Artificial intelligence has always been an important part of Blizzard’s games. All of the monsters, space marines, demons, and murlocs we’ve slain have required AI to give us something to play against. Today, Blizzard and some of the clever engineers at Google discussed DeepMind, AI that might change the future of Starcraft. The panel opened discussing how they built an AI with DeepMind. Their mission is to “solve intelligence, and use it to solve everything else.” Intelligence is, according to their standards, “the ability to learn to perform well over a wide range of environments.” They aimed for a General-Purpose Learning Machine, which learns automatically from raw inputs, and generally can operate across a wide range of tasks. Additionally, their intelligence needs to learn progressively, improving on everything it does. They call this their Reinforcement Learning Framework, where there an AI has a certain goal (accruing the most points), is placed an environment
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 War Chests are content packs opted in via purchase. They unlock some content
Patch 3.5.0 has released and the 2nd mission pack for Nova Covert Ops is now available with it. The pack comes with 3 new missions and those that bought the entire bundle will have them already available. You can read about the mission below (beware it has spoilers!) You can read the full patch notes for 3.5.0 below
Have you ever longed for the old days of Star Craft? No, I’m not talking about like Wings of Liberty. I’m talking Brood War. The classic age where juggernauts would collide in fantastic contests of skill and management. There is a channel on twitch right now that is streaming 6344 VODs of Brood War 27/4, for the most part, including shows like Bnet Attack where a pro heads into battle.net to fight with random bnet patrons. The downside is that the vast majority of it is in Korean, but from time to time you catch a few english spoken games. I’ve caught some Tastetosis in their early days watching this channel. It’s a great little channel that isn’t nearly getting enough love for what it brings to the table. Go Check it out! https://www.twitch.tv/medrybw
Packaged along with the release of the first mission pack for the Nova DLC pack, these patch notes have a lot of content completely unrelated to Nova’s novert covert ops. Highlights include: A new Co-Op Missions map has been added, along with some balance shifts in Co-op Mission mode. Trophy Tops have been added to Automated Tournaments, and the 30-minute game timer no longer impacts the final game of the tournament. A host of bug fixes and UI improvements. And, of course, Nova Covert Ops, for folks who have purchased the DLC. Read the full patch notes below.
So this happened: Nova Covert Ops is headed your way March 29th! Pre-purchase now and get in-game goodies: https://t.co/CklNFpp6aA pic.twitter.com/kOPZZUDo0j — StarCraft (@StarCraft) March 15, 2016 What we know so far is that pre-purchasing the DLC pack will get you a unique Nova portrait and a specialized skin for your Ghost units in SC2. In addition, the bundle price that was announced back in December is still in effect, so if you buy all three mission packs together, you’re saving over what buying them individually would cost you. More details on this as they emerge, but between this, pre-purchasing Whispers of the Old Gods for Hearthstone, buying World of Warcraft Chronicle Vol. 1, and getting a pre-order in for Overwatch, you might as well just sign your tax return over to Blizzard right now.
Patch 3.1.0 has been released today and with it some free (and some not so free) PVE content. As far as the free content goes, Karax is now an available commander and the new co-op map Lock and Load has been released. On the not so free side, the Nova covert ops missions are now available for pre-purchase and are expected to release spring 2016. Other changes to the patch include a ton of updates to the chat system and some changes to the editor. You can read the full notes below:
It’s been a month now since Legacy of the Void has released, and it looks like Tuesday we’ll be getting our first patch with some content added into it. A new commander named Karax will be available – his abilities being unlimited orbital strikes and being able to build stationary defenses (canon rush!). The new mission is called Lock and Load. Not many details were given exactly how the mission will play out, but it’s been described as a harder mission than the others and will require a lot of cooperation to complete – where as other maps you could heavily rely on one player or the other to do the heavy lifting. It’s cool to see that the StarCraft team is dedicated to producing PVE content in Starcraft 2 after launch and with the new Nova missions arriving next year, now is probably one of the best times to
Nova Covert Ops, Starcraft II‘s first mission bundle announced during BlizzCon, is up for pre-purchase on the Battle.net Shop. Pre-purchasing the bundle save you 33% across the 3 included packs, as well as land you the new Nova portrait and Covert Ops Ghost skin for Ghost units. You can read more about the Nova Covert Ops mission bundle, as well as other upcoming Starcraft II features, on BlizzPro: Mission Packs: Nova Covert Ops The Future of StarCraft II
From now through December 8, you can join in on the intergalactic warfare of Starcraft II‘s first two expansions–Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm–for 50% off. Or give it to someone. Since it’s that time of the year. If you really want to. You can find this and other holiday sales on the Battle.net Shop.