UPDATE: Nintendo has made the official announcement, the official release date of the Wii U will be November 18, 2012. There will be 2 price points: $300 for the standard white console, and $350 for the black pro version with more storage space.
An Amazon supplier (Video Product Distributors) seems to have accidentally leaked the Wii U release date and price before any kind of official announcement from the folks at Nintendo. Though it’s still a rumor at this point, it seems likely the Wii U will have a release date of November 11, 2012. It also seems the Wii U will have three different price points of $250, $300, and $350. There is no word on what these 3 different prices will get you, though it is likely they are various bundles of hardware and/or software.
Once again, this is still a rumored release date, but this date seems to have more weight than those previously speculated.
Source GameSpot: http://www.gamespot.com/news/wii-u-out-nov-11-for-250-6394569
Blizzard recently posted a preview on their blog detailing the buffs they plan to give to legendary items as part of the huge 1.0.4 patch. While we knew their overall stats were going to improve, we had very little information about what specific changes were being made to our beloved legendaries. Here’s a few main points from the post:
- Most legendaries and set items are getting buffed, but there are a few they thought were good enough
- The buffs are not retroactive, so the legendaries and sets you have now will remain unchanged
- Some items are getting crazy-awesome procs and effects, such as a two-handed sword that summons a demon to fight by your side, connected to you with a fire chain
- They’re buffing certain items to try and promote lesser-used builds such as throwing barbarians and melee wizards
- Some legendaries that were brought over from Diablo 2 are getting stats that more-closely match their ancestors
- Maximum stat rolls are no longer being capped so that legendaries and sets can roll better than rares
Blizzard’s post has a lot more details along with images of the new items, so you should check it out: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/blog/6923457
Gamescom is underway in Germany and video footage of Black Ops 2′s multiplayer gameplay is blasting onto the web for us to gobble up hungrily. Below are a few selections for your enjoyment!
In an unexpected attempt to keep the Call of Duty franchise moving into the future, Black Ops 2 is now confirmed to be offering livestreaming and shoutcasting of multiplayer matches built directly into the game. The following video is a sample of what the game looks like from one of the first livestreamed clips ever at Gamescom.
UPDATE: Blizzard just announced the patch will be releasing tomorrow morning (Aug 21) during maintenance from 3am to 1pm PDT and posted the official patch notes here: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/6368188147
Blizzard has released the first of several previews of the Diablo 3 patch 1.0.4. While Blizzard typically doesn’t give release dates for their patches, they did say that they’re targeting the last week of August. Here are a few noteworthy specifics from the preview:
- Magic find averaging has been removed in multiplayer games; your magic find rate will be based entirely on your own items.
- Monster HP in multiplayer games has been reduced to a flat +75% per player.
- Normal monsters are going to get a bit tougher, and rares and champions will get a bit easier.
- 2-handed weapons are getting stronger affixes to compensate for bonuses from off-hand items.
- Repair costs of high-end items are being reduced by 25%.
- Legendary items are getting an overhaul to make them more interesting (more specifics to come).
- Underused skills and runes are getting changes and buffs to increase the number of viable end-game builds (more specifics to come).
Blizzard has released an official statement admitting that their Battle.net servers have been breached. Blizzard claims that their passwords are encrypted, but as a Web Developer I can tell you that an encrypted password isn’t necessarily an un-decryptable password. To be on the safe side you’d better login to your Battle.net account now and change your password here: http://www.battle.net
Read the full disclosure from Blizzard here: http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/securityupdate.html
Finally we get an extended glimpse at Call of Duty: Black Ops 2′s multiplayer component! I have to say, I’m impressed with what I’m seeing. The new weapons look like a lot of fun, the maps seem varied and detailed, and the new killstreaks look like they’re going to be a blast. You can bet that FTWins will have a dedicated Black Ops 2 strategy section once this game comes out in November.
