After spending quite a while in beta, Blizzard has finally released StarCraft II patch 1.5.0 which, as you may recall, introduces some significant UI changes to Battle.net 2.0 in preparation for the upcoming release of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm.
One of the more noticeable changes you’ll see is that there is now two tabs at the top left of the main menu, titled “StarCraft” and “Arcade”. The former houses the singleplayer campaign and ranked multiplayer, while the latter is the new home of custom games.
The goal of the Arcade tab is to make finding your favorite custom games a whole lot easier, and there’s even a few features that allow you to find new content based on popularity, genre, and so on. If you didn’t like the old custom games browser, you might like this one.
In addition to that change, which is significant enough on its own, StarCraft II patch 1.5.0 also adds a myriad of bug fixes, performance tweaks, and a massive amount of improvements to the StarCraft II Editor.
You can find more info on the new Arcade button below, or you can read the patch notes in their entirety over at this link.
A new Arcade button has been added to the main Battle.net navigation panel at the top-left of the user interface. Custom games once found in the Custom Games interface will now be found here with an improved interface and tools. Players now have more flexibility to find, play, and review custom games, more quickly and easily than ever before.
– The Spotlight page displays new or up-and-coming games. Players can visit the Spotlight to browse featured games, new games on the rise, and top-rated games as reviewed by the community.
– Players can search for games based on genre, popularity, star ratings, newness, and recent spikes in popularity.
Each custom game in the Arcade is represented by a game icon. The game icon contains a large game image (provided by the creator), and includes the game’s name and star rating. Hovering over the icon displays the game description.
– Clicking on a game icon brings players into the Game Info page, the main portal for each game in the Arcade. This page contains summarized information about a custom game, including a description, screenshots, play instructions, reviews, and other information. The Game Info page consists of several sections:
— Overview: This contains the game description and a set of screenshots that show off the action.
— How to Play: This is where players will find instructions (basic and advanced) and how to win. There is also space for additional images to supplement the game instructions.
— Patch Notes: This is where the game creator can list updates that have been made to the game, so that players can see how the game is growing and improving.
— Review: After playing, players can give a game a star rating and enter a text review. Once enough ratings have been submitted, the game receives an Average Star Rating that displays on the game icon. Players can also mark other players’ reviews as “Helpful” which will ensure that the best reviews rise to the top.
— Tutorial: Game creators can now publish tutorials for their creations. If a tutorial exists for a game, a “Play Tutorial” button will appear on the Game Info Page, which can be clicked to immediately launch the tutorial.
– There is now a “Join Chat” button on the Game Info Page that allows players to join a channel named after that Arcade game.
– The new Open Games List displays games that have players, but aren’t full and ready to start yet. This should help players identify active games and find partners or opponents more easily.