One of the most anticipated PC games of the year, StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, entered its closed beta phase on Tuesday, sending out invitations to many hopeful gamers. Many of the recipients were popular streamers who immediately took to streaming websites like Twitch.tv to show off its gameplay.
Legacy of the Void concludes the StarCraft II trilogy, and the overall plot of the game which began with the original game’s release in 1998. It wasn’t until over a decade later that Wings of Liberty, the first chapter of the new trilogy, was released.
The first set of invitations has gone out to people directly flagged by Blizzard, which is not uncommon during the primary testing phase. However, during the entirety of the closed beta, invitations will be sent out in waves. Those interested in getting an invitation during future waves can opt in from their Battle.net profile. According to Blizzard, recent activity in StarCraft II can also help.
“Beta testers are chosen according to a variety of factors, including their system specs, recent StarCraft II activity, and an element of luck. When selecting individuals during each round of invitations, our goal is to have a wide variety of players and system types.”
Story aside, the game boasts a number of new features and gameplay options that fans are hoping will revive the game’s e-sports presence. While Heart of the Swarm — the trilogy’s second installment — was released not too long ago, its viewership has fallen a little. To some, this is expected; StarCraft II now competes with many other popular games for attention. According to Geoff “iNcontroL” Robinson from the team Evil Geniuses wrote that while Legacy of the Void will bring the game back to a comfortable level, it will be hard to bring it back to where it was to start.
“With all of that being true where do we go from here? With Legacy of the Void ‘approaching’ can we expect a rise in SC2 viewership and popularity? I like to call it a ‘Shot in the arm.’ This is to say: Yes! But not to the 2010 levels some people hope and expect. In 2010 SC2 didn’t share the stage with anyone… Now with Twitch you have immediate access to HUGE tourneys or extremely developed personal streams that have become a spectacle in and of themselves.”
But Legacy of the Void is bringing some major changes that have opened new tournament and competitive possibilities. One of the most-discussed features is “Archon Mode,” which allows two people to play one race at the same time. One person can focus on building structures and gaining resources while the other pays attention to the army, but there are many more possibilities. John “TotalBiscuit” Bain, never one to be sparse with his constructive criticism, posted a glowing review of Archon Mode on TeamLiquid.
“Archon mode. I played today and it blew my mind. It literally made SC2 twice as easy to play yet without sacrificing any of the complexity. It made the game less stressful and more fun. It added in the enjoyment of playing with a friend, a social element but without the additional stress of handling your own base and economy like 2v2… The potential of Archon is huge. Think about the scenarios where it could be used.”
For those lucky enough to be in the beta, there is currently no NDA on game footage, which means there’s plenty to share.
Blizzard noted that Legacy of the Void’s closed beta will start sooner and last longer, due partially to the fact that developers want to stay in close contact with gamers and take plenty of feedback.
“As you are likely aware, we’ve been trying to be as open as possible with the status of our development, and strongly believe that the increased cooperation between developers and players is beneficial to StarCraft II. To be clear, our goal for this expansion is to work together with all of you to make Legacy of the Void as awesome as possible.”
While this means Legacy of the Void won’t be coming out any time soon, it does possibly mean a better chance for more people to experience the beta. Many units and gameplay options are sure to change before the game’s final release, but with Blizzard’s determination to work with players, the game’s final chapter is looking promising so far.
[Image from Blizzard]