StarCraft

Blizzard and the Starcraft franchise viewed from every angle

Where does Blizzard stand with Starcraft in 2021? It's hard to say because all we have to work off is communication from some support people in the official forums and various companies who have partnered with Blizzard. Here are all the crumbs of information in one place:

https://news.blizzard.com/en-us/starcraft2/23544726/starcraft-ii-update-october-15-2020 October 15th last year was when Blizzard announced that there would be no new paid content for Starcraft II. Obviously that meant no more War Chests or Co-op Commanders but the rest was kind of vague. They said they'd still support future balance patches as needed as well as more ladder seasons. But so far there has been no communication whatsoever about new ladder maps or any other changes. Some patches have been released that fixed some items and made older War Chest cosmetics available to purchase in bundles. And that's about it.

https://www.frostgiant.com/ It's unlikely to be coincidence that the announcement of no more paid content came just as Tim Morten, Ryan Schutter, and Kevin Dong announced their new company. Frost Giant was founded by multiple Starcraft II and Warcraft III veterans and the exodus from Blizzard has continued for the RTS developers with Chris Fugate announcing his move to Frost Giant just last month.

https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/starcraft/t/patch-1238-notes/2111 Starcraft Remastered got a new map pool for Season 9 back in February that consisted of maps from ASL Season 10. The new season also included portraits for ladder ranks. One of the maps was just recently replaced with a newer version.

https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/sc2/t/starcraft-ii-hotfix-february-25-2021/20815 Blizzard support people have continued to be responsive on the forums regarding issues such as bugs and connectivity conflicts. They have remained completely silent regarding issues with SC2 ladder placement. The post above is a particularly odd one as they announced a hotfix for a Starcraft Remastered issue where the new ladder maps weren't showing up in the folder but posted it in the SC2 forums.

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https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/warcraft3/t/ptr-patch-notes-13210-updated-march-29/26894 Starcraft II and Starcraft Remastered are part of Classic Games which also includes Heroes of the Storm and Warcraft III Reforged. HotS got a new hero late last year and a couple balance patches since then with David Warner doing the press rounds. WC3R recently got a PTR for a new balance patch and stated that they are still committed to adding profiles, leaderboards, and ladder leagues but no one seems to know who is in charge or how to reach out to them.

https://blizzcon.com/en-us/news/23606576 BlizzConline did end up featuring Starcraft. The Celebration Collection featured some cross promotion with both Starcraft games getting portraits from all the Blizzard franchises with Nova representing SC and Overwatch got a Raynor skin for Reinhardt. So apparently SC2 can get paid content that is purchased as a bundle. Blizzard did mention IEM Katowice during the opening ceremony(with Overwatch similarly being limited to a mention of OWL during that segment) and the event got some advertisements between panels. Starcraft content consisted of a couple panels that showed off casual group modes with several big name players fooling around with both games' versions of Lost Temple and Big Game Hunters followed by some SC2 arcade games being promoted.

https://starcraft2.com/en-us/media Digital comic Nature of the Beast is still sitting on its Issue #3 cliffhanger. The author said on his LinkedIn that the series was nine issues with three per War Chest. No word about whether the rest of the series will become available with no more War Chests coming.

https://www.amazon.com/StarCraft-Ghost-Academy-Blizzard-Legends/dp/1950366626/ref=sr_1_8?dchild=1&keywords=starcraft&qid=1617640812&s=books&sr=1-8 The old TokyoPop mangas and PocketStar novels continue to be republished under the Blizzard Legends brand. Ghost Academy Volume 3 is due later this year. Ghost: Nova was delayed and is listed as Out of Print for now. Other titles that haven't yet been republished are Speed of Darkness, Flashpoint and Queen of Blades. Book 1 of Wildstorm's Starcraft comic series is also likely as Blizzard has republished paperbacks of their Warcraft and Diablo series.

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https://direct.darkhorse.com/products/starcraft-protoss-carrier-replica Dark Horse hasn't said anything about doing more comics but they're following up their Battlecruiser replica with one of the Carrier. It's been delayed a couple times but is currently scheduled for April or May.

https://www.blizzardgearstore.com/art_program/c-1257845755+z-992486-38706016?ab={wt-static_graphic}{pt-HP}{al-BSPOT}{STARCRAFT_3_31} Blizzard is still adding Starcraft items to their Gear Store including licensed J!nx t-shirt re-releases and art. Oddly they just released several art pieces to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the original Starcraft. The odd part is that they haven't acknowledged this anniversary anywhere else and it's all SC2 box art with no art from the original game that they claim to be celebrating…

https://pro.eslgaming.com/tour/2021/03/starcraft-ii-preseason-update/ And finally we come to esports and competitive Starcraft. ASL is continuing to do Starcraft Remastered but has dropped English commentary and Blizzard is no longer sponsoring the BSL. The second year of their three-year Starcraft II esports deal with ESL and AfreecaTV has begun. ESL put out the following statement for maps: "We’ve heard the community and want to join in to help and support the competitive map pool. We are currently working closely with a few core community members and key stakeholders in order to announce our intention and involvement soon." CatZ confirmed on his Twitter that he is one of these "core community members" but we haven't gotten any details beyond that aside from Apollo sounding pretty confident that fans will be happy with the solution. GSL is still using the previous map pool with the exception of Submarine being replaced with a four-player map.

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There you go. Not much to run with. The current SC2 ladder season is supposed to end today and progression was locked on the 29th. Previously it showed the season as ending April 1st but it got pushed back four days. Maybe we'll find out why in the next 24 hours.

Lot's of people have their thoughts about what's going on behind the scenes. I don't have more information than the next guy but my impression is of a team experiencing a lot of chaos as the Classic Teams continues to be reorganized and consolidated with most of the Starcraft leadership having left or being in the process of leaving. I'd personally welcome any guidance that ESL and other parts of the community could offer. Blizzard feels kind of like an estranged father with the two Starcraft games being sons he hasn't spoken to directly for a very long time.

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