StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm – Preview

It is without doubt that StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty was one of the greatest real-time strategy games to be released, ever. Blizzard Entertainment seems to be aware of the great job they did in making the game, and behaving a lot like themselves, they will be releasing expansion packs for the game.

The StarCraft II will be released fully as a trilogy. The first game was Wings of Liberty, the second is StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, and the third is Legacy of the Void. We can almost totally forget about Legacy of the Void for now, since not even Heart of the Swarm is coming out this year.

Knowing how good Blizzard is with foreplay before releasing their games, you’d expect a good amount of eye-catching and ‘I want this right now!’ type of information to be released a good while before the game even has hopes of being released in the market. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is no stranger to this fact. Though it’s set to be released somewhere in April 2012, a lot of details have already come forth, with a great bit of the story and gaming being revealed.

Heart of the Swarm will continue the story of the intergalactic war between the Terrans, the Protoss, and the Zerg. Out of the three the Zerg are the ones which have seemed to be the most terrible and evil faction, born and bred to consume all life in the universe. However, have you ever wondered what goes on in their seemingly immoral minds? Well that is what Heart of Swarm will give a taste of, as the main protagonist of the expansion will be none other than Sarah Kerrigan.

Hey impression from the previous StarCraft games hasn’t been a good one; she’s lived as a ghost in the Terran military and has also been the Queen of Blades. All that is change after the events of Wings of Liberty, and Sarah is no longer the all-hating, malefic being she is known to be, to an extent.

Though her motives may or may not be necessarily good, her hatred for life in the universe has certainly exhausted to a great deal, except for one man: Arcturus Mengsk.The game’s story will primarily focus on Kerrigan’s approach in the war, and how her memories as the leader of the Zerg slowly come back to her while progressing in the game.

Heart of the Swarm will have a slightly varied form of the hero mechanics seen in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. No, players won’t be able to swap powers scattered in the map during missions; instead they will have static abilities known as Focus Abilities. These are mainly divided into two types: Corruption and SpecOps, and the abilities get upgraded by using the XP earned by completing objectives.

As the name suggests, Corruption abilities have Zerg written all over them – they inflict a lot of damage, and have a dark and evil-ish nature to them. On the other hand, SpecOps abilities are like Ghost unit powers, and have more use of technology and technique, making them supportive in nature.

You’ll only have one of the Focus types for every mission, and will be able to upgrade/change before a mission starts. That means no switching between SpecOps and Corruption while mid-mission.

The Corruption abilities ensure that Sarah is no ordinary character. She becomes much more powerful than other units as the game progresses, the power obviously portraying her prowess as a leader of the Zerg. However, she isn’t the only one who can progress by earning experience points. Mutagens can also be earned and spent on Zerg units within Evolution Chamber.

Of course the SpecOps abilities will have their own speciality, and will be the ideal pick for those who look to do things tactfully and take their time, rather than just all-out assaulting and aggression. Additionally some missions will encourage the use of SpecOps more, while others will demand a more hardcore approach.

As far as the story of the expansion is concerned, Blizzard hasn’t been too generous. All that is known is that the entire universe wants Kerrigan dead (and why not?), and the Zerg aren’t holding their hostility and ruthlessness back even the slightest bit. Heart of the Swarm will feature around 20 or so missions, so we can expect a good experience before we lay waiting for the release of Legacy of Void.

Not much can be said regarding how the story will evolve, but we’re confident that it will be an intriguing experience, even though Kerrigan’s role as either a villain or hero is not known.

When it comes to the multiplayer, Blizzard has been as quiet as they are known to be. They have simply stated that the game will be a hardcore experience online, and the team has done everything they can to balance the multiplayer mode, as real-time strategy games are generally the most stressful and competitive because there is a lot to learn.

They want to make sure that players who are newly exposed to the cruel multiplayer gaming experience don’t see it as tough to adjust as in previous games such as Warcraft 3.

Blizzard has rarely upset gamers with expansion releases, and we expect no different this time around. The basics in Heart of Swarm might remain pretty much the same as those in Wings of Liberty, but playing from a totally different point of view (as the enemy, you could say) will surely excite the fans.

We can expect the game to be released next year round about in April, meaning quite a bit of time left, and we can expect some more details to be released regarding the campaign. For now, you could share your thoughts regarding the expansion.