IGN did a Rewind Theater on this trailer, check it out here: http://www.ign.com/videos/2012/08/07/rewind-theater-black-ops-2-multiplayer-reveal-trailer
Blizzard released the StarCraft 2 1.1.0 patch today. I wanted to give my opinion on some of the changes that were made. Some of these changes made sense, some of them make me scratch my head.
- Zealot build time increased from 33 to 38 (and Warp Gate cool down increased from 23 to 28).
I really want to know what Blizzard was thinking here. In the August 27th Situation Report Blizzard stated they felt Zealot rushes were too powerful, particularly proxy gating. The reality of the situation is that proxy rushes are hard to stop if you don’t see them. If you are able to scout this cheese strategy early enough it isn’t hard to stop. I don’t see how increasing their build time by 5 seconds helps players scout a proxy.
Furthermore, in the current state of Protoss vs. Terran, Protoss are having trouble with Marauders early on. Marauders beat Zealots, Sentries, and Stalkers without Twilight Counsel upgrades. This change only further exacerbates this problem.
- Battlecruiser ground damage decreased from 10 to 8.
This is a good thing. Although Cattlebruisers (as Day called them) aren’t very common, their ability to destroy Marines and Hydralisks in particular was completely disproportionate to their unit respective costs.
- Bunker build time increased from 30 to 35.
- Reaper build time increased from 40 to 45.
This was a change that many pros like Idra wanted to see. Specifically, it addresses the 5 Barracks Reapers in to expand build. This will also help out Protoss players, giving them a few more seconds to get that Stalker out to defend against early reapers.
- Siege Tank Siege Mode damage changed from 50 to 35 (+15 armored).
A lot of you are going to disagree when I say this. This change was completely not necessary! It takes a tank 4 seconds to go in to Siege Mode. It takes another 4 seconds to unsiege. Then add in the time it takes to move forward. High-level players should be able to spot these tanks on the move and take advantage. High-level players also know that there are acceptable losses. That might mean losing a building or two while waiting for the tanks to unsiege before attacking them.
- Ultralisk ram ability removed. Ultralisk will now use normal attack against buildings.
Many people see this as a nerf. But this is actually a buff in most situations. The ram attack could only hit one building at a time. The normal Ultralisk melee attack can hit multiple targets at once. Not only does this increase their damage per second (DPS) when attacking things like a wall of supply depots, but think about a huge mob of SCVs repairing a Planetary Fortress. Now the Ultralisks can attack the building and the nearby SCVs at the same time.
- A new game clock has been added
There are other changes that can be seen here in the official Blizzard patch notes. But this was the only big change that I wanted to talk about. For good players this change is very minor. However, this could end up doing a lot of harm to lower-level players.
Good players have had an in-game clock since Broodwar. It’s just not called a game clock; it’s your supply count. High-level players are very consistent in their builds and know when it is possible for their opponent to have a particular unit based on their supply count. For example, I know that if a Protoss opens with a Gateway then a Cybernetics Core and goes straight for Warpgates the research will finish around my 35 supply mark. So, for players who are already tracking time based on their supply, this change won’t make much of a difference. A game clock is more consistent than supply count, but it’s the same concept.
However, for many this will generate a list of timings that they will try to remember. For example, “At XX:XX time he can have Mutalisks.” That statement alone is fine. But I have a feeling people are going to end up doing is this, “At XX:XX time he can have Mutalisks, so I should make turrets before then.” It’s great that you know a unit is capable of being produced. But you still have to know that your opponent is actually producing that unit you’re concerned about! I fear the game clock will act as a false shortcut to scouting and result in mass paranoia of what units could be coming.
Regardless of how I, or anyone else, feels about these changes there’s one thing that I know. Getting bent out of shape over patches right away isn’t going to do anyone any good. What players need to keep in mind is that this game has only been out for 2 months. The game is still evolving and will continue to evolve for years to come.
In football the wide receiver and the quarterback get most of the attention because they’re the ones making big plays and scoring points. What people often forget is that the offensive line are the guys making those big plays possible by protecting the quarterback. No, this isn’t a football article or even a sports website, but StarCraft 2 is similar to professional sports. People often focus on the fancy stuff like micro and ignore the less glorious, but fundamental aspects like macro. Macro is arguably the most important part of playing StarCraft 2 as making units is the most basic function of the game.
