Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. is following up their popular StarCraft series with the expansion to StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm. Sarah Kerrigan, a Zerg-corrupted Terran, has arrived to take down Arcturus Mengsk once and for all. The brand new expansion includes new units for the three playable races, the Terran, Zerg and Protoss, as well as a revamped UI and new maps and features for multiplayer.
The new expansion continues where Wings of Liberty left off, focusing on Kerrigan’s quest to reunite the Swarm and take revenge on Arcturus Mengsk. Players can play 20 campaign missions to follow Kerrigan as she assimilates some distinctive Zerg species into her brood. She will grow in strength from mission to mission and players can give her new abilities and evolve various Zerg strains into new sub-species to suit their gaming style. Some new units include the Terran Hellbats, Zerg Swarm Hosts and Protoss Tempests.
“Heart of the Swarm enhances every aspect of StarCraft II,” Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment said. “In addition to Kerrigan’s campaign and the new multiplayer units and maps, we think players will really enjoy the new online elements and new features that make StarCraft II more fun and easier to learn than ever before.”
Other new features aside from an improved user interface include new group and clan systems as well as training and versus AI modes, which can help new players transition from campaign mode into multiplayer mode and catch up to their more experienced counterparts. For those who want the fun of multiplayer without having to be conscious about their ranking, there will also be unranked matchmaking. Have friends or clanmates across the globe? Global Play will allow players to battle other players in different regions around the world. There will also be additional stat tracking for number crunchers out there who would like to improve their scores, and an improved physics system for more impressive-looking battles. Are you a visual learner and want to watch the best players play to improve your own game, or need to intervene to help your team get the win? The Watch With Others and Take Command modes will allow you to watch replays with your friends and jump in to assume control of the game, respectively. Heart of the Swarm also has a leveling system that will allow players to earn customization options for their online profiles.
That’s not all, however: if you purchase the Heart of the Swarm digital deluxe version directly from the game’s website (www.StarCraft2.com) for USD$59.99 (Php 2,439). Zerg fans can choose a new look for their Ultralisks: the Torrasque, as well as new Swarm-infested portraits and decals that are available for you to customize your online profile and in-game army with. If you also have other Blizzard games such as World of Warcraft or Diablo III, World of Warcraft subscribers will get the Baneling companion pet that you can use in Pet Battles in the game, and Diablo III players can enjoy growing Zerg-like wings on their character and having a banner sigil to mark one’s allegiance to the Swarm in Sanctuary. If you purchase the Collector’s Edition of Heart of the Swarm in stores, you also get a behind-the-scenes DVD and Blu-ray, a Collector’s Edition Soundtrack CD, a Heart of the Swarm Hardcover Art Book, and a Zerg Rush mousepad.
Heart of the Swarm is available now in the United States, Canada, Europe, Russia, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the Southeast Asia region, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Players who do not have Wings of Liberty can now purchase it for Php 1,395 and purchase Heart of the Swarm for Php 1,795. The Collector’s Edition is available for Php 4,995.