The Ninjabot

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Release

Posted on March 12, 2013 at 11:28 pm by Stephen Janes

So if you have been following me, you know that I was given the opportunity to attend the release of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, the new expansion pack from Blizzard Entertainment. I went there with my friend Tyler Leisher thanks to Geek Legacy to report on the event.

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Entrance to Blizzard Entertainment

Upon arriving at Blizzard, we checked in and received our press passes. I have never been invited to an event as a member of the press, so this was an especially fun moment for me. Immediately afterwards, we witnessed a taping of the ‘King of the Beta’ tournament, which I was somewhat following during the day. It was pretty cool seeing and being in the same room as many other fans of e-sports.

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My first in hopefully many press passes

So the start of if all was the community launch, led by Day[9], known to humans as Sean Plott. It was really cool seeing a community as large as this one having a huge event on the campus of Blizzard, where they were essentially birthed inadvertently. In addition to Day[9], Husky and Team Liquid were on site to talk about the new game, watch some competitive gaming and receive their collector’s edition of the game. Totally wish I could have grabbed one myself, but they were only being handed out to those associated with the community. As press, we were left to observe, but you will not hear me complaining.

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Inside, you could watch the King of the Beta tournament rebroadcasted.

The community event was really cool, but as press we were more excited for the live launch over at the Irvine Spectrum. I have never seen such a set-up for a video game before, and it made me really appreciate the scenario I was in. Seeing many fellow gamers waiting in torturous anticipation for the next StarCraft installment was a site in itself, and I think I mentioned this more to Tyler than anything else. If you’re checking out the photos, be sure to click on them as they expand to their full resolution to really see what I’m talking about.

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They all were waiting for the game. Look at all the cameras!

During the above image, there was a live demonstration of the game featuring some professional gamers, including the ‘King of the Beta’ champion Polt. Imagine being in a room with your best friends yelling and hollering at the television as you watch the Super Bowl or World Series; this was equivalent to that. I know a lot of people don’t really get the pull for competitive video games, but it really is exciting. Several people walked by and made fun of the entire situation, which was expected and is always anticipated. It didn’t matter, because I was then about to experience a once in a lifetime chance.

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Sam ‘Samwise’ Didier, art director for Blizzard. And me.

I was blessed with a chance to interview Sam ‘Samwise’ Didier, the art director over at Blizzard. I got so nervous when I began the interview that I actually called the new expansion, ‘Heart of the Storm.’ He quickly corrected me, of course, and luckily for me he wasn’t offended. Not sure if he just shrugged it off or could tell I was scared Zerg-less, but either way he was an absolute pleasure to talk to and answered every single question thoroughly and enthusiastically. He even said that I asked some great questions after we cut the interview, which helped boost my confidence afterwards. At first glance, he looks like he’s upset with me in the photo, but if you take a gander at the photo he took with Tyler…

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Sam with Tyler posing after the interview.

…ok, so that doesn’t exactly plead my case, either. I swear he did say, “you got the serious one, he get’s the funny one.” I heard it, you didn’t, so there. Sam was a great person to interview and was totally excited for the event. Afterwards, we walked around a little more and enjoyed the festivities. Day[9] and Husky continued to emcee the event leading up to the exciting midnight release of Heart of the Swarm. All in all, the entire event was something I never imagined I’d experience in my life and I’m glad to have been able to attend. As my buddy said at the end of the night, “Blizzard does it right.”

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I was awestruck the entire night.

This was definitely the most fun I had ‘working’ in a long while. This was something that I was teasing online for a while now, and I’m pleased to say it’s only the beginning. There are a few more things (hopefully) in store for me this summer, but I can’t nor shall talk about them just yet. Overall, this was something special and I hope that later on in life, I can look at this as the beginning of my professional career with video games.

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The interview with Didier will be up as soon as it’s complete, along with more footage from the event. I’ll embed the video once it’s all complete.

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