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Heart of the Swarm Update #13

By Julian 'Twinkie449' Leischner
Jan 26, 2013 12:37

ImageThis time itis not about balance or gameplay. Finally Blizzard has developed new features for replays, including game recovery which has been asked for in the competitive scene for a long time.

They announced them and they actually finished their work before the release of Heart of the Swarm. New features for replays have been patched into the game with beta patch 2.0.3. There is now a total of three big new implementations for replays:

1. Replays can be watched in groups. Players can open replays in a lobby like a custom game and then watch in sync with the host being able to control the timeline.

2. Players can take command of the actors in the replay. All participating players select one player in the replay that they will control and then the game can be played on.

3. Replays can be opened in a recovery mode and after the players have been invited (it only works with the players who originally played the match) a point in the replay can be selected to which the game loads and then a referee or a player can just resume the game as if it was paused. To aid this feature Blizzard has also implemented a system that saves at which points abnormalities like no more keyboard input, disconnects or heavy lags occurred.

The first two features are mainly a treat for the community but they can also help professional players or players who receive coaching to improve much faster by giving them the possibility to watch replays in groups and to take command at difficult points over and over again. For the competitive scene the third feature is by far the most interesting. No more discussions about who was in a better position when someone's game crashed, less drama, more professionalism. Also the extra data to help finding a good point to recover the game from makes it an even more precise tool.

Beside these changes players can now play against AI opponents in the beta, appearently with a tweaked AI, and Blizzard has also added a "Training Mode" in which players can learn the skills needed for multiplayer games from the basics on to high difficulty scenarios. Overall this patch makes practising and improving without actually laddering much easier and more effective. In addition the UI has been tweaked and polished a little and bugs have been removed.

Personally I am glad that in Heart of the Swarm we won't have to wait for a decision anymore whenever a player's game, PC or connection crashes. According to Dustin Browder the next big step towards competitive gaming could be a clan war mode since clans have been introduced as a feature in Heart of the Swarm. It is unsure though if this will be added after the release of Heart of the Swarm, with Legacy of the Void or even after the release of Legacy of the Void. Blizzard's "We will release it when it's done!"-mentality has given a lot of people headaches over the years but I think those headaches are nothing compared to the ones they would have had with buggy or halfhearted features.




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