StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void Will Have New User Interface, Here's a Video on What's Changing and Why

Patch 3.0 creates a more social StarCraft 2 experience.


StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void is set to expand Blizzard's sci-fi strategy game with new content, but will also introduce a number of big changes to the way people play the game. In the lead up to its November release, Blizzard has detailed the "sweeping" changes being made to the game's user interface as part of patch 3.0.

As mentioned in the video, creating a more social experience was a key design principle the developer kept in mind when reworking the UI. The new system provides persistent chat and tweaked how players connect to games in the Arcade mode. The menus have also had a visual overhaul.

Take a look below for more details on the changes included in patch 3.00.

  • A More Social Experience: Our major goal with changing the user interface was for StarCraft II to be a more social experience. With this in mind, we examined the chat system and identified two major drawbacks with the multiple window chat system. The first issue was having to frequently minimize windows, which resulted in players being unable to quickly read and respond to chat. Secondly, we didn’t like how you had to leave an empty window open if you didn’t want to miss when someone joined an empty chat channel, potentially increasing the clutter on your screen. To tackle these issues, we made several changes. We consolidated all of chat into one prominently visible window. This persistent chat window ensures players always have the ability to engage with other players regardless of what they're doing in StarCraft II. We increased the maximum number of players who can be in a chat channel from 100 to 200 and added a function that will automatically remove inactive players from public chat channels. Lastly, every player that logs in will automatically be placed into a general chat, allowing them to instantly connect with the community.
  • Benefits of Multiple Windows: When making these changes to chat, we didn't want to lose the benefits of having multiple windows. Two benefits we identified were the ability to keep track of individual conversations and the fact that new messages were never missed. As a result, we added the ability to switch between conversations using the dropdown in the top-left corner of the chat dialogue, or by pressing CTRL + TAB or CTRL + SHIFT + TAB. If you receive a message from another conversation that you are not actively viewing, you'll receive a notification in the filter dropdown.
  • More Chat Improvements: In Heart of the Swarm, we introduced moderated chat channels through Groups and Clans, but joining those channels required many steps. In Legacy of the Void, we’ve made chat channels easier to join by added the ‘/join’ command. If you want someone to join your chat, all they have to do is type "/join <channel name>". If the channel name doesn't exist, they'll create and join a custom channel with that name instead. For those who really want chat to be prominent, we added the ability to make the window taller and to pin it on the screen so it will remain open, even when you’re not typing in chat. We also improved chat performance, added an option to display a timestamp, modified text color so it's easier to distinguish between player names and actual chat, and added a number of hotkeys and slash commands - some of which are listed at the end of the blog.
  • Overhauling the UI: To ensure this new chat system would work well with the rest of the UI, it became clear we would have to redesign the rest of the game’s screens so we meticulously overhauled the spacing, format, and content of every section. In order to give our content more space, we moved the navigation, sub-navigation, and the party panel to the top of the screen. With this extra room, we saw an opportunity to inlay new 3D scenes into every screen to further bring the StarCraft universe to life in the UI.
  • Arcade Improvements: While revamping the UI, we also wanted to take the opportunity to make some improvements to the Arcade. In the new layout, we've moved ‘Open Games’ to be the starting experience for all players, and made the ‘Open Games’ list quicker and easier to browse. Instead of having to open and close the map info panel to learn about a game, the information now appears on the same screen and players can quickly browse one game after another to decide what to play. If the player tries to join a lobby that is full or if the game has already started, they are no longer put into an empty lobby. Top played games can still be found under the ‘Browse’ section, and we've modified the criteria for determining which games appear in the list so that more games have opportunities to reach the top. Continuing with our desire to make StarCraft II a more social experience, we now automatically put players into a public Arcade chat channel as soon as they click on the Arcade button. Here, they’ll be able to chat with other Arcade players and use a brand new feature to help fill their lobbies. Players can now directly link into their Arcade lobbies by typing [Lobby] into the chat box. Any players who click on the link will instantly join that lobby. Now when you are looking for ‘pros only’ or need people to help test your latest creation, you’ll be able to advertise your needs in chat and provide a handy link for players to join.

Legacy of the Void is the final chapter in the StarCraft 2 trilogy. It also concludes the story that began with the original StarCraft, though that doesn't necessarily spell the end of StarCraft as a franchise.

Blizzard has shown off the physical collector's edition of StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, which comes with a mix of physical and digital content including a two-disc behind the scenes set, a soundtrack, and in-game bonuses for World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Heroes of the Storm, and Hearthstone.

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