In a recent study published on PLOS ONE, researchers discovered through studying StarCraft II players that "declines in cognitive-motor functioning" began past the age of 24. That being the case, there was a decrease in players' speed (measured in the research article with "looking-doing latency") the older they were from 24. Something to consider is that other real-life activities don't necessarily equate speed with efficacy; likewise, a StarCraft II player's skill level did not seem to have a strong correlation with their age.
The research article goes through how older players definitely experienced a decline in their motor skills, but compensated for their loss of speed through more efficient usage of hotkeys, resorting to simpler but equally effective strategies, and focusing more on strategic planning. By delegating more tasks to the user interface, older players could certainly reach similar levels of skills as younger players.
On two measures, older players showed signs of being more advanced than they actually are. Both Unique Hotkeys per game timestamp (more with age; p*<0.001), and Offscreen attacks per game timestamp (more with age; p*<0.001) were strong candidates as compensators. Older players in our sample exhibited more impressive hotkey performance, even when skill was controlled for, suggesting that our participants may be indirectly compensating for declines by offloading demands to the game interface. An increase in attacks to areas outside of the view-screen might reflect heightened awareness of global game information via attention to the ‘mini-map’. Generally then, older players seem better at using available interface features (customizable keys and the ‘mini-map’) than younger players.
The paper is an interesting read if you can make your way through the scientific jargon and number-crunching, so be sure to check it out.
The dates for BlizzCon 2014 have been announced! On Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8, 2014, the halls of the Anaheim Convention Center will open to the sounds of Blizzard franchises coming together for a weekend of excitement.
Tickets for the event will be available in two batches, one on Wednesday, May 7 at 7 p.m. PT and the other on Saturday, May 10 at 10 a.m. PT through this online ticketing service. Tickets to the exclusive pre-BlizzCon Benefit Dinner will also be available through the same service on Wednesday, May 14 at 7 p.m. PT. As always, if you are unable to make it to the Anaheim Convention Center, you can always purchase a virtual ticket to watch the BlizzCon livestream right from home. There is also a helpful page on the BlizzCon official site, which explains how tickets work, how much they cost, when they are available and more, which you can view here.
For more information, you can check out the press release, or the associated official news post. We're looking forward to covering all the amazing news that will be at BlizzCon, so be sure to stick around!
Although it is in closed alpha, Heroes of the Storm has numerous skins available for purchase. Currently, each hero has one or two skins that cost anywhere from eight dollars to fifteen dollars. Click through below to see the skins available for the StarCraft heroes!
It's the 2nd of April, which means all of the April Fools jokes are revealed to be false and everyone can rest assured that news will no longer be riddled with fabrications. There were a variety of April Fools posts that were on Blizzard homepages yesterday, which ranged from the horrifying to the hilarious. There were quite a few StarCraft-related ones this year, so let's get started.
First up was Herald of the Stars, the "new title" for the upcoming Legacy of the Void expansion for StarCraft II. With various abbreviation-themed jokes (hint: Herald of the Stars abbreviates to HotS) and ludicrous changes to the expansion's plot and gameplay, the Herald of the Stars news post wasn't fooling anyone, but was comical nonetheless.
Next up was an upcoming hero for Heroes of the Storm, Pajamathur. Pajamathur is the baby incarnation of Abathur, and has all the abilities that such an adorable little Zerg-spawn deserves. With a hilarious custom model (how can this not make you laugh) and nonsensical abilities, this new hero was on everyone's mind this April Fools Day.
The last StarCraft-related April Fools joke is Blizzard Outcasts: Vengeance of the Vanquished. This new fighting game from Blizzard brought all of the unsung heroes from each of their franchises into a deathmatch of unepic proportions. With characters such as Arcturus Mengsk and Deckard Cain exchanging punches and hurling swords, this joke was definitely the strangest of all of them.
Other than the aforementioned posts, there was also Happy Reaper, the Flappy Bird clone based off of Malthael, the angel of death from Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. With a playable version that's accessible right from your browser, there's no excuse for you to not be decimating Nephalem right now. On the World of Warcraft side there was the new Draenei models and fake patch notes. Both are worth checking out for the horrifying possibilities of bad design choices.
