Blizzard is preparing to start sending out invites for the closed beta test of the upcoming Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void. The beta will begin at the end of the month on 31 March, and the developer claims that it will run for a longer time period than previous beta tests. As usual, the final installment in the Starcraft II trilogy will bring new units, changes, and even a new multiplayer mode.
The Legacy of the Void beta is also starting much sooner in development than before, which is why Blizzard has warned potential testers that things might feel a bit rougher than usual. All because Blizzard has decided to be more open about the development status of its games; this from a company that has traditionally made people wait a very, very long time between sequels.
A few high-level gameplay changes are being tested in the beta this time around, which should have a massive impact on the pro-gaming scene. Blizzard is working to encourage more aggressive base expansion in the game, and will be reducing the amount of available resources around the starting area. This, in theory, should force players to branch out sooner and fight over resources. To help with this, the number of starting workers is being increased to 12; which will also cut down the amount of time spent on building workers at the start of the game.
Another competitive level change has been made to the passage of time in the game. The passage of time has been slowed down to better reflect real world time, which means that pro-gamers will have to re-adjust to new cooldown times for all abilities. Essentially, Blizzard wants the five second cooldown timer to literally mean five seconds in the real world; and not the five sped up seconds in the game.
Each race is also receiving new units for multiplayer, with both the Zerg and Protoss seeing two new units; while the Terrans will have the new Cyclone tank. This imbalanced situation is temporary as Blizzard is still working on the second new unit for the Terrans. Several units from each faction will also be rebalanced with new abilities, while losing some older ones.
Overall, it feels unusual for Blizzard to be rolling out a closed beta this early in production. Previous betas have felt like completed games that are being tested for minor bugs, and this will be an interesting departure from that. In fact, it looks more like the extended testing period for Heroes of the Storm. With that in mind, it is a little disappointing to that this expansion does not have the HotS acronym.