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Filed under: StarCraft 2

Project Blackstone site goes live, password discovered

Project Blackstone goes live
Back in November, Blizzard registered a few domain names, including the mysterious projectblackstone.com. As it remain untouched, we were left wondering if it could signal a new game on the horizon -- perhaps something to do with Titan. Well, today Project Blackstone is live and has been redirected to a battle.net site.

It looks to be a viral advertising campaign for Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm, and it's an impressive follow-up to the game's recently revealed opening cinematic.

You'll need to log in to the Project Blackstone page, and lucky for you we have the access code!

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Seems like a few clever folks on Reddit discovered the password in the source code of the Project Blackstone page, within an encrypted chunk of text. Head over to the site to read your messages from Dr. Helek Branamoor and the rest of the Blackstone Research staff. We're guessing that new ones will be posted every week, so keep a close eye on the site!

It also appears that Dr. Branamoor is on Twitter, and he doesn't look like someone I'd want to work for. What do you think about Project Blackstone so far?

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, StarCraft 2

Gnome spotted in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm cinematic

Image
Remember when we said the Heart of the Swarm cinematic isn't related to Warcraft? We were wrong. Dead wrong. As it turns out, the Heart of the Swarm cinematic contains what countless Warcraft fans have desired for nearly a decade now: a gnome. To be more specific, a gnome air freshener, as pictured above.

I wonder which expansion pack they're playing in the Koprulu Sector.

Filed under: StarCraft 2

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm cinematic revealed

StarCraft II Heart of the Swarm cinematic revealed
Blizzard revealed the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm opening cinematic late last night. Sure, it isn't Warcraft material, but it's fair to say we all enjoy the work that comes from the team that made the Mists of Pandaria cinematic. And don't lie -- you pet collectors are going to be picking up the Collector's Edition of Heart of the Swarm for its Baneling pet anyway.

The cinematic, which you can view behind the cut below along with its accompanying blue post, depicts a Zerg siege of the Terran Dominion as Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades, seeks vengeance against Arcturus Mengsk. We really could have done without the Wilhelm Scream at 1:43 in the cinematic, but to be entirely fair, StarCraft has a long history of using it and other cliché stock sound effects.

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Filed under: StarCraft 2

"Appear Offline" coming soon to Battle.net

A much asked for feature is on its way into the game -- you will soon™ be able to set your Battle.net status to "appear offline," letting you have some much needed peace and quiet from the clamor of all those friends playing Blizzard's various games.

Currently, if you're logged in and have Real ID, Battle Tag, or character-level friends, then they can see you online no matter what. While this doesn't present a huge problem, sometimes people just want to go in a game and play by themselves, without the presence of a group. And even though WoW will never be a single player game, this upcoming change will certainly allow you to disappear into the masses when you want.

Blizzard's full release as follows:

Blizzard
In the coming months, we're planning an update to Battle.net that will give you more control over your online presence when playing Blizzard games. Soon, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Diablo III players will be able to select "Appear Offline" as one of their Battle.net social-status options (along with Available, Busy, and Away) for those times when they want to wander Azeroth by their lonesome, dominate the galaxy in radio silence, or slay demons in solitude. When you choose this option as your status, all of your Real ID friends, BattleTag friends, and character-level friends will see you as "Offline" in their friends list whenever you're logged into a game.

The "Appear Offline" status option will be added to World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Diablo III separately in future updates for each game. For Diablo III, we expect to add the feature in a patch after 1.0.5. For World of Warcraft and StarCraft II, we expect to add the option sometime after the release of each game's upcoming expansion.

Thanks for your continued feedback, and we'll share more information on the availability of this new feature in the months ahead.



Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria, Diablo 3, StarCraft 2

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm playable at MLG, Wings of Liberty on sale

StarCraft II Heart of the Swarm beta playable at MLG, Wings of Liberty on sale
The upcoming weekend is a big one for StarCraft fans: The United States Nationals of the StarCraft II World Championship is taking place at the MLG Spring Championship all weekend long. For those of you not interested the e-sports scene, there's another event coinciding with this one: The Heart of the Swarm press event is taking place this weekend, and an early build of the upcoming expansion is playable at demo stations on the MLG floor. Heart of the Swarm isn't officially in the beta phase yet, so this will be the first time players have an opportunity to see the expansion first-hand.

To celebrate both the Nationals and the Heart of the Swarm preview, Blizzard has put StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty on sale for the weekend. Blizzard has taken 33% off of the standard box price of $59.99, bringing the price down to $39.99.

Update: Check Battle.net for further information on this weekend's events as well as a pair of video previews of Heart of the Swarm. You can also find the videos embedded below.

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Filed under: StarCraft 2

Play Diablo 1 with World of Warcraft models in StarCraft 2

The StarCraft II Arcade feature, a tool intended to help the community highlight quality custom maps and game modes created with the StarCraft modding tools, has recently gone into beta. Coinciding with that beta, Blizzard has launched a contest that requires you to play, rate, and review an Arcade game for a chance to win a Heart of the Swarm beta key.

One of the delightful custom game modes that has become an Arcade chart-topper is an incestuous mix of all of Blizzard's major franchises: It's the first Diablo game ported into StarCraft II using World of Warcraft art assets for the 3D models. The gameplay doesn't match the original Diablo click-for-click, but the core mechanics and all of the sound files have been carried from one game to the next, including Deckard Cain's signature stay awhile and listen.

StarCraft II shoutcaster Husky recently featured the game mode on his YouTube channel, and you can watch his 18+ minute preview/review embedded above.

Filed under: Contests, Diablo 3, StarCraft 2

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