Seb: As usual, each Sunday brings us an article about Starcraft II:
“With the third and last expansion pack for Starcraft 2 due to land soon, Blizzard are already making moves to prepare the ground for what will apparently be far more than just a fresh injection of content, game-play tweaks and storyline twists. Legacy of the Void will come with a new user interface too, one that will be introduced through patch 3.0, so before the actual expansion is released. The interface changes have been described as “sweeping” by Blizzard. Let’s take a closer look at exactly what these changes will impact and how they will influence the user experience.
The UI design has been overhauled from a functional perspective at least. While the core visuals remain the same with new graphics added here and there and a Brood Wars tribute dropped in for good measure in the campaign lobby, functionality-wise, a lot will change. The goal has apparently been a much more pronouncedly social experience, which means changes were focused on the chat system. The multi-window chat system has been deemed obsolete, plagued by two major drawbacks. The first of these was the need to frequently minimize windows, while the second one was about the need to leave a chat window open if a player didn’t want to miss any of the chit-chat going on in there. Beginning with patch 3.0. chat will be brought into one persistent window, which will allow players to socialize regardless of what they’re actually doing within the game. All those who log in will be dropped into a general chat channel automatically and individual chat channel capacity will be increased from 100 to 200 players. Notifications from conversations one is not actively engaged in will be received in the filter drop-down. Joining a channel will henceforth be much easier as well. The /join command (together with a number of other such commands) has been added and if one uses it with a channel name that does not exist, it will be created automatically.
Players who really want to keep an eye on chat will be able to increase the size of the window and even to pin it onto their screen. Color-coding has been added to allow players to distinguish between various text-bits more easily and time-stamps are now available as well.
As far as the general UI is concerned, that too has been overhauled in the way of spacing, and section-content. Most navigation has been moved to the top left of the screen, and thus a lot of space got freed up for fancy graphics.
The Arcade section was tinkered with as well: the Open Games will be the starting experience for all players and game info has been made much more readily available.
The bottom line: with these changes, Blizzard are aiming to show that they’re not about to let the extra content of Legacy of the Void carry the game on its own. They’re looking to keep up the freshness factor in other ways too, ways that will perhaps be resorted to even after Legacy of the Void fades into the bigger picture.
Peter Wassenberg has been a Gosugamer and an eSports enthusiast since 2004.