Starcraft‘s first panel was dense with new developments for the franchise going forward. To keep things fresh, a new commander, mission pack 3, a new arcade map, comic, and story to explore will all arrive in the coming year. Players will also be able to purchase a new War Chest to unlock gradually released skins, emoticons, decals, and much more.
New Commander: Alexei Stukov
Stukov is a mix of Terran and Zerg, and should be familiar to players from Brood War. An old ally of Kerrigan, he focuses on a “zombie theme.”
- His buildings spawn infested civilians and hatch grotesque units
- His siege tank eats civilians and shoots them out as ammo, using tentacles to “poke” enemies
- Infested Army Bunker spawns infested marines, and get up and move around the field, and can infect other structures
War Chests are content packs opted in via purchase. They unlock some content when initially bought–including skins, decals, and emoticons–unlock other content throughout their season, and unlock a final round of content at the end of their season.
- War Chest seasons do not specifically line up with the competitive ladder, but they will coordinate with the WCS
- UI functions as a “virtual treasure map” for unlocking new content with XP
- XP is earned by completing multiplayer or co-op games
- Announcements will show in the client and online when each one is ready
- They will include the latest Nova comic, pictured above, “The Keep”
- Discusses the tremulous time period of the GHOST project, before Covert Ops
- The comics will be available to read inside the game for the first time
- Purchases will support global eSports initiative
Mission Pack 3
The latest mission pack puts players in control of Nova’s new units, including many new art assets and locations.
- Players will explore a mining planet, a highly detailed city, and sleek Terran technology
- Takes place at the “pinnacle of Terran tech”
- Assets will be available to the modding community
- New cutscenes will explore motives and intrigue, with new lightning and other effects for a more immersive experience
Since co-op mode was implemented in Legacy of the Void, more resources have been allocated to improve it.
- The hope was that campaign players would find co-op a fun alternative
- It became much more popular
- New co-op leaderboards will compare players based on how efficiently they complete missions, as well as weekly mutations
New Map: Miner Evacuation
Players assist Debra Green as she attempts to evacuate Terran from the planet in this new arcade map.
- Shuttles will be attacked by infested enemies
- Players must defend the shuttles as they take off
- If too many shuttles are destroyed, the player loses
- The shuttles will rotate each time a new game is started for replayability
Q & A Session
- Stukov isn’t a field hero–he has powers you call down from above
- The team likes to keep a variety of on and off field heroes
- An option to disable unit skins for competitive play is a good idea but not being worked on right now
- Competitive Starcraft is in a good place despite the death of Pro League and will continue to develop through the next year with WCS and others
- The team is keeping a close eye on commander balance–there are some mastery categories that aren’t in a good place right now