StarCraft 2 Heart of the Swarm

StarCraft 2 Heart of the Swarm, Blizzard’s follow up to StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, will be released around the world tomorrow.  Last weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting Neil Kaplan, the voice of Tychus Findlay from Wings of Liberty.  Which is a humorous story all by itself.  But first, here’s a video discussing the upcoming release:

Neil Kaplan, the voice of Tychus

I occasionally sell some things on eBay.  Things just sitting around the house collecting dust, things for friends, things I pick up at secondhand stores, or things that might be under-appreciated by the locals but would be a treasure to someone somewhere.  For the last month or two I had the behind-the-scenes DVD from StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty sitting out there waiting for someone to bid or buy.  Last weekend, I receive an email from a buyer asking if I would bring the item to the local comic book / anime convention going on.  That buyer happened to be Neil Kaplan.  The family had plans already so I initially declined.  Along came some snow, and those plans changed, so I hopped in my truck and made the short trip to Oak Grove, KY.

Mr. Kaplan explained to me that he likes to buy a few copies of the behind-the-scenes DVD to sign for fans.  Not a bad idea at all.  So, I traded an item I was trying to sell for a one of a kind experience.

starcraft 2 heart of the swarm

I talked with Mr. Kaplan for quite a while.  When asked about the upcoming expansion, StarCraft 2 Heart of the Swarm, he didn’t give me the usual “Sorry, I can’t say”, instead he explained why he won’t say.  Before personalizing the picture above, he made sure I had completed the campaign mode of Wings of Liberty.  Neil Kaplan hates spoiling things.  He told me that when he was a teenager, he had the opportunity to go see The Empire Strikes Back.  Upon his return home from seeing one of the most popular sequels in movie history, his mother asked how it was.  Of course we all know now that at the end of the film it’s revealed that Darth Vader is Luke’s father.  We take that for granted now, but that was a huge reveal at the time.  Neil wouldn’t give up the goods other than to tell her that she had to go see it.  Even with the threat of being grounded, he wouldn’t spoil the movie.

StarCraft 2 Heart of the Swarm ?

Needless to say, he would not confirm or deny ift Tychus makes an appearance in StarCraft 2 Heart of the Swarm.  I’m ok with that, because what he did say was much more interesting.  He has been discussing the future of the character with Chris Metzen, Senior VP of Story and Franchise Development at Blizzard.  They would like to do more with the character.  Perhaps working on some of the early story of Tychus and Raynor or maybe bringing the character back from the dead.  It is a sci-fi universe after all.  The Protoss character Fenix had a similar treatment within the scope of the original StarCraft, with only a few missions between his fall and return.

With the game releasing and launching tomorrow, March 12, across the globe, I’m pretty excited.  Be looking for more video and articles about StarCraft 2 Heart of the Swarm in the coming days, including tomorrow mornings unboxing of the Collector’s Edition!

starcraft 2 wings of libertystarcraft 2 wings of liberty

Diablo 3 – From Beta to Patch 1.0.2C

Diablo 3 very quickly became the best-selling game of May.  It broke Amazon.com’s Pre-sale records and set the PC Game Launch record by selling more than 3.5million copies in the first 24 hours of it’s release.  It was met with some criticism due to Blizzard’s unpreparedness with it’s servers.  Personally, I had almost no issues connecting to the servers.  Diablo 3 took the best of it’s predecessors and streamlined the game experience.

Diablo 3

The most noticeable difference between Diablo 3 and Diablo 2 is the skill system.  You gain new skills, and new ways to alter previous skills, as you level up.  It feels like a well thought variation of the skill and rune system in World of Warcraft. With the skill system, quest check points, and constant barrage of bad guys, this game feels very fast.

Since the initial release of World of Warcraft, Blizzard has offered a premium “Collector’s Edition” of their games.  Diablo 3 was no exception.  Included with the game is what has become standard offerings in the premium editions:  Art Book, Behind the Scenes DVD, and Soundtrack.  New to Diablo 3 is the addition of a Blu-ray disc with the DVD.  Also included is a USB Soulstone containing Diablo 2 and it’s expansion, Lord of Destruction.  For more information including in-game aesthetic items go to Blizzard’s Diablo 3 site.

The biggest disappointment I had with the game was the removal of the Necromancer class in favor of the Witch Doctor.  I’m not very impressed with the aesthetics of the Witch Doctor, but have discovered a random event in Act 2 that contains a Necromancer.  This warrior claims to be the student of the Necromancer that fought the three prime evils in previous games.  That’s the closest you’re going to get if you’re a fan of the Necromancer.  The biggest plus, as far as classes go, is the Demon Hunter.  A vast improvement over the complicated Assassin from Lord of Destruction.  Of course, if you play World of Warcraft, you will notice that a lot has been borrowed for Diablo 3.  Remember, WoW borrowed a lot from Diablo 2 when it was first released.

If you enjoyed the video review (overview) of Diablo 3, let me know.  I’m currently playing the Mists of Pandara Beta and will be sure to get some great video and screen shots for a review once the game releases.