Games—announced their roadmap for 2009 highlighted by their support of DirectX 10 right out of the box.—Full Article.

We’ve just shipped a lot of those ‘under the hood’ improvements for games out in CrossOver Games 7.2. We’re really pushing Direct X 9 support pretty far along, and getting ready to move on Direct X 10.

In the next few months, we’ll be shipping CrossOver Linux 8.0, and CrossOver Mac 8.0. That revision of our flagship product will bring support for IE7, modern QuickBooks versions, Quicken 2009 (at a nice speed), Photoshop CS3, and many many other improvements, particularly around Microsoft Office and specifically Outlook. —via Slashdot

CrossOver Games Support For DirectX 10 Linux and Mac Soon

I rarely post news outside the Blizzard games scope, but I thought this one was very interesting to share with Mac and Linux Blizzard gamers. Codeweaver—developer of the CrossOver Games—announced their roadmap for 2009 highlighted by their support of DirectX 10 right out of the box.—Full Article.

We’ve just shipped a lot of those ‘under the hood’ improvements for games out in CrossOver Games 7.2. We’re really pushing Direct X 9 support pretty far along, and getting ready to move on Direct X 10.

In the next few months, we’ll be shipping CrossOver Linux 8.0, and CrossOver Mac 8.0. That revision of our flagship product will bring support for IE7, modern QuickBooks versions, Quicken 2009 (at a nice speed), Photoshop CS3, and many many other improvements, particularly around Microsoft Office and specifically Outlook. —via Slashdot

Starcraft 2 Drop Pods Removal Reasoning

This is a question some fans may wish to find out ever since the drop pod was removed from the alpha. Its former purpose was to deploy a certain amount of marines on a spot chosen by a ghost unit. Karune responded basically that the drop pod was redundant, once the medivac dropships were introduced. I recall some fans had compared the drop pod with Command & Conquer, but it was very nice to use the ghost to call them down. Hopefully this can still be done in the World Editor, but that’s unlikely.

Blizzard Quote:
Why was the drop pod removed from Starcraft 2?

Karune: The role of the drop pod fit very closely with what Medivac Dropships already do even better. Overall, through testing, it was far better to build Medivac Dropships to drop off reinforcements or raid, especially since drop pods still needed to be loaded with infantry as well.

AT&T Renews Hosting Agreement With Blizzard Entertainment

AT&T renewed their hosting agreement with Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. for online games over Battle.net and World of Warcraft servers. A press release is available.

Blizzard Quote:
AT&T Renews Hosting Agreement With Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. for Online Games

LOS ANGELES, March 3—Online gamers will continue to enjoy a rich and reliable gaming experience thanks to an agreement struck between AT&T* and Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. Today, AT&T and Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software, agreed to a two-year renewal for hosted services in North America.

Blizzard Entertainment(R) is best known for its Warcraft(R), StarCraft(R), and Diablo(R) PC games as well as its massively multiplayer online (MMO) role-playing game World of Warcraft(R), which is available in eight languages and played by more than 11.5 million subscribers worldwide.** AT&T has been working closely with Blizzard Entertainment for 9 years, providing hosting for World of Warcraft and the Battle.net(R) online-gaming service.

“We’ve been pleased with AT&T’s service over the years, and we’re confident in their ability to continue to provide the quality support we need,” said Paul Sams, Chief Operating Officer of Blizzard Entertainment. “This renewed agreement allows us to stay completely focused on our games while AT&T applies its hosting expertise to help us offer the speed, reliability and security our players expect.”

Through multiple Internet Data Centers (IDC), AT&T will provide strategic hosting and proactive, 24/7 network monitoring and management for the online infrastructure of Blizzard Entertainment’s games and services. The AT&T Gaming Core Team will provide comprehensive networking support to Blizzard Entertainment.

The AT&T Gaming Core Team was formed in 2004 to meet the infrastructure needs of customers’ gaming operations across AT&T’s Internet Protocol (IP) network. The team consists of engineers and hosting specialists who provide round-the-clock support to companies offering MMO games. The team provides global, end-to-end support of customers’ gaming operations across AT&T’s hosting infrastructure, applications and IP network and supports trouble resolution, incident command and control, post incident review and root cause analysis.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, which represents computer and video game publishers, U.S. computer and video game software sales grew almost 23 percent in 2008 to $11.7 billion.

For more information on AT&T Hosting and Application Services, go to https://www.business.att.com/hosting.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

Starcraft 2 Questions March 3 2009

Karune and Cydra answered around a dozen questions about StarCraft II units today.

Blizzard Quote:

What is the current role of the Protoss Phoenix?


The Protoss Phoenix has anti-gravity now and it is great at harassment, especially with more than one Phoenix in a pack. These harassment groups can easily lift workers and other strategic targets like Queens to be taken out while floating in the air.

Karune, does this ability render the Phoenix inoperable for a short period of time? Or can it lift units into the air and attack them afterwords?


edited: The Phoenix in the latest build uses energy (4 per second) when casting anti-gravity, thus the same Phoenix is not able to attack the target it is lifting with anti-gravity.—source

Blizzard Quote:

Let’s take the following scenario:

A group of immortals are leading a charge against tanks followed by a pack of zealots. When the immortals are in range they all line up and begin to fire.

