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Monday, August 24, 2009
 

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SC II: Helfer As Kerrigan, LAN Possibility, Fan Mod Sales
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 9 comments

Blizzard Entertainment's Blizzcon event has revealed new information about the upcoming StarCraft II. During a panel discussion of the game's lore Blizzard reps revealed that Tricia Helfer, known to sci-fi fans as Battlestar Galactica's Number Six, will be the new voice of Sarah Kerrigan. In an interview with Eurogamer Rob Pardo revealed that the new Battle.net service may allow map makers to sell their work. In several other interviews online StarCraft II developers confirmed that they are considering some form of LAN play for gamers with internet connection difficulties.

From Gamasutra:

Although StarCraft II will not feature pure offline LAN play -- a cause of significant outcry from the sizable StarCraft community -- it is likely to feature a mode that allows players to play through a local area network after authenticating online through Battle.net.

Such a mode would allow for the minimal level of latency that comes with a direct LAN connection, while also maintaining Blizzard's stated aim of making StarCraft II an always-connected experience.

"That's certainly something we're discussing," said lead designer Dustin Browder, after being asked by Gamasutra about the inclusion of the feature.

Battle.net lead Greg Canessa, a former lead on Xbox Live, also spoke up on the matter in another BlizzCon interview. "Maintaining a connection with Battle.net, I don't know if it's once or periodically, but then also having a peer-to-peer connection between players to facilitate a very low-ping, high-bandwidth connection... those are the things that we're working on," he told consumer site Shacknews.

Separately: "We really wanted to have a very integrated experience for our players," Blizzard lead designer Browder told Gamasutra of the decision to push constant Battle.net connectivity. "A lot of games these days require an internet connection to play."

He added: "We really wanted to bring all these players together and keep them in the same pool, and make everything work, so your achievements work, your friends list works, everything just works correctly, as opposed to having two separated ways to play."

Blizzard did confirm this weekend that it is possible to play StarCraft II's single-player mode offline, but players will only be able to use a "guest account," not their persistent accounts, to do so. A similar method was used in 2000's Diablo II, which requires online-enabled characters to only play the game when connected to Battle.net.
From Eurogamer:
As part of Blizzard's ambitious plans for the new version of the Battle.net online platform to launch alongside StarCraft II, the company's design chief Rob Pardo revealed plans to allow the mod community to sell content on a StarCraft II Marketplace after launch.

The Marketplace would be a forum for publishing and downloading both free and Premium maps. "A portion of the revenue" from Premium maps would go to the creator.

Pardo envisaged that this would eventually lead to much more highly-evolved mod content from creators with a budget, drawing a comaprison with the Day of the Defeat mod for Counter-Strike. He hoped to see creators able to create more of their own assets than they did with examples like Warcraft III's famous Defence of the Ancients, and to see StarCraft II attract the best amateur game designers away from other platforms like Steam.

The Marketplace would add greater longevity to StarCraft II and help bridge the gaps between official Blizzard content, he said. There would still be plenty of free content, similar to the iPhone app store, and very popular Marketplace maps might have matchmaking or achievements added to them by Blizzard.
Head over to the sites listed below to read more about the latest developments.

Worthplaying: Tricia Helfer As Kerrigan
Gamasutra: SC II Internet Authenticated LAN
Eurogamer: SC II To Allow Paid For Mods
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty


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Archives  News  SC II: Helfer As Kerrigan, LAN Possibility, Fan Mod Sales