The first thing any player needs to do to work on their macro is pick a reasonable plan. It doesn’t need to be the best possible unit composition to kill your opponent’s army, it just needs to be able to shoot at it. For example, Zerg should plan something simple like make Zergling/Roach/Hydralisk, for Terran it could be Marine/Marauder/Medivac, or Protoss could make Zealot/Sentry/Stalker. Each of these unit compositions have an armored unit and a unit that can shoot air units. So that covers the basic possibilities that the opponent might make. Don’t pick builds that are more complex like the Terran “1, 1, 1″ build or Nony’s Phoenix build which require a lot of micro.
The second step is to practice placing buildings on time. Placing a building on time means having a worker sitting where you want the building before the minerals are actually available. Also note that if you’re not sure when to pull that worker, it’s better to be a little early than a little late. For example, when making a Spawning Pool, a Zerg player should pull a Drone from mining around 175 minerals if the placement is near the mineral line, earlier if it’s going to be placed further away. Once the worker is in place start spamming the hotkey for the building, that way the moment the minerals are available the building can be placed. Many lower-level players will see that they have 200 minerals and only then select the Drone to move out and make their Spawning Pool. At this point the building actually gets made around 225-250 minerals.
The third thing to practice applies specifically to Protoss and Terran. Constantly be making 1 unit at a time from each production facility the build is intended to use (i.e. a Factory is required to get to Starport, even if the Factory isn’t being used). Don’t try to cut units to get an extra building, as those kinds of decisions are more advanced. Once all of the production buildings are making exactly 1 unit, it will be clear when to make more buildings. If there are 2 Barracks and a Command Center each making 1 unit and there are still 150 minerals left over this should indicate that it’s time to make another Barracks.
The previous paragraph mentions making 1 unit at a time 3 times. That’s because it’s really important! Queuing units isn’t spending minerals, it’s hiding them. Queuing even just 2 Marines and 1 extra SCV is 150 minerals. That is 1 additional Barracks that could have been made to increase production. Not only does queuing production hide minerals that could be spent elsewhere, it also teaches a bad habit. Part of good macro is checking production buildings regularly. Queuing increase the amount of time between having to check those buildings, getting players in a habit of not checking as often as they should.
Don’t worry Zerg players, I haven’t forgotten the swarm. For Zerg, the Queen is one of the most vital parts of Zerg macro. Take some time to play a bunch of games and only focus on using Spawn Larva. This will build your game sense, and eventually the 40 second cool down on Spawn Larva will become second nature. It’s also helpful to line up the timing of multiple Hatcheries/Queens so that each of the Queen’s Spawn Larva ability comes up at the same time. This makes for less time spent checking Hatcheries; check one and if it’s ready then they all should be ready within a few seconds of each other.
These may seem like very small, picky things as single mistakes don’t seem like a big deal. For example, if you’re late starting a building 5 seconds just one time it won’t matter too much. But what happens when all of a players buildings go down 5 seconds late? It adds up, and suddenly the whole build is 40 seconds behind. Forty seconds in StarCraft 2 is a massive amount of time. It can be the difference between a particular upgrade being finished (e.g. Thermal Lance for the Colossus) or having a specific unit out or not (e.g. a Siege Tank to hold off a Baneling bust). Advanced StarCraft 2 strategy is all about building up little leads and capitalizing on little mistakes to create an increasingly bigger lead. Eliminating these small timing mistakes decreases the amount of things an opponent can take advantage of and can sometimes put you so far ahead in unit production that it doesn’t matter what unit composition they have.
Sure, the linemen don’t end up on Sports Center’s highlight reel. And maybe you’ve never heard Husky screaming out, “Oh my god look at the timing on that Supply Depot!” But good fundamental mechanics are at the core of every good players game. Those mechanics allow them to their units out in a time when they can be the most effective.