That was it for this year's April Fools Day, at least in regards to Blizzard games. We hope you all enjoyed the jokes and pranks that you experienced, and here's to a great Spring!
Dustin Browder has posted a new article on the Heroes of the Storm front page describing the leveling and experience gain system in the game. He goes into detail about how the system has changed over the course of development, and also elaborates on why these changes were made.
When we first started, we had individual hero leveling like many games in the genre. We liked how it forced players to split up into different locations, and coming together was a cost and a risk. We also liked how individual experience rewarded players for doing well, and really encouraged players to do their best; knowing that they were falling behind if they started to give away too many victories.
The entire article is worth a read, especially how the current leveling system allows for characters such as Abathur to exist. To check out the full article, click here.
In preparation for Season 2 of StarCraft 2, the ladder map pool is receiving some new additions. The new 1v1 maps are King Sejong Station LE, Overgrowth LE, Merry Go Round LE, and Waystation. The maps being removed are Polar Night, Yeonsu, Daedalus Point, and Heavy Rain. This makes the full Season 2 1v1 ladder map pool as follows:
Complete 1v1 Map Pool for 2014 Season 2 Alterzim Stronghold TE Frost LE Habitation Station LE King Sejong Station LE Overgrowth LE Merry Go Round LE Waystation
For the full list of new maps, including maps for 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4, click here.
As Tychus Week continues for Heroes of the Storm, the developers of the game have released a Q&A discussing the design of Tychus as a playable hero. There's only a few questions in the Q&A, but there's a lot of info to be learned.
Trikslyr: Let’s talk about the design of Tychus; how was it decided to make him an assassin, and what makes him different from other heroes?
Richard: When we’re deciding what role a hero falls into and what makes them unique, we first think about the fantasy of the character and what they did in their universes. In Wings of Liberty, Tychus was a take-no-prisoners badass who rode around in a stolen Odin, used a chain gun and grenades to mow down the Zerg, and started a bar fight with Jimmy on the Hyperion. He’s clearly a rebel that let his fists do the talking. In this case, a hard hitting assassin just made sense.
On March 12, David Kim held an open Q&A on Reddit for a few hours. He answered various questions regarding tournaments and balance, and it's definitely worth checking out.
Q: Are any "large scale" or "mechanic" redesigns being considering for Legacy of the Void? For example considering changing mechanics around high ground advantage, the soft 3 base income cap, warpgate, etc?
David Kim: We're currently working on all parts of the next expansion, but everything is a work in progress. If something is problematic, we would discuss it and try possible changes. But one of our core philosophies on SC2 design is if the change isn't completely amazing, we prefer not to do it.
So in this specific case, things like high ground advantage working the way it does currently vs. how it worked in BW vs. other advantages we can think of that are different, it's really hard to clearly say that one mechanic is better in all the cases. Overall, we are trying various changes in various areas, but it's really difficult to say for certain what will go through at the end of the day.
When you guys have good suggestions on specific problematic areas as well as possible solutions, we definitely discuss and/or try those things internally as we work on the next game to be able to know exactly why or why not we're deciding on a certain area. Eg. We've tried and still retry things like different suggestions for the Swarm Host, more harsh counters to Force Fields, or old units like Lurkers, and so on.
The Heroes of the Storm Technical Alpha is live! You can watch streams of the game over here!
Also, Blizzard has posted an article helping players install and access the game.
We’ve invited a limited amount of US-based players, including testers opted-in via Battle.net, friends and family members of Blizzard employees, as well as a number of international press sites and community contributors, to participate in this very early Technical Alpha testing phase. If you haven’t received an invitation to the Tech Alpha yet, make sure you’ve elected to participate in Heroes of the Storm testing by opting in on your Battle.net account’s Beta Profile Settings page. By doing so, you’ll give yourself the best chance at gaining testing access as our needs evolve and we expand the pool of invited players in the weeks and months to come.