What will happen when the zealots are given an attack-move command towards the tanks? Will they part the wall of immortals and walk in between them while the Immortals are attacking, or will they be forced to walk around the entire line of immortals to reach their targets in melee range?


In that scenario, Zealots will walk around line-ups of Immortals and will attack Siege Tanks.—source

Blizzard Quote:

If you’ve got a mothership to cloak your base, and you have like 4 dark pylons that you use to constantly cloak your mothership. Would this be possible, this way you could hide an expansion with use of permanent invisibility?


You can cloak your Mothership with your Dark Pylon’s Null Shield.
In this case, the enemy can’t see anything in your base without a Detecting unit—source.

Blizzard Quote:

Once the game comes out what are you going to do?


We will be playing the game on the BattleNet? winksource

Blizzard Quote:

The Overlord has been going through ALOT of changes lately and i was wondering what it’s current abilities were?

Is the Changeling still around, does the overlord have the ability to transport again?

Has the Overseer gotten any new abilities?


Overlord has the Generating Creep ability after Lair and the Transport ability after researching at the Lair.

Overseer has Detecting ability as passive and Healing ability on the biological unit or structure. and Overseer can spawn the Changeling.

How many hit points does the Overseer’s healing ability currently restore?

200, currently.

Cydra, when you said “initially”, do you mean Overlords get to use Creep from start of the game, or still unlocked after Lair?


Sorry for the confusion. You can get Generate Creep ability after the Lair.—source

Blizzard Quote:

Fans have been asking: How does it currently work?
What buildings are used?
What units are used?
Any energy costs?
Any resource costs?
Any cooldowns?


You need the Lair to build Nydus Network.
You can mutate your drone into Nydus Network with 150 Mineral and 200 Vespene Gas.
From your Nydus Network, you can summon multiple Nydus Worms at any place on the creep and each Nydus Worm cost 100 Mineral and 10 seconds build time.
Units can enter a Nydus Worm or Nydus Network and exit through any other Nydus Worm or Nydus Network.

Another question: Can Nydus Worms be “retracted” (i.e. moved somewhere else?)

No, you can’t move Nydus Worms once you summon them.

1. so this means there is no longer an overseer spawning nydus worms, or do they coexist?
2. can you use the queen to lay creep tumors in areas without any creep, thus indirectly creating space for a nydus worm?
3. during the 10 seconds of nydus worm creation, what does the animation look like (building egg or creep shakes and worm emerges)?
4. what is the interval between units entering and exiting the worm (i.e. how many “units per second” can leave the worm)? do they exit one-by-one or in packs? how is the order chosen (i.e. if you select a large group of units to exit, will the smaller ones leave first or will the order be random)?

1. No, Overseer does not have Nydus Worm spawning ability any more.
2. You can build Creep Tumor from the Queen only on the creep to expand it.
3. It just looks like other Zerg buildings while it is being summoned and the worm bursts out of the creep when the summoning is done. Hard to describe the animation of the popping up;;
4. Yes, units are coming out of the Nydus Worm/Nydus Network one-by-one and they come out in the same order they entered in.—source

Blizzard Quote:

When i first saw planetary fortress, i was surprised at the fact that the command center’s door(?) at the front closed when it upgraded.

Could this mean that if command center is upgraded, it cannot produce SCVs?

In the current build, you can train SCVs at all three regardless of the upgrade.
You can load SCVs up to 5 into Command Center and Planetary Fortress.
Command Center and Orbital Command can be lifted off, but Planetary Fortress can’t be lifted off.

Does the CC have to land before it can unload the SCVs? Or can it drop them like a shuttle/dropship?

You can also load and unload SCVs while your Command Center is lifted off.

Hey Cydra, can you build SCVs while lifted off (stocking them in the loading slots) or not?
Also.. can you “undo” or “salvage” the upgrades an return to an original CC? or do you have to salvage the whole building? or you cant salvage the CC at all?

No, you can’t build SCVs while lifted off;

No, you can’t downgrade the Command Center back.—source

Glynnis Signing at 2009 Irish Fair and Music Festival

Glynnis Talken-Campbell has a public appearance at the Irish Fair and Music Festival.  The event will take place at the Fairplex in Pomona, California on Saturday, March 7th. If you wish to meet her you can find her at the Tea & Sympathy booth signing books. Attendees who send us a photo with Glynnis will get a Starcraft Comic Book Poster.  Simply send your photo at the following email.

In case you missed the recent news update, Glynnis won’t reprise her role as Kerrigan in StarCraft 2. Many fans have shown their sympathy and support, regardless of Blizzard’s decision to undertake a different voice direction.

Glynnis said: “…It’s been an honor serving as your Queen!  I’m terribly flattered by the fans who’ve come forward in my defense and posted such kind compliments.”

Fairplex at the Pomona Fairgrounds
1101 West Mc Kinley Avenue, Pomona, CA 91766

Saturday, March 7th 2009
10:00am to 6:00pm

Ticket info here.

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